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Urologist performs surgeries by day, music by night

By BY J.R. ORTEGA - JRORTEGA@VICAD.COM
Jan. 25, 2010 at 7:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2010 at 7:25 p.m.

Dr. John White, a local urologist, performs with Wade Stockton and the Llama Pinatas at Luraq's restaurant and beer garden Saturday. The band plays Texas swing and Honky Tonk and has been together on and off for the past two years.

WHO IS DR. JOHN WHITE?

FAVORITE BAND - Bob Schneider, Grateful Dead, Blue Oyster Cult, Rush - Pre 1984

FAVORITE FOOD - Japanese, sushi or Tex-Mex

EDUCATION - Received bachelors in 1988 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Went to medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch - Galveston and graduated in 1994. Did residency in urology at the University New Mexico-Albuquerque and graduated in 1999.

FAVORITE BOOK - "Still Life with Woodpecker" by Tom Robins and "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

FAVORITE DRINK - Guinness beer

RELIGION - Catholic

FAVORITE MOVIES - Buckaroo Banzai and Fight Club

WIFE - Julie White of eight years

CHILDREN - Two step-children; James, 16 and Jillian, 11 and his son Trip, 7.

LIFE MOTTO - "If at first you don't succeed, redefine success."

Honky tonk music escapes from Dr. John White's mandolin.

The dimmed red lighting and chatter of beer-consuming customers at LuRaq's on this particular Saturday night kept the Victoria urologist in a true Texas mood.

"I'm really not much of a musician," admitted White, who performs with the Wade Stockton and The Llama Piñatas band.

Stockton is a Crossroads musician who is well-known for playing the fiddle.

Stockton has performed across Texas, including once with the Jarrod Birmingham band and at the Hallettsville Fiddlers' Frolics.

As he moves from performing surgeries to performing music, White likes taking on a new audience.

"That's what I like about it," White said. "It really challenges me to where I'm out of my element up there."

His gig with music began five years ago, he said.

White, who comes from a family of guitarists, was told by his father someone needed to play the mandolin.

Because it was taking him a long time to learn the guitar, White took up the offer.

His secret to being able to play at his level and get by with it is to surround himself with musicians who are better.

He said Stockton has helped get him to the level he is now.

The two first met when White was a partner/owner at the Oak Room. White had requested that Stockton perform at the restaurant and asked if Stockton if he could perform a song with him

The rest was history, White said.

"These guys have such a good time," White said. "It doesn't matter if there are five people or 100 people, they're having fun."

The band also includes Everett Wood of Port Lavaca, and the llama piñata.

Yes, the piñata plays a major role in the band's success, White said.

Before they were Wade Stockton and The Llama Piñatas, the band had gone through a variety of names, depending on whatever gig they played.

From the Oak Room Boys to the Reservoir Dawgs, the Llama Piñatas has stuck the longest.

"It started off as a joke," White said. "We saw a llama-shaped piñata on a T-shirt one day and that week we were the Llama Piñatas."

The band made a piñata and places it in front of the stage before each performance.

Inside it is a tip jar.

"If nothing else, it gets a laugh," White said.

The llama is definitely something to smile about, said Joey Ornelas, owner of LuRaq's.

Ornelas had no idea the band he hired featured the urologist he has seen for the past six years.

"It was very interesting seeing him up there," he said. "It's just something seeing him as a doctor. Then to see him as an artist is a totally different thing."

Ornelas didn't know his doctor was in the band until he was at White's office for an appointment and heard the receptionist say that White was going to perform at LuRaq's.

Come Friday afternoon, when White is finished seeing his patients, he takes off his lab coat, grabs a cold beer and rocks out Texas style.

"I know I'm never going to be a professional musician," White said. "It's good recreation and a good stress release."

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