Banjo playing during brain surgery


20 Responses to “Banjo playing during brain surgery”

  1. TedJohnson says:

    I found this so inspiring that I went to to buy one of his albums.

    The artwork on the one I chose had a Confederate flag superimposed on the banjo.

    Uhh… Since I bought the MP3 download, that means I’ll never actually touch this artwork. Does that keep my hands clean. (Please say it does.)

  2. Gar the Pitiless says:

    This is so unfair. Whenever I have people’s brains experimented on, I’m lucky if the subjects can pick their nose, much less a banjo.

  3. mgfarrelly says:

    Yes, but can he play the piano any more?

    Because, you know, he couldn’t before.

  4. ill lich says:

    Oh. . . I thought this was going to be an article on how they gave him a lobotomy to make him a better banjo player. . . you know, like the old joke — Q: How do you know when the stage at the Opry is perfectly level? A: when drool comes out BOTH sides of the banjo players mouth.

    (playful kidding)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if having his banjo there was at all beneficial? As in, having a comforting and familiar object there with him might have calmed him down or helped release endorphins?

    Awesome vid, no matter what the banjo-haters say! :P

  6. Takuan says:

    why didn’t they show the chicken-wire cage around the operating table?

  7. epicsound says:

    My father is an old bandmate of Eddie. He’s a profoundly tough man, a semi-pro boxer and racecar driver when he was young. His tremor had grown from a bother to a hindrance in the last couple of years, and he was just about forced to retire because of it. His doctor told him he could quiet the tremor with significant quantities of beer, but he said that the doctor’s orders took all the pleasure out of the drinking.

    To clarify, the reason he was playing banjo on the operating table was to allow them to fine-tune the implanted device, placing it where it would do him the most good for the skill he wanted to regain. He was able to get up and play a few numbers at the IBMA Awards less than a month after his surgery, which is remarkable. He’s already booking shows for next year, both to prove he’s still in the game and to take advantage of this spurt in notoriety.

  8. Keneke says:

    Re: Comments: So much for respect for the elderly. Or musicians. Or brain surgery patients. Or a whole region of America.

  9. epicsound says:

    One great absurdity here: 35 years ago, Eddie had his psychedelic-grass band called Second Generation, who released an album called Head Cleaner. Take a look at the cover photo, it really is an amazing correlation to what went down this year:

  10. Takuan says:

    “According to Eddie, “I came up in music the hard way and learned to be a trouper fast. Some of those early days were pretty rough, and I’ve been stomped, cut and kicked; but I never went through hell like this”

  11. Halloween Jack says:

    Whatever else this guy does in the future, he’ll be able to absolutely rule dinner-party conversation by saying, “I played banjo during my brain surgery.”

  12. tsteele999 says:

    Interesting, but I am glad you can’t see what’s going on on the other side of the plastic sheet.

  13. Troglodyte says:

    This may sound odd, but how was this painful? I didn’t think there were any touch-sensitive nerve endings in the brain, so the most I can come up with is skull pain, but wouldn’t that be hit with a local anaesthetic? I can understand the psychological stress associated with such a procedure (actually, I probably can’t) but it seems like from the article it actually physically hurt!

    Either way, it’s a pretty cool story and the dude’s a lot braver than I am. I’d be flipping out if they were messing with my brain and telling me to play a musical instrument.

  14. minamisan says:

    #11: even after a mere eyeball surgery i felt it would’ve been nice to have something to distract me from the whole slicing & stitching thing. but really, an iPod would’ve done the trick… i can’t play banjo & my clarinet would have made things awkward.

  15. Anonymous says:

    @Troglodyte #11

    They mention that the procedure included stuffing things into his chest cavity.


  16. SC_Wolf says:

    Suture faster! I hear Banjos!

  17. banjology says:

    Huge shock, man plays banjo needs brain surgery ;-)

  18. RJ says:

    Most, if not all, bluegrass musicians who identify with the Confederate flag do so out of reverence for their regional heritage, not for any kind of political or racial statement. So I’d say yes, your hands are clean. ;)

    What an amazing guy. I doubt I’d be able to lay there and play “Old Joe Clark” while doctors fiddled with my brains. I hope the surgery was a major success, and his tremor is gone for life.

    Reminds me of a video I saw awhile back about a man undergoing brain surgery while awake. He was asked to count while they worked, and you could see when they touched a sensitive area, because he’d just sort of blank-out, and have to relax and start over. Weird, weird stuff.

    All the best to Eddie Adcock.

  19. etmthree says:

    Things you never hear backstage: “oh, that’s the banjo player’s Porsche…”

  20. Anonymous says:

    How long before this is on an episode of Gray’s Anatomy?

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