Jackson County Jukebox: Bad Medicine plays some good music


No matter what kind of day you’ve had, Bad Medicine can cure it with some good music.

Covering songs from a variety of genres and featuring different members on vocals and instruments throughout each show, the group knows how to entertain.

What makes the band unique is it initially started in 2010 with four employees of Schneck Medical Center in Seymour — plant operations engineer Andy Hagedorn, orthopedic surgeon Kris Williams, physician David Hartung and general surgeon Luyen Le. They also had physician John Fye run sound.

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The band’s name then was Public Option because that was a common phrase with Obamacare, which aimed to provide affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans.

“Dr. (Steve) Windley had a Christmas party, and a bunch of doctors were invited,” Williams said. “We just got to talking and figured out that, ‘Hey, you sing and I play guitar and Luyen has a bass and Dave plays the drums. We should do a little band together,’ so we just started practicing.”

Their first show was at Sam Steffey’s house on the day of the Kentucky Derby in May.

In the fall, they played at Starve Hollow State Recreation Area in Vallonia and brought on a new member, Monica Kriete, on keyboard and vocals. She’s a first grade teacher at Emerson Elementary School in Seymour.

“Andy went to church with Monica and said, ‘This girl is an awesome singer. We should have her come out and sing with us,’ so we played at Starve Hollow and that was her first show,” Williams said. “We just brought her up onstage, and she just winged it, and then she became part of the band.”

When Hagedorn moved away, the band changed its name to Bad Medicine because Williams said the public option term was outdated.

“A lot of us worked at the hospital, and I liked the name,” Williams said of the switch. “We play classic rock-type stuff. (“Bad Medicine”) is a Bon Jovi song, so it kind of fit with our genre of music.”

The group also needed a new lead singer, and that’s when Tyler Wessel, ambulatory services manager at the hospital, came on board to fill that role.

At the same time, Ryan Holle, who works as an electrical tehcnician at a factory in Walesboro, joined on fiddle and guitar.

When Hartung left the group for family reasons, Cody Moore, engineering manager at the hospital, took his spot on drums. Moore had filled in for Hartung in the past.

The most recent changes were in 2019 when Wessel left the band and Steve Deweese became the lead singer and Hartung returned to play a variety of instruments.

Since members of the group stay busy, Williams said they try to stick with a show or two each month. They play mostly at venues in Jackson County.

On June 19, they kicked off the 2020 Friday Night Live summer concert series at Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour, and that was their first show since October 2019. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, that prevented them from getting together to practice.

The weekend after the show at the arts center, Bad Medicine played a private gig. Summer is tough schedule-wise because the members are busy and take vacations, but Williams said they have some upcoming shows planned. Follow the band’s Facebook page for show information.

Whether they work together at the hospital or not, the band members enjoying breaking away from the daily grind every once in a while to practice and perform.

“Anybody that has any kind of artistic talent, it’s an outlet. You have to do it. It’s not even an option,” Williams said. “I’ve been playing guitar since I was 16 and been in multiple bands through the years, so it’s just something that’s part of my life. It’s a good release, and it’s something different than work.”

All of Kriete’s musical training was in opera and classical when she joined the group, so she was introduced to a different kind of musical skill set.

“I get to use different musical skills than I do when I’m singing for church or when I’m singing classical music or teaching piano lessons or voice lessons,” she said.

“I love being in this band. It’s so much fun,” she said. “It’s just nice because if I like a certain song, they’ll be like, ‘Well, we’ll try it.’ They’ve taught me all kinds of songs that I never knew, like different genres and things. Sometimes when we practice, we practice songs that we need to practice, and sometimes, we just sit and say, ‘Hey, do you know this song?’ and we’ll start playing and then it will end up being a song.”

Being a part of the band has been a good release for Kriete.

“It’s just a blast,” she said. “These guys are really good friends, and it’s great to play music together.”

Moore also said it’s a good change of pace after working at the hospital during the day.

“We work in a very serious environment, and it’s a constant environment,” he said. “Then with what we’ve dealt with over the last few months, it’s a great release, honestly. It’s so much fun just to get together. We’re professionals, and then we can come and let loose and have fun.”

For the arts center show, Moore was happy to have his son, Cohl, join on tambourine. That was his first gig, and he hopes it won’t be his last.

“I said, ‘The next one you need me, I’ll be there,’” Cohl said, smiling.

Holle said being a part of the band is a good way to break away from the everyday grind and get out of the house.

“Everybody brings one or more talents to the whole thing. It’s a lot of ideas,” he said. “I used to play a lot of country stuff, but now, I don’t seem to play any of that. It’s getting to play music with people that are more talented than really what I think I am. They keep pushing you to try something different.”

Deweese said he had fronted bands in the past and done solo acoustic shows, and he’s glad to be in the lead position for Bad Medicine.

“I showed up at the first practice and literally, I would say we knew 80% of each other’s stuff,” he said. “It was one of those things where just immediately, I felt at home with them, and they told me they felt at home with me. We’ve been going strong ever since.”

He said the band members “know who we are, we know what we do and we do it as well as we can.”

“It’s nice to know that we all respect each other’s obligations and that these guys are talented enough that we can get together once, twice, three times at most a month and iron out a set list and it will be entertaining and it will be good,” Deweese said. “I’m blessed to be with great musicians like that.”

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For information about Bad Medicine, visit facebook.com/bad-medicine-127913933885910.

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Jackson County Jukebox is The Tribune’s new feature that puts a spotlight on musicians with ties to the county. Individuals or groups interested in being featured should email [email protected] or call 812-523-7080.


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