This Guy Brad Plays Guitar While Surgeons Poke Around In His Brain

Carter and his guitar of choice

Read Time 2 Minutes

This Man Deserves Some Attention

Let’s talk about a certain Brad Carter. To give a brief summary for the introductory paragraph he’s a guitarist, an actor, and a photographer. However, he’s not a household name guitarist like Jimi Hendrix, he’s not a megaton A-list actor, and I know nothing about the photography industry so I couldn’t begin to make a quality statement on his position in that industry.

Carter and his guitar of choice
Carter and his guitar of choice

So why have I proclaimed him worthy of such robust attention? Because he was playing guitar while surgeons were cracking open his skull and prodding around in his brain with metal objects. And he did it like a champ… or at least far better than I probably would have were I in his position.

(Video of this event is at the bottom of this article)

That’s awesome. How could I not give this man props? Brad Carter, if we ever cross paths I’m buying you a drink.

About Brad Carter

Before talking about the surgery I want to put Carter’s background into perspective. When I first saw BBC’s published video (embedded below) I’d noticed he looked familiar, so I looked into his filmography. Most of his film work involves appearances on television shows like The Mentalist, CSI, House MD, Sunny in Philadelphia, Dexter, and more.

Musically I can’t say much as his documented involvement in the field isn’t as robust as his acting career. He has a very old finger-picked blues style. That thick style that makes you think of an old black man sitting around good company with a guitar. At the Carter’s in the works of recording an EP of original music, but no details have been released past that and he’ll presumably pick up where he left off after his surgery.

About the Surgery

Carter with his head officially open for business
Carter with his head officially open for business

There are some uncertainties to Carter’s actual illness, but the symptoms have progressively pointed at essential tremors and Parkinson’s (I can think of another actor guitarist with a similar problem). For the past 7 years Carter’s hands have progressively developed shakes and it’s grown difficult to control them.

While not a true cure, the best bet for keeping his disease at bay was “deep brain stimulation” surgery. Without deterring the topic with my all encompassing knowledge of medical procedure [/bad humor], surgeons opened up his head to implant electrodes and a battery that would restore some of his normal motor skills.

The plus side to playing the guitar while the surgeons operate was it kept his motor skills in check for the duration of the surgery. Plus it gave the doctors some good listening material to pass the time. And who doesn’t want some good music while you’re face to face with another person’s exposed brain?

The embedded video here has Carter, some doctors, and a BBC reporter voice over to describe in detail the procedures and the symptoms.

Extra Info

Anyway. Brad Carter gets three mighty cheers from me. This is what happens when the love for the guitar surpasses things like shaking hands and surgery. You can get more related info at his web site

This story also kinda reminded me of the $100 Guitar Project in a quirky, unique way.

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Kyle Smitchens

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.

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