A Q&A with a Former Rock Star Turned OD - California Optometric Association
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A Q&A with a Former Rock Star Turned OD

Paul Dobies, OD, is an active COA member, key person, and advocate for optometry in California. While you’ve seen his name in COA publications in the past for his efforts in optometry, we’ve learned that he has an interesting past that many don’t know about. The following highlights the many facets of Paul Dobies – the person behind the optometrist.

  1. What did you originally go to school for?
    In college I was an ’undeclared science’ major, but found there wasn’t a solid non-elective course I didn’t like. As a result, I ended up with minors in science: math, chemistry, physics, biology; music: choral conducting/vocal performance; language: Latin, French, German and philosophy. I then completed a degree in psychology and, by virtue of the many science courses I took, was the first graduate of Loyola Marymount University to receive a bachelor of science degree in psychology.
  2. What was your first/most interesting career before becoming an optometrist?
    Once again, science set the foundation and I worked with a JPL subcontractor on the original Mars Landers. Our team developed a method to accurately measure the level of radioactivity of a specific radioisotope used as the reference beam for the soil analyzer experiment.  Since this was the primary reason for going to Mars in the first place, all of us on the team enjoyed working together to make this happen successfully.
  3. I hear you’re a former rock star, tell me about that. Who did you play with?
    In high school, four of us started a ’garage band’ and I was the oldest. Shortly before my 16th birthday, we won the ‘Battle of the Bands’ at Channel 7, performed on Shindig, a nationally televised mid-60s pop music program, and this led to doing concerts and recording sessions with artists such as Sonny and Cher, the Righteous Brothers, Glen Campbell, James Brown, The 5th Dimension, the Byrds, the Doors, and English artists such as Donovan and the Kinks. I left pop music to attend college after turning down a contract with London Productions to be part of the warm-up group for the 1968 Rolling Stones American Tour. An interesting note is I was in studio when the Stones recorded (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
  4. How did you go from being a rock star to becoming an OD?
    I could pull together my interests in science during the day to earn a living for my family - I was married with two kids, house payment, etc., when I went through optometry college - which would allow time for my more artistic interests without the pressure of having to earn a living as a ’starving musician.’ I got through optometry college producing record albums and servicing x-ray related equipment in hospitals and doctor’s offices.


Watch for more interesting facts about Dr. Dobies’ past in the November-December 2015 edition of California Optometry, when we’ll run a full profile article.

If you’d like to share some interesting facts about yourself, or know of a colleague who you think others would enjoy learning about, please contact: rvancleave@coavision.org.


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