Even punk rockers get toothaches

IRONDEQUOIT — He is a famous singer who has written hundreds of songs, has released dozens of albums and has thousands of Facebook fans. But just like the rest of us, when Alex Story has a sore tooth, he needs to see a dentist.

Still, it’s hard to fit in an appointment when on a national tour, traveling from city to city, performing almost every night. So, what’s a touring horror punk rocker going to do?

Alex Story decided to have his bus driver Google “Rochester dentist” and drive straight from Poughkeepsie to the first dental office that popped up in the Rochester area. Lucky for him, Buhite & Buhite DDS was open at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. The office, although located on East Ridge Road in Irondequoit, was only a few miles from where Story was set to perform Saturday night. Rob Buhite Jr. happened to be on duty and, when he heard about the situation, was happy to work the founding member of the band Cancerslug into the schedule.

“It sounded like he had an abscess and perhaps needed a root canal,” Buhite said. “I was told he was supposed to be on stage to perform Saturday night with his friend’s band Doyle. I figured I could fix things up enough so he could be comfortable for next few months. Then, when the tour is over, he can go and get the root canal done at home.”

During his career, Buhite has helped numerous patients in emergency situations, but never a celebrity of this caliber. He admits he did a quick Google search to find out details about the 43-year-old before he went into the exam room. Buhite found out Story is nicknamed “Wolfman,” because of his mutton chops and tattoos. He also learned that Alex Story is well-known for his expletive-laced songs about Satan and angel blood. The information didn’t seem to phase Buhite one bit.

“I read on Wikipedia that Alex Story had been influenced by the Misfits and The Cramps,” Buhite said. “I remember those bands. I saw The Cramps live in the early ‘80s when they performed at Scorgies on Andrews Street. It was a notorious concert in Rochester, and people still talk about how the lead singer tore down the ceiling. I was anxious to tell Alex I was there to see it as it happened.”

Considering professional stereotypes and outward appearances, it wouldn’t seem that Buhite could have much in common with Alex Story, Cancerslug, Doyle or any horror punk rock band for that matter. He’s a Cornell graduate who’s been a dentist for more than 30 years. He’s married to a pediatrician and they are raising a 16-year-old son. However, Buhite is also a huge music fan who likes lots of different genres and particularly enjoys seeing live musical performances.

“I know I don’t come across as being interested in groups like Suicidal Tendencies or Skinny Puppy, but I went to see both bands when I was in college,” Buhite said. “I am always willing to experience any type of music — at least once. As I was fixing Alex’s tooth, I mentioned to him that I had been to those concerts and he seemed to appreciate that.”

While Story was in the dental chair at Buhite & Buhite, the rest of the band members went shopping at the nearby Walmart on Hudson Avenue. The performers also had time to bond with some of the staff members and offered them tickets to see the Saturday night show at Montage Music Hall. Buhite was disappointed he had a prior commitment and could not join his staff at the venue.

Before Story left, Buhite told him his bottom lip would be numb from the Novocaine for a couple of hours. He advised him not to eat anything or bite down, because he might injure himself or his lip could bleed.

“Then, I remembered who I was talking to and joked, ‘Go ahead and do whatever you want, especially if you want to do something theatrical with your mouth — at least it won’t hurt,’” Buhite said. “We all laughed. He really was a pleasant guy.”