January 4, 2012
Reverend Doctor D
“The Right Reverend, Doctor D”, Chicago blues veteran with an imposing 7-foot frame. He’s destined to become a legend, if he isn’t one already.
Ivankovich understands what it’s like to be the underdog. Achieving All-State and All-American honors as a hoops baller and shot-caller, Ivankovich was one of the most highly recruited players in the States. With over 500 scholarship offers, he decided to play for Northwestern University while working towards his BSM/MD in the prestigious Honors Program In Medical Education. Then . . . disaster. A horrific knee injury ended his dreams of playing for the NBA and the Yugoslavian Olympic team.
With newfound time on his hands, he listened to his heart and turned to music for inspiration, transitioning from classical violinist to fire-breathing blues guitarist. Within months, he was playing on-stage with some of his musical heroes. Ivankovich went right to the source of the blues on Chicago’s South Side. He jammed, performed, and recorded with Chicago legends, Eddie Taylor, Homesick James, Snooky Pryor, Lefty Dizz, Johnny Dollar, Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton, Dion Payton, Magic Slim, Junior Wells, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy. Including a stint as bandleader for legendary bluesman, Otis Rush.
At the Checkerboard Lounge on 43rd Street, he befriended and made a lifelong connection with players that he would eventually tap for the Chicago Blues All-Stars. Names like “Killer” Ray Allison, Jerry “Bam-Bam” Porter, Johnny B. Gayden and Roosevelt “Mad-Hatter” Purifoy. While a student at Northwestern, WNUR-FM, one of America’s premier non-commercial stations broadcasting from the University, took note. While trying to find the classroom for “Intro to Geography”, he took a wrong turn. It turned out to be all too right, bringing him to the door of the WNUR on-air studios. The music director lamented that the Blues Show needed a host or faced cancellation. Fate dropped that opportunity right in his lap.
The name, Daniel Ivankovich, didn’t have the right ring for Chicago blues, so he created the on-air personality, The Right Reverend, Doctor D. “Out Of The Blue” became the premiere Chicago blues program and was syndicated in over sixty markets. This led to on-air stints at commercial outlets WCKG-FM in Chicago and WQHT-FM in New York. He worked as producer and program developer for MJI Broadcasting in New York. He strides into hospital lobbies in a sweet black leather cowboy hat and goatee. He understands the pain his patients suffer, having personally undergone thirteen knee surgeries himself. Because of this, a unique ride was necessary for comfort as well as street credibility while navigating the rough & tumble streets of the ‘hood’.
Dan Ivankovich is a well-known public figure. In March 2010 he was featured on the American Spirit segment in Katie Couric’s CBS evening news in addition to numerous segments in both print and broadcast media. After the devastating earthquake in January 2010, he traveled to Haiti on his own expense to treat the countless victims pulled from the rubble, taking special interest in the spinal cord injured patients he found laying in makeshift tents. Through a series of miracles and moxie, he cut through mountains of red tape and personally escorted two such patients, Bazelais Suy and Josette Delisca, back to the States for top-notch care, a feat that was covered by newscasts all over the country and will soon be documented in an international story by the Associated Press.
Several documentaries are currently in the works chronicling his life story and humanitarian missions. With all of his variable expertise, there is a connecting thread. Whether squeezing a blue note out of his six-string, preaching on the day’s relevant social issues, or wielding a scalpel with skill and precision, the street rules his reality. Dan Ivankovich does it all with a street-savvy hipness and honesty, integrity that’s nearly extinct in today’s climate of inequitable health care policies, greed, corruption, and injustice.
He’s bluesman, healer, shaman & philosopher, and, as Bo Diddley said about Ivankovich’s blues alter ego, The Right Reverend, Doctor D, “one of the craziest %$#@! I’ve ever met. He ain’t from this planet.”