In early April, Andrew McKeag (Uncle Joe's Big Ol' Driver) was hanging out with some friends in Santa Paula. The crew were working on motorcycles all day, and, on a whim, decided to fire up the bikes to go for a local spin before dinner time. McKeag was chasing his buddy through a farmer’s field when he misjudged a bump.
“I hit it wrong, went flying... and came down on the bars with my shoulders and head and everything,” McKeag explained. “I popped a lung and broke my clavicle and a bunch of ribs and stuff. It just kind of collapsed the old birdcage.”
McKeag was able to ride his bike back to his friend’s place, but when he realized he was having trouble breathing an ambulance was summoned. He ended up spending three days at Ventura County Medical Center, where the doctors got his lung back in order. The damaged bones would have to heal on their own. “They just sent me on my way and told me not to screw it up again,” he said.
Andrew McKeag Band "Everyone Everywhere"
The Andrew McKeag Band was scheduled to play three different shows in Washington one week after the accident, and all of these had to be, in the words of McKeag, “shit-canned. It’s the first time in all my screwing around with motorcycles that I’ve really had to cancel a show because of something I did,” he said.
The injuries haven’t kept him out of the game long though. McKeag has already resumed practicing with both his own band and Dirty Sweet, for whom he plays guitar. The only issues at the moment are that he can’t use a strap with his guitar for very long, and that singing “is a little bit of a chore because of the lung situation.”
Neither McKeag nor his wife get health insurance via their employers (McKeag currently drives for a rideshare), so they have a pretty basic plan. He has his gripes with the coverage, but is also thankful to have any coverage at all.
“If it wasn’t for Obamacare, I wouldn’t have anything,” he explained. “I had a melanoma like 18 years ago and pre-existing conditions would have made it pretty tough for me to get any insurance. But the deductible’s really high, and it’s going to cost me a small fortune to get out of this one.”
“I just don’t understand why, as the richest country in the world, we can’t afford to cover our citizens’ medical needs. It’s just a drag.”