To quote Pink Floyd: “We don’t need no education”. Well, clearly they do as they just used a double negative but that’s another story. Rock stars are generally seen as those who flunked their way through school, have no qualifications or no back up plans because their eyes were always focused on that record deal and touring the world, doing numerous groupies and enough drugs to ensure Mexico and Colombia’s drug lords have a healthy retirement. Below is a list of rock stars who tell you that it’s okay to be smart, it’s okay to have a good education and while the rock n’ roll lifestyle seems awesome, it always helps to have a back up plan.
10. Dexter Holland- The Offspring
While he may have sung about police brutality, how he’s pretty fly for a white guy and how his mate’s missus needs to get a job, Dex has an undergraduate degree in biology AND a master’s degree in molecular biology. He had begun his PhD in molecular biology but The Offspring’s success prevented him from doing so. As of 2013, Holland is a doctoral student at the Laboratory of Viral Oncology and Proteomics Research and has published a paper titled “Identification of Human MicroRNA-Like Sequences Embedded within the Protein-Encoding Genes of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus”. He wrote a paper on AIDS with the help of aides.
9. Thom Yorke- Radiohead
This weird-looking guitar slinger has a degree in fine art and English from the University of Exeter. When he completed his degree, he met up again with his mates from the band that went on haitus while he was away, renamed it Radiohead and went on to sell thirty million albums worldwide. Unlike old Dex though, he hasn’t done much with his degrees besides writing depressing songs.
8. Tom Scholz- Boston
This guy’s got qualifications coming out of his arse hole. Tom posesses a degree in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and put his degree to good work by inventing the Rockman amplifier and desiging and building most of the band’s recording equipment. Boston hits such as More Than a Feeling and Smokin’ were recorded, mixed and produced in the guy’s basement. Something we see as normal in the modern world but at that time it was beyond what anybody could have imagined.
7. Tom Morello- Rage Against the Machine
After graduating high school with honours in 1982, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello went on to study at the prestigious Harvard University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies in 1986. And despite spending a short time period at California Democratic Senator Alan Cranston’s office, the experience only helped him to decide not to pursue a career in politics. Tom does remain very much prominent in the fields of politics and activism, though- Mostly though his acoustic alter-ego The Night Watchman.
6. Rivers Cuomo- Weezer
He might look like Buddy Holly, but Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo took a break from the band upon completion of the second album Pinkerton to attend Harvard University to study English. Eleven years and four Weezer albums of various colours later, Cuomo graduated in 2006. While in his Harvard dorm room he wrote some of Weezer’s best known songs: Hash Pipe, Island in the Sun and Dope Nose.
I find them whiny. If you’re a Joe Satriani fan you might call them thieves, but nevertheless Coldplay is a popular band; not to mention, educated. All the bands members met at University College London in 1996, and three of the four completed degrees there. Singer Chris Martin graduated with a first in Greek and Latin. Guitarist Johnny Buckland obtained a degree in mathematics while the drummer, Will Champion, picked up a degree in anthropology. Chris Martin has also kissed Jennifer Lawrence. Bastard.
4. Phillip Taylor Kramer- Iron Butterfly
Who’s Iron Butterfly? If you’ve seen The Simpsons, in the episode Bart Sells His Soul Bart Simpson replaces the hymn sheets in church with the charts to Iron Butterfly’s In The Garden of Eden. The ‘hymn’ lasts over twenty minutes and the organ player blacks out from exhaustion so Tim Lovejoy (The reverand, not the twat from Sunday Brunch on BBC2) makes Bart and Milhouse clean the organ pipes that were “Fouled by their rock and or roll” (paraphrased).
Once the bass player for Iron Butterfly in the 70s, Philip Kramer earned a night-school degree in aerospace engineering from the Western States College of Engineering in the 1980s. Out of college, he did classified work on the MX missile guidance system for Northrop, a contractor for the US Department of Defense. Kramer also allegedly worked on advanced computer systems and co-founded Total Multimedia, Inc. with Randy Jackson (one of Michael Jackson’s brothers). Philip Taylor Kramer disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1995. In the late 90s, his skeletal remains were found in his van somewhere in California. His death was ruled as a suicide down to having worked very long hours at Northrop and having not slept for extended periods of time.
3. Greg Graffin- Bad Religion
Punk rock (that’s the original stuff, not this newer ‘lower middle class kid from a Baltimore suburb’ punk) might not immediately drum up visions of people wearing breadboards and wearing robed to graduations, but Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin (Pictured here as a character from Breaking Bad) holds a PhD in zoology from Cornell University. In addition to this, Greg now lectures and has lectured courses in life sciences and paleontology at the University of California, Los Angeles and evolution at Cornell University.
2. Brian May
What? He’s not number one?! How dare you! The reason I haven’t put Brian May at Number One is not only because this isn’t a competition, there’s one more out there that’s gone that extra mile. Dr May not only became a guitar god with Queen, but shortly before joining the mega-selling band he completed his degree with honours in 1968 and had started working towards his PhD in astrophysics. Then he went through this little phase that all kids go through and ended up putting his doctorate on hold for another forty years as he toured the world with his little red guitar. His work with Queen prevented him from doing such a thing until as recently as 2007 when he finally collected his PhD.
1. Brian Cox
He was in a band called D:Ream you know. He had a hit with Things Can Only Get Better and they did for this little man from Oldham in Lancashire. In the early years of D:Ream Brian would finish university, walk round the corner to the bar he was playing in and play the show whilst still wearing his lab coat.
Cox was awarded a first class batchelors degree and a masters in Physics. After D:Ream disbanded in 1997, Cox completed his PhD in high-energy particle physics at the University of Manchester. His thesis, Double Diffraction Dissociation at Large Momentum Transfer, was drawn from work he did for the H1 experiment at HERA, the proto-CERN. Today, Brian presents television programmes for the BBC, has appeared on numerous talk shows in Britain and America and is a PPARC advanced fellow and member of the High Energy Physics group at the University of Manchester. He is also working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland and working on the research and development project of the FP420 experiment in an international collaboration to upgrade the ATLAS and the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment by installing additional, smaller detectors at a distance of 420 metres from the interaction points of the main experiments.
Stuff that makes your head explode.
Stay in school, kids!