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  #1  
Old 08-04-2015, 01:22 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Rock star with the highest IQ

This one's a spinoff of the "money grabbers" thread.

Who do you think is the rock musician with the highest IQ? There are a few obvious ones - Neil Peart, Brian May, and other people have nominated Todd Rundgren and Bill Bruford.

There's also an alt-rock singer named Pardis Sabeti who is now better known for being a major figure in Ebola research in recent months than she is for her music.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pardis_Sabeti

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 08-04-2015 at 01:24 PM.
  #2  
Old 08-04-2015, 01:29 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Barely missed the cutoff! Here's her band's website.

http://www.thousanddays.com/
  #3  
Old 08-04-2015, 01:30 PM
tullsterx tullsterx is offline
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I remember seeing Mark Mcgrath (Sugar Ray) on Rock n' Roll Jeopardy, a show that was on VH1 for a short while, and he knew everything and completely dominated. Not a measure of intelligence surely but he was really impressive. You had to see it I guess.

And I'm not sure it would be that obvious with musicians. I've played with some guitarists I consider great, and the best were very eclectic, space-casey, but I'm not sure about IQ. The best was AGLD, academically-gifted, learning disabled.
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Old 08-04-2015, 01:35 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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I've never been a Metallica fan, and I know Lars Ulrich is a total dickhead, but he's also one of the smartest musicians I've ever seen interviewed.

So, what's this about IQ and drummers?

Peter Buck of R.E.M. is IMNSHO that band's brainiest one, which is saying a lot.
  #5  
Old 08-04-2015, 01:37 PM
TCMF-2L TCMF-2L is offline
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Northern Irish band D:Ream had a brief moment of glory in the early 1990s including a UK number one with Things Can Only Get Better.

Mainly for live appearances, they had Brian Cox on keyboards. Now better known as Professor Brian Cox OBE he has worked at CERN, written books on physics and does a lot of TV presenting.

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Old 08-04-2015, 01:41 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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I don't know his IQ but Tom Scholz of Boston (don't know if "currently popular" is one of your criteria) has bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from MIT.
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  #7  
Old 08-04-2015, 01:46 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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Brian May, PhD Astrophysics
  #8  
Old 08-04-2015, 02:08 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Milo Auckerman is another contender with a doctorate, though not necessarily champ.
  #9  
Old 08-04-2015, 02:18 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman, New Race) is also a practicing surgeon & ER doctor in both Australia and Hawaii.

Aditya Nair, guitarist for India's most brutal death metal band, Bhayanak Maut, is a practicing psychiatrist.

Jello Biafra is pretty fucking smart.

So is Henry Rollins.

Frank Zappa should prolly be somewhere near the top of the list, IMO.

Professor Greg Graffin (Bad Religion) got his doctorate from Cornell and now teaches at UCLA, so he's no dummy.
  #10  
Old 08-04-2015, 03:13 PM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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Brian May, PhD Astrophysics
As listed in the OP as an obvious choice.
  #11  
Old 08-04-2015, 03:17 PM
Happy Lendervedder Happy Lendervedder is offline
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Dexter Holland, lead singer of The Offspring, is a doctoral student at the Laboratory of Viral Oncology and Proteomics Research at the Keck School of Medicine, where he's co-authored papers on HIV genomes.
  #12  
Old 08-04-2015, 03:39 PM
RobotDevilDog RobotDevilDog is offline
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I would like to mention Mr. Weird Al Yankovic. He was the valedictorian of his high school class at age 16. I don't know what his IQ is, but I would imagine it's fairly high.
  #13  
Old 08-04-2015, 03:47 PM
running coach running coach is online now
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As listed in the OP as an obvious choice.
But I provided details.

Yeah, I missed it.
  #14  
Old 08-04-2015, 04:29 PM
JerrySTL JerrySTL is offline
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I would like to mention Mr. Weird Al Yankovic. He was the valedictorian of his high school class at age 16. I don't know what his IQ is, but I would imagine it's fairly high.
Beat me to it. WAY also graduated college with a degree in Architecture.
  #15  
Old 08-04-2015, 04:50 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Brian May, PhD Astrophysics
Speaking of Dr. May...while his bandmates may not have been in his league, they weren't slouches, either.

- Bassist John Deacon was an electronics engineer, and built the trademark "Deacy" amp which he and May used, from a circuit board he pulled out of a dumpster, and a speaker cabinet. He also handles the band's finances to the present day.

- Drummer Roger Taylor studied dentistry and biology in college, receiving his bachelor's degree in biology.

- Freddie Mercury received a degree in art and graphic design, and designed the band's logo.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 08-04-2015 at 04:51 PM.
  #16  
Old 08-04-2015, 04:51 PM
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Is this before or after years of dissolute rock and roll lifestyle? I mean, at the rate some of those guys go through brain cells, they must have started at genius levels just to still be able to write their names.
  #17  
Old 08-04-2015, 04:54 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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I would like to mention Mr. Weird Al Yankovic. He was the valedictorian of his high school class at age 16. I don't know what his IQ is, but I would imagine it's fairly high.
He is in Mensa, or at least was at one time.
  #18  
Old 08-04-2015, 05:28 PM
Ponch8 Ponch8 is offline
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Kesha got a 1500 score out of a possible 1600 on the SAT, and I've seen her IQ listed at 140.
  #19  
Old 08-04-2015, 06:29 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Kesha got a 1500 score out of a possible 1600 on the SAT, and I've seen her IQ listed at 140.
Aye, that's her story.
  #20  
Old 08-04-2015, 06:43 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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Originally Posted by RobotDevilDog View Post
I would like to mention Mr. Weird Al Yankovic. He was the valedictorian of his high school class at age 16. I don't know what his IQ is, but I would imagine it's fairly high.
Sorry to spoil people's image of an internet meme, but rapper Froggy Fresh, aka Krispy Kreme, is probably not a stupid redneck but instead a northern high school valedictorian.

Sterling Morrison (the Velvet Underground) had a PhD in medieval literature.
  #21  
Old 08-04-2015, 08:42 PM
Octarine Octarine is offline
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While he's a folk guy, Art Garfunkel has an MA in mathematics from Columbia.
  #22  
Old 08-04-2015, 08:47 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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Meat Loaf supposedly has an IQ of 200.













no, not really
  #23  
Old 08-04-2015, 09:05 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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nearwildheaven writes:

> He [Weird Al Yankovic] is in Mensa, or at least was at one time.

All it takes to get into Mensa is an I.Q. of 130, which one person in fifty has. Yankovic and probably everyone else mentioned in this thread is clearly quite a bit smarter than that.
  #24  
Old 08-04-2015, 09:39 PM
blondebear blondebear is offline
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Roger Powell, besides playing keyboards for Todd/Utopia, helped develop the ARP Synthesizer. One of his jobs was to tutor new owners, including folks like Pete Townshend. He was also involved with early work on MIDI programming. He works for EA now in the "emerging musical technology" department.
  #25  
Old 08-04-2015, 09:41 PM
Harvey The Heavy Harvey The Heavy is offline
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Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers) has to be up there somewhere.

I don't know if you'd really count them as "rock stars", but some former members of Sha Na Na are no slouches either.
  #26  
Old 08-04-2015, 10:58 PM
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Came to say Neil Peart, Zappa and "Jeff "Skunk" Baxter.

So I'll just nominate Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow of the Grateful Dead.
  #27  
Old 08-05-2015, 12:32 AM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers) has to be up there somewhere.


Did not know that! Reminds me of actress/inventor of radar Hedy Lamarr.

p.s. (swallow anything in your mouth before you read this) One of Rush's first American gigs was opening for - are you ready for this? - Sha Na Na. They were booed offstage.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 08-05-2015 at 12:34 AM.
  #28  
Old 08-05-2015, 12:47 AM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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I don't know if you'd really count them as "rock stars", but some former members of Sha Na Na are no slouches either.
Also original member Robert A. Leonard, a forensic linguist.
  #29  
Old 08-05-2015, 08:47 AM
TCMF-2L TCMF-2L is offline
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Obviously he's not really a rock star but Professor Stephen Hawking recorded a version of the Monty Python song Galaxy Song which was then released on 7 inch vinyl for Record Store Day this year.

Even less of a rock star but, arguably, an even better theoretical physicist Albert Einstein had a deep love of music from an early age, played a respectable violin and although he didn't record anything for commercial release he played for friends and at social gatherings.

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  #30  
Old 08-05-2015, 10:23 AM
blondebear blondebear is offline
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Brian May isn't just a astrophysicist and a guitar player--he also designed the Owl Stereoscopic Viewer.
  #31  
Old 08-05-2015, 10:49 AM
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While he's a folk guy, Art Garfunkel has an MA in mathematics from Columbia.
In the Fifties, Simon and Garfunkel performed as "Tom and Jerry." Paul was "Jerry Landis" while Art was "Tom Graph," because he was a serious math student who was always working out equations on graph paper everywhere he went.

Art originally planned to be an architect, which is why Paul Simon entitled a song about their looming split "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright."
  #32  
Old 08-05-2015, 10:53 AM
astorian astorian is offline
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Back in the Sixties, the Zombies' bassist was a medical student named Paul Arnold. He eventually left the band to return to medical school, and became a doctor.

I'd guess he's fairly bright.
  #33  
Old 08-05-2015, 12:45 PM
Saintly Loser Saintly Loser is offline
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Jacqueline Fuchs, better known as Jackie Fox of the Runaways, graduated from Harvard Law (after her time in the Runaways) and practices law in Los Angeles.
  #34  
Old 08-05-2015, 12:53 PM
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Obviously he's not really a rock star but Professor Stephen Hawking recorded a version of the Monty Python song Galaxy Song which was then released on 7 inch vinyl for Record Store Day this year.
Hawking also had a guest vocal on Pink Floyd's Keep Talking

Quote:
Even less of a rock star but, arguably, an even better theoretical physicist Albert Einstein had a deep love of music from an early age, played a respectable violin and although he didn't record anything for commercial release he played for friends and at social gatherings.
My grandfather played with him. Einstein was way above his class.
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  #35  
Old 08-05-2015, 12:58 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Jacqueline Fuchs, better known as Jackie Fox of the Runaways, graduated from Harvard Law (after her time in the Runaways) and practices law in Los Angeles.
Interestingly, she was a classmate of President Obama at Harvard Law School. And she's said that Obama and Joan Jett are very much alike in that they both deliberately, consciously created new personalities and identities for themselves, and have tried very hard to become the characters they created.
  #36  
Old 08-05-2015, 01:05 PM
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Roger Powell, besides playing keyboards for Todd/Utopia, helped develop the ARP Synthesizer. One of his jobs was to tutor new owners, including folks like Pete Townshend. He was also involved with early work on MIDI programming. He works for EA now in the "emerging musical technology" department.
Yeah, he wrote Texture, which was (I believe) the first MIDI control software for a personal computer. He built (with one other person) a pre-MIDI "Keytar" known as the Powell Probe that controlled a rack of off-stage synths. I'm not sure what he did at Apple, Waveframe or SGI, but he's a highly sought after programmer.

Todd animated his own music videos (Change Myself might look cheesy today, but at the time it was hard to believe it was done by one person on home computers), wrote one of the most popular screen savers for the Mac, built his own studio and mixing board, etc.

Between Roger and Todd, Utopia might have been the geekiest rock band ever.
  #37  
Old 08-05-2015, 02:34 PM
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Phil Alvin of The Blasters has a master's in mathematics and artificial intelligence from Cal State Long Beach.

Of members of the cowboy country band Riders in the Sky, lead singer Douglas B. Green has a master's in literature from Vanderbilt; bassist Fred "Too Slim" LaBour has a master's in wildlife management from Michigan, and fiddler Woody Paul has a Ph.D. in theoretical plasma physics from MIT.

Last edited by Sigmagirl; 08-05-2015 at 02:36 PM.
  #38  
Old 08-05-2015, 02:43 PM
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Radiohead met at school, they all then went to uni after but I guess didn't need to do any more academic work after that.
  #39  
Old 08-05-2015, 02:54 PM
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Franklin Bruno of the Mountain Goats is known to be brilliant; at one point all the members of his old band, Nothing Painted Blue, had gotten perfect scores of 1600 on all their SATs.
  #40  
Old 08-05-2015, 04:33 PM
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Oh, come on, the obvious answer is brain surgeon, physicist, inventor and Rocknroller Buckaroo Banzai!
  #41  
Old 08-05-2015, 05:22 PM
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I remember seeing Mark Mcgrath (Sugar Ray) on Rock n' Roll Jeopardy, a show that was on VH1 for a short while, and he knew everything and completely dominated. Not a measure of intelligence surely but he was really impressive. You had to see it I guess.

And I'm not sure it would be that obvious with musicians. I've played with some guitarists I consider great, and the best were very eclectic, space-casey, but I'm not sure about IQ. The best was AGLD, academically-gifted, learning disabled.
I remember the Mark McGrath Rock n' Roll Jeopardy performance, it was the stuff of legends. I wonder how he would do with Alex Trebek.
  #42  
Old 08-05-2015, 07:57 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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Huey Lewis got an 800 on one section of the SATs.

There are also long-standing rumors that he's probably tied with Gene Simmons, who isn't stupid either (he was an elementary schoolteacher before he was in KISS) with being rock's biggest poonhound. He doesn't look the type, now, does he?
  #43  
Old 08-05-2015, 07:59 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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And even if Bruce Dickinson doesn't have one of rock's highest IQs (which is likely), he's definitely in the running for being the ultimate polymath. Heavy metal singer, licensed airline pilot, author, high-level fencer, etc. etc. etc.
  #44  
Old 08-05-2015, 09:05 PM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is online now
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Mick Jagger may be a contender. His studies at the London School of Economics were interrupted by fronting for some blues band.

Sting was a teacher as well. Don't stand so close to him!
  #45  
Old 08-05-2015, 09:29 PM
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Jimmy Page isn't like, 200+ IQ gifted but he's been known to be quite philosophical and very thorough. Not to mention his wicked mastery of music producing in the 60s and 70s and superb musical writing skills. I don't know, he seems pretty damn smart to me.
  #46  
Old 08-06-2015, 03:41 AM
BrassyPhrase BrassyPhrase is offline
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Interestingly, she was a classmate of President Obama at Harvard Law School. And she's said that Obama and Joan Jett are very much alike in that they both deliberately, consciously created new personalities and identities for themselves, and have tried very hard to become the characters they created.
I say 'cite'. Not because I don't believe you, but because I would really like to read that interview or whatever.
  #47  
Old 08-06-2015, 09:52 AM
zweisamkeit zweisamkeit is offline
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Jimmy Page isn't like, 200+ IQ gifted ...

A big problem with the concept of IQ* is that probability and statistics are not intuitive for people. News and media (unintentionally, but still) reinforce inaccurate assumptions and inflate "speculated"** scores like an arms race. The distribution of IQ scores shows how freaking rare (actual, officially tested) high IQs are. An IQ of 145 is 3 standard deviations above the mean; only 0.13% of people can/will score higher than this.

But the general understanding of IQ is "higher = smarter" so people just keep inflating "speculative" scores because shit, man, Isaac Newton was WAYYYY smarter than (whomever) and his [speculative] IQ is said to be 180 or something, so Newton's must've been over 200.

An actual IQ of 200 would be 6.67 standard deviations above the mean. That's 1 in 100,000,000,000 for the Stanford Binet test or 1 in 10,000,000,000 for the Wechsler test (6.25 standard deviations). So even for the Wechsler, the rarity is more than the current population of the entire planet. For the Stanford Binet, it's roughly 1 200+ IQ among all humans who have ever existed.


* ignoring the even bigger ones like cultural biases (not just in how the test is given, but which types of intelligence are valued and, therefore, included in IQ tests) and the fact the tests must be given by professionals and are actually carefully researched and refined, unlike any free "IQ test" anywhere (or tests that seem official and are given by an examiner but aren't official or the examiner isn't professionally trained to specifically give and interpret IQ tests). And the fact that IQ has not been shown to actually determine future success.



** aka, "pulled from my ass".
  #48  
Old 08-06-2015, 11:32 AM
WordMan WordMan is online now
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Originally Posted by zweisamkeit View Post
A big problem with the concept of IQ* is that probability and statistics are not intuitive for people. News and media (unintentionally, but still) reinforce inaccurate assumptions and inflate "speculated"** scores like an arms race. The distribution of IQ scores shows how freaking rare (actual, officially tested) high IQs are. An IQ of 145 is 3 standard deviations above the mean; only 0.13% of people can/will score higher than this.

But the general understanding of IQ is "higher = smarter" so people just keep inflating "speculative" scores because shit, man, Isaac Newton was WAYYYY smarter than (whomever) and his [speculative] IQ is said to be 180 or something, so Newton's must've been over 200.

An actual IQ of 200 would be 6.67 standard deviations above the mean. That's 1 in 100,000,000,000 for the Stanford Binet test or 1 in 10,000,000,000 for the Wechsler test (6.25 standard deviations). So even for the Wechsler, the rarity is more than the current population of the entire planet. For the Stanford Binet, it's roughly 1 200+ IQ among all humans who have ever existed.


* ignoring the even bigger ones like cultural biases (not just in how the test is given, but which types of intelligence are valued and, therefore, included in IQ tests) and the fact the tests must be given by professionals and are actually carefully researched and refined, unlike any free "IQ test" anywhere (or tests that seem official and are given by an examiner but aren't official or the examiner isn't professionally trained to specifically give and interpret IQ tests). And the fact that IQ has not been shown to actually determine future success.



** aka, "pulled from my ass".
You are raising issues via the concept of High IQ as measured. I have also been thinking "well, as part of that 'Who are Geniuses who are Active' thread, I had stated that Prince is one.

Does Prince have a high measured IQ? No clue; I assume he isn't book-stupid. Does he have one of the highest "musical IQs" of the past few decades? Oh, hell yes.

But I assumed the OP was looking for rockers with degrees and such, not who we think have high musical IQ's.
  #49  
Old 08-06-2015, 10:27 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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As I have to say in every thread where the topic of I.Q. comes up, 200 is the highest even theoretical value that could be assigned to an I.Q., since it means (by definition) that someone's I.Q. is the highest among 100 billion people, and there have been approximately 100 billion people over the entire history of the human race. In practice, the highest value that can be assigned to an I.Q. is 160, since no reliable I.Q. test measures any higher than that. If you hear anyone claim to have an I.Q. higher than 160, ignore them. They can't have had their I.Q. accurately measured at that level.
  #50  
Old 08-06-2015, 10:56 PM
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Other things about Todd Rundgren - he is pretty much self educated in music, electronics, computer programming, audio engineering - everything he's every done. He wrote the first paint program for a personal computer for instance. This is not amateur stuff, I met people at SIGGRAPH who didn't know him as a musician.
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