Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-06-2015, 10:47 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 10,899
Sorry, I missed the edit window. Here's some supporting info about Todd's computer graphics stuff from The Guardian newspaper:

How did your Utopia Graphics Tablet System come to Apple's attention in the 80s?

Apple was one of the first companies to come out with a personal computer with colour. You could plug it directly into a television, but because of the trick it did with the NTSC signal, it didn't work on all systems. I authored a program on something running in the New York Institute of Technology, where a lot of the pioneering computer graphics work was done. There I met Alvy Ray Smith (who later founded Pixar), in the late 1970s, when they were pioneering work with a computer-based paint box program. I was so fascinated I bought the computer. I got a third-party graphics tablet, which was essentially a flat board with a stylus-pen attached via a wire. It detects your position in relationship to the board and then maps it to the screen.

That must've been very unusual?

Back then, it was a bizarre concept. Essentially, this was the first example of a paint-box program that used cutting-edge programmers tools to build a tool intended for artists, not necessarily programmers. It was meant to be a companion program to graphics tablet hardware that Apple was going to put out as an accessory to the computer. It could have been really popular but it was not designed properly and it failed its FCC emissions test.

Again, this is not "successfully got a college degree before getting into music", this is "pioneering work in a significant field with one of the fathers of the industry." Jim Blinn, one of the other giants of the field, plays trombone on Todd's album Nearly Human. It is not as if Brian May's long delayed doctoral thesis was cited by Stephen Hawking in one of his books.

He was famously at odds with Andy Partridge when he was producing their album Skylarking, but even though Andy doesn't like Todd, he respects him, saying "He's got the people skills of a Dalek, but is a God among arrangers" (another skill in which Todd has no formal training.)

I'm a fan, but people would have to do some pretty significant stuff in a variety of fields to be much smarter than Todd Rundgren.

Last edited by gaffa; 08-06-2015 at 10:47 PM.
Old 08-06-2015, 11:33 PM
Mtgman Mtgman is online now
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Searching for Tanelorn
Posts: 6,117
Not sure I'd qualify him as a rock star per se but I've been super impressed with Kevin Olusola, the beatboxer for Pentatonix. The guy speaks at least three languages(English, Spanish, Chinese), plays three instruments at elite levels(toured Europe as first chair youth orchestra on the Sax when he was in high school, came second at Yo-Yo Ma's cello competition, and played both sax and keyboard in two separate concerts at Carnegie Hall).

Oh, and did I mention he graduated from Yale after being aggressively recruited by most of the top schools in the country? He was pre-med, neurobiology, for most of his time there and one of his advisors told him "go pursue music, you can always come back to medicine if you want."

This year he won a Grammy as an arranger as well.

What may make him tip the scales is his awareness and use of social media. He almost singlehandedly invented the musical form called celloboxing, which is beatboxing while playing a cello. He popularized it with his own youtube channels and that's how he got together with Pentatonix. They found his channel and recruited him from there. Now he's a multi-platinum artist with one of the most varied and interesting portfolios out there.

Old 02-13-2017, 06:22 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 9,559
Reviving a zombie thread: Al Jarreau got a master's degree in vocal rehabilitation before he entered the music business in his mid 30s.

In the late 1970s, there was a Midwestern-based prog band called Starcastle that achieved middling success. Their keyboardist, Herb Schildt, already had his degree in computer programming when the band formed; after they broke up, he got a master's degree and one source said he started work on a Ph.D. but never finished it. He has written and published extensively on computer programming for the layperson. However, that was nothing compared to the jawdrop I did when I Googled their drummer. HE went to medical school, and for nearly 30 years has been a practicing physician in the Chicago suburbs. In addition, the band did lots of dates opening for Rush - and he got his MD at Rush University.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:24 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017