Are any rock 'n rollers trained in music theory

Every time I read one of their bios it seems that they just picked up a guitar and started playing. Did any of them go to college and major in music? Heck, did any of them ever play in their high school’s marching band? Would any admit to it if they did?

Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead studied composition at Mills College.

Rick Wakeman of Yes attended the Royal Academy of Music.

I’d be willing to bet that most prog rockers have at least some backgroung in theory.

IIRC the Van Halen brothers are both classically-trained pianists. Also, Pat Benatar is a trained opera singer.

Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin was quite the child prodigy Classical Guitarist - in the Andreas Segovia mould.

Right, and he didn’t take up the bass until late in the game.

A lot of the jazz and improvisational guys, too. The Berklee College of Music is a popular stop.

Not sure of actual training (which I’d doubt), but wasn’t James Hetfield’s mom an opera singer? I’d wager he grew up with intimate knowledge of classical music.

I don’t know whether it fits your definition of rock, but Sheryl Crow is a classically trained pianist. Tori Amos fits the descriptions, too, being the youngest person at the time to be admitted into the Peabody Conservatory.

Geoff Tate, lead singer of the band Queensryche (I’ll let each listener decide whether they’re rock, heavy metal, etc) studied opera for a while before turning to more “popular” genres of music.

Trent Reznor: High school band.

Iggy Pop was classically trained in screaming by Detroit.

Marshall Mathers was classically trained in rapping in Detroit.

the MC5 were classic… in Detroit.

Good cars and good music from that place.

Seriously, tho, many guitarists these days have quite a bit of training. Steve Vai was first noticed by Frank Zappa not just for his amazing guitar playing, but because he has perfect pitch and was trained in composition, arrangement, etc. Part of his job with Zappa was to transcribe live performances and rehearsals into sheet music so Frank could tinker with parts and get them right.

Randy Rhoads (Ozzy’s first guitarist) studied classical quite intensely.

The guys in Dream Theater are Berekley and Julliard school grads.

Steve Morse (The Dixie Dregs, The Dregs, The Steve Morse Band, Deep Purple, Kansas) went to the University of Miami for music. Not sure if he graduated.

Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse Band, Winger (WTF!?!) has been Associate Professor of Percussion at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.


And was planning on leaving the band to pursue a degree in classical music and take over his mother’s music school before he died.

Elton John attended classes for gifted children at the Royal Academy of Music, upon winning a scholarship at the age of eleven.

John Mayer went to the Berklee School of Music briefly. I hate his smarmy music though.

Lenny Kravitz was in the California Boys Choir when he was a kid.

Garth Hudson, organist of the Band, was classically trained on piano. When he first joined, he insisted on being paid $5 more than anyone else. The rest later discovered that the extra was so that he could tell his family he was giving the rest of the group music lessons. His family thought that being in a rock band was slumming and he needed an excuse.

Nice to see another Steve Morse fan. He was at UM when jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and late jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius were there too, and they all knew each other. Can you imagine those late-night jam sessions?

As for high school band members, even though I don’t think much of him as a person, I know Tommy Lee must have learned music since he played drums in high school marching band, and No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani played flute in her high school marching band. I’d be willing to bet almost every horn player from every late '90s ska band came out of high school bands as well.

Members of the band Chicago were music students at DePaul University.

Tracy Bonham studied for a bit at the aforementioned Berklee, but never graduated.

Of the guitar gods, allow me to point to Mr. Yngwie Malmsteen. [link] (Wikipedia disclaimer blah blah blah)

He merges Rock and classical music. He cites Paginini as one of his biggest influences.