My husband and I were talking about our beloved Barenaked Ladies and wondering if any of them had graduated from college. We couldn’t imagine they had because they got together in high school (or maybe it was even junior high).
We were thinking rock star is probably one of the few professions where getting a college degree interferes with your likelihood of success.
I seem to recall that Brian May of Queen is quite well educated. In fact, he was working on a Ph.D. in astrophysics, I think, and left when the band took off. Presumably he already had a degree or two.
I’ve heard a similar story about some of the guys from The Offspring. I think the guitarist and/or lead singer are ABDs from a Ph.D. program.
Last, a friend into hardcore metal told me of a band that was composed of medical doctors. I’ve forgotten their name, but their songs often mention medical stuff…
Gordon Sumner (Sting) attended the University of Warwick and Northern Counties Teacher Training College. He presumedly graduated from the latter as he later worked as a teacher.
Mick Jagger attended the London School of Economics. Don’t know if he got a degree.
Sheryl Crow graduated from the University of Missouri and worked as a teacher.
Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe were all attending the University of Georgia when they founded REM but they all dropped out when the band became big.
Phish was another college band. Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Jeff Holdsworth, and Page McConnell were students at the University of Vermont (three of them later transferred to Goddard College).
Liz Phair attended Oberlin College. Again, I can’t confirm she actually graduated.
May attended the Imperial College London and was working on his Ph.D. thesis in astronomy but hadn’t completed it when he left for a musical career. Apparently he was a serious student however and was later awarded an honorary doctorate from Hertfordshire University.
According to wikipedia, Bryan “Dexter” Holland is working on his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of Southern California.
American musician Deniz “The Iceman” Tek is a more famous figure in Australian rock. While studying medicine in Sydney he formed the now legendary Radio Birdman an ongoing influence on Australian music. He returned to the states to become a marine flight surgeon with an appropriate cool call sign. He returned to music with various bands in the 90s.
I think it was sociology. (He’s the guy I came here to mention.)
A bunch of guys who went to GWU here in D.C. started a bunch of bands which, while not leading to stardom, did tour and play out alot. Probably the most famous is Neil Fallon of Clutch, which has acheived a good bit of success, though I’d be reluctant tocall them “stars.”
Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave has an undergrad degree from Harvard. A drummer in a previous band I was in played in bands at Harvard at the same time and said that he was a full-on, spandex wearing hair metal kinda guy. My friend’s band actually beat Morello’s and a battle of the bands.
The drummer from Semisonic (“Closing Time” was their big hit) - I think his name is Jason Schlicter - also went to Harvard. He recently wrote a book about his experience in being in a one-hit band and dealing with the Industry that got very positive reviews…