Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted by Spinner
They wanna rock 'n' roll all night -- and study every day. These rock stars by trade are also professors, scientists, authors, techies and, most of all, nerds by design. From past pioneers to today's trailblazers, guitars and geeks go together like eyeglasses and tape. Back by popular demand, from your comments to our ears, it's Revenge of the Rock Nerds Part 2.
The tattooed lead singer of Black Flag has published books of poetry, regularly makes spoken-word appearances and opines about the cinema on his IFC show 'Uncut.' Making the leap from hardcore punk to iambic pentameter might seem like a stretch, but then, Black Flag's 'TV Party' shows off Rollins as a media geek in the making.
Submitted by Deb Draisin
High school valedictorian Alfred Yankovic started his career when the then-architecture student took his accordion into his college bathroom to record a parody of 'My Sharona' for the campus DJ. Giving up I.M. Pei for I.P. Daily, "Weird Al" has since spoofed dozens of pop songs -- including a few you thought you'd never want to hear again. He doesn't sport his specs anymore but still has the long, bushy hair that marks him as a legendary goofball.
Submitted by Emily
We will rock you! And then we will write a dissertation on how said rock travels through space and time. The Queen guitarist is also an astrophysicist who studied interplanetary dust and co-authored the book 'Bang! The Complete History of the Universe.' Even though May completed his doctoral thesis in 2007, he's the same guy who wrote 'Fat Bottomed Girls.' Heavenly bodies are his specialty, after all.
Submitted by Dan
This mustachioed, avant-garde satirical rocker could also sport a tie and confront the US Senate. The eclectic composer was both creative and prolific -- and passionate about freedom of speech (he did name his daughter Moon Unit, after all). When Zappa testified against the placing of warning labels on CDs, his speech was an eloquent as his noodling notes. A hero among scientists, he's had an asteroid named in his honor.
Submitted by Fred
Maybe the raddest teacher ever. This punk rock frontman and noted agnostic goes by Dr. Graffin in the classroom. He teaches paleontology at UCLA and has recently completed the book 'Anarchy Evolution.' Graffin received accolades from Harvard for his work in humanism and has recently tweeted about filming a television series called 'Punk Professor.'
Submitted by C
This electro-nerd is known for his fluorescent glasses and impromptu dance contests at underground venues. Deacon holds a master's degree in electro-acoustic composition and makes most of his music by manipulating effects pedals and tweaking his voice to sound like a cartoon character. He's also not afraid to get physical: The floor of concert halls at his shows usually feature computer-geek mosh pits.
Submitted by Chicaro
He may have picked up rockabilly from Elvis, but Buddy definitely didn't mimic the King's swagger and sex appeal. Holly's music was rockin' but his look was skinny, straitlaced and downright geeky. His black-framed glasses paved the way for musicians from Elvis Costello and Dan Deacon to Rivers Cuomo (hence the Weezer song). Generations of myopic rockers owe him a debt for breaking the (eye)glass ceiling of rock 'n' roll nerddom.
Submitted by James
A guitarist for both Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter likes to play around with algorithms. So much so that he's a consultant for the US Department of Defense. Baxter was messing around with music recording technology and ended up submitting a paper to Congress on missile systems. He's got a top-secret security clearance, making him rock's most dangerous brainiac.
Submitted by Roger
Philip Taylor Kramer of Iron Butterfly
The psychedelic rock lyrics "In-a-gadda-da-vida, baby" may not be rocket science, but don't blame Kramer. The Iron Butterfly bassist worked on nuclear missiles for the US Defense Department -- until he mysteriously disappeared in 1995. He reportedly made a breakthrough in missile technology just before he went missing. Four years later, his remains were found in a van, an apparent suicide, though some theorize he was offed by agents of a foreign government.
Submitted by Capri
Neil Peart of Rush
Rush may be known for Geddy Lee's helium-pitched vocals, but the brains behind the Toronto three-piece is Peart. In addition to being a technical wizard on the drums, he is the sci-fi geek credited with the concept behind their album '2112,' which details the complex themes of Ayn Rand-like struggles against a dystopian society.
Submitted by Dave Sarbach
Scholz is a vegetarian with his own charitable foundation and a Master's degree from MIT. The guitarist and founder of Boston has slayed riffs like 'More Than a Feeling' but is also a mechanical engineer who designs his own amplifiers. A fiercely anti-corporate crusader, Scholz is more concerned with engineering than rocking. Boston's 2002 album 'Corporate America' takes aim at both The Man and the music biz.
Submitted by The Old Captain
He blinded us with science! Dolby, one of the key synth wizards from the '80s, went on to start a music software company and eventually created a ringtone synthesizer for Nokia. Born Thomas Robertson, he once got sued by Dolby Laboratories for appropriating its name. (The noise reduction company might have been better off giving him a job.) He now curates the music for the annual nerd-a-thon TED Conference.
Submitted by pnut166
As befitting a former member of an a cappella singing group at Yale, Coulton once turned Sir-Mix-A-Lot's 'Baby Got Back' into a hilarious folk song. He has gone from computer programmer to science fiction songwriter and has worked with geek hero John Hodgman ('Daily Show,' "PC" in the Mac commercials) and written a song for the video game Portal. Coulton is a presence in tech blogs and recently decided to perform a show devoted to covering They Might Be Giants.
Submitted by Geekwithsoul
The rapper born Damian Hess wears his nerd heart on his sleeve. With a mixture of pop-culture references and faux-gansta lyrics, he has helped spawn the movement known as nerdcore hip-hop. Other white-guy rappers like MC Lars and Paul Barman spit brainy rhymes, but Frontalot is credited with coining the term -- he is proudly featured in the documentary 'Nerdcore Rising' and has performed at the Nerdapalooza music festival.
Submitted by Dari4sho
Milo Auckerman of the Descendents
Milo goes to college. Then Milo graduates with a Ph.D. The lead singer of legendary punk band the Descendents sang pithy ditties about fine cuisine ("I like food/Food tastes good") and caffeinated beverages ('Mug Mug Mug,' 'Coffee Mug'). Dr. Aukerman's career as a biochemist does make him an authority on the molecular composition of these substances, however.
Submitted by Franco