Sunday 5 July 2015


Musicians, especially from the Rock and Metal fraternity, tend to have a reputation of being druggies, bad-boys and wild brats, with all the musical talent in the world, but zero brains. Ask any average Joe what they think when they think about Rock Musicians, and they’ll either say "Sex, Booze, Weed and Rock & Roll" or "Getting Wasted".

But what if I told you that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to some of these musicians? What if I told you that some of them are brilliant, and not just in music? What if I told you that some of them can give geniuses a run for their money? What if I labelled some of them as sources of inspiration and motivation? You might dismiss these statements as figments of imagination or fantasy. But guess what, you’re about to be proved wrong.

Let’s check out some Rock Stars who have surprised the world:-


Former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan (born Michael Andrew McKagan) was a high school dropout, whose only aim in life was attaining rock 'n' roll superstardom. Somewhere down the line, however, his life took a 180 degrees turn. After having reached a point where he nearly drank himself to death, Duff sobered up. While attempting to check the band’s finances, he realised that he couldn't understand a thing. Embarrassed, but determined to change things, he enrolled in a community college and got himself a Bachelor's degree in Business from Seattle University. Furthermore, he went on to get a high-school diploma in 2012. Duff currently owns a financial management company called Meridian Rock. His musical pursuits never took a backseat though.


Brian May is the lead guitarist of one of the greatest (and apparently most educated) bands of all time – Queen. Unknown to many, even before the band made it big, he had graduated with honors way back in 1968, and had begun working towards his PhD in Astrophysics. Along the way, however, making music with the band prevented him from getting his PhD for nearly 40 year, although he never let go of his passion. In 2006, he was invited back to the Imperial College, London, to finish what he had started. Finally, in 2007, a long 37 years after he began working on his doctorate, Sir Brian May finally got himself a PhD.


Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson (real name Brian Hugh Warner) is known for his controversial stage image and antics. His shocking and provocative antics, effective use of loud and heavy make-up and accessories, evil lyrics and 'satanic' album imagery paint a horrifying image. However, beneath the stage persona is a man who has a degree in journalism and who has had a stint as an Associate Editor with a magazine. The 'gentleman' also happens to be a painter and an actor. The man's intelligence can be gauged by watching or reading some of his interviews.


Tom Araya, the Chilean-American bassist and vocalist of American Thrash Metal band Slayer is ranked among the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of all time. His persona, his attire, his voice, the songs his band sings, the seemingly 'anti-religious' themes of the band's songs would make you believe that he is a Devilish ghoul. Beneath the 'evil' facade, however, lies a spiritually-inclined man who once upon a time worked as a respiratory therapist at a hospital for five years. He used the earnings from his job to finance Slayer's first album, 'Show No Mercy'.


This guy is a personal favourite. Bruce Dickinson is the frontman of British Heavy Metal band 'Iron Maiden'. Regularly featuring in lists of greatest metal vocalists of all time, Bruce has a wide vocal range, and is the pioneer of the Power Metal sub-genre of Heavy Metal music (which makes use of operatic vocals). Interestingly, besides music, he manages to juggle a plethora of roles. Apart from being a devoted family man, he is also a pilot. In the past, apart from commercial operations, he has been involved in rescue flight missions in war zones like Afghanistan and Lebanon. Furthermore, he is also a TV presenter, having hosted aviation-related shows on BBC and Discovery Channel.


Rick Allen's story is one of courage, determination and true friendship. Rick is the drummer for British Heavy Metal band 'Def Leppard'. "What's so special about being a drummer?", you might ask. Well, Rick happens to play drums with only one hand. In 1984 (eight years after the band was formed), at the young age of 22, Rick's left arm had to be amputated after an accident. As expected, he slipped into depression. He thought it was the end of his musical career. But the band vowed not to carry on without him. Rick's bandmates helped him customise the drum kit by consulting engineers to carry out a few tweaks in the foot pedals. They were patient with him as he set about on an uncertain journey of unlearning and re-learning drumming. Within a year's time, Rick was back to performing with the band, and the rest, as they say, is history. The band's popularity only increased with time.


Lars Ulrich is the Danish-born drummer of the American Thrash Metal band, 'Metallica'. He is one of the most popular drummers among metalheads, The son of Denmark's popular tennis pro Torben Ulrich, Lars himself was a top-10 ranker on the junior tennis circuit in Denmark. However, at some point, his love for music eventually took centrestage, and he left professional tennis to make history in rock music. Needless to say, he still plays tennis casually.


Born to Armenian parents in Lebanon, Serj Tankian is the frontman for American Nu-Age Metal band 'System of a Down'. Most of the band's songs, although they deal with subjects like human rights, politics, religion and the environment, have risque and provocative titles and lyrics. Serj, however, is not a brainless joker that laymen would assume all rockstars to be. Unknown to many, Serj has a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and Business from the California State University. The picture on the left is quite geeky, ain't it?


Glenn Medeiros is the Portuguese-born American popstar who, as a teenager, made the song 'Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You' the anthem for love-struck couples the world over. Somewhere down the line, however, the strapping young man felt that teaching was his real calling. In a move that takes a lot of guts, one fine day he bade the music industry goodbye and took up teaching. Today, he is the Vice-Prinicipal of  Maryknoll School in Honolulu, USA.


Dexter Holland is the lead vocalist of the punk rock band ‘The Offspring’, which gained fame in the late 90s for hits like "Why Don't You Get a Job?" and "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Interestingly, Holland has a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's in Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California. Long ago, before the band had gained fame, Dexter had actually commenced a PhD in Molecular Biology, but eventually had to let it go when the band began to make it big. Today, Holland is a doctoral student at the Laboratory of Viral Oncology and Proteomics Research and has published research papers on the subject of HIV.


Salman Ahmad is a musician, popularly known as the lead guitarist for the now-defunct Pakistani rock band that made Sufi Rock cool...'Junoon'. Salman's profile is impressive. He is a singer, songwriter, film presenter, author and a social activist. He is also a professor at Queens College (CUNY) where he teaches music and poetry from Muslim culture. Unknown to many, he is also a qualified Physician, having completed his studies in the USA.


Most of us know Fawad Khan as the lead actor paired opposite Sonam Kapoor in the movie Khoobsurat. Not many know that Fawad actually started his career as the lead vocalist of one of Pakistan's most popular Heavy Metal bands, 'Entity Paradigm'. On the academic front, he is a graduate of the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Lahore.


Closer home, Indi-Rock band Euphoria’s frontman Palash Sen is quite popular in India for his energy levels and voice. In a country that is not known to be too kind to its home-bred rockstars, Palash is known as a songwriter, musician and an actor. How many of you, however, know that he is also a Doctor, with an MBBS degree from the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS) in Delhi?

There are three things that can be learnt from this write-up on rockstars and their perceived images:-

Looks can be deceiving

Most people have talents and traits that lay hidden, but can certainly surprise you

If you have passion to do something, nothing can stop you


This post was selected by BlogAdda as one of the Tangy Tuesday Picks of the Week on 7th July 2015.


  1. Well, I've always thought rock is the more intelligent form of music, and the only genre worth listening to. Lyrics of rock songs are truly poetic, and they often talk about real issues, about life or politics or religion or whatever. They make sense, in short.

  2. Wow. Talk about appearances being deceptive :D

  3. CRD,
    I was led to your blog while going through my (now-defunct) blog's comments from 2008.
    It's great to see that you are still writing, and writing how! Especially enjoyed reading this post.
    Cheers and keep blogging!


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