7 of the Smartest Rock Stars Ever

Rocking their brains out made these rock stars famous. Little did we know that these seven men have proven to be quite adept at wracking their brains out as well en route to degrees that we never thought headbangers could even hope to have.

While rock stars, like many musicians, are generally acknowledged to possess a certain amount of genius, the rockers listed below have more than just their guitar-playing and songwriting skills going for them.

1. Brian May


The guitarist of legendary English rock band Queen has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics, and was just recently appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.

2. Greg Graffin


As an undergraduate at the UCLA, Graffin, vocalist and founder of the punk rock band Bad Religion, double-majored in anthropology and geology. He then earned a Master’s degree from the same school, then moved on to Cornell University where he got his Ph.D. He is currently a life sciences professor at the UCLA.

3. Milo Aukerman


Aukerman, lead vocalist for early Los Angeles area punk rock band Descendents, has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin.

4. Tom Scholz


Before he founded and played guitar for Boston, Tom Scholz already had Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology firmly tucked under his belt. He has also worked as a senior product design engineer for Polaroid.

5. Dexter Holland


If he hadn’t focused on doing lead vocals for his band The Offspring, Holland would have had a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California. But then again, having a Master’s degree in the same field isn’t bad either.

6. Tom Morello


A personal favorite, Morello graduated from Harvard University with an honors degree in social studies. Proof that he was really smart: he chose to become the guitarist of Rage Against The Machine, and later of Audioslave, than become a history teacher.

7. Jeff "Skunk" Baxter


Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter is one pretty smart rocker. He is a self-taught expert on weapons systems, wrote a five-page paper on missile defense, and is the current chair of the Congressional Advisory Board on Missile Defense, as well as a highly-paid consultant for U.S. Department of Defense and several defense contractors.

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6 Responses to “7 of the Smartest Rock Stars Ever”

  1. Interesting List but YIKES you spelled Brian May’s name wrong! It’s

    Brian May

    NOT “Mays”


  2. Thanks for the heads up on the typo. Must have been all the headbanging I was doing while doing this piece….

  3. I read that Dexter Holland also is an accomplished pilot with many certifications, has a patent on a type of Blackberry-enhancing software, and has a successful hot sauce brand.

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