Vol 3, Issue 2: Musicians with Brains: I Never Knew the Two Could Co-Exist!

While conducting research for this piece, I stumbled upon a posting in which a blogger adamantly declared that musicians have NO right to speak out for causes they support, and that they should solely stick to music on account of the fact that they have no post-secondary academic training, and therefore are inadequately equipped to contend with such global issues.

While by all means I encourage the expression of individual opinion, I do not condone speaking on subjects about which you have little to no knowledge such as the above described individual has, because in fact, he couldn’t be more off-base.

Not only does this blogger fail to acknowledge that it is more often media personnel cornering musicians into situations in which they are forced to speak out on these types of issues, rather than the musicians making these efforts on their own (perhaps with the exception of someone like Bono), but on top of that, this blogger is clearly unaware of just how many of our talented songwriters are, in fact, schooled in far more than just how to play a 12-string.

From Dexter Holland’s (Offspring’s frontman) Masters in Molecular Biology to Mick Jagger’s degree in business and economics to Huey Lewis’ Ivy League record at Cornell to David Draiman’s (Disturbed’s frontman) triple university major in business admin, poli sci, and philosophy, clearly our rockstars are more intelligent that the average person gives them credit for.

Now, I completely understand musical preferences and one’s right to their own tastes. In fact, these days, there are few bands that are able to generate universal appeal. But, the next time that you even contemplate having an opinion on an artist that goes beyond your sheer sonic partiality for or against their genre, I suggest that you do some background research on that artist so that you do not end up looking like an ass, just as our “friend” above has. All of this buildup, of course, brings me to the issue at hand - that of rockstars with academic credentials.

Though this is not a subject that is often touched upon by most music media, I think it is important to demonstrate that even people who have achieved rockstardom at its pinnacle assessed the extremely low likelihood of their careers being successful, and thus planned accordingly just in case. I know many of you do not want to hear about the importance of having a “plan b”, because I too, was once in your shoes arguing with my parents that no matter what, music was my life, and I was born to rock. However, after actually going through the industry, and experiencing first hand all of the crookedness and the false promises, I gotta tell you - I’m forever indebted to my folks for making me stay in school.

Had I not entered the industry with my strong background in PR, negotiations, and entertainment-related business know-how, there is no way that I would have been able to accomplish the well-respected reputation for being a “professional” that I have. Further, without this training, I indefinitely would have found myself the victim of a lot more entertainment industry scams.

Most importantly though, if being a professional musician is truly the path that you desire to pursue, you need to recognize that fame is transient, and that musical fads come and go. If you want to be able to maintain career longevity, similar to the artists that I have mentioned, you need to know a thing or two about how to stay as a leader in the pack, and procuring a good education is definitely a good start.

Lastly, there’s always the fact to consider that after you’ve had your stint of fame, perhaps you’d like to move onto other ventures - it wouldn’t be the first time. Did you know that, for instance, Craig Ferguson, host of NBC’s Late Late Show was originally the drummer in a Scottish punk band known as “The Bastards from Hell” or that Mike Rowe, now the MC for Discovery’s Dirty Jobs, started out as an opera singer or that there was a time in history in which Henry Rollins actually played music? The point I’m trying to make here is as follows: it is possible, even though I know you likely won’t believe me, that once you’ve worked in the industry, you’ll come to the conclusion that it wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and so a career change will be in order.

Though school will always be there, I’m sure most of you don’t want to end up in your late 40s still living at home with only a highschool diploma in hand waiting for your rockstar dreams to come true. Trust me, I’ve met people like this, and it ain’t a pretty picture!

To summarize, think of it this way: knowledge is a weapon, and the more you have about your craft, and the industry itself, the better able you are to protect yourself. Plus which, from a sheer songwriting perspective, the more worldly and cultured one is, the better his/her songs will be and the greater good he/she can do with his/her influence.

About the Author:

Rose Cora Perry is the frontwoman for Canadian hard rock band ANTI-HERO known as “The 21st Century Answer to Nirvana”, as well as the sole owner and operator of HER Records, a management company in which she offers marketing, promotion, publicity, tour booking, and artist development services.

Her band ANTI-HERO has toured extensively across North America playing notable festivals such as Warped Tour, Canadian Music Week, NorthbyNorthEast, Wakefest, and MEANYFest.

Voted “Best Rock Act of the Year” by numerous industry publications, their critically acclaimed debut album, "Unpretty" is available worldwide for purchase.

Rose Cora Perry is a dedicated promoter of D.I.Y. ethics, and an avid supporter of independent musicians.For more information on Rose Cora Perry and her band's accomplishments, please visit
http://www.anti-hero.ca/ or http://www.rosecoraperry.com/

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