As the students among us head back to become more learned in the coming weeks, some might wonder what the point of formal education is -- especially after a summer of songs and shows brought to you by people who make a living making music.
You can be happy, successful and downright rich just by twerking on Robin Thicke, right? Not so fast, Brainiac. Plenty of professional musicians also followed the formal education route as far as it would go. Living the dream? Sure. But that's Dr. Living the Dream to you.
Here are 11 musicians who are smarter than you. Yes, this list includes Ke$ha. Sorry.
Brian May -- Queen
Underneath Brian May's lengthy locks is a well-oiled brain. When he wasn't writing hits like 'We Will Rock You' and 'Fat Bottomed Girls' alongside Freddie Mercury in Queen, May was getting his astrophysics on. He was part way through his PhD in physics and math at Imperial College when Queen hit it big, but still went on to publish papers with titles that could double as awesome '70s song names like 'MgI Emission in the Night-Sky Spectrum' and 'A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud.'
Dan Werb (left) and Paul Banwatt -- Woodhands
Werb, who just launched the Ark Analog collab with Maylee Todd, plays keytar, sings and is a Trudeau Scholar working on his PhD in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, focusing on illicit and injection drug use as well as the effects of drug law enforcement on public health. This month he begins a postdoctoral fellowship at UC San Diego and has also been a researcher at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and co-founder of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. (He's also a HuffPost blogger!) Woodhands drummer Paul Banwatt is hot on Werb's highly-educated heels as he works at a law firm focusing on "issues relating to disruptive technologies such as 3D printing, global health law and policy, social finance, and pharmaceutical patent litigation." That is, when not playing with his other band The Rural Alberta Advantage.
Buffy Sainte Marie
She's Canada's original aboriginal folk singer and in the '60s she took her special brand of acoustic activism around the world and even got herself blacklisted by the White House. Meanwhile, she worked up the ranks of academia, earning a PhD in fine arts at the University of Massachusetts in 1983 to complement her other degrees in teaching and oriental philosophy. And if you weren't quite sure if you should call Buffy Sainte Marie doctor, she's also collected honorary doctorates from the University of Regina, Carleton University, the University of Western Ontario, Emily Carr University of Art & Design and the Ontario College of Art & Design.
David Macklovitch -- Chromeo
The Montreal electrofunk duo known as Chromeo are a decidedly retro affair with their analogue synths and souped-up talkbox. But the singing half of the band, David Macklovitch, takes that penchant for yesteryear to extremes offstage. He completed his PhD in French literature at Columbia University where he focused on "theoretical writings of the first half of the Eighteenth Century, in which reading for pleasure is conceived as an autonomous notion."
Sterling Morrison -- The Velvet Underground
Said to be the forefathers (and one foremother) of punk rock, the Velvet Underground shook things up in the rock and roll world in the mid-'60s. Late guitarist Sterling Morrison actually dropped out of university during his first stint in 1964. The next year, the band was born and five years later when they were parked in New York City for the summer, Morrison completed his studies and then went on to get a PhD in medieval studies from the University of Texas, playing his last show with the band in Houston. And what exactly do you do with a doctorate in medieval studies? Why, you become a tugboat captain, at least if you're Sterling Morrison.
Dexter Holland -- The Offspring
Epitaph Records alumni Dexter Holland fronted the Offspring but despite solid performances in both his music life and his academic life, he opted to, ahem, "keep 'em separated." He was a PhD candidate in molecular biology at the University of Southern California but ditched his studies to focus on the Offspring. But that didn't stop him from non-musical pursuits and he became a licensed pilot in 2009 and once took 10 days to fly himself around the world.
Mira Aroyo -- Ladytron
This co-frontlady of English electro-pop outfit Ladytron is the one who sings the band's Bulgarian songs but she's also fluent in molecular genetics. In 2003, she published an article in the journal 'Molecular Microbioloy' called "Species Specificity in the Activation of Xer Recombination at Dif by FtsK," which proved scientists don't need no vowels, among other things. She got her PhD at Oxford University while she worked as a research geneticist.
Greg Graffin -- Bad Religion
Most people know him as the lead singer of Bad Religion, a position he's held since 1979 when he was just a whippersnapper of a 15-year-old at El Camino Real High School in Southern California. But while the band went on to become skate punk icons, Graffin also maneuvered his way through academia, eventually earning a PhD in zoology at Cornell University. He also teaches students younger than his band about life, earth and space sciences at UCLA and Cornell.
Dan Snaith -- Caribou
Dan Snaith, aka Caribou, is best known as a Polaris Prize-winning electronic composer and sound tinkerer but if you think there's some careful calculation behind his compositions, you're right. He's also got a PhD in mathematics from Imperial College in the UK so when he wasn't writing award-winning music, he was writing about "overconvergent Siegel modular forms from a cohomological viewpoint." Obviously.
Milo Aukerman -- The Descendents
His nerdy glasses are a bit of a giveaway but the Descendents frontman does a good job of hiding his biochemistry background when he sings about girls, coffee and food. But Milo really did go to college -- just like their debut record claimed -- and earned himself a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin. These days, the brainiac works as a plant researcher in Delaware and tours with the band on his vacation time.
Yes,<em> that</em> Ke$ha. A 2010 cover story in <a href="http://keshadaily.com/photos/displayimage.php?album=436&pid=7574#top_display_media" target="_blank">Seventeen magazine</a> claimed she was a near-genius with an <a href="http://archive.org/stream/SeventeenMagazine2010-11/Seventeen%202010-11_djvu.txt" target="_blank">IQ of 140</a> and Ke$ha told NPR that she scored a near-perfect <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122610692" target="_blank">1500 on her SATs</a>, back when the high score was 1600. Entertainment Weekly and <a href="http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/kesha-warrior-album-review-14817446" target="_blank">Esquire</a> both reported that she was offered a scholarship to prestigious Columbia-affiliated <a href="http://barnard.edu/" target="_blank">Barnard College</a> to study psychology. Instead, she dropped out of high-school at 17 to be a pop star, later getting a GED, and now makes millions by making dumb (but catchy) sexed-up singles. So we're not really sure what lesson to draw here.