As a former band geek (clarinet, if you must know), I can really relate to Steven Clontz's musings about celebrities with musical inclinations that lean more toward marching band than rock band. If Steven looks familiar, it's because he wrote this awesome post about trombones for us back in the fall. (Plus this one. And this one, too.) Not coincidentally, he plays trombone at Auburn, where he's majoring in mathematics. -Stacy Conradt
4 Celebrity Band Geeks
by Steven Clontz
Believe it or not, those dorky band nerds you knew back in high school may have amounted to more than you'd expect. Says one of those dorky band nerds. But hear me out! Any young band geeks out there, know that if you try hard enough, you too could grow up to be a politician, a rock musician, a sci-fi icon, a busty beauty, or even a mental_floss blogger. (The last being, of course, the highest form of celebrity.)
1. Bill Clinton
Okay, I'll admit it. I'm too young to remember Slick Willie honking on his tenor sax during The Arsenio Hall Show back in 1992. (Which is conspicuously missing from YouTube, if anyone wants to get on that.) Rather, I learned of our forty-second President's sax chops via a much different source, viz., the Animaniacs theme song. In my defense, you could learn a lot from that show.
Back on topic, though. William Jefferson Blythe III (who would later take on his stepfather's last name when he realized no one would elect a "Hillary Blythe" to be Senator from New York) was born with a knack for music. In high school, he'd end up placing as the 1st chair tenor saxophone player in the Arkansas High School State Band. Also, he pledged as a brother of Kappa Kappa Psi, an honorary society for collegiate band members. If Former President Clinton has taught me anything, it's that if you're running for public office, learning to play a musical instrument is always a smarter choice than learning to ride a motorcycle.
2. Trent Reznor
Can you imagine the frontman for Nine Inch Nails dressed up in an ill-fitting band uniform, complete with spats and that funny little hat with a feathery thing sticking out of it? (We call 'em shakos, of course.) Well, it turns out before he started pumping out industrial rock tunes, Trent Reznor played the tuba and saxophone, and participated in his high school marching and jazz bands.
Of course, if you look further into his life, you'd be surprised if Reznor wasn't a band geek. He was involved in every other musical pursuit, after all. His first instrument was the piano, which he began to play at the tender age of five. In high school, in between Queen-cover halftime shows (well, if his marching band experience was like mine), he'd be starring in his school's musical theater productions. Reznor tackled the role of the troubled apostle Judas in Jesus Christ: Superstar, and also took on the persona of Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man, wherein he directed a band. I like to think it's the band geek within him that is currently sticking it to the major record labels - you'll never see my old high school marching band signing a contract!
3. Jonathan Frakes
Wait. Who the heck is Jonathan Frakes? I'm no Trekkie, so I had to look his name up - he's the actor who portrays First Officer William Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation. His inclusion in band geekdom should not come as a surprise to big TNG fans out there; I definitely recall watching an episode of the show one lazy afternoon last summer in which Frakes (as Riker) was jamming on the trombone, assumably between setting phasers to stun and seducing green women.
His citizenship among the Trombone Nation only fuels my argument that he was ten times manlier than Captain Picard. Sorry Jean-Luc, there's only one man who can get away with playing the flute, and his name is Ron Burgundy.
(I'm more of a Firefly fan than a Star Trek guy, so my apologies if I misrepresented any part of Star Trek canon. Don't send the Death Star after me!)
4. Pamela Anderson
Ah... yes. If you don't know what the deal with Miss Anderson is, well, good for you. Neither do I. (Hi Mom!) But I hear she's pretty popular in some circles. I can only guess it's her band geek background that appeals to the masses. I mean, you can just imagine how the years of playing saxophone in high school contributed to her life's work. Right?
Anyway, I'm not sure there are too many jokes I can make here that befit the family-friendly nature of this site. Just remember your typical high school lunchroom discussion, and you'll get the idea of just how great the end of this post could have been.
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