15 Bands That Met In College, And Made It Big
    • WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2014

    • Posted by: Sarah Kasarsky

    As August creeps upon us, thoughts of writing papers, attending late night cram sessions, and sitting through dull lectures gloomily find their way back into our minds. Although going back to school can foster stress, anxiety, and boredom, it is easy to forget how college can also be a place to sow your creative oats. While some of our favorite musicians were in college, they found the time to leave their studying for later, to instead jam out with friends who would become their fellow band-mates and rock and roll legends. So, for some back-to-school music inspiration, here is out list of 15 bands that started in college and made it big, too.

    1. Vampire Weekend

    Members Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Tomson, and Chris Baio not only have impressive musical talent and good looks, but brains behind their luscious heads of hair. The indie-rock group formed in 2006, while all were students at New York's Columbia University.

    2. Ra Ra Riot

    This indie rock band also had their start in 2006 and in New York, but in much colder temperatures than the boys of Vampire Weekend. Ra Ra Riot was formed upstate, in the icy cold weather of Syracuse University.

    3. MGMT

    Members Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden founded MGMT during their freshman year at Wesleyan University. Fitting the chill vibe of their liberal arts school, MGMT discovered their unique sound by experimenting during dorm room jam sessions.

    4. Queen

    The legendary rock group was formed at Imperial College in London, when Brian May, Tim Staffell, and dental student Roger Taylor formed a band they called Smile. When Freddie Bulsara, later know as Freddie Mercury, joined the crew, he convinced his bandmates to switch their name to the more regal sounding Queen.

    5. ALT-J

    The English band also made good use of their dorm rooms, when vocalist Gus Unger-Hamilton presented guitarist Gwil Sainsbury with his own tracks, and the idea to start a band, during their sophomore year at Leeds University.

    6. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

    After watching Grace Potter perform on the St. Lawrence College campus, drummer Matt Burr approached her with the brilliant idea to start a band. Apparently, her fans are not the only ones taken by her bluesy-rock vocals.

    7. Pink Floyd

    In 1965, the members of Pink Floyd may have spent more time in London Polytech's tearoom than in the school's library. As they used this space to write and rehearse their material, Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright became one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

    8. Jukebox The Ghost

    Members Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel and Jesse Kristin met while attending George Washington University, and formed a band they called The Sunday Mail. After graduation, they compiled new material and changed their band's name for a new image, creating the indie-pop band we know and love today.

    9. Passion Pit

    While Michael Angelakos attended Emerson College in Boston, he wrote songs as a Valentine's Day gift to his girlfriend. These tracks soon became a gift to the rest of the world when Angelakos shared his material with a group of students at Berklee College of Music, who are now known as his bandmates.

    10. Girl Talk

    Gregg Michael Gillis studied biomedical engineering studies at Case Western Reserve University, and took his degree to the professional level after college. In 2007, however, he abandoned his love of prosthetics for his love of music, committing himself to making Girl Talk a renowned musical act and influence.


    Daniel Kessler and Greg Drudy founded the rock band while attending New York University in 1997, and pulled Carlos Dengler into their scheme while in philosophy class. Paul Banks then joined the band after he ran into Kessler in New York City.

    12. The Strokes

    The band was initially created even before its members entered college, as Julian Casablancas, Fabrizio Moretti, and Nick Valensi played together while they attended The Dwight School in Manhattan. At age 13, Casablancas was sent off to boarding school in Switzerland where he met Albert Hammond Jr., who ultimately came to live with Casablancas in New York to attend NYU. With this move, the alternative-rock band was truly and fully formed.

    13. Radiohead

    The band went by the name of On A Friday in high school, but met up on weekends and holidays throughout their separate college careers to work on new music and material. These college-years endeavors led them to become the infamous rock band they are today.

    14. R.E.M

    The band was formed at the University of Georgia, when lead singer Michael Stipe and guitarist Peter Buck recruited bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry to join their student band. Luckily they found such great success from their music, as touring forced them to drop out of college.

    15. Coldplay

    With his honors degree in Greek and Latin from the University of College London, Chris Martin could have spent his life in Vatican City or translating ancient scriptures. Fortunately, he chose music over his educational pursuits, founding Coldplay with guitarist Jonny Buckland while both were still students at the University.

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