By EW Staff
Updated September 20, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

With all the Ikea furniture, ramen-based cuisine, and kegs of flat beer, it’s a bit of a stretch to attribute anything such as good taste to your average college student. Still, amid the dorm-room ruckus, above the bubbling bong water, and hanging in the airwaves between the poorly read PSAs and dead silence of campus radio, there are signs of youth’s redemption: The kids are never too busy cramming (not!) to dig for new and interesting music.

The average 17- to 22-year-old is so squarely at the crossroads of teen fan and discerning grown-up that once they’ve found a band or artist of merit, they’ll follow that sound to the end of the earth — or senior year at least. Hence, folks like the Pixies and R.E.M. end up with a faithful fan base to help catapult them into the mainstream.

Of course, not all college finds and faves are that fresh (G. Love & Special Sauce, anyone?), but when more than a few campuses are in consensus, it’s usually worth a listen. Here, three up-and-comers who warrant further study — as well as three famous former students who went on to major in music full-time.


ARTIST Darius Rucker SCHOOl University of South Carolina ATTENDED 1984-88 MAJOR Broadcast Journalism

The people.


— What did you put on your dorm-room door as a ”don’t come in” signal?

[I’d] use anything…or keep going when they come in; he’d just go to his bed and go to sleep.

Economics. And I don’t think it was so hard, I just didn’t want to go.

He wasn’t very cool. He was a bodybuilder.

I know that you can’t say anything to anybody or it’ll end up in the paper.

R.E.M. Murmur.

It was a blast. I’m a rock star; that’s not a bad way to go to your reunion.

We built this huge bonfire…and we’re just partying, about 150 people. The cops and the fire trucks come. [My friend] runs into the house and puts on ”Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads.


ARTIST David Draiman (of Disturbed) SCHOOL Loyola Univ., Chicago ATTENDED 1992-95 MAJOR Business, Philosophy, and Political Science

It’s a commuter university; you go in, do your classes, and go home.

It was a Jesuit university. They were always trying to coerce me into their quarters to talk about God and Christianity and yada, yada, yada.

Learn all you can. Being a rock star is not an easy thing.

Logic was very difficult…. I ended up getting an A-.

The business degree helps me in dealing with band business. Philosophy helps me in terms of how to cognitively push myself. Political science continues to fuel my inspiration.

If I went to the college bars it was always ”Brown Eyed Girl” or some s — -… the typical nonsensical mindless s — -.

My Animal House moments existed away from college, and, believe me, they’re much more animalistic now.