Musician and artist Thomas Dolby, most famous for the early 80s hit "She Blinded Me With Science," talked with Lee Hawkins about his new fall professorship at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He will teach a class called "Sound on Film."
While he started out as a punk rocker, he comes from a long line of professors, stretching back to his great-grandfather. He says, I've always wanted to teach, and I was passing through Baltimore last fall with a film that I made called "The Invisible Lighthouse." It came to the attention of the faculty at Johns Hopkins University ... who are looking for somebody to teach a course in sound on film."
Dolby talked about his career, saying that there weren't any real downsides to having a hit song. 'I never viewed myself as a mainstream pop act; I was always a little bit odd and unconventional, but I suppose it was really the dawn of MTV that gave me the springboard that I needed. ... Life got pretty good after that; I was invited to play with all my heroes like Stevie Wonder and David Bowie and Joni Mitchell and George Clinton and so on, so I had a whale of a time in the 80s.'
When asked about how to connect to young people, Dolby said that the best way is for him to pass along his knowledge and experience. 'When I started out there was really no one to mentor me; I had to figure out by myself. I got to some point in my life where I'd like to share some experience with the younger generation, so that was the attraction of teaching at a great university.'
Dolby also sees programming as programming as a skill that many producers and DJs should have. 'I think that a lot of people think that unless you're playing the Stradivarius or a Steinway it's not real music and that's just baloney.'