Gary Radford with Jennifer Lehr

These Professors Aren’t All Talk

Associate Professor of Communications Gary Radford is one of the founding members of the “academically influenced” blues/rock/heavy metal band, The Professors, the members of which are largely — you guessed it — professors!

Trained in classical guitar while growing up in England, Radford came to the United States in 1986 to pursue his PhD at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. There he met and became friends with Robert Kubey, an associate professor in the department of journalism and mass media. In 1995, Radford, who had become an assistant professor in the department of communication at William Paterson University, Wayne, N.J., and Kubey joined Tomasz Imielinski, professor and chair of Rutgers’ computer science department, to form the nucleus of The Professors. Their purpose, according to Radford: “To make a lot of noise!”

In 1996, Jennifer Lehr, another Rutgers PhD candidate who now is an assistant professor of corporate communication on FDU’s Florham-Madison Campus, became a member. Though Lehr has since left the line-up (to finish her dissertation), The Professors have retained their academic influence, and the current line-up includes Radford; Kubey; Chad Dell, assistant professor of communication, Monmouth University; John Barrows, a graduate student at Rutgers and public relations manager at Nabisco, Inc.; Sonja Souther, manager of special events and logistics at Rutgers; and Nick Romanenko, a photographer in Rutgers’ Office of Public Information.

The Professors’ playlist spans several cover tunes as well as original compositions by band members. These include “Untenured Blues” (“I’m teaching on Friday/Saturday too/Eight AM Monday/But what can I do?”), written by Radford and his wife, Marie; “Peer Review” (“My sister thinks my hair’s too long, my dad thinks I’m a bum/I’m working on my PhD, so I can’t be all that dumb [can I?]/ ... Seems like everyone has their own idea about what I should do/I think I’d be better off with a little less peer review”), written by Barrows; and a blues song about postmodernism titled “Foucault Funk: The Michel Foucault Postmodern Blues” (“Man will be erased/Like a face drawn in sand/Like a face drawn in sand/at the edge of the sea”), with lyrics by the Radfords and the 20th-century French philosopher Michel Foucault, the subject of Radford’s PhD dissertation.

The Professors have played several academic venues including FDU, Rutgers, Rider University, William Paterson University and the annual conferences of the International Communication Association in Chicago, Ill., and the National Communication Association in New York City. They also have performed at Doll’s Place and Napolitano’s Restaurant, New Brunswick; and Kenny’s Castaways and the Cornielia Street Cafe, N.Y.C. In April, Radford was reunited on stage with Lehr in an acoustic performance, “An Evening at the Millennium,” part of the Florham-Madison Campus’ Theme Semester, “Turns of the Century/Millennial Turns.”

“The students are very interested in seeing their professors perform,” Radford says. “It shows us in a different light, one with which they can identify. They see us more as human beings.” For more information on The Professors, check out

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