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When Heavy Metal, Classical Music and Higher Education Collide: Meet CSU Grad, Mushroomhead Bassist Ryan “Dr. F.” Farrell

For Mushroomhead’s Ryan “Dr. F.” Farrell, there was nothing cross about his purposeWhen Heavy Metal, Classical Music and Higher Education Collide: Meet Fall 2022 CSU Graduate, Mushroomhead bassist Ryan “Dr. F.” Farrell

When the pandemic shut down live music and concert touring back in 2020, many professional musicians found themselves either at a crossroads or at cross purposes—taking on unrelated jobs just to make ends meet. For Mushroomhead’s Ryan “Dr. F.” Farrell, there was nothing cross about his purpose. 

He pulled up his bootstraps, pulled off his iconic stage mask and headed back to East 21st and Euclid.

Ever a “glass half-full” and “silver lining” personality in both temperament and character, Farrell took all the pent-up energy he had for a planned transatlantic concert tour and transmuted it. He came back to Cleveland State University to complete his studies.

This weekend he graduates with over 800 other soon-to-be-alumni with a Master of Music in Composition during Fall 2022 Commencement.

Mushroomhead’s Ryan “Dr. F.” FarrellFarrell came back to CSU after leaving us to join the legendary costumed heavy metal band headquartered in Cleveland. Can't say we could blame him! Touring the world, performing in front of tens of thousands of fans at a time? Sign us up! To wit, Mushroomhead’s weighty touring itinerary left room for little else. But this forced “road sabbatical” allowed him to return and complete both his BA and MA.

Last month, his completed recital in composition at Waetjen Auditorium—the final hurdle necessary to “capitalize on COVID downtime.”

CSU caught up with “Dr. F,” who, after completing his recital with the help of Grammy-winning pianist Angelin Chang, Mari Sato, Nicholas Diodore, Cara Tweed, James Rhodes and the Cardinal Brass, is gearing back up with Mushroomhead to resume a grueling tour schedule. 

We also have some scoop: he’s planning to make his longtime stage nickname a reality.

Have a look…