Acupuncturist by Day, Punk Rocker by Night

These rock musicians haven’t quit their day jobs, but they sure can rock and roll.


As the clock strikes 9:30 p.m., Conor Logan plops into a chair in the middle of a lobby of an Los Angeles clinic. The 35-year-old acupuncturist, dressed nicely in a fitted collared gray sweater and dress slacks, had a packed schedule of patients coming through his door for acupuncture sessions since the sun was up and shining. After giving his farewell handshake to his last appointment of the day, Logan takes advantage of this rare empty moment to finally unwind.

But the night is not even close to being over for Logan. His drummer is waiting for him in a chair across the lobby for the doc to finish the day’s commitments.

With just a small turn of the key to lock the clinic doors, Logan unlocks his other life: making loud, earth-shaking, in-your-face rock n’ roll music.

One look at Logan, as professional and clean-cut as a Licensed Acupuncturist is expected to be, no one would guess that along with his medical credentials and history of academic accomplishments lies a heavy resume as a musician who has traveled all over the world performing in front of hundreds of thousands of people. With just a quick search on YouTube, one can find videos spanning throughout Logan’s professional music career that reveal a whole entire different side of Logan as it showcases him erupting behind the drum kit or commanding the stage as the front man for his band the Logan. Not only does this unveil a new side of Logan that would surprise anyone who only knows him as the man who practices daily meditation and a provider of pain relief, but it reveals a new side of how one looks at the life of a musician.

It’s too often that musicians, specifically those who are members of the rock n’ roll and punk rock communities, are often seen as their stereotypes: bad, reckless, tattooed, anti-conforming, naughty, sex-hungry, boozed-up bad girls and boys whose only drive is to rock out on stage.

Don’t get me wrong – many of them still exist and are probably roaming the cigarette-littered sidewalks of Sunset Boulevard with the sole mission to follow in the footsteps of their rock gods in hopes of record deals and rock stardom.

But there are also the musicians, like Logan, who are the rock n’ roll and punk rock Clark Kents and Bruce Waynes of the music scene. A double life of some sort working in fields that are completely in contrast to the one they live out on a music club stage 11:30 at night in front a crowd of adoring fans. They are the antithesis of what outsiders expect a musician to be: well-educated, savvy, goal-oriented individuals who not only hold down a solid career and family but are still able create music in the middle of all of it.

Logan, who also works as an information technology executive at the prominent media company Legendary Entertainment, balances a life between family, careers, and music. Logan also just opened up a new clinic called Sunset Health and Wellness in Los Angeles, Calif. to practice Oriental medicine, a passion he got into after treating his own injuries through acupuncture when he was 19. This new endeavor adds to the growing balancing act in Logan’s life, an art he has been mastering since his youth.

“It sounds like you’re tooting your own horn but a few different people in my life — going back to high school — [always said] ‘Oh Conor is like the renaissance man doing all kinds of different things.’” Logan said. “I always liked that. I always thought life was for learning. So whether it will be being married, or being a father, or still an active musician, or working at Legendary, or being an acupuncturist…I like to do all the stuff.”

When it comes to his beginnings as a musician, Logan’s earliest memory of his love for music can be traced back his childhood, when he would dance in his living room to Queen and the California Raisins. But it wasn’t until the age of 6 when he attended his sister’s high school choir recital that he discovered that he wanted to make music. His dad caught him sitting up front, hypnotized and captivated by every single movement the choir’s drummer was making. This was a turning point in Logan’s life.

“At the end, I remember walking out of the auditorium and [my dad] put his arm around me and asked me ‘You really like the drums, don’t you?’ ‘ and I said ‘Yeah! They are awesome,’” Logan said. “And for my birthday that year, he got me a drum kit.”

After becoming well-versed in the drums and piano, Logan started playing in bands and touring around the country. But while he was living out the musician life, Logan also had to juggle his job in IT, another passion in his life.

“I toured and I [used to] sit in the back of the van with my earpiece in and my 3G connection, which was super fast at the time, and I take my meetings, do my work, and get out and rock a show,” Logan said.

Andrew Burris, 39, is another prime example of the diversity amongst the punk world that breaks the typical stereotypical image of a punk rock musician. He spends his days as a college professor teaching chemistry laboratory courses in Southern California. But when he is not in front of the classroom, Burris can be found carrying out experiments in his research lab at the University of California Riverside where he has been working toward his Ph.D. in chemistry.

“I’ve always been into nerd shit. But it wasn’t until I took chemistry in high school that I got really interested in science. Learning about this hidden microscopic world of chemistry that you can’t even see — yet affects our daily lives — that was really fascinating to me. It turned out that was pretty good at chemistry, and most people aren’t.”

Following in the footsteps of his famous punk rock Ph.D. heroes like Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin and the Descendents’ Milo Aukerman, Burris not only found himself with a love of chemistry but with a love of making music that started when he was a young boy.

“When I was 10, I made my own ‘guitar’ from plywood, some nails, and string so that I could pretend to play the intro lead to ‘Money for Nothing’ by Dire Straits,’” Burris said. “Because, fuck air guitar, right? I was like, “Dude… money for nothing and your chicks for free? I WANT THAT.”

Burris has played in such bands as Longfellow, Stymie (CA), and even a stint with Greenland pop-punkers The Maxies. But despite having an identity deeply rooted in music, his musician life comes as a shock to those who only know him as a science educator.

Andrew Burris of The Maxies

“My students and colleagues are often surprised when they learn that I am a punk musician,” Burris Said. “Lots of people think rock ‘n’ roll is cool — because it is — so I suppose it makes me more interesting… On the other hand, people in the music scene are usually surprised, if not intimidated a bit, by my doctorate studies. They usually don’t have much to say about it. Some like to poke fun at it.”

Logan and Burris have seen it all in their lives as musicians. They have played everything from tiny dive bar corners to massive stages in famous music venues. They have lived and seen the struggles that musicians go through trying to survive the ever-changing music business and experienced the ups and downs that comes with creating music.

And as part of the touring life that goes along with being a musician, both Logan and Burris have seen many days on the road playing to different people in different cities every night. The long drives, late nights, unhealthy partying, and just being away from home for an extremely long periods of time had the men finding themselves preoccupied with their careers and educational ambitions that came into their lives.

Burris, a self-proclaimed homebody, said that the touring life got old pretty fast and that the business of trying to make it was taking a toll on him.

“The guy from [the band] Pavement said, ‘You gotta pay your dues before you can pay the rent’” and it’s true,” Burris said. “Trying to make a living at music really seems to kill some of the passion for me. I play music for fun, and that’s the way it stays for me.”

As for Logan, he’s no longer focused on making it to the big time as a musician, but he still has that itch to live the tour life just for a moment again as he plans to hit to the road later on in the year to travel up to Seattle to record an album before touring back down to Los Angeles. Even though it will be nothing like what he use to do over a decade ago- long gone are the days of being away for most of the year- Logan said that there is nothing like being out on the open road.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever do that again, but I definitely really appreciate seeing the countryside as a musician and those journeys from town to town,” Logan said. “There’s a certain feel to that that you can’t get from a family vacation or a business trip or anything like that.”

Even though music is no longer a top priority for both Logan and Burris, it’s something that’s a permanent fixture in their lives. To them, it not only provides a channel for their thoughts and emotions, but it also provides something their other jobs can’t do: an opportunity to create something they love with no boundaries or rules holding them back.

“It’s an emotional outlet,” Burris said. “When I write a new song or perform on a stage, I’m getting things off my chest. It’s soothing. It diminishes the anxious, “walking on a tightrope feeling” that I think so many people struggle with.”

Logan agrees.

“There’s something really awesome being together and creating an idea that knowing that no one has put these notes together in this order or these words on top of that,” Logan said. “It’s like painting a picture with music.”

Logan said he finds a great fulfillment when it comes to all areas of his life: medicine, his wife, he daughter, and his new promotion at Legendary Entertainment. Music, on the hand, is on a whole other level.

“[Nothing is like] like four guys and some fury onstage, kicking ass, and being responsible for everyone’s good time for 45 minutes,” Logan said. “I take that very seriously. It’s a great honor. For the moment in time, I can tell everyone to put their phones away and enjoy the moment. And I would never take that for granted.”

Photo illustration of Conor Logan by Cynthia Schroeder

Substance is a publication of the Mt. San Antonio College Journalism Program. The program recently moved its newsroom over to Medium as part of a one-year experiment. Read about it here.