Making the transition from stages to courtrooms

Roger Stevens was the lead guitarist with Blind Melon. In 2011, Stevens finished his degree from Temple and began law school at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2014, he was certified as a lawyer. | COURTESY EMILIA NORS AND HEATHER THORN
Roger Stevens was the lead guitarist with Blind Melon. In 2011, Stevens finished his degree from Temple and began law school at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2014, he was certified as a lawyer. | COURTESY EMILIA NORS AND HEATHER THORN
Roger Stevens was the lead guitarist with Blind Melon. In 2011, Stevens finished his degree from Temple and began law school at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2014, he was certified as a lawyer. | COURTESY EMILIA NORS AND HEATHER THORN
Roger Stevens was the lead guitarist with Blind Melon. In 2011, Stevens finished his degree from Temple and began law school at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2014, he was certified as a lawyer. | COURTESY EMILIA NORS AND HEATHER THORN

Rogers Stevens has played more than 700 shows on the road over the course of two decades. As the former lead guitarist of Blind Melon and a Temple alumnus, Stevens said eventually the rigors of constant touring caught up to him.

“There is much to love about it, but sleeping on a bus for months on end does not hold the same appeal as it did when I was 20 years old,” Stevens said. “The shows are often transcendent, but the meal at Denny’s three hours later often is not.”

After years of life on the road, the former guitarist of the psychedelic rock band has recently joined the law firm Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia to practice law.

Stevens earned his degree from Temple in two years, after starting classes when he was 39 years old – more than twice the age of some of his classmates.

“In general I enjoy a challenge,” Stevens said. “As long as my mind is engaged, I’m happy. I fear complacency.”

Now, Stevens is both a lawyer and a musician. When he isn’t in Philadelphia practicing law, he is touring and playing shows, though that’s no longer his priority.

“Touring becomes less appealing as you get older,” Stevens said. “I have two kids to watch out for.”

One of Stevens’ mentors during his time at Temple, Paul Crowe, is the undergraduate adviser for the philosophy department. Crowe said studying philosophy helped Stevens understand arguments, as law is about arguments.

“He was an excellent student – he was, of course, a bit older, but he seemed genuinely interested in philosophy,” Crowe said.

Stevens said he flew under the radar as a student, admitting that he didn’t socialize much and not many students knew who he was. The Blind Melon guitarist said he couldn’t connect to many students because of the generational gap and the fact that he does not openly solicit his music.

During his undergraduate time at Temple, Stevens said he had his eye on a degree from the University of Pennsylvania as his ticket to a profession in law.

After finishing his degree at Temple in Summer 2011, he started law school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his degree and was certified as a lawyer in 2014.

Stevens said he is optimistic, despite his hectic schedule, especially in his interest in practicing law.

“It’s a real hustle from beginning to end,” Stevens said. “I am being trained by some great lawyers and I look forward to feeling more confident in my skills.”

Josh Zimmerman can be reached at  josh.zimmerman@temple.edu

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