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Old 10-10-2019, 10:34 AM
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Members of successful bands who "dropped out" of the biz?


We've had a few threads recently mentioning The Cars and Ric Ocasek. This got me to thinking about David Robinson, who was a member of The Modern Lovers and then The Cars. He wasn't a Drum God or anything, but he was certainly a very good drummer and fit into The Cars perfectly. (He satisfied Ocasek, which isn't easy.) When The Cars broke up in the 80s, he basically said, "Great! I'll just run my restaurant."

Based on his comments and interviews, he didn't play the drums (at least not at a professional level) for at least 20 years after the breakup. He did come back in 2010 to record again, but said that he had to re-learn to play. He has always placed an emphasis on art and I believe he currently runs an art gallery.

Any similar situations with notable band members basically chucking it after a string of successes? Most musicians seem to go on to play on other artists' albums, form less successful groups, record vanity albums, or at least keep playing.

Last edited by ZonexandScout; 10-10-2019 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:40 AM
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Jeremy Spencer. One of the original members of Fleetwood Mac, he left the group (in the middle of a tour, without notice) to join a religious cult. He stayed away from music for nine years, then recorded sporadically after that, but wasn't really interested in music.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:44 AM
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I'm certainly not an expert on this, but from watching Jersey Boys I know that Nick Massi left The Four Seasons in September 1965, and doesn't appear to have joined any other group. He died o Christmas Eve 2000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Massi

He stayed in the industry, though, managing other groups

http://www.nickmassiart.com/music.html
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Last edited by CalMeacham; 10-10-2019 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:51 AM
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John Deacon doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with Queen. Not that I've read anything scandalous; he seems to have just decided to go on with his life.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:46 PM
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Jeffery Hammond-Hammond left Jethro Tull to focus on painting.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:09 PM
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John Deacon doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with Queen. Not that I've read anything scandalous; he seems to have just decided to go on with his life.
My understanding is that he's a very shy and quiet guy, was never particularly happy about being famous, and was uncomfortable in the spotlight. He is still technically a member of (and co-owner of) the band, and is still involved, at some level, in business and financial decisions that are made for the band. But, yeah, he hasn't made an appearance with Queen (or, any other public appearance, as far as I can tell) since 1997.

I heard an interview with Brian May and Roger Taylor, a few years ago, in which they said that they have always invited John to play with them whenever they have planned performances or tours, but that he has consistently declined; they also noted that they don't have much contact with him any more, other than on financial issues.

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Old 10-10-2019, 01:11 PM
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John Deacon doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with Queen. Not that I've read anything scandalous; he seems to have just decided to go on with his life.
He's still involved in the business side, he just chooses to stay out of the eye of the public.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:22 PM
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Syd Barrett, the co-founder and original singer and principal writer for Pink Floyd, only worked on the band's first album-and-a-half before leaving due to a variety of health issues, both physical and mental (some of which were likely the result of excessive drug use). He briefly had a solo career, but largely dropped out of the music industry, and became a recluse, by the mid 1970s.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:49 PM
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Didn't Grace Slick at some point say something to the effect of, "I'm out. You shouldn't be making rock after 40." I think she started focusing on painting.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:23 PM
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Didn't Grace Slick at some point say something to the effect of, "I'm out. You shouldn't be making rock after 40." I think she started focusing on painting.
No, she actually said, "All rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire." She did stay with Starship until 1988, then reunited with Jefferson Airplane in 1989 when she was 50. Then she did retire, but briefly came out of retirement to rejoin Jefferson Starship in 1995, then in 2001.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:47 PM
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My intention was to post about Chris Chasse who left Rise Against after playing lead guitar on two albums that skyrocketed their popularity (2004's Siren Song of the Counter Culture, 2006's The Sufferer and the Witness). I thought i remembered reading that he left the industry, but I just learned that he actually did go on to start a couple of other bands.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:59 PM
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R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry retired from the band in 1997 and took up hay farming. His reason for leaving the band? "I just don't want to do it any more." The band soldiered on for 14 years with other drummers, mostly Bill Rieflin.

He never completely gave up drumming, and just a few weeks ago did a "reunion" show with two of his old bandmates and another singer, and his teenage son on guitar.

Ed Gagliardi and Al Greenwood, original bassist and keyboardist for Foreigner respectively, left the band early on and played in a few other not-very-successful bands before leaving the industry altogether. I read a while back that Greenwood was working as a curator at a small art museum, and Gagliardi finished his degree and worked in the office at a car dealership in his hometown until his death in 2014. Their original drummer, Dennis Elliott, also left the music industry and now creates art from wood.

http://www.denniselliott.com/
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:06 PM
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Don Van Vliet, leader of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, released their final LP in 1982 at the age of 41. He spent the rest of his life focusing on his painting.
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:11 PM
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Richey Edwards, guitarist and lyricist for Manic Street Preachers, literally disappeared in 1995 at the age of 27. Does that count?
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:24 PM
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In the mid 2000s Joni Mitchell said, "I hate music," and decided to devote all of her time to painting. (Her health problems didn't help.)

George T. Babbitt Jr. was a drummer for The Ventures. He later became a four-star general in the U.S. Air Force.

Jeffrey Allen "Skunk" Baxter was a guitarist for Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, and Spirit. He's now a consultant for the U.S. Department of Defense, and once chaired a Congressional Advisory Board on missile defense.

Bob Rusay was a founding member and lead guitarist for the death metal band Cannibal Corpse. He is now a golf instructor / golf professional.
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:45 PM
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Jackie Fox of the Runaways dropped the stage name, went back to her own name of Jacqueline Fuchs, got a law degree from Harvard, and is now an entertainment lawyer.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:30 PM
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And a Jeopardy! champion.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:05 PM
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In the mid 2000s Joni Mitchell said, "I hate music," and decided to devote all of her time to painting. (Her health problems didn't help.).............
Surely Joni was a solo act? But if we're heading that way, then Cat Stevens must be the poster boy. At the highest point, found god and jacked it in for 20 years. OK, so eventually he started playing again, but even so.

Back to band members, Graham Simpson, founder member and Roxy Music bassist, bailed after the first album and left the biz.

j

Last edited by Treppenwitz; 10-10-2019 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:09 PM
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Mike de Albuquerque was the bassist on Electric Light Orchestra's second through fourth albums. He left the band partway through the recording of the fourth album, Eldorado (which turned out to be the band's breakthrough album), in order to spend more time with his family.

de Albuquerque wound up being active in a couple of other bands in the late 1970s and early 1980s (including "Violinski," a band with ELO violinist Mik Kaminski), but if he remained active in the industry past the early 1980s, Wikipedia has no mention of it.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:17 PM
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focus on painting.
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I think she started focusing on painting.
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He spent the rest of his life focusing on his painting.
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decided to devote all of her time to painting.
I'm starting to see a pattern here.

Chris Mars, drummer for The Replacements, had a brief solo career, before mostly giving up music to—you guessed it—focus on painting.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:26 PM
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Herb Schildt, keyboard player for 70s prog rock band Starcastle, went on to become a prolific author of computer books. For years I had his Turbo C++ reference book on my desk.
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:34 PM
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Herb Schildt, keyboard player for 70s prog rock band Starcastle, went on to become a prolific author of computer books. For years I had his Turbo C++ reference book on my desk.
And their drummer, Stephen Tassler, earned an MD from Rush University (Starcastle played a lot of gigs with the Canadian power trio of the same name) and is a family practice physician in the Chicago suburbs.

https://www.northshore.org/apps/find...hen-c.-tassler

ETA: One story said that he has a big framed picture of the band on the wall of his waiting room, and more than once, people have walked in and asked the receptionist, "Why is there a picture of Starcastle in the waiting room?" That hasn't happened as often as people who wondered who those six long-haired guys from the 1970s were.

While we're on the same theme, I had never heard of the deathcore band Chelsea Grin until a few years ago, when the guitarist announced that he was leaving the band to pursue his own medical degree.

https://www.altpress.com/news/chelse...edical_school/

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 10-10-2019 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:51 PM
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Steve Morse left music to work as an airline pilot. It was only for a few years, but what a change in jobs!

Artie Shaw left music while he was really at the top, figuring he couldn't continue without going nuts due to his perfectionism. He drifted back in some, but mainly occupied himself with a wide range of non-music stuff, most amazing of which might have been ranking as the fourth best marksman in the U.S.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:32 PM
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R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry retired from the band in 1997 and took up hay farming. His reason for leaving the band? "I just don't want to do it any more." The band soldiered on for 14 years with other drummers, mostly Bill Rieflin.
I was thinking of REM as well, but their breakup. I recall them stating that they weren't breaking up on bad terms, they still enjoyed playing, they were just...tired, and it was time.

For a specific member, how about Steve Perry (Journey). I saw some interview or documentary with him a few years back where he mentioned that after he recovered from hip surgery, he decided to call it quits with the band. He said he always felt like an outsider in the band. Kinda vague, could be anything from being shy/introverted to actually being alienated by them to depression to imposter syndrome (ie not realizing how good he is).

Now, Arnel is amazing, but I wish...I think everyone wished he would have sang at the R&R induction.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:06 PM
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I'm starting to see a pattern here.
Rob Dean, guitarist for the British glam rock band Japan, left them in 1981 but played with other groups until the early 90s. Then he moved to Monteverde in the mountains of Costa Rica, where he became an illustrator of bird field guides (including my own Birds of Panama). He still plays with a local group Chanchos del Monte ("Mountain Pigs").

Rob Dean then (second from left).

Robert Dean now (far right).

Last edited by Colibri; 10-10-2019 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:39 PM
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Jack Grisham, singer for hardcore band TSOL (True Sons of Liberty). He quit the band in 1982 . The wiki linked article says it was because of a riot at the last show he played. At the time, I had always heard he wanted to go in a different musical direction instead of milking the hardcore scene. TSOL was one of the seminal hardcore bands out of the LA scene. They were great live. Jack epitomized the "dark side" sub genre, which today would probably be called goth. One of TSOL's most popular songs was Code Blue, which is definitely NSFW and very explicitly had the line of "I want to f*ck the dead." Jack dropped out of music for quite a while when he was literally "on top" of the hardcore scene (definitely in the top 10 at the time).

I saw them once at the Elite Club in San Francisco circa 1982 (maybe it was this show but I remember Bad Brains as a different Elite Club show). It was the old Filmore West location. The show was packed with a couple of thousand punks from the hardcore scene in the area. Jack wore a poodle sweater. For the encore, he stripped down to a speedo. Dead Kennedy's followed, and of course Jello had to one up and was buck naked (which happened occaisionally for him). Jello then put on a trenchcoat unbuttoned and then was swinging pork around the stage while performing The Prey. That was one of the greatest concerts I have ever been to.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:47 PM
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I'm starting to see a pattern here.
Artists are gonna art.


Linda Rondstadt, not a band but a while back she announced she had parkinsons and it's affecting her voice. We haven't seen much of her since.
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:51 PM
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I'm starting to see a pattern here.

Chris Mars, drummer for The Replacements, had a brief solo career, before mostly giving up music to—you guessed it—focus on painting.
They're everywhere . For every actor that wants to be a musician there is a musician that wants to be a painter.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:05 PM
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Artists are gonna art.


Linda Rondstadt, not a band but a while back she announced she had parkinsons and it's affecting her voice. We haven't seen much of her since.
There's a new documentary out about her. Haven't seen it yet but I've heard it's very good.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:09 PM
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I was thinking of REM as well, but their breakup. I recall them stating that they weren't breaking up on bad terms, they still enjoyed playing, they were just...tired, and it was time.

For a specific member, how about Steve Perry (Journey). I saw some interview or documentary with him a few years back where he mentioned that after he recovered from hip surgery, he decided to call it quits with the band. He said he always felt like an outsider in the band. Kinda vague, could be anything from being shy/introverted to actually being alienated by them to depression to imposter syndrome (ie not realizing how good he is).

Now, Arnel is amazing, but I wish...I think everyone wished he would have sang at the R&R induction.
Perry, in turn, replaced Gregg Rolie, who left Journey just as they were about to climb to the very top of the heap because he and his wife wanted to have children, and he wanted to be more involved in the kids' lives than that lifestyle would have allowed him to do. In the decades since, he's done a lot of session work and I recently saw a Santana reunion on PBS where he sang and played keyboards, and he still had the chops.

Beto O'Rourke also played in a punk band when he was in college in the early 1990s.

Krist Novoselic played in a few unsuccessful bands after Kurt Cobain died, and he too left the music business and last I heard is a behind-the-scenes worker in Washington state politics.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 10-10-2019 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:33 PM
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...focus on painting.
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I think she started focusing on painting.
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He spent the rest of his life focusing on his painting.
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...decided to devote all of her time to painting.
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giving up music to—you guessed it—focus on painting.
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From punk rock to painting:
the musician-turned-artist...
Geez, doesn't anyone realize you can paint and do other stuff? I do it.

There are so many bands that don't play stadiums or gigs in far-flung cities every night. I'm betting almost any musician could say "Hey, guys, I want to be home with my kids on most school nights. And do a bunch of paintings."

I'll bet it's more like "I'm tired and strung out, I'm sick of touring and my bandmates, and need to get into rehab and... umm, focus on... on my painting, I guess."
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:44 PM
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Not quite sure that these count as big-name musicians, but Janet Gardner from Vixen has, at various times, left the band to become a golf pro, and a dental hygienist. And drummer Tori Castellano (The Donnas) had to retire from drumming due to wrist/shoulder issues.
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Old 10-11-2019, 02:38 AM
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For a specific member, how about Steve Perry (Journey). I saw some interview or documentary with him a few years back where he mentioned that after he recovered from hip surgery, he decided to call it quits with the band. He said he always felt like an outsider in the band. Kinda vague, could be anything from being shy/introverted to actually being alienated by them to depression to imposter syndrome (ie not realizing how good he is).
Right, but Perry didn't leave the music business permanently. He's active once more. He released a new album, Traces, a year ago and says he has a new Christmas album coming up this holiday season.
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:08 AM
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R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry retired from the band in 1997 and took up hay farming. His reason for leaving the band? "I just don't want to do it any more."
The onstage brain aneurysm a couple years before probably didn't help...
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:41 AM
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Of course - I forgot. Brian Cox left D-Ream (Things Can Only Get Better, UR The Best Thing) to return to his first love, Physics (!).

He is now Professor of Particle Physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester, and a science broadcaster.

How 'bout that? Professor Brian Cox.

j
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Old 10-11-2019, 04:50 AM
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(Professor) Brian Cox was keyboard player with D:Ream and Dare before becoming an astro-physicist at Manchester University (and he obviously can't give up showbiz because he does regular media appearences as well.)

Richard Coles was keyboard player and multi-intrumentalist with Bronski Beat and the Communards before becoming a vicar in the (very mainstream) Church of England. Like Cox he isn't shy about appearing in the media.

David Roundtree, drummer from Brit Pop band Blur, became a solicitor and is active in politics. Blur bass player Alex Coxon bought a farm and has become a cheese making expert.

Mark Hollis from Talk Talk was never entirely comfortable with fame and although he pursued increasingly esoteric music for a while he basically just "retired to spend more time with his family."

The keyboards player with The Charlatans - Rob Collins (and this was made famous in a joke by Robert Newman of Newman and Baddiel fame) was involved in driving criminals away from a crime. However although found guilty he wasn't really a career criminal. It was a one off mistake.

Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson has never really left music but has worked as an airline pilot (commericially) and represented England in the sport of fencing (sword fighting.)

Tracy Byrn from Voice of the Beehive became a teacher in California.

Ricky Gervais started as a New Wave musician (with little known Seona Dancing) before moving into radio, TV, Films, comedy and even flirting with music again.

TCMF-2L

Ninja'd on Professor Cox

Last edited by TCMF-2L; 10-11-2019 at 04:51 AM. Reason: Ninja'd
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:15 AM
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Rod Evans (ex-Deep Purple and Captain Beyond) completely vanished from public life in 1980. According to some of his former bandmates, he is alive and well, though no fans or journalists have been able to track him down to confirm this.

I created a thread to discuss Evans and similar cases of vanishing celebrities back in 2015. Possibly some contributions there might be relevant to the present thread.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:57 AM
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..........Richard Coles was keyboard player and multi-intrumentalist with Bronski Beat and the Communards before becoming a vicar in the (very mainstream) Church of England. Like Cox he isn't shy about appearing in the media..........
Excellent call on The Reverend Richard Coles, who I also completely forgot.

Mention of Ricky Gervais reminds me that Charlie Higson was in - uh - the Higsons for 6 years before he took up comedy, most notably creating (with Paul Whitehouse) The Fast Show.

j
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:58 AM
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Steven Adler was kicked out of Guns 'N' Roses in 1990 for heroin use. Considering the addiction issues of others in that band, it must have been pretty out of control. He tried to go back to former bands and create his own, but none of it has yet met with any success.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:12 AM
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Jason Everman was second guitarist for Nirvana and base player for Soundgarden. He played with two more lesser-know bands, then joined the Army, became a Ranger and later a Green Beret.

From wiki:

In September 1994, influenced by Renaissance icon Benvenuto Cellini (who stated that a well-rounded man is an artist, warrior and philosopher), he left Mind Funk to join the United States Army, subsequently serving with the Army's 2nd Ranger Battalion and later with the Special Forces, serving tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.[4] After completing his service, he took a break from the military and lived in New York City where he briefly worked as a bike messenger. He then traveled to Tibet and worked and studied in a Buddhist monastery before returning to the U.S. He reentered the Army when offered the chance to join Special Forces.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:29 AM
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I'm starting to see a pattern here.

Chris Mars, drummer for The Replacements, had a brief solo career, before mostly giving up music to—you guessed it—focus on painting.
If you go to the second link I cite above, you'll see that Nick Massi got into painting, too.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:30 AM
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John Rutsey was the original drummer for Rush. He left after recording their first album in 1974.

There have been a few reasons stating why he left - health reasons and musical differences - but I think the most likely one is that he just wasn't mentally in a place to pursue something as chaotic as music. He wrote lyrics and tore them up, he had trouble concentrating and various other things. Honestly, from 50 years on it seems more like depression than anything else.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:23 AM
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Peter Best was the original drummer in the Beatles. After being kicked out he spent 20 years as a Civil Servant (employed by the Government) before returning to music.

David Fenton was lead singer in The Vapors (of Turning Japanese fame) and became a solicitor.

Pete Willis was an original member of Def Leppard. Kicked out for alcohol abuse he is now in property management.

K K Downing was a part of Judas Priest for decades. After leaving / being kicked out he seemed to be aiming for property management and running a golf course but according to Wiki it didn't go well and he was forced to sell everything (including his rights to Judas Priest royalties) and he is now suing his advisors.

TCMF-2L
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:45 AM
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Excellent call on The Reverend Richard Coles, who I also completely forgot.

Mention of Ricky Gervais reminds me that Charlie Higson was in - uh - the Higsons for 6 years before he took up comedy, most notably creating (with Paul Whitehouse) The Fast Show.

j
Not sure that he ever really left music completely but Graham Fellows is mainly a comedian and actor but possibly still best known for the song Jilted John recorded under the name of Jilted John. The famous refrain going 'Gordon is a moron...'

Perhaps a better example would be shipyard welder Billy Connolly who started as a musician in the Humblebums with Gerry Rafferty. Was doing increasingly longer and longer comedic song introductions before moving over to just doing stand up comedy... And then having his greatest musical success with a couple of novelty comedy records. Then continuing as a comedian, TV presenter and actor - He was in one of the X Files films!

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  #45  
Old 10-11-2019, 08:56 AM
Cell Guy is offline
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And drummer Tori Castellano (The Donnas) had to retire from drumming due to wrist/shoulder issues.
She went back to school and got her J.D from Harvard.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:53 AM
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How about Eric Stefani, who along with his sister Gwen founded the band No Doubt? He left the band right after the recording of their 1995 breakthrough, Tragic Kingdom, in order to pursue a career in animation.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:45 AM
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Krist Novoselic played in a few unsuccessful bands after Kurt Cobain died, and he too left the music business and last I heard is a behind-the-scenes worker in Washington state politics.
He's been in another band the last couple years: Giants in the Trees. They have two albums on Spotify if you are interested.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:02 AM
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Another one that slipped my mind - bizarrely one of my all time faves. It's another of those sabbatical-but-drawn-back examples.

Howard Devoto, after Magazine (Shot By Both Sides etc) and Luxuria, disappeared from view for about a decade, apparently working for a photo agency, before starting to dabble again/get into reunions etc in the early 2000s.

I'm pretty sure he also had a sabbatical of sorts in the early years, leaving the Buzzcocks to go back to school and take his A-levels (exams) before starting Magazine.

j
  #49  
Old 10-11-2019, 11:32 AM
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Todd Rundgren's band Utopia may have been the most geeky band ever.

Keyboard player Rodger Powell developed one of the very first midi sequencers while still on the band. After they broke up, he became a professional software engineer working for Silicon Graphics, Waveframe and Apple, developing the audio systems of Final Cut Pro.

Drummer Willie Wilcox also got into software development and works for Bally, and does audio development for their state-of-the-art gaming machines.

Previous drummer Kevin Ellman quit to run the family business Beefsteak Charlie's and eventually became a "wealth management consultant" and certified financial planner appearing on CNBC on a regular basis.
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Old 10-11-2019, 12:42 PM
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John Rutsey was the original drummer for Rush. He left after recording their first album in 1974.

There have been a few reasons stating why he left - health reasons and musical differences - but I think the most likely one is that he just wasn't mentally in a place to pursue something as chaotic as music. He wrote lyrics and tore them up, he had trouble concentrating and various other things. Honestly, from 50 years on it seems more like depression than anything else.
In the Rush bio-documentary thing from some years back, Geddy said that they basically had to replace Rutsey because his diabetes would prevent him from touring. Sounded like it was a tough decision and a sad thing for everyone involved.

As I'm responding to a post by Jonathan Chance, it is not without irony that I note that an original member of Styx, John Curulewski, departed the band under very similar circumstances to the departure of Gregg Rolie from Journey noted above. Band was just getting big, and he felt he had to choose between it and a young family. Family it was. I see from Wikipedia that he didn't quite leave the industry entirely- he apparently continued to play in a couple of bands that just stayed local in Chicago- but he certainly deliberately chose to leave the fame-and-fortune part of the industry. Eventually became a guitar teacher and, sadly, died at 37.
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