Members of successful bands who "dropped out" of the biz?

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.

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. :wink:

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

They’re everywhere ;). For every actor that wants to be a musician there is a musician that wants to be a painter.

There’s a new documentary out about her. Haven’t seen it yet but I’ve heard it’s very good.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

The onstage brain aneurysm a couple years before probably didn’t help…

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.


(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.


Ninja’d on Professor Cox

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.

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.


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.

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. *