I can’t quite wrap my head around it when those who have made it in rock music leave the business and take up some 9-to-5 drudgery just to pay the bills. No doubt, careers in music are unstable (and earnings vanish quickly). But still!
A few cases come to mind of other rock stars who’ve had this unlikely chapter in their lives. But… which ones can you think of?
Lots of others have stayed in the entertainment business as producers or moved into television (mostly notably Professor Brian Cox, formerly of D:REAM, who has a doctorate in particle physics and presents lots of science shows on British television).
The “best” example of this would have to be Pete Best, the original drummer of the Beatles. While he was obviously dismissed from the group before they made it “rock star” big, as a local act at the time they still had a cult following and Best was, by some accounts, the most popular member of the group.
According to his Wikipedia page, “Epstein attempted to console him by offering to build another group around him, but Best refused. Feeling let down and depressed, he sat at home for two weeks, not wanting to face anybody or answer the inevitable questions about why he had been sacked.” He briefly performed with a band called the Pete Best Four, touring the United States, but it did not really go anywhere. He subsequently retreated from the music world and became a civil servant, retiring after 20 years.
While Best did eventually start recording music again, that is a very long hiatus and it’s clear that he simply did not want to pursue music any further after his bad blood with the Beatles. I always thought he COULD have had a lot of success if he really wanted to and had better management - if he had simply polished up his skills on drums for a few years and not tried to build a band around himself, he probably could have had a killer career, since “Former member of The Beatles” is like the ultimate resume, if you think about it. I’m sure he would have killed it if he had really thrown himself at it (and again, had better management.) But I think his heart just wasn’t in it.
Alex Chilton moved to New Orleans, where he spent much of 1982 and 1983 working outside music, washing dishes at the Louis XVI Restaurant in the French Quarter, working as a janitor at the Uptown nightclub Tupelo’s Tavern, and working as a tree-trimmer.
David Lee Roth trained as an EMT in the late 1990s, going on over 200 ambulance rides. He’s state-licensed as an EMT in New York. But he’s bounced around in various music and show biz scenarios since then, so maybe he doesn’t count.
"Scratching around on a piece of paper and designed a hat. Met a man who had some fabric. Called the buyer up at Bloomingdale’s and – boom! – they sold out. Then every buyer in all the department stores wanted 'em, and then MTV called me up and said, ‘What are you doing?’
"Then it took off, and I was like, ‘(expletive)! I’m making hats. How the hell did this happen?’ "
After The Velvet Underground broke up, guitarist Sterling Morrison
…began to work on Houston tugboats as a deckhand to supplement his income in the mid-1970s; when he was forced to relinquish his teaching assistantship some years later, he was licensed as a master mariner and became the captain of a Houston tugboat, a vocation he pursued throughout the 1980s. (Wiki)
And Moe Tucker worked at a Wal-Mart store in Georgia for a while.
This was a few years ago. Wasn’t there a former actor was photographed working as a cashier or bagger at a store? I believe the morning shows(Today and Good Morning America) made a big deal about it–him having to lower himself to do menial labor. If I remember correctly he was African American but his name eludes me.
Not so famous, but my classmate was recently reminiscing about the day that he and another classmate, plus two others, signed with Capitol records. Their band opened for some big names back in the '90s and even got one of the songs included in a Hollywood blockbuster.
He’s been a realtor for the last 20 years.
The other classmate’s still working full time as a musician.