We're not saying that being a rock star isn't a
fulfilling job, but for one reason or another, many of them want to have
another outlet for their creative muses - owning fashion lines, starting record
labels, scoring a film or two... you know, sidelines that really aren't a leap
outside their comfort zones.
Every once in a while someone takes a leap and you have to applaud it. For instance, both Pavement's Jeff Tyler and Modern Lover Jonathan Richman are stone masons, Roger Daltry owns a trout fishery, and Pixie's drummer David Lovering is a magician. But then he always was.
Take rapper Vanilla Ice a.k.a Robert Van Winkle. Here's a guy who made a complete about face. But let's face it, after his much publicized tumble from grace and massive fame -- his "Ice Ice Baby" was the first hip hop record to top the Billboard charts in 1990 -- he needed it. Much to his credit, after that nasty drug habit, a fraudulent biography, and a suicide attempt, he picked himself up, got a leaf tattoo on his stomach to signify his new life and began... flipping houses.
The DIY Network noticed and gave him his own show called The Vanilla Ice Project, wherein the erstwhile musician renovates bathrooms, staircases, kitchens and even a foreclosed mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. Just picked up for its second season, Van Winkle and DIY are celebrating by giving one lucky viewer a rock star room renovation worth $30,000. Until June 27, fans can upload videos and photos and personally tell Ice why he should come over and redo their digs. (And please no critiques of his music allowed!)
Not only that, the winner will have their own 15 minutes of fame (an hour actually) since the transformation will be documented in a one-hour special called "VIP: Ice My House," which will kick off the second season of DIY Network's The Vanilla Ice Project, in early 2012.
Here's a list of some other rock stars who have second jobs:
Les Claypool, owner/operator of Claypool Cellars in Sebastopol, California
Primus bassist Claypool and his wife Chaney originally made their own wine for his personal stock, but they've grown this into a small business venture selling a world class pinot noir called Purple Pachyderm, which the musician insists "is big, bold and well-balanced with a magnificent nose." And yes, it is named after a Primus song.
"It all started because I had never been a big pot smoker, then I got in a van with a bunch of sweaty musicians and started driving across country and thought, 'Holy shit, this is going to drive me insane,'" says Claypool. "They were all smoking weed, so I said, 'All right,' and it made the trips much more pleasant. But then it didn't anymore. Now I'm making fancy booze for semi-fancy folks. Beer makes you turn into a fat guy, and I've hit that part of my metabolism where I have to worry about that stuff."
Tommy Shaw, Styx
Have you wondered what Styx is doing when they're not playing the shed circuit? They've become coffee mavens, along with Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos and Billy Bob Thornton. While the arena rockers already have a line of java, guitarist Tommy Shaw has branched off and established his own brand. In specialty stores now is Tommy Shaw Great Divide Coffee Blend, named after his recent debut bluegrass album. Just as a comment on his boomer status, the Great Divide is an organic Italian roast that's half regular, half decaf, but 100 per cent of the profit goes to charity. All profits will go to the Bluegrass Trust Fund, which helps bluegrass music professionals down on their luck. For more information go to Styx's official website.
Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden
Bruce Dickinson is no slouch when the second wave metallurgists are off the road. Not only has he fenced at an international level and has his own brand of fencing equipment, the Iron Maiden singer also has a commercial pilot's license. He was just hired by Iceland Express to fly some of their flights in Ed Force One, the customized Boeing 757 that Maiden used for touring. And yes, the jet still is brandishing the band's logo. And, no it's not more expensive to fly at the speed of rock with Bruce.
Alex James, Blur
Former Blur bassist -- and perhaps present bassist since they're in the process of reuniting -- left the excesses of rock 'n' roll to become a farmer on an estate in Oxfordshire. In recent years he's become an award winning cheese maker, specializing in rare breeds of sheep and organic cheeses, and wrote a book about his time as one of the leading lights of Brit pop and rock excess called Bit of a Blur. He regularly contributes to London's Independent, is a regular on food shows and has famously said, "Blur fans don't buy records anymore, they buy cheese." So because of that, every year he organizes a "Cheesy Rider" tour to promote his products. This year he expanded the concept and has ventured into deeper terrain, hosting a four-day event called Harvest from September 9-12 at his farm in Kingham, Chipping North. So far KT Tunstall and Steve Earle have been confirmed to perform.
Bill Wyman, Rolling Stones
The raconteur, art appreciator and famous Rolling Stone bass player has published five books, including 2003's stunningly comprehensive scrapbook-cum-memoir, Rolling With The Stones. The man who quit the Stones in 1993 is now one of the leading manufacturers of metal detectors, designing and selling his own machines. The Bill Wyman Signature Detector is a "lightweight and adjustable implement and comes with a free informational DVD," explains a press release, with Wyman assuring potential users and fans, " Metal detecting is not just for anoraks or eccentrics."