As much as we’d like to think that our favorite rockstars were born famous, many of them started out in specialty positions for the government, fashion industry, and even the morgue. Others found alternative passions later down the road. Let’s take a look at how some of our favorite rockstars excelled in professions other than music.
JOHNNY CASH – MILITARY CODE BREAKER
The man who can do it all; country, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll was once assigned to the cryptographic intelligence unit. This was back when we were attempting to decrypt the Soviet’s messages, and Cash was right on the front lines, intercepting Soviet Morse code. Yes, real enemy code that could change the world forever. Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating but Johnny Cash deserves the recognition. He was incredibly good at this challenging task, and because it was hush hush, unfortunately he couldn’t write a song about it.
TAME IMPALA’S KEVIN PARKER – LAW CLERK
The psychedelic rock artist delivered court documents all over the city of Perth Australia. During his long rides, he would sing songs and come up with inspiration, and eventually left his day job to pursue the music business. While Parker could’ve stuck with giving legal advice, he decided to pursue his “alter ego” and form a band.
JACK WHITE – UPHOLSTERER
Before his career launched, White was passionate about furniture. He launched an upholstery business and titled it, Third Man Upholstery. He was noted for being unprofessional, scribbling his receipts in crayon, and writing his lyrics on the frames inside the chairs he upholstered. Sounds about right. While this career plummeted, White still holds onto the success of his record store, Third Man Records.
GENE SIMMONS OF KISS – ASSISTANT AT VOGUE
Simmons was an “excellent typist” back in the day, when typist was still a job title. He first was an assistant at fashion magazine, Glamour, and worked his way up to become assistant to editor-in-chief, Kate Lloyd at Vogue. If the rock ‘n’ roll gods hadn’t come knocking on his door, Simmons might have launched his own unique fashion magazine. Seems like the eccentricity of the fashion world stuck with him and may have even inspired his show-stopping looks.
KORN’S JONATHAN DAVIS – PROFESSIONAL EMBALMER
Yes, you heard it right. The Korn singer studied at the San Francisco School of Mortuary Science and worked at the Kern Coroner’s Department. Davis saw this type of career as an “eye opener,” an experience most people are unfamiliar with. He notes his parents always thought he was a problem child, but to Davis, seeing the dark side of life helped provide a new and fresh perspective.
While some rockstars started out in different careers, many of the most notorious, musical figures took on a second profession after their life on tour. It’s common to have multiple careers in a lifetime, and these celebrities took advantage of the opportunity.
ANTHRAX’S DAN SPITZ – WATCHMAKER
Circa 1995, guitarist from the legendary Anthrax decided he was retiring the art of shredding and took on a different kind of craftsmanship. Spitz reportedly donated his entire collection of guitars to Hard Rock Cafe, and began the tedious career of tinkering with tiny parts.
He then attended the WOSTEP School of Watchmaking in Neuchatel, Switzerland, becoming an expert in the field. Eventually Spitz went back to the art of music, but not before he created some seriously awesome tickers.
BLUR’S DRUMMER DAVID ROWNTREE – LAWYER
What started as an interest in a friend’s profession, turned into a calling for David Rowntree, who thought the legal life was a “whole other world.” Rowntree shadowed a solicitor, saw the insides of prisons and police stations, and found his passion for the law.
Most exciting case he worked on? A murder trial, per Rowntree, where he says, it was fascinating being that someone’s life was on the line. Of course, most of the time, clients didn’t know the solicitor’s representative was the drummer for Blur, but hey, we wouldn’t judge.
DAVE MUSTAINE – WINERY CO-FOUNDER
The co-founder of the heavy metal rock band, Megadeth, decided to take a chance on an investment that significantly paid off. The rockstar, his wife, and winemaker Vernon Kindred founded the Mustaine Vineyards in 2014. Mustaine collaborated with the San Diego Symphony to put on a concert, and was inspired by the name. Symphony Interrupted was their first wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon that according to Wine Spectator, sold out within 72 hours.
SAMMY HAGAR – TEQUILA DISTILLER
The well-known rocker and pop star Adam Levine had an idea to collaborate and produce tequila. The celebrities were in the sunny land of Cabo San Lucas, when they thought to mix tequila and mezcal, resulting in their unique, “Mezquila”. Santo Mezquila was the second of two tequilas Hagar has taken a part in inventing. With a price tag of about $55 per bottle, the 80-proof spirit is not a bad investment if you are a true tequila (and Hagar) fan.
Within the greatest rockstars are hidden talents that transpired into careers outside of the music world at one point or another during the duration of their fame. No matter the profession, there is no denying our favorites know how to do it big.