This week news emerged that world renowned classical violinist Vanessa Mae, is set to ski for Thailand at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, which start next month. She obviously has more than one string to her bow, hey? Anyway, it got us thinking about other musicians who’ve undergone career swaps. Here’s a few others who’ve swapped rock and roll for other enterprises…
Dave Rowntree could have spent the downtime following his split from Blur lounging about consuming coffee and TV. Instead he became a solicitor’s representative at the Old Bailey in a murder trial. “I’m not sure the client knew I was from Blur,” he says. “I don’t think they could have cared less: they’re on trial for murder. They’re not gonna care if it’s bloody Mick Jagger.”
Terminator X made his name as DJ to rap wrecking crew Public Enemy. His career’s taken on a somewhat more feathery slant since quitting the group in 2003 though, when he jacked it all in to be an ostrich farmer, breeding African black ostriches on a stud farm in South Carolina. Don’t laugh – farming ostriches is probably harder than you think.
“Wake up it’s a beautiful morning! Feel the sunshine in your eyes!” I wonder if Tim Brown, one-time member of sugary Britpop peddlers the Boo Radleys, still thinks these words dragging himself out of bed at 7am to teach a horde of unruly secondary schoolers how to use Microsoft Excel as an IT teacher.
Bruce Dickinson’s sideline in air travel is one of the greatest quirks to one of rock’s greatest bands. Having got his pilot license years ago, the Iron Maiden frontman now flies his band from show to show across the globe in the group’s signature plane, Ed Force One, named after their 12 foot demonic band mascot Eddie.
‘90s R&B hitmaker Eve is writing a sitcom for US broadcaster AMC, home of Mad Men. She’ll also star in the semi-autobiographical comedy apparently, based on her relationship with British fiancé Maximillion Cooper. In case you’re wondering about her acting chops, put it this way – her other biggest credit to date is starring opposite Vin Diesel in ‘xXx’, so you know she’s good.
White Zombie founder Rob Zombie always dealt in the darkest, doomiest and most depraved of metal sounds, so maybe it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to see him become an influential maker of cult horror film spilling with gore. ‘House of 1000 Corpses’, ‘Halloween’ and uh, an episode of ‘CSI: Miami’ are among his credits.
Terry Chimes, former drummer for the Clash, decided in 1994 his true (London) calling in life was fixing back pain. “I was in Sun City with Black Sabbath and we went ten-pin bowling. After three hours, my shoulder locked up. They said they would find a chiropractor. This guy came in, cracked all my joints and I could move my arm again. It made a big impression,” he explains.
Clock a load of this: Dan Spitz of metallers Anthrax gave up shredding guitars in 1995 to become a master watchmaker. Upon finishing with the group, he gave away all his guitars to the Hard Rock Café and retreated to Switzerland to attend the WOSTEP School of Watchmaking. Fair enough.
What trade hasn’t James Murphy turned his hand to since quitting LCD Soundsystem two years ago? In addition to plonking himself behind the mixing desk for last year’s new Arcade Fire album, he’s also created his own brand of coffee, invented a new speaker system, begun a novel and tried to redesign New York’s metro turnstile to make them “melodic”. What a guy.
Louise Wener became Britpop’s poster girl as singer in Sleeper. She’s since left behind Es and whizz for long nights at a computer keyboard and tight publisher deadlines as author to a number of popular novels, including ‘Goodnight Steve McQueen’, ‘The Big Blind’, ‘The Half Life of Stars’ and ‘Worldwide Adventures In Love’.
Finally, Lauren Laverne won national treasure status for her flagship radio show on BBC 6Music – and way before last year’s brilliant incident mispronouncing of James Blake as James Blunt while the electronic whiz collected the 2013 Mercury Prize – she played in Brit rockers Kenickie, named after a character in Grease. Not that peculiar, but significant all the same.