The weird and wonderful secret hobbies of your favourite musicians

Featuring the likes of a chess-playing Flea, a golfing Alice Cooper and a model train-loving Rod Stewart

When they’re not on stage, writing tunes or stuck in the recording booth, our favourite musicians are, essentially, just like the rest of us. Some like to knit, others like to breed dogs and a few even collect military vehicles and drive them around the block (OK, maybe they’re not entirely like the rest of us).

Following the grand reveal of Rod Stewart’s impressive, many years-in-the-making model railway set-up this week, we thought we’d look back at some of the weird and wonderful hobbies that musicians have taken up over the years.

1
Roger Daltrey – Trout Farmer

Roger Daltrey
Credit: Getty

The Kids Are Alright, and so are the fish. The Who frontman owns a trout farm in East Sussex and has also been a vocal critic of the EU’s fisheries policy over the years.

2
Alex James – Cheese-maker

Alex James
Alex James. Credit: PA

He lives in a house, a very big house in the country… making lots and lots of cheese. You can buy any or all of his cheesey varieties, including cheddar, Blue Monday and, er, ‘Grunge’, in special gift packs.

3
Rivers Cuomo – Knitter

Rivers Cuomo Weezer
Credit: Mauricio Santana

The true meaning behind the title of Weezer’s ‘Undone – The Sweater Song’ appeared to be revealed in 2009 after Rivers tweeted: “Switched to knitting.” He might just be having us all on, though.

4
Courtney Love – Dolls

Courtney Love
Courtney Love performing at YOLA Día festival, 2019. Credit: Getty

Well, she did write the Hole song ‘Doll Parts’ back in 1994… Love has long had a fascination with dolls, and she’s reportedly an avid collector of the vintage Mattel dolls Liddle Kiddles from the 1960s.

5
Jack White – Upholsterer

Jack White
Jack White. Credit: Getty

Before The White Stripes man hit the big-time, he was a simple upholsterer in his hometown of Detroit. White always had his eye on the music, though: in the early 2000s, White and another Detroit musician and upholsterer, Brian Muldoon, hid 100 copies of their second single, ‘Your Furniture Was Always Dead … I Was Just Afraid To Tell You’, in furniture that was being upholstered. They’re worth a fucking fortune now.

6
Charlie Watts – Vintage Car Collector

Charlie Watts
The Rolling Stones riding in style. Credit: Getty

“I do have four vintage cars and can’t drive the bloody things,” the Stones drummer told NME in 2018. Still, bet they’re quite nice to look at.

7
Pixies’ David Lovering – Magician

Pixies’ David Lovering
Credit: Getty

The Pixies drummer also goes by the official magician name ‘The Scientific Phenomenalist’. Yes, really. “If you think being a musician is hard, think of being a magician,” Lovering told Brooklyn Vegan in 2014. “That’s twice as hard to make a living at.”

8
Rod Stewart – Model Trains

Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart. Credit: PA/Railway Modeller

In 2019, Rod the Mod revealed that he’d spent the past 26 years building a huge and intricate 124-ft-long model of a city (influenced by both New York and Chicago, no less) for his model trains to zoom around.

9
Kathleen Hanna – Gardening

Kathleen Hanna
Kathleen Hanna. Credit: Getty

“When I started gardening and realising that you need a certain kind of soil and a certain kind of sunlight in order to grow certain things, I started applying that same thinking to my life,” Hanna revealed in the brilliant 2013 documentary The Punk Singer.

10
Alice Cooper – Golf

Alice Cooper - Golf
Alice Cooper. Credit: Getty

“I know a lot of guys are quitting [music], but a lot of guys still smoke and drink. They’re probably tired,” Cooper observed in 2018. “I’m not tired. People always say, ‘Well, you could just play golf every day,’ and I say, ‘I play golf every day anyway!’” His love for golf even led to the publication of a book, ‘Golf Monster: A Rock ‘n’ Roller’s 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict’, in 2007.

11
Big Boi – Dog-breeding

Rapper Big Boi of Outkast backstage during Star 94.1 Jingle Jam at Coca Cola Roxy on December 12, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

OutKast’s Big Boi operates Pitfall Kennels with his brother in their home city of Atlanta, where they breed American Bullys, English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs. “These are the best, loyal, most family oriented dogs ever. We’re here to dispel the stigma that’s been put on them,” the rapper said in 2016. “When all’s said and done, I just want to sit back with my animals in the midst of the trees and the forest and just be peaceful.”

12
Tom DeLonge – UFOs

Tom DeLonge
Tom DeLonge. Credit: Getty

‘Aliens Exist’? You’d better believe it if you wanna hang out with the former Blink-182 guitarist. He set up the To the Stars Academy a few years ago to further explore his interest in UFOs, with their work apparently attracting the interest of both the US army and navy in 2019.

13
Tool’s Maynard James Keenan – Winemaker

Tool
Tool’s Maynard James Keenan. Credit: Martin Philbey/Redferns

The Tool frontman owns the Caduceus Cellars winery and 110 acres of vineyards across in Arizona. He’s also the owner, winemaker, and founder of the Arizona-based winemakers Co-Op – Four Eight Wineworks. And we’re sure every last drop is delicious.

14
The Breeders’ Kelley Deal – Knitting

Kelley Deal
Credit: Getty

Kelley managed to kick her heroin addiction with the help of knitting, and she soon began selling knitted handbags and scarves on her own personal website. She’s since published ‘how to’ books about knitting and, at the 2009 ATP Festival, she held a group crocheting session in one of the venue’s bars where fans could join in her knitting circle.

15
Stephen Morris – Military vehicles

New Order drummer Stephen Morris. Credit: Getty

The New Order and Joy Division drummer’s love of military vehicles is so great that he apparently takes his Mark IV Ferret armoured reconnaissance vehicle for a spin around his local neighbourhood every now and again. As you do.

16
Flea – Chess

Flea
Flea. Credit: Getty

The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist became known for playing chess while on tour back in 2011. “When we were playing Rock In Rio with the Chilis in Brazil we watched Flea take on the world chess champion,” Snow Patrol drummer Jonny Quinn revealed in 2011. “He did really well and the guy was playing two games of chess at once – he’s a Norwegian fella. Flea did pretty good but this man was always gonna win. He held it back for a bit.”

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