Wouldn’t it be awesome to be a rapper or a rock star? Enjoying all of the benefits that come with being famous and cool, and basically getting to travel the world and having fun? I mean, who wouldn’t want to embark on a crazy tour of the globe surrounded by the adulation of thousands, if not millions?
However, as you will see from the list below, many once-famous artists eventually either find that their luck runs out — or just decide to leave the celebrity lifestyle behind in pursuit of something more meaningful.
Here are ten big-time musicians who decided to get themselves a 9 to 5.
1 Vanilla Ice
Vanilla Ice has had his fair share of ups and downs.
In the early days of his career, he opened for bands like N.W.A and Public Enemy; however, once his first hit – a B-side called “Ice Ice Baby” – propelled him into megastardom, he immediately lost all credibility and was largely seen as a manufactured hip-hop artist.
Following this, he experienced many of the negative trapping of a post-fame life, and his heavy drug use and isolation culminated in a suicide attempt.
However, he managed to turn his life around and, by the mid-1990s, had started a successful business renovating houses. He even wrote a book about it in 2011!
Ice also continues to make music, and is signed to the Insane Clown Posse’s Psychopathic record label.
2 David Lee Roth, Van Halen
You probably only know Davie Lee Roth as the original (and current) lead singer of the incredibly popular glam rock band, Van Halen.
Together, they had more Billboard Hot 100 hits than any of their contemporaries in the 1980’s.
However, during the mid nineties – when he was taking a break from the band – he found himself training and working as an EMT in some of the less-desirable parts of New York City.
He shaved his hair, and was involved in over two-hundred incidents, including one in which he saved a man who had had a heart attack. Imagine having your life saved by the guy who sang “Jump”!
3 Every member of the Datsuns
New Zealand hard-rock band the Datsuns experienced chart success in both their native homeland and the United Kingdom in the mid-2000’s.
In fact, their first album (eponymously titled The Datsuns) went straight to number one in the NZ album charts. Since then, they’ve released six full-length albums, as well as three eps, and seven singles which have seen chart success in NZ and the UK.
However, the backlash which followed their sudden success – as well as the emergence of widespread music piracy – eventually forced the band to get dayjobs.
The singer now has his own recording studio, while one guitarist teaches squash, and another builds guitar pedals!
4 Barry Hyde from the Futureheads
Barry Hyde was one of Britain’s post-indie scene’s prize posessions, the Futureheads.
Forming in 2000, their debut LP was released four years later and propelled them to megastardom.
Unfortunately, singer Barry Hyde was dealing with undiagnosed mental health issues, and eventually experienced a complete break down. At one point, he even found himself meditating in the middle of the Arizonan desert during one particularly notable episode.
Once he started to feel better, he found work as a chef and a music tutor, which he has cited as being enormously helpful with regaining his previously lost creativity.
Likewise, he is also producing solo music again.
5 Alex James from Blur
Alex James is, of course, the guitarist in the wildly successful 90’s band, Blur.
As a staple of the britpop generation, which largely defined UK music for the decade, they produced some of the most well-known pop songs in recent history.
Following their breakup, James found respite as a cheesemaker, and even produces a monthly column for Esquire Magazine on the subject!
He has also published several autobiographies which document his experiences in the music industry, alongside his 2011 release, ‘All Cheeses Great and Small’, which specifically tracks his progression from rock star to Oxford farm cheesemaker.
6 Steve Mason, Beta Band
You may not have heard of them, but the Beta Band were at one point touted as one of the most exciting bands in recent history; their unique blend of folktronica-infused scottish indie earned them significant recognition.
Despite the world tours, Glastonbury slots, radio play, and fame, singer Steve Mason was struggling with a maelstrom of mental health issues during their success.
Following the band’s breakup in 2004, the band found themselves in over $1 million in debt, and Mason was forced to make ends meet by working on a construction site while his kind-hearted neighbours brought him bowls of soup out of concern for him.
Thankfully, Mason is now in a much better place and continues to make music as a solo artist.
7 Topper Headon, the Clash
Topper Headon (not his real name) was the drummer in one of the most influential British punk bands of all time, the Clash.
Joining the band in 1977, Headon’s work can be hard on some of their most well known material, including the hit “Rock the Casbah”; however, he would soon leave the band, who claimed that Topper was experiencing exhaustion (it later transpired that his use of heroin was causing issues with his bandmates).
During this dark period, he eventually found work driving a taxi in London to fund his use of the drug, and also busked in London’s tube stations from time to time.
These days, Topper is back to his old sober self and is living in Dover, England.
8 Rocket From the Crypt
Rocket From the Crypt are probably one of the most influential post-punk bands to have formed in the past thirty years.
Their genre-defining 1995 album, “Scream, Dracula, Scream!” propelled them into the spotlight and even earned a place in Universal Publishing’s book, “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”.
However, after they broke up in 2005, each band member went their separate way. Perhaps most interestingly ist hat Apollo 9 (better known by his real name, Paul O’Beirne) is now teaching Project Management and Marketing at a San Diego high school when he’s not enjoying rocking out at RFTC reunion gigs.
You probably remember Yellowcard as the babyfaced emo rockers who had hits with “Way Away”, “Only One” and “Ocean Avenue” between 2004 and 2005.
However, the pressures of constant touring (and even a place on the Vans Warped tour), started to cause some serious burnout among the band’s members.
What you probably didn’t know was that, once they went on hiatus in 2008, they group all had to get odd jobs. Longineu W. Parsons became Adam Lambert’s session drummer, while singer Ryan Key worked for his uncle as a lumberjack, and violinist Sean Mackin sold cars for a friend who ran a garage!
Despite a successful reformation, the band are now planning to break-up for good once again, so keep an eye on a forest near you in case Key happens to be chopping down your favorite tree!
10 Roger Stevens, Blind Melon
In the mid-1990s, Roger Stevens found himself at the top of the world.
As one-fifth of Blind Melon, guitarist Stevens would enjoy all of the luxuries that come with a massive breakthrough single (titled “No Rain”), and even played in front of a few hundred thousand people at Woodstock ’94 while troubled lead singer Shannon Hoon dropped acid in his girlfriend’s dress (no, that’s actually what happened).
After Hoon tragically died, the band eventually broke up and went their separate ways.
Nowadays, Stevens is a lawyer who deals with preparing wills and estate administration for Ballard Saphr LLP.