What do our favourite artists do when their musical careers come to an end? They don’t all record bland solo albums or wind up on reality TV. In fact, many of them end up with normal (sometimes even boring) day jobs.
Here are some musicians that made unexpected career moves into the fields of teaching, antique dealing, farming and more.
Bill Berry (R.E.M.)
At the peak of their fame in the late 90s, R.E.M. founding member Bill Berry walked away from the band just as sessions were about to begin for their 11th album Up. Berry pursued a career in farming after he lost the enjoyment he had for playing drums in the band he had been in for 17 years. R.E.M. refused to replace Berry but continued for over a decade as a three-piece, before quietly calling it a day in 2011. All four original members remain on good terms – a rare occurrence in the music industry.
Alex James and Dave Rowntree (Blur)
Following the breakup of Blur in 2003, both Dave Rowntree and Alex James found new professions. Rowntree trained to become a solicitor, while James sought a more rural lifestyle and started his own very successful cheese farm.
Blur reunited in 2009, but both Rowntree and James have managed to keep their newfound day jobs.
Russell Senior and Nick Banks (Pulp)
After their respective departures from Pulp, guitarist Russell Senior and drummer Nick Banks settled down into slower paced professions.
Senior left Pulp in 1997 and formed a new band, Venini, in 1998. When Venini broke up in 2001, Senior opened an antique shop in his native Sheffield and has worked as an antique glassware dealer ever since. Following Pulp’s 2002 breakup, Banks followed a similar path and took over his mother’s pottery shop.
Both rejoined Pulp for their 2011 reunion, but have since returned to the worlds of glass and pottery.
During the ’90s, one of the biggest stars of the time, Kim Wilde, embraced a career as a garden designer. Wilde rekindled an old interest in gardening while she was pregnant with her first child, and is now a highly regarded garden designer. She has since appeared in horticultural documentaries, written books on gardening and won awards at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Dan Spitz (Anthrax)
One of the most surprising entries on this list is Dan Spitz – formerly the lead guitarist of iconic thrash metal band Anthrax. After 12 years with Anthrax, Spitz grew bored of the heavy metal lifestyle and left the band to pursue a career in fine watchmaking. He attended a prestigious Swiss watchmaking school and has since become a celebrated watchmaker in his own right.
Art Garfunkel always looked like a bit like a maths teacher, so it was only natural for him to become one after parting ways with bandmate Paul Simon. Simon and Garfunkel split up in 1970 and, after dabbling in film, Art Garfunkel took up teaching in 1971. According to Garfunkel, whenever asked the students if they had any questions they would ask “what were The Beatles like?” Can you blame them? Teaching obviously wasn’t for the legendary folk singer, so he began a solo career in 1973 which has continued for over forty years.