Not everyone can make a full living off of making music. In fact, many indie musicians that we’ve come to know and love have day jobs. Not only that, but sometimes you need to try new things and take up new hobbies to keep the creative juices flowing. Here are musicians with interesting side jobs and hobbies that might come as a surprise to their fans.
Lights wrote a comic book series
Valerie Anne Poxleitner, also known as Lights, has been busy working away on a new comic book series and concept album Skin&Earth. The artist has always been actively involved in the comic book scene, with many of her music videos drawing from comic art.
The first issue of Skin&Earth was released on July 12, along with Lights’ new single “Giants.” The idea is that a new song will be released with every new issue as a prelude to the Skin&Earth album’s upcoming release date. Watch the trailer for the new comic book series below.
Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) loves to knit
Rivers Cuomo’s knitting hobby first broke when the artist tweeted in 2009 “Switched to knitting.” Since then, he has shared photos of himself working on various knitting projects, leading us to wonder if “The Sweater Song” was inspired by Cuomo’s passion for knitting.
Maynard James Keenan (Tool) is a winemaker
The lead singer of Tool also happens to be a wine aficionado. Keenan owns Caduceus Cellars, a winery in Jerome, Arizona. He turned his passion into a business in 2004, when his first wine called Primer Paso was made and quickly sold out. He’s been running his own winery ever since.
The Pixies’ David Lovering is a magician
Some might recognize David Lovering as not only the drummer of Pixies, but also as The Scientific Phenomenalist. Lovering has a passion for science magic, where he incorporates physics experiments and other scientific phenomena into his magic shows.
Jack White is an upholsterer
Before becoming known as the guitarist in The White Stripes, Jack White worked as an upholsterer in Detroit. At the time, White was mentored by fellow upholsterer and musician Brian Muldoon. The two recorded two singles together on vinyl while working together, and as legend has it, they hid 100 vinyl copies of one of their singles in random pieces of furniture that Muldoon worked on. In 2014, it was reported that two of those records have actually been found. White later went on to start his own upholstery business called Third Man Upholstery, which is now the name of his record label.
White recently got back in touch with his upholstery roots when he refurbished an antique couch at Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis nearing the end of 2016.
Jack White at Third Man Upholstery attacking Sam Phillips’ office couch
for the new renovation of Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis.
Matthew & the atlas lead singer is a landscape gardener
For the duration of Matthew & the Atlas’ run, Matthew Hegarty has worked as a landscape gardener.
Brian May of Queen has a Ph.D in astrophysics
The lead guitarist of Queen is also an astrophysicist. The musician received his PhD in astrophysics 2007 for work he began in 1971. May even had his thesis published, which is called “A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud.”
St. Vincent’s Annie Clark waitresses
Outside of being a musician, Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, has served as a waitress at her sister’s Mexican restaurant in Dallas called Resident Taqueria. In an interview with Consequence of Sound, Clark explained why she started waitressing at her sister’s restaurant.
“I had just flown in and went to the restaurant to hang out and see what the vibe was like,” said Clark. “When it started getting busy, it was just a case of, we saw tables that needed to be cleared, so I got a towel, and got to work. [Clark’s sister] Amy and I are both pretty Type-A, get-it-done people.”
Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) writes comic books
In 2007, MCR’s Gerard Way began writing a series with artist Gabriel Ba called The Umbrella Academy. The series was released through Dark Horse Comics and quickly became a success. Way has also been involved in writing other projects, including a Marvel series called Edge of Spider-Verse which was a five-issue run that began in 2014 and ended in 2015.
Rural Alberta Advantage
Two members of the Rural Alberta Advantage have day jobs. Paul Banwatt is a lawyer and Nils Edenloff is an engineer.
Bryan Adams is a photographer
The Canadian musician has been building quite the name for himself as a photographer. As part of Canada’s 150th birthday, his work was featured in an exhibition at the ROM back in May. Click here to check out Bryan Adams’ photography.
Nick Cave writes films
Known as the frontman of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, musician Nick Cave is not only a talented composer, but also an active screenwriter. Some of his works include The Proposition and The Wettest County in the World (which was used for the 2012 film Lawless).
Lauren Mayberry (Chvrches) is a journalist
The lead singer of Chvrches, Lauren Mayberry, lives a double life as a musician and a journalist. She currently freelance writes for an online magazine called Talkhouse and works as an editor on the feminist website TYCI.
Kev Kharas (Real Lies) is an editor
Kev Kharas is not only a member of the UK electronic group Real Lies, but he is also a writer and editor. He currently works as an online editor for Vice UK.
Liam Gallagher (Oasis) is a fashion designer
In 2009, Oasis’ Liam Gallagher launched a fashion label called Pretty Green, named after the song by The Jam. Gallagher told NME in an interview that one of the main reasons for opening Pretty Green was the lack of options in the men’s clothing market.
“I’m just doing it [launching the clothing range] because there’s a lack of…the stuff I want. You can’t really get it,” he said. “I’m not gonna be putting anything out unless I’d wear it.”
Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) is a pilot
The lead singer of this classic rock band is also a pilot. Dickinson worked for Astraeus Airlines piloting commercial planes, and following the company’s closure, he chose to take the entrepreneurial path and open his own company aircraft maintenance company called Cardiff Aviation Ltd.
Dickinson often incorporates his career as a pilot with his career as a musician. During Iron Maiden’s 2008-2009 “Somewhere Back in Time World Tour,” Dickinson famously took his band on tour in a Boeing 757, which he flew himself.
Erykah Badu is a midwife
Erica “Erykah” Abi Wright, aka Erykah Badu, has been dubbed in the music industry as “the first lady of neo soul” and “the goddess of soul.” Badu is also a certified doula, also known as a spiritual midwife. Throughout her career as a doula, Badu has helped birth 40 babies.