Rock ‘n’ roll is a wild and crazy career to pursue. Some handle it well, throw up devil horns and spray their hair, even in the afterlife. Others enjoy the experience but discover that they want to pursue other things outside of touring and playing music. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this, as passion ebbs and flows. Musicians grow older, or circumstances change and new things excite them more.
Here are 10 artists who traded in their musical glory to try something new or switch directions to go down a brand-new career path.
As It Is drummer Patrick Foley has had a fantastic run with the band but recently shared that he’s leaving to become a firefighter. “If I was ever gonna step away from something as special as playing drums in a band, it would have to be something as equally special in my head which is putting myself on the line for other people,” he shared in a statement. His bandmates are supportive of his decision and tweeted: “We could not be more proud of him (and are keeping him on speed dial for when we next use pyro in a live show).”
Bad Religion‘s Dr. Greg Graffin, while not officially quitting the music world, did get heavily into the world of academics and writing. He has a Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell and wrote his dissertation on evolution and its relationship with religion. As an evolutionary biologist, he has written books, given lectures and even received a Rushdie Award for Cultural Humanism in 2008 from the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy.
Yes, we’re referring to Hollywood movie star Jason Schwartzman. If you’re not a superfan of Phantom Planet, you may have not known that Schwartzman co-founded and played drums with the band in 1994 and stayed until 2003. He left to pursue acting, and you can now see him in many Wes Anderson films, including Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore and more. He’s also in the cult classic comedy Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.
David Lee Roth
David Lee Roth parted ways with Van Halen for only a short time when he pursued work as a paramedic in 2004. In an interview with The Guardian, Roth shared, “I probably have over 200 911 calls on my ticket in the last six years alone. I live a very different life away from music.” Even though he reunited with the band in 2007, he’s a state-licensed EMT in New York.
Terry Chimes, former drummer for the Clash, Black Sabbath, Hanoi Rocks and more, found his new calling in 1994 when he became a chiropractor with his own Essex-based office, Chimes Chiropractic. In 2013, he returned to the music scene when he joined the English/Swedish supergroup the Crunch.
Blur‘s hit record and title track for Parklife was a major release for the world of Britpop and rock. Now, you can find former drummer Dave Rowntree in the world of politics serving in the Norfolk County Council, where he’s a representative for the Labour Party. Undoubtedly, this English rocker is fighting for progressive values.
Anthrax guitarist and co-founder Dan Spitz isn’t just a guitar virtuoso—he’s now a master watchmaker. After devoting years of his life on the road, he was ready to settle down and spend time with family. Spitz is also a third-generation watchmaker, and his watches cost anywhere from $50,000 to more than $2 million.
Jeff “Skunk” Baxter
Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is a renowned touring guitarist who once traveled with classic-rock acts such as Steely Dan and Spirit. He now serves as a defense consultant after he became increasingly interested in military-grade hardware and software. Baxter studied these mechanisms and algorithms, ultimately earning the approval of several lawmakers. He eventually landed work consulting with the U.S. Department of Defense.
In 2015, NME interviewed several indie stars from 2005 to see what they were doing a decade later. They caught up with indie-rock frontman for the Rakes Alan Donohoe, who decided that tech was his calling. According to the interview, he’s now a software developer in Brighton and shared, “I’d enjoyed writing music that people connected with, but this work provides an intellectual challenge that music lacked.”
Dee Snider is best known for his eccentric and energetic performances fronting Twisted Sister. As Snider aged, he didn’t entirely leave music behind. Instead, he went on to become a successful radio DJ, podcaster and narrator for shows such as Breaking The Band. He even did voice-over work on SpongeBob SquarePants and as video game villain Gol Acheron for Jak And Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Needless to say, Snider has kept busy outside of live touring.