Musicians are weird. Well, the good ones, at least. It's a little-known, beloved factoid. While artists' news, drama, and private lives are sometimes aired to the point of over-saturation, it becomes more interesting when we learn relatively kept insight into their rockers' offstage lives.
Sure, the Prince of Darkness can command a stage and bite the head off of a bat in front of thousands of devoted, hard-rocking metalheads, but who'd have guessed he privately enjoys family time and riding four-wheelers? Thanks to The Osbournes, we now know.
While we've had time to digest some of music's hardest-rocking musicians' unlikely extracurricular activities, i.e. Alice Cooper as leisurely golfer; Steve Vai as beekeeper. We've managed to gather some additional and equally weird rock-star hobbies, including entertaining leisure activities and strange collectors' items (not ex-wives or drugs). Here are a few of our favorites.
Disclaimer: You won't see Sting on this list because a) he's not a rocker; and b) a "WTF Hobby" is only deemed "WTF" if it's discovered by the fan and not preached by the hobbyist. Because let's face it - one can only take so much Kama Sutra talk from Sting.
Musician: Bob Nastanovich WTF Hobby: Horse Racing
The Pavement percussionist's interest in horse racing sprouted in the '90s after managing a Louisville racing stable; he evidently preferred horses to Pavement's infamous discord, which ultimately led to the band's demise. But Nastanovich didn't sit and twiddle his indie-thumbs during Pavement's ten-year hiatus; instead, he took up horse racing. That is, he gambled on the sport and dabbled in its related fields, briefly representing famous female jockey Greta Kuntzweiler. He now lives in Iowa and works for racing Web sites Equibase and the Daily Racing Form, as a statistics-cruncher and reporter.
Musician: Maynard James Keenan WTF Hobby: Wine-making
There are many interesting attributes of the Tookl/A Perfect Circle front man; he served in the U.S. Army, studied at West Point, and sang in the glee club. He's since clearly earned his reputation as the brooding, lurking genius behind two of rock's mainstay acts. But Maynard is consistent with his Renaissance Man roots; nowadays, his unlikely hobby is winemaking. He owns Arizona-based Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars, and is a partner of Stronghold Winery. He embarks on promotional tours for his wine at stores including Whole Foods.
Musician: Billy Corgan WTF Hobby: WWE (fandom, not actual wrestling, sadly)
The pompous Smashing Pumpkins front man has gone as far as to describe professional wrestling a "high art form." An attendee of WrestleMania, Corgan even has old-school favorites, including Baron Von Raschke, Bob Brazil, Dick the Bruiser, and The Crusher. Adding to Corgan's fast-growing list of W.T.F. moves, he recently filmed a commercial for pro wrestling:
Musician: Mickey Melchiondo, aka Dean Ween WTF Hobby: Fishing
An avid fisher since childhood, the Ween guitarist has described the sport as "a relaxing release." Melchiondo even launched a Web site devoted to his interest, called Mickey's Guide Service (the home of Archangel Sportfishing), where Ween and fishing fans alike can view photos of the musician/fisherman proudly flaunting his daily catch, his unkempt curls and usual cigarette serving as reminder of, "Oh yeah, this dude's in Ween." But his fish-bonding has evidently warmed Melchiondo's heart; he insists he always throws back what he catches.
Musician: Kelley Deal WTF Hobby: Knitting
In an initial attempt to remain sober after battling years of heroin addiction, the former Breeders guitarist turned to a more relaxed, stay-at-home-mom kind of extracurricular activity: Knitting. She specializes in knit handbags, which she sells on her website. She released a book of handbag patterns, Bags That Rock: Knitting on the Road with Kelley Deal, in 2008.
Musician: David Lovering WTF Hobby: Magic
The Pixies drummer has a lot of notches in his musical belt. In addition to touring with Cracker, Tanya Donelly, and Frank Black and the Catholics, he allegedly turned down an offer to join the Foo Fighters. By the late '90s, however, Lovering grew tired of music and lifted the veil of a far different hobby: Magic. He utilized his collegial electrical engineering background and developed a magical stage-name called the Scientific Phenomentalist, performing science and physics experiments and tricks onstage. He later joined the Unholy Three, a touring magician trio which opened for Frank Black in 2002.
Musician: Alex James WTF Hobby: Cheese-making
While this Brit bassist is best known in Blur, he's a pretty well-versed fellow. Not only does he write a food column for British newspaper The Sun, he is also an expert cheese-maker. James owns a 200-acre cheese farm in Kingham, Oxfordshire, and so far has produced three award-winning cheeses, including Little Wallop, Farleigh Wallop, and Blue Monday - which is, of course, named after his favorite New Order song.
Musician: Grandmaster Flash WTF Hobby: Mug collecting
The DJ/rap pioneer seems like the last guy on earth to harbor a nerdy collectors' hobby, but he does... and it's really nerdy. Grandmaster Flash collects mugs. He claims to own over 5,000 mugs from around the world, even dedicating an insured and climate-controlled storage space to the souvenirs. We're suddenly starting to feel a little better about that shot-glass collection we started in high school...
Musician: Brian Johnson WTF Hobby: Car collecting/racing
Maybe it's little less "W.T.F." and little more "Jay Leno," but the AC/DC front man is known to race cars from his impressive vintage collection in national races. His go-to cars include a Royale RP-4, Pillbeam MP84, and Rolls-Royce Phantom. Talk about a "fast machine..." Wonder if he keeps his motor clean?
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