Music  |  Lists

14 Jobs Musicians Had Before They Were Famous

June 25, 2011  |  8:00am

Let’s face it. Nobody is born a rock star. During the long and winding road to stardom, there are quite a few pit stops. Somewhere along the way, most musicians have to take another job to make ends meet. Here are just a few musicians who worked hard to pay the bills before fame struck.

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14. Eddie Vedder – Night Security Guard
Grunger Eddie Vedder used to patrol the grounds of the La Valencia Hotel as a security guard before he rocked the stage. Rumor has it he was eventually fired for playing his guitar instead of doing his job.

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13. Nils Edenloff, lead singer of The Rural Alberta Advantage – Computer Engineer
This vocalist liked his job so much, he’s kept it even after Rural Alberta Advantage made it big.

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12. Joe Lewis – Employee at a Pawn Shop
Joe Lewis’ job at a local pawnshop helped get him his first gig as a rock star. He and the only other employee who worked in the shop did not get along so instead of talking, Lewis picked up his very first guitar and jammed out all day. The rest is history.

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11. Jack White – Upholsterer
Before White started Third Man Records, there was Third Man Upholstery, his very own furniture shop. The musician was so into upholstery, he even started a band called The Upholsters in honor of the 25th anniversary of the shop his mentor Brian Muldoon owned. Listen to him talk about upholstering for a whole six minutes, courtesy of NPR, by clicking here

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10. Ryan “Honus Honus” Kattner of Man Man – Barista
In order to make ends meet, Kattner kept his career as a barista during the very beginnings of Man Man. Something tells us that Kattner wouldn’t be too happy if we were to ask him for a venti non-fat half-caf latte ever again.

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9. Girl Talk – Biomedical Engineer
Musical mixologist Gregg “Girl Talk” Gillis engaged in a totally different kind of science before he became the master of the mash up.

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8. Kurt Cobain – Janitor
Cobain had to sweep floors before he could sweep the Billboard charts with smash hit Nevermind.

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7. Death Cab for Cutie Bassist Nick Harmer – Sanitation Worker
Trash man turns bassist for smash hit indie band. Sounds like the American Dream to us.

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6. Chris Cornell – Fish Handler
Before Chris Cornell joined Soundgarden, he worked for a seafood wholesaler. His job entailed wiping up the slime left behind by the fish and throwing away the left over guts. Ew.

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5. Ozzy Osbourne – Construction Worker, Trainee Plumber, Car Factory Horn-Tuner and Slaughterhouse Worker
This master of odd-jobs apparently had experience with blood and guts even before the infamous bat incident. Nothing prepares you for a career as the Prince of Darkness better than time spent working in a slaughterhouse

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4. Mick Jagger – Porter at a Mental Hospital
This rock ’n’ roll superstar paid the bills while attending the London School of Economics by working with those who needed some of their own emotional rescuing.

3. Wayne Coyne – Chef at Long John Silvers
Weird and wacky Wayne Coyne kept a roof over his head with a gig cooking for fast food joint Long John Silvers before he made the big bucks. He says in the above clip that he “truly loved” working there.

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2. Cyndi Lauper – Dog Kennel Cleaner and Ear Piercer
Eveyone knows girls just wanna have fun. In Lauper’s case, that used to mean wild and crazy nights cleaning up dog poo and piercing ears.

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1. Gene Simmons – Assistant to Editor at Glamour and Vogue
We suspected Papa Gene knew a little bit about makeup from his elaborate stage presentation, but now we know why. Before he made teasing your hair and wearing makeup okay for men everywhere, he was working as an editorial assistant for one of the top fashion magazines in the country. Gene, let’s see you Vogue.

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