There’s an unexplainable synapse that sparks within our brain when we mentally latch onto something that fascinates us. It’s the same reason that some people collect state quarters and others take up fencing. We connect with our hobbies, they become a creative extension of ourselves, a platform to share with others.
So what happens to those quirky passions when you exchange the two bedroom suburban home for a million dollar estate or the kids meal for escargot? Contrary to the notion that successful musicians lead lavish lives with only elegant and refined extracurriculars, there are some who are just as odd and inspired as the rest of us.
Kasabian lead singer,Tom Meighan is a bit of a movie fanatic. The English Indie rocker forked out 10,000 pounds or roughly US$16,000, for the bicycle used on the set for E.T. And if that isn’t enough he had a life size version of E.T. shipped in from the States.
“I’m into weird sci-fi stuff and I like buying things like Han Solo from Star Wars and stuff—you know weird things,” Meighan said.
Nearly the entire third floor of Rod Stewart’s home is dedicated to his crafted model train set. Stewart has been an obsessive train crafter for quite some time. Model Railroader Magazine featured his extravagant and intricately crafted train station. And Gibson reported that in 2007, during his 63-city American tour, the singer hauled around seven suitcases of modeling equipment.
“I pity a man who doesn’t have a hobby like this one?it’s just the most supreme relaxation,” Stewart said.“Every person should have one hobby that really captures his interest.”
Railroading definitely means a lot to Stewart. “It means more to me to be on the cover of Model Railroader than to be on the cover of a music magazine.”
During his time at Imperial College in London, Queen guitarist Brian May had to cut his time studying interplanetary dust short when the band blew up. But his interest in the universe didn’t end there. After the unfortunate death of lead singer Freddie Mercury, the band disbanded and May went on to get his doctorate in science. With fellow astronomers, Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott he co-wrote, Bang! The Complete History Of The Universe.
May describes the galactic book: “We stress: BANG! is written in English rather than the language of mathematics, designed to be clear to anyone not previously deeply immersed in Astronomy, but with an appetite for understanding..” May also has asteroid 5266, Brianmay named after him.
When Billy Corgan isn’t gathering really long album compilations for The Smashing Pumpkins, he might be caught watching TNA Wrestling. Corgan is a die-hard pro-wrestling fan. Just a few weeks ago he was a featured guest on popular wrestling series, “Monday Night Mayhem.” He will also feature two female wrestlers in his new music video for “Otawa.”
Corgan told The Chicago Tribune, “It’s not political for me. In the musical world, it got political. I stopped reading all music press and now just read wrestling press.”
When The Pixies went their separate ways, drummer David Lovering moved onto the next logical career—magician. He got his start after a friend took him to the International Brotherhood of Magicians, on stage he was known as “The Scientific Phenomenalist.” He returned as the Pixie’s drummer when they reunited in 2004.
Lovering told insidemagic, “It’s a combination of everything I love. I run out there in a lab coat. At first it’s just me running around and being a nut, then I bring out a meteorite that gives me special powers and the magic starts.”
6. Jim James & M. Ward
Ever wonder where you can find some decent crème brulee? Check out creme-bru-Log, the website where My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and She & Him’s M. Ward review the tasty custard. When they aren’t perfecting folk harmonies (Monsters Of Folk) they rate crème brulee on a log scale similar to stars or thumbs up.
Here’s a sample from Jim James’ review of a Cuban flan: “There is this sweet older woman who keeps motioning to me to follow her thru a door which appears to be leading to a kitchen of some sorts…i dont normally go with strangers but i follow and oh the smells…garlic and olive oil and black beans in a pot and frying pork…but these are not what she wants me to see…somehow she is onto me and knows my true passion…”i know theese is not the brulee…” she says…”but perhaps is close enough?” close enough and miles beyond though not much to look at at first the cream of her enchanted flan fills my mouth- tastebuds and tearducts flood with joy and i feel the eggs in their primitive state…”
His momma probably didn’t have to tell him to eat his spinach. Wilson loved his health food so much that in 1969 he opened and operated “The Radiant Radish,” a health food store in West Hollywood. It’s been reported that he would open at random hours of the day and night and often wear his pajamas while he worked. Despite Wilson’s love for health food, it seemed his desire for illegal substances was also prevalent; the store only stayed in operation for a year.
In 1968, Stones bassist Billy Wyman started to notice fragments embedded in the ground around his home. Already an avid archeology fan, Wyman purchased his first metal detector in 1990, which lead him to discover the site of a Roman homestead, and his passion took off. A dedicated metal detector enthusiast, Wyman was delighted to find that his daughter was interested in his passion as well. Only problem was, at the time the metal detector wasn’t a good fit for her. So Wyman did the only rock ’n’ roll thing to do. With the help of C. Scope Metal Detectors, he designed his own, The Bill Wyman Signature Detector. His light-weight detector is currently on the market, and can be purchased at Billwymandector.com, where you can also see his favorite detecting locations and his best treasures.
While it might seem like working with one band (Tool) and resurrecting another (A Perfect Circle) might be taxing enough, Keenan also maintains his own vineyard. His neat flash site, caduceus, has his award-winning wine available for sale, or you can physically purchase his wine at the Caduceus Cellars Tasting room in Arizona.
Wine Spectator asked him what decision he’s made with his wine business that has been the most successful/unsuccessful.
“…just because I have to understand that my initial fan base for my wine is people who are interested in my band. Which is not necessarily the best thing, since they’re not necessarily seasoned wine drinkers who know what they’re drinking. But perhaps their friends are or their parents are, so if I can just get that wine into their hands, it’ll grow from there because we’re doing some pretty good wines here…”
How does Sufjan Stevens pick up the ladies? With his sexy knitting hobby of course. In an interview with slavetotheneedles he said, “Some women really go for it. One time on the subway I was scolded for not knitting European style. I’ve since learned.”
Stevens has been a knitter since he learned in Kindergarten, and when slavetotheneedle asked if he knits on tour he simply replied, “Always. At my Sunday knitting circle we listen to Willie Nelson’s Spirit, and Dolly Parton’s Greatest Hits.”
Richard Hall, formerly known as the artist Moby, and his wife Kelly were chatting about unrequited interests when they realized they had something in common. The pair always wanted to open a café/restaurant. In 2002, the mutual forces inspired the opening of TeaNY, vegan/vegetarian café and restaurant in the lower east side of Manhattan. TeaNY also specializes in nearly 100 different types of tea from around the world. All TeaNY tea and products can be purchased online at teany.com.
“And now I can editorialize a bit and say that I love teaNY. It’s bright and pretty and the food is great and the drinks are great and it’s my pride and joy and I know it’s shameful for me to gush and wax enthusiastic over teaNY, but I really do love it,” Moby said.