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Tuesday 23 September 2014

The after-life... musicians who decided to go and get a day job

Published 13/12/2008 | 00:00

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So what do you do when you're too old to Rock 'n' Roll but too young for the carpet slippers and pipe?

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Well, you can try music management, the media or a respected career in academia.

But if you once played bass in the Rolling Stones, there really is only one obvious career choice: designing and marketing your own-brand metal detector.

In the roster of strange career moves for ex-rockers, Bill Wyman is out there in a field of his own, digging it up.

Bill Wyman

The man who quit the Stones in 1993 is now a leading light in the metal detectorist movement, designing and selling his own machines.

The Bill Wyman Signature Detector is a 'lightweight and adjustable implement and comes with a free informational DVD', according to the press release for this unlikely piece of rock 'n' roll merchandise.

"Metal detecting is not just for anoraks or eccentrics," says Bill.

"It's probably the best and the most enjoyable way of learning about our history.

"On any garden, country field, footpath, woodlands, beach or moorland, you can find a huge variety of historical objects, all easily located with this high quality metal detector."

And don't worry, the Bill Wyman Signature Detector comes with a money-back guarantee, just in case you can't get no satisfaction.

Brian May

Queen guitarist Brian May is now Dr Brian May CBE, astrophysicist, chancellor of Liverpool's John Moores University and author of the book A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud.

May decided several years ago to go back to his astrophysics studies, interrupted in the early 1970s by the music business, to complete his doctorate.

And he now makes frequent appearances on the BBC's stargazing show, The Sky at Night, with the legendary Sir Patrick Moore.

Brian Cox

Brian May is not the only former chart star pondering the mysteries of the universe, former D:Ream keyboard player Brian Cox is now an experimental physicist working on the European supercollider at CERN in Switzerland.

D:Ream, who featured a vocalist from Derry (Peter Cunnah), were best known for lending New Labour their election anthem Things Can Only Get Better.

These days, their former keyboard player is more likely to be found smashing atoms deep underneath an Alpine mountain. near Geneva.

Kim Wilde

The 1980s pop star who sang Kids In America is now a professional garden designer and breeder of rare flowers.

Wilde does still perform occasionally but these days prefers the Chelsea Flower Show to the Brixton Academy.

Alex James

If horticulture is the new rock 'n' roll, then former Britpop star Alex James is the new Elvis.

The former Blur guitarist (though they are about to reunite) is now a "gentleman farmer" who specialises in rare breed sheep and organic cheese. James is still touring (sort of) and every year he organises a 'Cheesy Rider' tour to promote his cheeses.

A regular face on food and farming TV shows, James says "Blur fans don't buy records any more, they buy cheese".

Roger Daltrey

Who singer Daltrey (right) was one of the first rock stars to move into alternative employment when he set up his own fish and worm farms in the 1980s.

He has had mixed fortunes in the business but today, Daltry's Boringwood Trout Farm is famous for providing top quality fish to fisheries throughout the UK midlands.

Richard Coles

Richard Coles was the speccy keyboard player in 1980s camp-disco queens Bronski Beat and later on, The Communards.

These days, he is the Right Reverend Richard Coles, Chaplain to the Royal Academy of Music in London. After appearing with Jimmy Somerville (below) on the biggest- selling single of 1986 (The Communards' cover of Don't Leave Me This Way), the former choir school boy gave up pop stardom to pursue theological studies at Kings College London. He was ordained in 2005 (right) and today mixes his spiritual work with frequent TV and radio appearances as a cultural commentator.

Bryan Adams

It's a case of "Everything I do, I do it for Fu(ji)" as Canada's best loved soft-rocker trades in his six-string for a camera.

Adams is now virtually a full-time fashion and portrait photographer and recently shot the cover for Tatler magazine, capturing rock brats Kimberly Stewart, Leah Wood and Peaches Geldof in all their naked glory.

Joey 'Reverend Run' Simmons

Joseph Simmons was a founder member of hip hop pioneers Run DMC in the early 1980s.

Today, he's an ordained minister with his own MTV reality show.

Peter Garrett

If politics is "show business for ugly people", then Peter Garrett's looks must have deteriorated since his 1980s heyday as front man for Aussie politico-rockers Midnight Oil (biggest hit, Beds Are Burning).

Garrett (pictured bottom) quit music in the mid-Nineties to campaign for Australia's Labour Party and is currently his country's minister for environment, heritage and the arts.

Bruce Dickinson

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain, Bruce Dickinson, speaking, we are currently cruising at the SPEED OF ROCK!"

Yes, Bruce Dickinson, former front man of Iron Maiden is earning a living as a commercial airline pilot, flying Boeing 747s. The singer, who has fenced at international level, also has his own brand of fencing equipment.

Justine Frischmann

The former lead singer of '90s Britpop queens Elastica quit music several years ago and moved to Boulder, Colorado, where she studied visual arts and psychology at Naropa University, a small, Buddhist-inspired liberal arts college.

In July 2008, Frischmann married a US college professor and is now happily settled into an academic life.

Russell Senior and Nick Banks

Guitarist Russell Senior quit the Britpop stars Pulp in 1997 and now runs an antiques shop in his native Sheffield, specialising in antique glassware.

Pulp's drummer Nick Banks also went into the collectables business and has a specialist ceramics shop.

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