Musicians Jobs Before They Were Famous

on 1 September 2011 in Slideshows


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It’s not all luxury yachts, personal assistants, cocaine, hookers and living the high life for rock stars. Pretty much all of them had to work a day job before they hit the big time. Indeed very few indie musos in Australia let alone the US or Europe can live without doing some form of a day job in between tours these days. However, most don’t like to admit they do or have done some of the soul destroying day jobs we’ve done over the years. Count down the dirt on some of the worst day jobs rock stars have done.

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    It’s not all luxury yachts, personal assistants, cocaine, hookers and living the high life for rock stars. Pretty much all of them had to work a day job before they hit the big time. Indeed very few indie musos in Australia let alone the US or Europe can live without doing some form of a day job in between tours these days. However, most don’t like to admit they do or have done some of the soul destroying day jobs we’ve done over the years. Count down the dirt on some of the worst day jobs rock stars have done.

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    Jack White The former White Stripes front man spent a number of years working as a furniture upholsterer, eventually running his own business, Third Man Upholstery, with the slogan "Your furniture's not dead." Eventually he’d recycle his furniture business name for his record label, Third Man records.

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    Rod Stewart Before his career with The Faces took off and later then saw him reach the rock n’ roll stratosphere with his solo outings, legendary lothario Rod Stewart briefly dug six foot deep holes for a living. He was a gravedigger at Highgate Cemetery in North London.

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    Debbie Harry The Blondie front woman would end up staring out from posters on the walls of teenage boys all over the world by the late 1970s, but prior to that she was a waitress at legendary restaurant and club Max’s Kansas City in New York City, as well as a shortlived career as a Playboy bunny.

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    Elvis Costello Costello infamously worked on his ‘angry young man’ punk image while employed as a data entry operator punching in information to primitive computer systems at cosmetics firm Elizabeth Arden in London.

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    Sting Sting had a number of pretty boring jobs before he left his teaching job to become a full time muso in The Police, aged in his late 20s. As well as teaching brats the finer points of the English language, he’d held down jobs working for Inland Revenue – the UK’s tax department - in Manchester, England. He’d also punched tickets as a bus conductor and humped bricks and wood as a construction labourer.

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    Elvis Presley On completing high school, Elvis heeded his parents’ advice to get a steady job, and went to work as a truck driver for the Crown Electric Company in Memphis, Tennessee. He worked on his trucker’s arm tan and trundling down the highways, while also studying to be an electrician by night, somewhere along the way he was able to give up his day job and make a living as a muso funnily enough.

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    Brandon Flowers Coming from Las Vegas, it’s no surprise that front man Brandon Flowers worked in the hospitality industry in the city of casinos prior to fame. He worked as a bellhop lugging around bags for the high rollers at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino.

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    Tony Iommi Black Sabbath guitarist Iommi used to literally work with heavy metal after leaving school before forming Black Sabbath. He was a sheet metal worker and managed to chop off the end of one of his fingers while on the job. A prosthetic finger tip added to the damaged finger would help form his unique playing style.

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    Madonna Before Madonna’s blonde ambition saw her become one of the most famous women in the world by the late 1980s, she paid the rent while working as a dancer in New York City punching holes in donuts and serving customers at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Times Square.

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    Snoop Dogg Admittedly Tha Doggfather had a far more lucrative sideline dealing drugs, but to help pay the bills when he’d get high on his own supply, Snoop worked in a supermarket in his native Long Beach in California, asking the challenging question of shoppers whether they’d like a plastic or paper bag.

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