10 Unexpected Hobbies of Rock Stars

Ostrich farming, cheese-making, beekeeping and more...

Ultimate Guitar
10 Unexpected Hobbies of Rock Stars

Rod Stewart

Model train collecting

Rod Stewart has given over a vast tract of house room to his miniature railway. And when he goes on tour, he books an extra room to set up his trains.  Moreover, Rod Stewart has banned the BBC from filming his model railway, describing some parts of his life as "private". He said: "There are very few places in my life that I like to keep private: that's one of them, and another is soccer on Sunday morning. We sneak to the location and the team has never given me away. Every three years Model Railroader magazine puts me on their cover, which is better than Rolling Stone."

Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)

Piloting, Fencing, Ale Brewing, Tank driving

Well, this man has done everything. Besides being an Olympic-class fencer and an accredited pilot he occasionally drives freaking tanks!

Jack White (The White Stripes)

Taxidermy and upholstery

Before reaching worldwide fame with The White Stripes, Jack White worked as an upholsterer in Detroit. He was mentored by friend Brian Muldoon, who himself was a musician, and years later, the pair reconvened for a short-lived band called The Upholsterers and recorded two singles together. In recent years, White started spending more time on another hobby of this, collecting animal taxidermy.

White’s obsession with dead stuffed animals is no secret and he talks openly about his hobby. “I have a huge taxidermy collection at home,” he said in a recent interview. “I’ve got a zebra head, two gazelles, an eland, a kudu, a giant white elk…”

Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle)


Besides being a frontman for Tool and A Perfect Circle, Maynard’s also a professional winemaker who lives on an Arizona vineyard.

“In some ways, the low expectations work in my favor,” Keenan says. “If a wine enthusiast hears who I am before they taste my wine, they may say, ‘Ok, I’ll endure this glass,’ but they’ll be surprised at how good it is after tasting it. They might not take me seriously initially, but if they knew anything about my music, they’d know I take everything I do seriously.”

Alex James (Blur)



Alex James has retreated to a farm in the Cotswolds to make cheese. Where once he had groupies, an entourage and fans, he's now got sheep.

'From hard drugs to soft cheese! Ha ha! That's me! From boozy, vegetarian vampire of the Groucho Club, to rural sober family man!'

Steve Vai



Steve Vai is an enthusiastic beekeeper. His hobby started as the result of a swarm in a neighbor’s yard. Vai began to study bees and ended up with five of his own hives. He bottles honey for his friends and gives the jars as gifts.

Terminator X (Public Enemy)

Ostrich farming

The author of Black Planet and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Terminator X retired from Public Enemy in 1999 to tend to African ostriches on a 15-acre farm in North Carolina. now I'm going to raise giant birds

Jeff Beck

Building hot rods from scratch

Jeff Beck is not afraid to get his hands dirty while working on his Hot Rod collection. According to him, His uncle owned an MG roadster and one of his favorite memories as a kid was being stranded in the woods with the MG and his uncle when the MG would break.

'Constructing a hot rod takes a lot of patience. It's the same with music. There's no use cutting corners, but I enjoy the process.'

Lemmy (Motörhead)

Nazi Memorabilia Collecting

Much has been written about Lemmy's fascination with Nazi Germany and his collection of German war memorabilia. "The Germans had the best uniforms," he said. "The bad guys always have the best stuff — the Confederates, Napoleon."

In interviews for Al Jourgensen's biography, the Ministry frontman talked about catching Lemmy in a particularly compromising position after a show in Austin in 1995. "I knocked [on Motörhead's] bus. No answer. So I open the fuckin' door and there's Lemmy in a complete full-in Gestapo uniform spanking a naked chick with a riding crop. She was loving it. So was he. I apologized and closed the door."

Jim Martin (Faith No More)

Growing monster pumpkins 

The former Faith No More guitarist now grow pumpkins. But not just any pumpkins, but huge ones. For example, this 1,087-pound monstrosity won first prize in a major contest in California that drew competitors from around the state.

Trending stories

74 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ~Maxi King~
    So before anybody says it:  Simply collecting nazi-stuff doesn't mean you identify with the ideology. 
    Doesn't mean you don't either...
    Doesn't mean you do though.
    I should elaborate my point of view. Whether or not people like it, the third reich and nazi's were a very important part of military history. A lot of German army memorabilia, particularly SS stuff, is very rare, expensive, and much sought after. You don't have to be a Nazi to own those pieces of history. I personally think it's no different than collecting old coins, or confederate money; old weapons; antique guitars; pins; vehicles. Usually it's just a hobby. Not trying to take away from the fact that people still follow that ideology, and undoubtedly collect that memorabilia as well, but it's not the norm in my opinion.
    For sure, I totally agree that someone can collect that stuff without idetifying with the ideology, which was Maxi King's point to begin this thread. I was simply saying that it is possible that some people will collect that stuff because they do identify with it.  I don't know which category Lemmy falls into. Hopefully, it's the first one, collectors motivated by the financial value (and if it's not the money, I don't know why one would collect that, since it's pretty morbid). But there are people who identify with that, sadly, and Lemmy being a popular rock star doesn't mean it's totally impossible that he would be in that category. I do hope he's not.
    For sure there are people who do collect because they believe in that nonsense. But I'm pretty sure there's plenty of documentation on Lemmy denouncing Hitler and the Nazi's.
    I read a Lemmy interview where he spoke about it: "(The Nazi's) made the best shit. If Israel made the best shit, I'd collect that instead. But they didn't." World War 2 was the single biggest event in human history. Plenty of rock stars have exhibited a fascination with the Nazi's, and it's understandable, considering the effect they had on the course of history. Artists would naturally be drawn towards this on some level.
    but doesn't roleplaying you being a gestapo officer during sex kind of suggest that you do?
    Lemmy was not racist or fascist. He simply liked the aesthetics and the imagery and had a fascination with humanity's predilection for war.
    He even said himself that if he was a nazi he was a god damn awful one because he has had so many black girlfriends. 
    Before people unfairly assume Lemmy was a Nazi in disguise, here's him talking about a problem a black guitarist was having:
    Just because people appreciate war gear it doesn't mean they approve the people who made them and the way they were used. Germany invested a lot on that segment back then for obvious reasons, it's understandable the weapons, vehicles and such were very advanced and are interesting to study. How many people enjoy playing war videogames depicting representations of the World Wars (Battlefield 1 and the upcoming Call of Duty) and appreciate the representation of all the gear, it doesn't mean they support what had happened.
    Yeah. German WWII-era weapons were some of the best, and are still fascinating. Admiring a piece of equipment doesn't mean you admire what is was used for or who it was used by.
    Jack White is kind of an all around tinkerer, I feel like he was kind of sold short. He's made his own Tesla coil, has an official position as a curator of recorded music, and re-outfits all sorts of machines. Taxidermy is also sold short as a hobby/profession. How they end up with the animal may not always be super awesome, but the art itself is impressive. Bruce Dickenson is cool as hell. I'm not a metal guy at all, but I've always thought he was awesome.
    Where do you find a Gestapo uniform these days anyway?
    Grandpa's attic.
    My grandfather died at Auschwitz, you know. He fell out of a guard tower.
    My grandfather also died at Auschwitz.  He was hit by some knucklehead falling from a guard tower. 
    Funny that you should mention that... Some drunken idiot fell out of a guard tower, hitting another idiot who forgot to engage the safety on his rifle, which caused it to accidentally discharge, killing my Grandfather before the first two could hit the ground.  
    When I visited Qatar, I went to the markets and in one of the buildings, there was a room full of Nazi crap. Uniforms and weapons, but my personal favorite was a Nazi fez.
    There's plenty of places to buy uniforms and gear. Original stuff is obviously more expensive and rare, but all sorts of reproduction stuff. Hessen antique is one website that you can get stuff, both original and repro.
    "I knocked [on Motörhead's] bus. No answer. So I open the fuckin' door  and there's Lemmy in a complete full-in Gestapo uniform spanking a naked  chick with a riding crop. She was loving it. So was he. I apologized  and closed the door."       Overkill, much? ...I'll see myself out.
    Brian May with his astronomy thing. Okay, yeah, I know, he has a degree and has actually authored some legit science papers on the subject, but to the eyes of the millions of Queen fans out there, astronomy and physics are kind of secondary to his playing guitar. Not that that's a bad thing. His interest in astronomy is one of the big reasons May is a big personal hero of mine.
    i have a amature beekeeper next yard over. mowing my lawn fucking sucks, fuck him and fuck bees. and i know the whole planet would die but for bees... after getting stung multiple times, Im ok with that.
    Of all the "rock star" model train collectors you chose fucking Rod Stewart over Neil Young?
    1st of all, I think even Young admits that Stewart is above his level. 2nd of all, why did you put "rock star" in quotes? His stuff with The Faces and his 70s acoustic rock albums in the 70s are nasty.
    Or even his work with Jeff Beck Group. 'Shapes of Things' was a nasty little ditty.
    By far my favorite picture of Steve Vai - Nicely done UG! I think we should all do an "add the caption" for that pic!  
    love the part about Lemmy getting caught spanking some chick. Maybe that was his real hobby.
    i thought tools hobby was making up bullshit about their new "album"
    Bedside Shred
    For what it's worth Peter Steele from TON was obsessed with Russian/Soviet history, so much so that I guess he had a collection of old soviet army uniforms, etc. plus Rasputin being on the cover of their last album
    Steve Vai looks special. Maybe that's where the pickup came from.
    nice obscure reference, but its actually a steve who was a pick-up designer at dimarzio, thats also one of my fav. bridge pups 
    Ah interesting! Yeah I had one in the bridge of an Ibanez S470 a while back. Very nice pup.
    Should have put in Phil Collins' collection of Alamo stuff. Apparently he was really into it, though I believe he has now given the collection to the Alamo museum.
    I'm 90% sure this article has been on the front page before, or at least an article so similar it wasn't worth making another one.
    UG, do yourself a favor and start including Puscifer under Maynard's list of band's he's a part of.  He's been doing that for over 20 years and they make good music.  Please check it out.  "Cuntry Boner" was ages ago.  They're much more serious these days.
    You might have tanks, wines, and nazi memorabilia, but do you have giant grumpy chickens that can break your neck if you piss them off?
    Jeff Beck's hubby isn't that weird or out there. Jim Root collects cars and has said he's a Mopar guy. James Hatfield built the car that he drove in the I Disappear video before selling it for charity. 
    Besides being a frontman for Tool and A Perfect Circle, Maynard’s also a professional winemaker who lives on an Arizona vineyard. 
    Is it a hobby if he's doing it professionally? I wouldn't count it as a hobby.
    I'm not surprised Maynard compared his music to his wine making. Both obviously take fucking forever.