10 Celebrities With Goofy Hobbies Nobody Would Have Expected
No musician can actually rock and roll all night and party every day. Even the wildest, craziest rocker needs a break from utter debauchery and ear-splitting volume every now and again, and so they develop hobbies.
Some of these side interests—running restaurants, making fine wine, or collecting rare and expensive cars—just scream, “I’m a rich rock star and my used floss is worth more than your entire house.” Others are more pedestrian in nature. They’re just about the last things you’d expect multi-millionaire rock gods to care about, but keep in mind that they’re human beings, just like anybody else. Just because they pay the bills by stringing together a few chords and singing bad poetry into a mic, doesn’t mean their off-the-clock interests can’t be as goofy as our own.
10Red Hot Chili Peppers Are Chess Masters (Especially Flea)
When one thinks of games that musicians play to pass the time backstage, one usually thinks of standbys like poker, rummy, and Let’s Hide The Crack From The Cops. Chess usually comes to mind only when thinking of classically trained members of a prim and proper orchestra. Well, now you can add crazy funk-punk rockers to that list. It turns out the legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers are big into the game, regularly playing each other backstage.
Bassist Flea, however, seems to be the band’s grand champion—even daring to challenge an actual chess master backstage during the Brazilian Rock In Rio festival, back in 2011. Flea, along with several other people (both in the band and out of it), took on Magnus Carlsen, who was—and still is—the top-ranked chess player in the world. Naturally, Carlsen beat everybody, as World Champions are wont to do, but Flea impressed everybody with his showing, lasting longer than anyone else and displaying impressive creativity in the loss. If he ever decides to stop being a full-time awesome-at-bass guy, he could well turn this chess thing into a second career.
9Art Garfunkel Walks Literally Everywhere
After a long day of folk-rocking, Art Garfunkel of the ambiguously-named duo—Simon and Garfunkel—likes to unwind by strapping on some sneakers and walking just about anywhere a human can physically walk.
As the son of a traveling salesman, Garfunkel has always been fascinated with seeing new places, and this has culminated in several long-term walking expeditions. It all started in the early 1980s, when he traveled from California to Japan. Because Garfunkel is probably not Jesus, he did not walk across the entire Pacific Ocean, but rather from one end of Japan to the other. The trek took him three weeks, and it made him feel so good that he decided to embark on a bigger challenge.
Thus, in the mid-80s—while still an active recording artist—Garfunkel decided he was going to walk across America, starting in New York City and ending at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. This trek took him until the mid-90s to complete, mainly because he didn’t do it in one fell swoop. Rather, he would walk several kilometers a day, and then either stay somewhere for the night, or fly back to New York to record and make money, before flying back and picking up his adventure where he left off.
That doesn’t take anything away from the fact that he walked over 4,800 km (3,000 mi) just because it made him feel good. If you want to complete the Art Garfunkel Walk Across America without stopping, be our guest. Get some comfortable sneakers and free up about 42 days in your schedule, because you’re going to need every second of it.
8Slash Is A Pinball Nut
Many musicians love video games, but few seem to care that much about pinball. Slash, formerly of Guns N Roses, is the exception. The top-hatted rocker was first introduced to pinball in the early-90s by his ex-wife’s family, and hasn’t stopped playing since. While he freely admits to not being very good at it, he still vastly enjoys playing whenever he gets the chance. And that’s okay, nobody ever said a hobby only counts when you’re great at it.
Obviously, his iconic look would make it impossible to frequent public arcades (it also doesn’t help that arcades barely exist anymore). Therefore, Slash has taken to building a game room in his home, with several pinball machines that he apparently owns all the high scores on. This means that he has bested countless brutal competitors over the years, such as himself, himself, his wife, himself, and maybe his bassist.
His love of pinball culminated in the mid-90s, when he took part in creating a Guns N Roses pinball machine, self-described as the loudest pinball game in the world. In it, you attempt to get the band to their show on time, with each ball representing a member of the band. No word on whether or not the Axl Rose ball shows up three hours after every other ball, only to forcibly end the game minutes later because it didn’t feel like playing after all.
7Terminator X Of Public Enemy Raises Ostriches
In 1994, Terminator X, the DJ for the iconic political rap group Public Enemy, suffered a series of injuries from a bad motorcycle accident. While recovering, X’s brother introduced him to the wide world of ostrich farming, and X has been raising the African variety of them ever since.
His 15-acre ranch out in California has dozens of ostriches, most of whom X has raised from chickhood. As it turns out, ostriches are quite lucrative, in addition to being weirdly adorable. The average bird is worth anywhere from $700–$1,200, and since the average female will produce up to 50 babies in a year, the value of a well-run farm can add up very quickly.
In addition to the money, it turns out ostriches are both nutritious and delicious. Ostrich meat is considered a rare, yet highly desired delicacy. According to those who have tasted it (including X himself) it tastes like beef, but is very low in fat—even leaner than chicken.
Now, don’t go thinking that raising ostriches is some big, complicated deal that X only got into because Public Enemy money bought him the education he needed. According to X, raising ostriches is akin to working with giant chickens, as far as methods and difficulty go. This makes the act of owning a farm full of exotic birds seem like a legitimate possibility that any of us can take part in, even if we’re terrible at the turntable.
6Steve Vai Is An Amateur Beekeeper
At first glance, you’d probably assume that the only thing guitar virtuoso Steve Vai has to do with bees is that he’s one of the few people who can pull off “Flight of the Bumblebee” without tripping over his own fingers. But it turns out Mr. Vai is an avid beekeeper, who likens the act of raising the little buzzers to a “Zen like experience.” Whether he retains that same sense of zen after one of the bees decides to sting him is a question he unfortunately has never bothered to answer.
Vai first got into beekeeping almost entirely by accident. Some years back, one of his neighbors noticed a swarm of bees living in their walls. Vai, ever the keen observer, noticed that his wife’s garden looked incredible, and theorized it was due to the bees coming out and pollinating everything. Shortly thereafter, Vai and his wife purchased a bee swarm of their own, and used them to pollinate various fruit trees they had planted. He’s been raising bees ever since.
5Grandmaster Flash Collects Cheesy Souvenir Mugs
One of the founding fathers of hip-hop, Grandmaster Flash, is pretty much the dictionary definition of “cool.” He’s so cool, in fact, that it almost makes sense for him to have an incredibly dorky hobby. Flash is a collector—not of vintage instruments, or rare military memorabilia, or anything else that’s inherently fascinating. No, Flash collects souvenir mugs, like the kind any of us can buy at our local tourist shop for 10 bucks. Every time he visits a town or city to perform, he makes sure to pick up a mug commemorating his stay there.
As of 2009, Flash has over 5,000 mugs with airbrushed pictures of bridges and cheesy sayings about how awesome City X is; four years later, he could well be up to over 9,000. Every mug is contained in a special room that’s both fully insured and kept at just the right temperature to maintain mint condition. It’s still incredibly dorky, but at least he’s put some thought into it.
4Bill Wyman Of The Rolling Stones Never Leaves Home Without His Metal Detector
When we think of someone walking around with a metal detector, we tend to assume they’re poor and on the search for anything even remotely valuable that they can sell for a bit of cash. Safe to say, this stereotype does not apply to Bill Wyman—former bassist for the Rolling Stones and current leader of Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. He and the next 25 generations of his family are set for life, but he still loves his metal detector.
A long-time fan of archaeology and excavation, Wyman bought a metal detector in 1990, and soon unearthed himself an ancient homestead from the Roman Empire. Energized by such an incredible find, Wyman has been combing the British countryside ever since, uncovering a ton of incredible artifacts along the way. His finds are mostly gold coins and blades, some dating back to the 1300s. Some of these treasures are worth over 1,000 British pounds, though Wyman cares more about the history behind them than their monetary value—a very easy stance to take after spending 30 years in the Rolling Stones.
Wyman is such a metal detector aficionado, in fact, that he has released his very own line of them. The line is dubbed the Bill Wyman Signature Detector, for whatever reason. While there’s no guarantee you’ll stumble across a fortune in ancient coinage, you’ll at least have the comfort of knowing your machine is top-of-the-line, approved by a man who knows his stuff.
3Roger Daltrey Of The Who Loves Trout Fishing
After a hard day’s work producing music so ear-splitting that half the band has literally gone deaf, The Who’s Roger Daltrey likes to come home to something a little quieter. Daltrey is a master fisherman who specializes in trout, because when you’re as awesome at it as he is, you can choose which species most deserve the opportunity to be impaled and filleted with a side order of chips.
According to the man himself, when he’s fishing, he feels the same as if he’s “smoked half a dozen joints.” While he didn’t clarify if that means he thinks fish are totally hilarious, or that they’re part of a government conspiracy out to get him and only him, it does prove how into his hobby he is. He’s so into it, in fact, that he’s turned it into a side job. For the past 30 years, Daltrey has owned the Lakedown Trout Fishery in East Sussex, England, which Trout Fisherman Magazine once described as the prettiest fishery around.
We’re glad trouting has worked out so well for Daltrey, especially after his attempt at worm farming proved (to quote the man himself) “disastrous,” presumably because every worm he raised ended up on a hook.
2Alice Cooper Is Obsessed With Golf
There comes a time in most every drug-addicted rock star’s life when they realize their habits have become deadly, and they need to change them, stat. Some abandon rock entirely, others find religion. Shock rocker Alice Cooper, on the other hand, picked up a nine iron and hasn’t put it down since.
Cooper had ravaged his body throughout the years, thanks to drugs and alcohol—particularly his bottle-of-whiskey-a-day habit and his penchant for not eating, because doing so would take time away from drinking. Desperate to save his own life, he noticed how relaxing golf appeared to be, and decided to give it a shot. That shot has turned into thousands more over the years. Cooper does everything he can to get in at least 36 holes a day, six days a week. As he puts it, he has “traded one addiction for another.”
And, unlike Slash, who adores pinball despite not being that good at it, Cooper is a damn good golfer. Over the years, he’s improved his game to the point where he typically scores in the mid-70s. Not at all bad for an amateur who picked the game up late in life, simply to ensure that his life could continue past 50.
1Kylie Minogue Will Destroy You In Scrabble
Kylie Minogue is proof that you don’t need American approval to succeed in the entertainment world. Despite earning only one hit in the US, Minogue is a pop goddess just about everywhere else, and has been for the past 25 years. It’s difficult to imagine her being anything other than a star.
Well, it seems that she is also a wordsmith, particularly when it comes to Scrabble. Minogue is, according to friends, an avid player—as good as any professional Scrabblist out there (yes, they exist). She usually plays marathon sessions with friends and family, and her knowledge of the dictionary and the scoring system helps her win just about every time.
Her fanaticism with the game has even seeped into her lyrics, as judged by a line from her 2001 single “Your Disco Needs You”—“Desperately seeking someone, willing to travel / You’re lost in conversation and useless at Scrabble.” While the song itself is about how we all need to dance more to make the world a better place, we also get the feeling that being “useless at Scrabble” is about the worst insult Kylie can throw anybody’s way.
Jason Iannone is a Cracked Columnist and freelance editor who would really like an ostrich burger right about now. Following him at Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr won’t help him get that burger, but it would make him smile big, and that’s all that really counts in life, right?