Rockstars You Wouldn’t Think Are Successful Entrepreneurs

On a highway to sell!

Rock stars are mostly known to be good at selling records and selling out arenas. Their talent is their career. Their music is their business. Most musicians are already content with that very lucrative lifestyle and stay within the music industry. Some musicians, however, venture beyond music and build their own businesses that are somewhat separate from what they are publicly known for. Some great rock icons turn out to have a passion for entrepreneurship that not many people know about. These music moguls invested in entrepreneurial ventures from wine making to coffee grinding and are surprisingly doing pretty well for themselves. Now we know that when the stage lights go down on their music career, these smart musician-preneurs have sustainable side lines to turn to.


  1. Gene Simmons (KISS)

KISS co-founder, bassist, and co-lead singer Gene Simmons is a legendary rock and roll hall-of-famer known for his giant tongue, horn-hands, and his wild stage antics. With the signature exaggerated black and white make-up and their heavy metal disco pop-rock sound, there’s no doubt that KISS has become a cultural icon. The success of their particular ‘brand’ is all thanks to the entrepreneurial genius of Gene Simmons who has overseen the merchandizing of the band’s image. Simmons is responsible in the licensing of products with the KISS name on it which ranges from KISS checkers to a KISS casket. Simmons successfully closed approximately 2,900 licensing deals of products in total. That entrepreneurial streak continued on to Simmons buying an American football team. That’s right, “The Demon” along with his KISS bandmate Paul Stanley bought a share in the American Football Club and are now proud owners of the LA KISS, based in Anaheim, California. We’re sure this team has no problem with their merchandizing. You can see the KISS logo from their heads to their toes, literally, with the band’s logo etched on their helmets and sewed into their socks.

  1. Alex Lifeson (Rush)

Not many bands have made it through the decades as long as Rush. It’s a rare feat, to endure as a band and still stay strong but it never hurts to have ventures outside of music. That’s what Rush’s transcendent guitarist Alex Lifeson has done with opening his own nightclub in his native Toronto. In 1994, Lifeson decided to partner up with Tim Notter to open the 1950s New York style nightclub The Orbit Room. The classy nightclub doesn’t play too many Rush songs in the background, rather, featured live music from their original house band, The Dexters. The band even released a live album, Hip To The Tip – Live At The Orbit Room recorded in Lifeson’s nightclub in 1995. Though Rush is more on the edgier side or rock, Lifeson admits that The Orbit Room specialize more in Blues and R&B. Sounds like a chill place to hang!


  1. Bret Michaels (Poison)

Poison lead singer Bret Michaels’ run in the world of glam metal rock solidified his own unique style of bandanas, faux leather cut-off vests, cowboy boots, and gold hoop earrings. In 2012, he had a eureka moment of lending his own style to his four-legged furry friends and created Pets Rock, his own pet accessories line, sold at Pet Smart. These products include dog collars, beds, and toys emblazoned with skulls and flames. Most of his products also feature his trademark bandana. Michaels was inspired by his very own pack of pets at home that includes several dogs, horses, and even rats. He also has his own fragrance line, aptly named Thorns and Roses. This entrepreneur mindset was born out of Michaels’ 25 years of experience in the music business. During his music career, he learned a lot of things about marketing and dealing with the right partners, and used this knowledge to build his own business ventures.


  1. Bono and The Edge (U2)

 Not only have Bono and The Edge been playing for U2 for over thirty years and are literally music legends, but they are also elite investors in the hotel business. In 1992, the two band mates purchased the two-star 19th century hotel The Clarence in Dublin, Ireland and turned it into a luxury 5-star hotel. Originally built in 1852, The Clarence was up for bidding and only Bono and The Edge were able to secure it. After 18 months of renovation costing a total of $8 million, the refurbished hotel opened again in 1996, now boasting 51 rooms and 6 floors.

Bono has also undertaken other business ventures like his own social enterprise clothing line, launched 2005. Designs of blazers, jeans, and shirts were created by Bono himself together with his wife Ali, and designer Rogan Gregory. Bono’s clothing line aimed to provide jobs for the less fortunate citizens of Africa.


  1. Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction)

Perry Farrell, lead singer of the alternative rock band Jane’s Addiction, came upon a lucrative business venture by accident. In 1991, Perry Farrell created a farewell tour for his iconic band called the Lollapalooza. The tour then evolved into a gigantic annual multi-day music festival held in Grant Park, Chicago. From 1991, when the show was conceived, Lollapalooza ran annually until 1997. The annual event then took a brief break and was revived in 2003 with a North American Tour. Perry Farrell continues to organize and produce the festival, partnering with multi-million-dollar advertising and marketing campaigns to sponsor the event. In 2010, Lollapalooza branched out of the United States and held an event in Santiago, Chile, the beginning of the world tour of the annual music fest. Farrell reportedly has a net worth of $50 million primarily from his shares with the international touring festival he created. Aside from the Lollapalooza millions, Farrell also has a successful DJ career, performing in other popular music festivals such as the Coachella Valley Music and the Arts Festivals. In fact, he holds the record as the only person to have performed at all the Coachella Festivals to date.



  1. Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden)There is something about being a rock drummer and having a restaurant named after Rock and Roll. Iron Maiden’s drummer Nicko McBrain isnt’ just all about skins but all about meat as well. Although he is a Brit through and through, he’s gotten all-American, having lived in Florida for a couple of decades now and having his own BBQ ribs restaurant, rightly named Nicko’s Rock’n’Roll Ribs. McBrain’s restaurant offers a selection of smoky Southern dishes such as barbecued pork and chicken and baby back ribs. Maiden songs are also referenced in the names of the food like the “Run to the Hills”wings. It’s not just a barbeque joint, it’s also basically a rock music jukebox with only the best of rock n’ roll being played as background music. We didn’t expect any less!

  1. Joey Kramer (Aerosmith)

Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer loves his coffee. He loves his coffee so much that he created his own organic coffee brand and opened his own café to boot. Credited for originating the name of his legendary iconic band Aerosmith, Kramer has gone through ups and downs in his career. He is of course, mostly known for hitting it big behind the kit, but he is also an author (he has written his own memoir, Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top)

and apparently, a coffee expert. He said so in his website, stating he has pounded the skins since his early teens fuelled by love for music and spirited beans.” So drumming and coffee go together in his book. In 2013, Kramer partnered with Comfort Foods, Inc. to distribute his line of organic whole coffee beans very aptly named Rockin’ & Roastin’ Coffee. And he continued to expand his business ventures by opening two branches of the Rockin’ & Roastin’ Café and Restaurant, named after his coffee beans. Smells like Kramer brewed a good business beyond the stage.

  1. Neil Young

Rock legend Neil Young knows about importance of quality sound, having been forged from the vinyl records of the 60s and 70s. And today’s digital mediums for playing music just doesn’t quite make the cut in terms of sound quality. To solve this dilemma, Neil Young became an entrepreneur and found investors to fund the solution to the problem of poor quality digital sound: the PonoPlayer. In 2011, Young launched this music device “which supports high-fidelity audio up to 192kHz/24-bit resolution”. It’s a little bit like a hippie iPod. The name Pono, according to Young, was derived from the Hawaiian word that means “righteous”.

Neil Young is out on a mission to bring the soul back to music with his portable music device. He had raised $6.2 million on Kickstarter to produce the PonoPlayer. The device prototype won “best digital portable product of the year” from Stereophile Magazine. Young has since expressed his plans to shift his PonoPlater from digital device to digital streaming.

  1. Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)


Who would have ever thought that wine and metal go together? Well, certainly heavy metal rock band Megadeth’s frontman Dave Mustaine somehow did. Since 2014, Mustaine has been producing award-winning fine wines from his own vineyard in San Diego, California. Mustaine and his wife Pam partnered with his neighbor, winemaker Vernon Kindred to found Mustaine’s Vineyards. The heavy thrash metal singer’s first wine in the cellars was a Select Cabarnet Sauvignon 2012 aptly named in reference to his metal roots, “Symphony Interrupted”. The bottles were sold at his performance with the San Diego Symphony and all 59 cases were reportedly sold out within 72 hours. Mustaine continues to make fancy metal rock-named wines thereafter, including “Blood of Heroes” “Hook in Mouth” and the most recent release , “She Wolf Rosé”.

1.Sammy Hagar (Van Halen)

Sammy Hagar is best known as the Van Halen front man after David Lee Roth left in 1995. He’s inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of the Van Halen crew. And although he has many achievements throughout his music career, Sammy Hagar is as, if not more successful as an entrepreneur. In the 1980s, he opened a club resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico called Cabo Wabo Cantina nightclub. After Cabo Wabo Cantina became a hit Mexican getaway spot, he opened another location in Lake Tahoe. Not only did he venture in beach real estate, he also cultivated his own brand of tequila from the same name of his Cabo San Lucas resort. In 1996, Sammy Hagar created the Cabo Wabo tequila, which started as the “house drink” of Cabo Wabo resort but branched out later on worldwide. Sammy’s own brand of tequila has since become the second best-selling brand of tequila in the United States, having sold more than 140,000 cases in 2006. In 2007, 80% of the Cabo Wabo tequila brand to the beverage company Gruppo Campari for $91 million. In 2011, Hagar founded a new spirits brand, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum.