Rock stardom is fickle. One day you're riding the Billboard charts and a nonstop flotilla of groupies, the next you're filling in for the animatronic dog guitarist at your neighborhood Chuck E. Cheese's and asking out one of the nine Estonian spambots who follow you on Twitter.
So if you're about to sign a record contract, take a cue from these seven artists. All have played before thousands-strong audiences, and all have followed up their fame with successful (if totally random-ass) careers.
7Vanilla Ice Is Getting Rich Renovating Houses
Mark Davis / Getty
Vanilla Ice has made a career for himself not sampling "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie, becoming an honorary member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and starring in Cool as Ice, a movie widely regarded by many to star Vanilla Ice.
It was the brave story of one colorblind man's quest to buy a respectable pair of pants.
Every leap year or so, Vanilla Ice pops up again with yet another comeback -- he tried out rap-rock when rap-rock was something adults listened to and has rebranded himself as a Juggalo -- but honestly, the guy hasn't had either an album or a single chart since 1991. How's the man born Robert Van Winkle been paying the bills?
After the Spotlight
Ice has been "flipping" houses. Meaning he buys undervalued real estate, goes in with a crew that restores the houses, then sells them for twice the price. And he's good at it. He's even written a book on the subject. Here's a whole interview he did about it in the New York Times. When a mansion foreclosed in Palm Beach, Ice swept in and bought it for $400,000. Then he renovated it -- and again, we're talking about Vanilla Ice renovating a house here -- and sold that shit for $875,000. Ice snapped up another foreclosure for $500,000, and after he got done with it, it drew offers of $2.3 million. Did we mention he's been doing this for 15 years?
Mark Davis / Getty
"Drop that zero house, and get with a hero house!" -Probably not what he says
How in the fuck did Vanilla Ice get into this business? His own idiocy -- back in the day, he dumped a bunch of his "Ice, Ice Baby" money into a buttload of houses that he barely lived in. As time passed and common sense prevailed (and the Vanilla Ice bandwagon flew off the cliff and exploded), he started dumping the properties. Only he found that by fixing them up first, he could make half a million dollars a shot. He took a bunch of courses in real estate and parlayed the "LOL VANILLA ICE IS HANGING DRYWALL IN MY HOUSE!!!" factor into free promotion.
He even has a reality show on the DIY Network, a channel for home repair and design enthusiasts. Oh, he still looks, dresses, and talks exactly like Vanilla Ice, by the way.
Vanilla Ice Real Estate
Stick with what works, we always say.
6Terminator X, the DJ for Public Enemy, Became an Ostrich Farmer
Al Pereira / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty
The Golden Age of Hip-Hop (approximately the 1980s to early 1990s) was a heady, anything-goes time. Groups like Run-D.M.C. were popularizing hip-hop the world over, the Beastie Boys were regaling audiences with giant inflatable dongs, and a pre-N.W.A Dr. Dre spent his days wearing a senior citizen's pajamas.
It was the '90s. Dignity hadn't been invented yet.
But then you had the politically charged Public Enemy. Along with blistering raps by Chuck D (one of the greatest MCs of all time) and the onstage antics of Flavor Flav (who had yet to go insane starring in VH1 reality shows), you had the backing of DJ Terminator X (aka Norman Rogers), who helped pioneer Public Enemy's sound.
He was also a pioneer of large sunglasses.
In 1994, Terminator X was in a serious motorcycle accident that pushed him toward a new vocation. So, what's the logical next step after being in one of the most important rap groups in the history of music?
After the Spotlight
You obviously become an ostrich farmer.
Because emu farming would just be absurd.
Yup, Terminator X retired from Public Enemy in 1999 to tend to African ostriches on a 15-acre farm in North Carolina. Sure, his new career has raised a few eyebrows in the hip-hop community, but declaring "I made Fear of a Black Planet and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, now I'm going to raise giant birds" is easily one of the most magical mic drops in rap history.
Also, it's a far more graceful retirement strategy than Flavor of Love, Flavor Flav's reality dating show that reached its artistic zenith when a grown woman randomly took a dump in the middle of a crowded atrium.