5 Times Heavy Metal Legends Turned Up In Surprising Places

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

When talking about heavy metal stars, many people assume that they stick to the same narrow-minded stereotype – that of long hair, dark clothes and a gloomy demeanour.

Real life tells us that’s simply not true. The rock industry is full of flamboyant characters, and this is reflected in some of the strange places that some music legends have turned up in. Read on to find out five curious things about your favourite stars that you may not have heard before.

Rob Halford (and others) – Kentucky colonel

Rob Halford must attract positions of authority. He’s part of a band with ‘priest’ in its name, he’s known as the ‘metal god’ and now he’s an official colonel.

The Kentucky Colonel is the highest title that the state’s governor can give to someone, and Halford earned it for his ‘noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to the community, state and nation’. No prizes for guessing that current governor Andy Beshear is a Judas Priest fan.

As great as this honour sounds, Halford’s not the first rocker to get the award. Other honorary musical colonels include John Lennon, Robert Plant and Dave Mustaine.


Ozzy Ozbourne – rock’n’ roll casino ambassador


We’re all used to seeing Ozzy in places that you wouldn’t normally expect to see the ‘Prince of Darkness’ – an MTV clip of him in a music video with bubbles in (often called one of the best clips on The Osbournes) being one of them.

Still, it was something of a surprise to fans to see the Sabbath rocker become a partial owner of a heavy metal gambling site in 2017. New online casinos normally attract very little media attention, but the launch of Metal Casino caught the attention of major news outlets.

The site claims to offer ‘only the edgiest games’ aimed to please the tastes of heavy metal fans. It also teams up with big rock brands to give customers the chance to win concert tickets, backstage passes and merchandise.

Ozzy himself was impressed by the casino’s ability to ‘keep it real’, which is what he says he’s tried to do all his career…the reality show about him and his family in a multi-million-dollar LA mansion aside, of course.


Bruce Dickinson – commercial airline pilot


He sang about a ‘Fear of the Dark’ just before he quit Iron Maiden in ‘92, but Bruce Dickinson clearly has no fear of flying. He started off by training to be a commercial pilot and even flew the band’s personal plane, Ed Force One, on their world tours after he re-joined the band.

In 2012, he set up an aircraft maintenance company that also helped train the next generation of pilots, proving that he was in it for the long haul, so to speak.

Bruce is an interesting character. Apart from his aviation interests, he lists TV and film, craft beer and even fencing among his passions, so it’s possible you’ll see him in any of these fields publicly in the future.


Dave Mustaine – horse breeder

You may remember that Dave Mustaine was also a Kentucky colonel like Rob Halford. Well, he can add another badge of honour to his repertoire: he’s a recognised horse breeder.

He has the space for it, too. His 11-acre ranch, which he put up for sale in 2019, is home to stables where he and his wife breed the horses and prepare them for shows. The couple have also reached out to animals in need in the past, including taking in a pregnant mare and saving a horse from a junkyard.

In 2007, the rocker announced the arrival of a new colt within his family – a black beauty by the name of Zane, which means ‘gracious gift from God’ apparently. A bit like Dave must appear to those horses that he rescues.


James Hetfield – beekeeper

Metallica’s turbulent past, including an infamous YouTube video of them arguing, has led frontman James Hetfield to seek a peaceful haven – although his chosen pursuit might not be most people’s idea of peace.

The rocker has been tending to bees for some time now, picking up the hobby at his Californian ranch where he keeps several hives. If you think that sounds dangerous, then you’re probably right: Hetfield was once stung by several bees at once, after one stung him on the ankle and the rest ‘sensed it’ and flew in to help their comrade.

Still, Hetfield considers it to be his ‘me time’, or should that be ‘bee time’? Whichever it is, he’s surely the world’s first-ever metaller-turned-beekeeper.