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Punk legends lives after music
The Guardian recently looked at where a number of punk legends, scenesters, and style icons have ended up in their later years - and it's pretty wild. Take a spin through in our gallery.
Ausaf Abbas, 55, was once the bass player for Brixton punk band Alien Kulture. Today, he's an investment banker who spent 21 years with Merrill Lynch. "We got an offer of a 20-gig tour with another band. However, our Pakistani roots reasserted themselves and we decided we’d better concentrate on passing our finals. I’m sure my 20-year-old self would look at me and shout, “Sellout!” But I don’t feel like a sellout. I’m just older and wiser."
Lesley Woods was the singer and guitarist for the Au Pairs in the late 70s. "What was really appealing was sticking two fingers up at rock musicians. Women could do it on their own terms, without having to conform to some female stereotype of having big boobs and being really pretty."
The 56 year old is now a barrister-at-law. "I started off doing asylum law, working with refugees, which tallied with my political values. I’ve always had a very strong sense of justice, and working in this area means I haven’t had to compromise my integrity." Woods says she still 'mucks about with music," but laments "it's a bit lonely doing it on your own."
Terry Chimes was the original drummer of seminal punk band The Clash. "I just wanted to be in a band, and this was the most exciting band I could find. Everyone else in The Clash was angry at the world and the establishment. I wasn’t. That’s why I left, actually. I felt like the odd one out."
After stints in Hanoi Rocks and Black Sabbath, Chimes left music and, at 37, became a licensed chiropractor. "My musical peers weren’t that surprised. The Clash’s manager Bernie Rhodes once said, “You’re like some young doctor. I can imagine you saying, ‘Here are your pills, madam.’”
As a youth, David O' Brien bounced from job to job (and bar to bar). He found Christianity to be "irrelevant" and gravitated toward punk because it "gave [me] energy."
After a particularly spirited night of drinking, O'Brien spied an occult sign on the ground and "jumped in the middle to see what happened. I didn't feel right afterwards." Beginning to wonder if there was "something else out there," he picked up a New Testament - and now at 54 is a full fledged vicar
As lead singer of the band Crass, Steve Ignorant was arguably the leader of the UK anarcho-punk movement of the late '70s.
Steve Williams (the artist formerly known as Steve Ignorant) moved to Norfolk in 2007 "with the intention of living quietly by the coast." However, after donating to the area's lifeboat service, he was taken on a trip with them - and is now a full time member. "You’re full of adrenaline when you’re on stage, but the worst thing that can happen is that you forget the words or the lead guitarist plays a bum note. It’s not the same adrenaline when you’re suddenly out at sea and pulling someone from the water. It doesn’t hit me at first, but about an hour later, it’s as if I’ve taken amphetamines. I can’t shut up about it."
Jordan (no last name) wasn't just an aficionado of punk fashion in the early days of the movement - she was an icon that eventually styled The Sex Pistols and managed Adam and The Ants.
Citing rampant sexism as her reason for leaving London and returning to her home in Seaford, Jordan took a job at her local vet's - and has been there for 22 years. Now 60, she describes her job as "something meaningful," adding, "Punk showed me you could be whatever you wanted to be, and that’s the way I’ve lived my life. I haven’t changed."
For the overwhelming majority of those who pick up an instrument or sing into a mic, there’s going to be ‘life after music’ considering the tiny number of individuals able to make a career out of the notoriously fickle business.
Still, it’s one thing to be informed your high school teacher once sang jazz covers in a local bar – it’s an entirely different thing to discover your doctor once drummed for The Clash, one of the most famous punk bands of all time. Same goes for the bassist of Alien Kulture who became an investment banker, the member of the Au Pairs who’s now a lawyer, and Steve Ignorant from Crass reborn as a lifeboatman.
The Guardian recently looked at where a number of punk legends, scenesters, and style icons have ended up in their later years – and it’s pretty wild. Take a spin through in our gallery above.