Punk rock. When thinking of this musical genre one can’t help but think of angry youth, a disdain for the rich, and a DIY mentality in the production of its albums. Some find the idea of a wealthy punk artist to be an anti-thesis of punk rock ideals. Many believe putting all this money into the production of an album to reach commercial success deviates from the DIY methods, stripped down sound, and anti-establishment lyrics utilized by early punk bands. Others see punk as nothing more than a musical genre rather than a movement.
As punk moved out of the 60’s and 70’s, many punk artists broke out of the typical mold of punk and became exceptionally successful. Whether it was because they started their own record labels, their songs crossed-over into commercial success, or explored other outlets, many punk artists have found themselves in a level of wealth they may have never thought possible when they first started pushing angry, distorted chords from their amplifiers. While the move from poor teenager to wealthy adult isn’t always typical of the genre, some punk artists have accrued quite a bit of wealth throughout their careers.
10. Mike Ness – Net Worth: $3 Million
Ness and his band Social Distortion have had a very rocky history. Ness‘s drug use had led to the band going on hiatus a handful of times, putting as many as eight years between albums. However, Ness and Social Distortion had managed to produce two gold records in the early stages of their career. These records are arguably the biggest contributor to their monetary success. Even if one is not aware they’re listening to Social Distortion nearly everyone has heard their cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” or their hit single “Ball and Chain” from their self-titled album. Their follow-up album titled Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell was more popular than all initial efforts.
Social Distortion plans another record to be released this year.
9. Glenn Danzig – Net Worth: $6.5 Million
When looking back on Danzig‘s career it’s easy to see why he has obtained millionaire status. Not only is Danzig the founder and original vocalist for the still popular Misfits and acts like Samhain, but he saw a lot of success with his solo efforts after his hit single “Mother”. Danzig didn’t stop with his own projects though. Most wouldn’t believe he’s written songs for such prolific musicians as Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. Danzig went beyond his punk roots and wrote classical music with Black Aria, which found itself at the very top of Billboard’s Classical Music chart.
Danzig has also moved beyond the music industry taking small roles in films and has even started Verotik – his own adult-oriented comic book company.
8. Lars Frederiksen – Net Worth: $10 Million
Lars Frederiksen of the popular punk rock group Rancid has seen a lot of success in the music industry. Lars has been in multiple bands including Rancid, The Old Firm Casuals, UK Subs, and his solo project Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards. Of all his projects, Rancid was the most successful, with their album …And Out Come the Wolves going platinum.
An avid soccer fan, Frederiksen composed and performs the anthem for Major League Soccer Team the San Jose Earthquakes with The Old Firm Casuals. He has even produced for such notable acts as Marky Ramone of The Ramones and Boston favorites Dropkick Murphys.
7. Henry Rollins – Net Worth: $12 Million
What hasn’t Henry Rollins accomplished? For starters, his musical contributions are nothing to shirk at. Rollins, the front-man for the hard-core punk group Black Flag, went on to see success with his solo project Rollins Band, and has even played in acts like The Flaming Lips and Iggy Pop.
Like others on this list, Rollins doesn’t stop at being a musician. He is a radio and television host, has acted in numerous films, and even voiced Sean Collins in the audiobook version of the bestselling novel World War Z.
Rollins is the founder of 2.13.61 which doubles as a record label and publishing house. Through this label Rollins has released a number of spoken word albums and published several books including Get in the Van, and Black Coffee Blues. His audiobook version of Get in the Van won him a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album.
6. Tim Armstrong – Net Worth: $13 Million
Tim Armstrong is best known for his work in Rancid with fellow list-maker Lars Fredriksen. However, the knowledgeable fan of punk music probably knows him for his earlier work with Operation Ivy. Operation Ivy is notable for the fact they broke up the very night their album was released yet it still obtained cult status and it’s ska infused punk sound influenced several bands that came out of their wake. The sound would also be carried over into Rancid.
Armstrong is also part of the group of punk rockers that went out of their mold. Armstrong has written songs for pop divas Gwen Stefani and Pink and founded the hugely successful The Transplants with another list-maker, Travis Barker. Armstrong also started his own record label, Hell Cat Records, with Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion.
5. John Lydon – Networth $15 Million
John Lydon, better known by his stage name of “Johnny Rotten” is the singer of The Sex Pistols; a band that some would argue “started it all” in terms of defining what it means to be “punk”. Many people know who The Sex Pistols are whether they listen to them or not. When The Sex Pistols were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band didn’t even show up to the ceremony.
Like every name on this list, Lydon didn’t stay relegated to music. He has hosted insect documentaries on The Discovery Channel, written his own autobiographies, hosted his own show on VH1, hosted his own radio shows, and has been on numerous political discussion programs for being very outspoken about politics and the UK Royal Family.
4. Iggy Pop – Net Worth: $15 Million
While Iggy Pop may not be known as a punk rocker these days, there is no mistaking the impact his band Iggy and the Stooges had on the punk music of its time. Their biggest hit, “Search and Destroy” is another one of those songs everyone has heard but may not be able to name the band responsible for it. The Stooges song “I Wanna Be Your Dog” was even featured in an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
Iggy went on to do solo work with the likes of David Bowie and has even dabbled in acting. He has appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and alongside Tom Waits in the Jim Jarmusch film Coffee and Cigarettes.
3. Billie Joe Armstrong – Net Worth: $55 Million
Everyone has heard of Green Day so there is no mistaking where front-man Billie Joe Armstrong acquired his wealth. Their list of smash-hit singles may be more impressive than any of the other names on this list. Their rock opera American Idiot sold over 15,000,000 copies and was even turned into a Tony Award winning Broadway musical.
Armstrong, like others on the list, went on to start his own label. He runs Adeline Records with his wife and has produced albums for The Riverdales.
He has also dabbled in acting, appearing in Frank Whaley’s film Like Sunday, Like Rain with Leighton Meester of CW’s Gossip Girl as well as playing a character in the stage version of American Idiot.
2. Dexter Holland – Net Worth: $65 Million
It might be easier to list what Dexter Holland of The Offspring hasn’t done. Aside from pumping out a slew of hit singles, his band’s album Smash selling 8,000,000 copies, and starting the record label Nitro Records, Holland has accomplished quite a bit outside of music. Dexter just might be the most accomplished individual on this list.
Dexter created his own brand of hot sauce called Gringo Bandito, is a licensed airline pilot, a published doctoral student at the Keck School of Medicine, and even applied to work at McDonald’s under the name “Dexter Dufresne” after he became a huge success.
Holland is a known philanthropist, doing extensive charity work with fellow punk artist Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys.
1. Travis Barker – Net Worth: $85 Million
Travis Barker may arguably be the most successful member of the band Blink-182. While all the members of Blink-182 have been very busy after the break-up, Travis had a lot of crossover success in the Hip Hop genre and started the group The Transplants with list-maker Tim Armstrong. He is a highly sought after drummer, collaborating with artists across many genres due to the fact he practiced several styles of percussion since he was only five years old.
Fortunately for fans, Barker’s most successful group, Blink-182, got back together in 2013.