1. Kyp Malone: TV on the Radio
Ubiquitous hipster icon and all-around nice guy Malone (he of the full beard and Afro) once steamed milk for soy lattes at Bedford Avenue coffee mainstay the Verb. He also worked across the street at (now-defunct) legendary bookstore Clovis Press (along with bandmate Tunde Adebimpe and Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws).
2. Galen Polivka: The Hold Steady
The unassuming bassist for “America’s best bar band” used to work at, yep, a bar, specifically Hi-Fi off Tompkins Square, noted for its vast jukebox. Watching a lot of drunken hipsters from the other side of a barrier while listening to lots of punk, indie and classic rock seems pretty much the ideal preparation for being in the Hold Steady.
3. Madonna Louise Ciccone
The Material Girl didn’t always speak with that fancy English accent: Moving to New York in 1978 to make it big, she soon found herself pouring coffee for pervs in Times Square as a Dunkin’ Donuts server. Soon after, she was accepted as a dancer in the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe — and that was about as highbrow as it ever got for Madonna.
4. John Flansburgh: They Might Be Giants
One half of perpetually awesome Williamsburg-based patron saints of nerd rock, Flansburgh’s quirky, art-school pop-rock wasn’t always a license to print money. No, no it wasn’t. In order to pay rent and buy fezzes, Flansburgh took a job counting commuters at Grand Central Station, which somehow makes perfect sense to us.