Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Keys to the kingdom (of rock)

On my fortieth birthday my wife gave me something I had wanted since High School... she also gave me this Gretsch White Falcon guitar with a Bigsby tremolo. (I will apologize for that joke now. I am sorry) It has often been said that money can't buy happiness and yet this guitar refutes that claim every time I open the case. Unless my wife  didn't buy it. In which case need to get to know her better because she's living a far more interesting life than I am currently giving her credit for.

What makes this guitar special to me isn't just that it's a well engineered piece of *Ameican 50's glam used at one time by **every guitarist that has ever mattered to me. But that as a work of art it is aspirational. It has dreams of it's own. It challenges the player to not just be good but to in fact be magnificent. Am I magnificent? Not even. Do I aspire to be? Yes. This guitar took a 40 year old dude and pulled an eclectic surf and ska flavored band out of him. It took the David Lynch meets the Skatelites at a Dick Dale show nightmare out of my head and made it real. It raised my spirits in a time when hopes had been dashed, and It makes my life better just for being. It's the first guitar you hear on the track Fanfare For A Well Dressed Man by my band The Reigning Monarchs. (Hear it)

Great art is meant to give you the keys to the kingdom... whatever that might be for you! Find something that moves you and let it tell you to be great!

 **Here is a list of every guitarist that ever mattered to me.
Matthew Ashman Bow Wow Wow
Joe Strummer
Brian Setzer
Marco Perroni Adam and The Ants
C.C. Deville
James Hetfeild
Jack White
Chris Cheney The Living Things
Joe Perry
Brad Sheppard The HooDoo Gurus
Billy Joe Armstrong (Plays the Silver Falcon)
Tim Armstrong Rancid (Now has his own model)
John Frusciante Red Hot Chili Peppers
Billy Duffy The Cult

*In late 2002, Gretsch and Fender reached an agreement giving Fender most control over marketing, production, and distribution of guitars.  Gretsch also introduced new models consistent with its heritage but aimed at modern players, with features like premium pickups manufactured by TV Jones, locking Sperzel tuners, and ML bracing designed by Mike Lewis of FMIC and Masao Terada of the Terada company in Japan, where all Gretsch pro-line guitars are now built.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Smiths, Lana Del Rey, Smash Em Up!

Some days I wake and and find things on my morning internet rounds that feel like they were made for only Amiira and I. This is one of them. Good Morning People. ODTE

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why I Wear A Cardigan

I was fascinated with the recored store clerk at the independent record store, Earth River Records, near the University of Oregon in Eugene where I attended college. Eugene was were I had my punk rock awakening. Hours would be spent inside if Earth River just looking at albums and 45's hoping they's be as good as the covers. "Mission of Burma? I guess. Oh wait this girl in Bow Wow Wow is fucking hot!"Most of the punks that worked at the store outfitted themselves in whatever they could find at the Salvation Army. Mostly old men's clothes from the 40's and 50's. And because the weather is cold and damp you spend most of the year in layers. This is pre patagonia thank God so sweaters were a staple. There was this one little red haired guy that worked there and his outfit was always the same, black cardi with pins of the Selecter, The Jam and The Who on it, an X t-shirt that must have been a second skin, brown cuffed trousers that were too short and black wingtips with thick white socks. He was losing his hair so he leaned into it with a mowhawk which is so smart. Dude was rad. And he was a total intimidating music dick. I would shamefully bring my albums to the counter knowing I was late on them. "Sandinista? Clash are fucking sell outs this is just a bunch a b-sides."  I should have hated him but I didn't. He felt authentic. I decided that he came by his dress, his opinions and anger naturally. I liked that he was let down by the Clash. I didn't know why I should be let down by the Clash, I just I just liked their pants.  Having grown up so suburban and wealthy I have always had too much admiration for those who clearly didn't. I was fascinated by people who had to forge their own way, even if that way wasn't the popular way. I hadn't gotten to that place in my life yet.  I wanted to be authentic... so I started dressing like him. Sure that's a total contradiction but over time the clothes have become mine. So much so that after seeing me on TV some dude tweeted to me. "Dude ur funny but if I dressed like you I'd shoot myself." I sent him a sweater. I now have the courage of my convictions, even if sometimes they are only sartorial. Your fashion icons can just be people you know and admire. I wear the sweater as a reminder of that time, of that dude, his convictions, and that I was once a young wannabe record store employee and when I put on my black cardi I still am. ODTE!

Monday, February 20, 2012

My oh Marni!

The countdown to the Marni capsule collection for H&M has started.  You know where I'll be the morning of March 8th.  Here are some of the pieces I'm hoping to score.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Jacket

It has been said here before that clothes matter. Clothes affect the way you feel about yourself on any given day and the confidence you carry yourself out into the world with.  We all have our favorite items of clothing or outfits that make us feel badass or better looking than usual.  Then there are those items that you judge all others against.  For me it is this jacket.  This Stella McCartney herringbone tweed motorcycle jacket with the architectural collar.  Every time I put this jacket on it elevates me and my game.  I become invincible, beyond reproach.  Every decision I make in this jacket is good and everyone who sees me in it must surely think that the wearer of said jacket is the shit.  Well that might not be true but it feels true.  Even when my jacket just hangs in my closet it makes me better.  Every day I want to feel as good as I do when I wear this jacket so this is my yardstick for everything I put on my body.  I ask myself, does it make me feel almost as good as "The Jacket"? If the answer is No, I keep on looking, mismatching and accessorizing until I come up with some combination that would make me want to know me.  Know what I mean?

What I wore today.

Brixton flannel, old suit pants. studded belt, chain wallet, and combat boots that have been re-souled and newly polished. Enemy? Outdressed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How I learned to dress. Pt 2 Dress Like A Jackass!

Despite the fact that he has spent much of his adult life covered in blood, shit and bandages Johnny Knoxville, the co-creator of the hit MTV reality series/movie franchise Jackass, is also a stellar fucking dresser. His getting it done gear usually consists of chopped Dickies, Chucks,  thrift store cardigans, Budwiser dress shirts, thrift store t's and aviator glasses, These are the staples of his totally unique look. But he doesn't stop there he augments his clothes. All of his Dickies are chopped off by hand at the ankle as though he's expecting the levees to break at any minute.  He'll wear a a Budwiser print dress shirt but he'll add a tie and a cardigan sweater. What impresses me is that it doesn't come off ironic. It's sincere. And somehow classically American. And not unlike the boys in Social Distortion the whole thing prolly costs $100 bucks minus his glasses, which are usually aviators or Wayfarers. Here's that element of using one expensive item, usually an accessory, to make the whole thing look glam and put together. This can be done with good glasses, a hat, a tie or even just a cool watch.  Even when he does need to go more upscale he he does it in an unforgettable way buy donning a searsucker or straight up pink suit because like his show he's clearly not afraid to take a God damned risk. Knoxville outdresses the enemy even when being catapulted, crushed or paper cut. Don't be afraid to be a Jackass.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm not a dedicated follower of Fashionism.

I am by no means a fashion snob. I don't believe in rules for dressing. I find most of the fashion blogs for men to be studies in elite preciousness and insipid tradition. While I think it's good to study what other people wear and to find out why they do it, I would never let another man tell me what armor to put on before going into battle (or Trader Joe's.) I call it Fashionism The only thing fun about rules is breaking them. If you like your Ed Hardy shirt tucked into pleated khakis with a duck shoe and a fedora why would I stop you from doing that?  Fuck, it may work for you and that's the point and I want to read your blog. For real.  My need to blog about fashion isn't to force some rigid idea about how you should put your pants on sideways after spring, it's about sharing my love of a much over looked art form and to inspire you. Clothes are an opportunity to set yourself APART. Which brings me to Thom Browne.  Thom Browne by my measure may be the most influential menswear designer in the past 20 years. A former actor turned designer he's done more to change the silhouette of mens clothes than just about anyone. He is  man clearly obsessed with that 50's and 60's Mad Men/Brooks Brothers style of dress.  He and a buddy, another out of work actor, would apparently buy old suits and recut them exaggerating the shape to make them look shrunken. Think Pee Wee Herman. Those suits eventually would become his calling card as a designer.

A Thom Browne suit is distinctive in structure and fit. The suits are composed of flat front pants with exposed ankles and a jacket that concludes mid-wrist and doesn't cover the backside. They almost always have either two or three buttons, narrow lapels, side vents, and trouser without belt loops. The designer is best known for wearing suits in a range of charcoal-grey colors, always paired with a tie cut from the same fabric, a silver tie clip, a white button down shirt, and black leather dress shoes.-Wiki

For certain Thom Browne has rules that he both lives and designs by.  However those rules break so many of the actual rules of fashion that that he must be admired for his pluck and his sense of humor, which if you can't it see you are not looking. His clothes made people furious when they arrived on the scene.  When I say people, I mean the fussy fashion fascists who can't stand a real rebel. The function of real art is to make people reconsider their parameters if not uncomfortable. He did both and his overall impact caused places like The Gap and Nordstrom to start carrying slimmer cuts of their baggy staples.  

The thing I like most about Mr. Browne is his sense of self. His clothes don't fit in any one time period. He is not a slave to trends or fads. Despite the fact that he has a rules and certain staples in his collections he's more than happy to break some of those rules every time he releases a collection. Like a great band he's always evolving without fucking too much with his original sound. He is a man with the balls to live fully in his own world. Don't get me wrong some of his stuff is insane to the point where I feel badly for the model wearing it. What's awesome is his clothes will never please everyone and he knows this, but fuck if he doesn't get mad points form me for putting it out there. You don't have to wear his clothes but I highly recommend his conviction. 

If you look at the picture at the top and then at the video below you will see what I mean. The guy is loosing his fucking marbles and it's awesome. There are no rules except the ones you make for yourself to break!  Here's to Mr Brown for breaking his.