Sunday, June 28, 2009


I couldn't stay away from this one. Knowing I'm only adding to the throng, I'll keep this expeditious:

Never Can Say Goodbye - The Jackson 5
Stevie Wonder's Innervisions and
Sheila Morey's High School Apartment for Pregnant Teens

Sometimes, unfortunately, with genius, come shenanigans.
Sometimes, unfortunately, you never fully realize how significant something or someone was
until you feel compelled to pay tribute.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What The Hey

I can honestly say I did not know the aversion toward short sleeve shirts was so widespread.
(see the question and answer forum at For me, a cool shirt is a cool shirt short sleeve or otherwise.
But there is also the matter of comfort. I know this sounds unsavory, but in the Summer, I sweat like peeg (thanks Pop) so I need all the breaks I can get.
That's not to say there aren't dweeb-like shirts out there ( I don't own one). The trick here is, don't buy one. For starters try a lightweight, jersey knit polo shirt from Ralph Lauren, Lacoste or J.Crew that are denim/chino/office and party friendly.
But at the end of the day, aesthetically, long sleeves rolled up just past the elbow is a much hipper look. You have that "gettin' my hands dirty" kinda vibe and oh boy, do the chicks dig that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Passion Pit

Imagine climbing on a horse and somebody slaps its ass and you're just hauling non-stop through the woods, down a trail and your heart is shooting out your mouth.
To me, that's often what passion feels like. I wish I could bottle it and put it away for a while.
Passion has not always served me well. Sometimes with passion, come blinders.
These days I earnestly throw in a dash or two of practical or more to taste just to help keep my head out of the sand and my eyes open wide.
Don't get me wrong, passion can be a great thing. You just need to figure out how to pull the reigns back to keep from moving so fast in one direction. Stop altogether if you need to, get off, sit down and think it through.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Alfred (1911-2000)

It took longer than it should have to hit me that my inclinations and curiosity toward "style" were things I picked up from my Dad.
"Aw Crap", undoubtedly were the words uttered from this 40 year old man when the news broke of my Mother's pregnancy ( this being the late 50's, it's a good bet empathy and nurturing did not play a large part in the cultural fabric). But like somebody once said; "Everybody's gotta be somewhere".
But one tidbit I did pick up on was that my Dad liked to shop-for clothes-a lot. Glen plaid jackets for him, Pendleton suits for Mom and sweaters for me...lots of sweaters.
In 1969, the Age of Aquarius pretty much put the ky-bosh on my sweater clad class pictures but my Dad's sideburns extended by increments.
By 1975, I'd taken casual dress to the extreme and my Dad, he retired, out of his suits and into
L.L. Bean.

Thank you for allowing me this brief homage to my Dad. He'll be popping in from time to time.
To My Dad I say: "Hey Bub"


I've toiled for the last several days trying to come up with my own special take on plaid.
Hoping for something A) prophetic or at least B) innovative, only to come up with C) redundant
and finally D) moronic.
But for those of you who have caught yourselves, however fleetingly, asking what lie ahead?
Well, more plaid. That's okay with me. I'm rather enjoying this plaid/check cycle we're in. I was as sick of stripes as I am cargo pants. Their like the "Bush Years", no matter how much time goes by, they'll never go away.
Anyhoo, I'm anxious to see designers continue to put their spin on vintage classics like tartan and
madras (see:
For my taste though, even if just for the sake of convenience, J. Crew is as dialed in as anyone. The key here is nuance. The smaller the plaid and the smaller the check, the cooler the detail. And for my money, their $59 Secret Wash Shirts rival some of the best out there.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For The Love of Bob

I don't think I'd be vilified by anyone by saying Bob Stinson was often an accident waiting to happen. I think he enjoyed life that way, always straddling the blade. I witnessed this the same evening I was reduced to a dude.
Bob was no where in sight and hadn't been for hours so the remainder of the 'Mats went on as a 3 piece.
A few songs in and still no Bob, Paul Westerberg shouts out "Any guitar players out there"?
My buddy and band mate Jack runs, well, walks with purpose backstage and straps on his guitar.
Paul waves him on as they rip into Color Me Impressed.
A short time later maybe an hour into the set, who's stumbling down one of the main aisles of the theater towards the stage? Bob hoists himself up as Tommy and Paul take copious swigs and welcome Bob with a Heineken shower.
For all the chaos that seemed to surround him, I have a hunch he had a pretty big heart.
Here's to ya!

checkout: or

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hey Dude

The term dude hasn't always had warm connotations.
In 7th grade I was an attention stealing, trouble making smart ass. I remember being outdoors in the schoolyard when news quickly spread of the new kid. It was 1970 and the looks at the time were handkerchieves around the neck, bright floral print shirts, Nehru collars and a haircut called the Princeton; kind of a conventional Beatles mop.
The new kid, has thick, dark red hair combed straight back and full-on mutton chops. Again this was 7th grade and I was still adding mascara to the fuzz on my upper lip. And to top it off, his name was Rex. Who names their kid Rex? He was not of this world.
So I made it a point to be first in line to give Rex the Fremont Junior High Welcome.
"Hey Dude" response..."Hey, Dude"! In one quick move, Rex grabbed the front of my shirt and threw me back against the wall. He was so close to me I could count his freckles.

Fast forward to 1986 and we're milling around backstage in Ann Arbor's Michigan Theater. We were the opener on a 3 band bill with the Replacements.
We'd been there since 1 o'clock in the afternoon just so we could hang out because, well, it's the Replacements.
It was sometime after 8 and I was adorned in full cowpunk regalia; tight, black Big John jeans tucked into knee high, black cowboy boots, a sleeveless Rockmount western shirt and bolo tie when the stage manager finds us. "10 MINUTES" he barked.
As we make our way down the hall and to the stairs that lead up to the stage, I see someone walking toward us from the other end. As he gets closer I notice it's Tommy Stinson. He kind of saunters by and looks me up and down a bit and drawls, "Hey Dude".

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Feet

I'm a little conflicted here. I'm as guilty as the next guy for sporting flip-flops in terrain that may not be suitable for public display.
Michigan, not widely thought of as sweltering during the summer. But we do have our dog days
where my uniform of choice boils down to lightweight shorts, a t-shirt just short of disintegration and yes, flip-flops.
I suppose I tend to roll with the popular concensus that men's feet are, for the most part,
not pretty.
For men they say, flip-flops have their place; in the yard and at the beach.
I tend to look at it more like where wouldn't I wear flip-flops: parties, weddings, lumberyards and airports. Especially airport restrooms where you should never leave someone's aim to chance.
To those of you easily appalled by such acts of laziness and comfort I say:
Don't Look Down.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

La Pistola

If you happen to be out and about in Minneapolis with some time to kill and a penchant for vintage, check out Tatters at the intersection of Lake and Lyndale just east of Uptown.
About a 1/4 of the store dedicated to denim with a great selection of Levi's in their respective styles and washes. Racks and racks of vintage-y graphic tees and collection worthy Woolrich and Pendleton.
My last visit there I found a tasty pair of red/brown, pebble grain wing tips along with a
"nicely-broken-in" pair of 2-tone Tony Lama's.
Haul your pics up to the ancient glass counter and scour the vintage eye wear, low-brow playing cards, stickers, patches and pins. Then train your eyes toward the ceiling and you'll see where they hang all the ultra choice pieces that the buyers cherry picked for display.
BEWARE: It's a difficult store to walk out of without a purchase.
It be one of my favorites.

Did I mention Levi's?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fella's, it's time to go...

...back into the stores. You don't have to spend a lot to look current. Here's a hot tip to get started...
TUCK YOUR SHIRT IN...It's fast, it's easy AND it kind of disguises your gut, some.
Chinos or khakis (which is actually a color) are happening. Check out the Gap or Old Navy if you gotta keep more dollars in your pocket. Roll 'em up a bit , throw on some Chuck Taylors or Topsiders, top it off with a washed, button down shirt with a belt and you're rockin'.
Hot Tip Numero Dos: Before you head out next time, try standing a little closer to the mirror.
You see that hair flowing off the side of your ear, well, it's connected.

Now get out there!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Levi's 501

These days I tend to stick with products that I believe are timeless. But back in the early to mid seventies, timeless had no meaning. I was in my late teens and I could barely think beyond the next half hour. At the time, Fremont had 2 stores that carried men's clothing; Reber's Menswear and Dekuiper andVisscher(known to the locals as just Reber's and just Dekuipers).
Reber's was known for a bit of a dressier look. It's where you shopped if you played on the golf or tennis teams or needed a tux for the prom (it was not where you shopped for the 3 inch platform shoes that you sported with the tux). Largely it was the go-to shop for Gerber upper management and executives...suitings, dress shirts, ties, cufflinks and wing tips.
My kind headed for Dekuiper's and the land of Levi's.
Dekuiper's was geared more towards the farmer (which translated to me...cowboy) and being from a farmtown, it made my country rocker persona much more legit.
Not only did Dekuiper's carry Levi's, they also carried Wrangler and Lee along with their respective denim jackets, Osh-Kosh bib overalls, flannel shirts by Dee Cee, bandanas, Red Wing boots and the odd western shirt probably by a label previously mentioned.
My look couldn't have been more complete.
Now at the time, the way I saw it, you had 2 schools to choose from.
ONE: was the t-shirt-flarecut jean worn over pert near any style cowboy boot-topped off with perhaps a pair of aviator sunglasses ala Glen Frey or TWO: a beat to hell flannel shirt-and an even beater pair of 501's-over the stock pair of Red Wing work boots-with a hanky hanging from your back pocket ala Neil Young.

On a side bar, the Roadie uniform of choice at the time was mainly a black t-shirt with the logo of something cool and far away, something only the inner stage hand circle knew about, and boots.
Hence our band name Pete Texas, which came from a composite image of a roadie.

Back at Dekuiper's (pronounced da-ky-pers), I don't remember what year it was specifically but what I do remember is the somewhat over sized, hard paper tag attached to the back right pocket announcing Levi's 501 Shrink-to-Fit, WHAT-IS-THIS?
Most of the time, you had to special order these newly cool 501's because you had to buy them 1 to 2 sizes bigger in the waist and inseam and then you washed and dried them and they were supposed to magically fit out of the dryer. But for the few who knew, you'd take them home, slip 'em on and sit in the tub or shower until completly soaked and at the same time, trying to come up with an idea of what you were going to do while walking around in them waiting for them to dry. Just a tiny hiccup in the big picture really, cuz there I was, in all my splendor, in my 501 Shrink-to Fit Levi's.

As I think back, the denim fabric in the early to mid seventies was of, what I thought, a better quality because if you wore the heck out of 'em, along with numerous washings and dryings, you'd eventually end up with such a beautiful, natural fade which tons of denim companies to this day are still trying to re-capture...even Levi's.

I still wear 501's to this day. Now touting itself as the Anti-Fit jean is only a bonus as my rear seems to have disappeared, my wife has declared. More on that later...maybe.