My reputation as this city's oldest rockabilly must be upheld. I , however, never really saw middle age approaching, I just chose to ignore it. One day I was a rockabilly cat in my twenties, and one day I wasn't.
I vowed to myself at a very young age that I would never be an old fart. I'll be rockabilly until the day they pry that last Pabst out of my cold, dead greasy hands.
Several years ago, while attending Viva Las Vegas, I met two original teddy boys from England. They had huge pork chops that had turned grey. They wore the full on teddy outfit and creepers. Those cats must have been in their sixties, but, man, they were cool. You gotta stay cool.
Here's a few tips for any aging greasers out there, and also for the younger cats . Remember young cats, you too will be middle aged one day.
1. Buy a leather jacket, if you don't already own one. I don't mean one of those expensive jackets that squares buy. Remember, you are a greaser, not a banker. Git yerself down to a vintage store and get a perfecto. Combined with a few wrinkles that you may have, it will look good and you feel good. You will scare children and small animals. Chicks will dig it. Cops will not dig it, and will harass you from time to time.
2. Get into a rumble once in a while. There is nothing like a good, stiff punch in the head that will show some twenty something rapper wannabe not to fuck with the old guys. There is no more meat left, just bone and gristle. So like an old catcher's mitt, you are well worn and can take a lot of shots without feeling it, So if some asshole kid is invading your space, punch away. You will feel good, and that kid will run away, embarrassed by the fact that he just got an ass-whoopin' from an old guy.
3. Mosh once a year. These days a lot of the rockabilly shows have psychobilly bands on the bill. A mosh pit will inevitably form. Have a couple of beers to loosen you up, a shot of whiskey to wire you up, and dive in. You will be out of breath, but it will be worth it. The young uns might think it's funny or they might think you've finally reached complete senility. Doesn't matter, life's too short. Either way some people will think you are truly psycho and will never mess with you.
4. Get some exercise. Buy a vintage bike ( what else) and ride it. Go on booze cruises, lots of cities have them. There is nothing like riding a vintage bike by the ocean when you're half in the bag. You might end up 14 miles from home, but at this point you won't care, you'll just make your way home eventually and won't notice the distance cuz you're hammered. I recommend a laid back seat post, as it decreases the distance between you and the ground, and if you wobble or falter, your feet will touch the ground.
Make sure you have enough beers with you , because you should take beer breaks on the way back home. Watch out for cops as well, they don't take to kindly to drunken greasers having a beer in the park. To them, there is no difference between you and a hobo.
Don't ride a recumbent bike, people will think you are insane.
5. Never, ever wear sandals. Or worse, sandals with socks ( which is a sign of mental instability)
Rockabilly or not, nobody needs to see a dude's toes in public. If you need to wear shorts, you should know the code; Dickies shorts, white socks, Converse Chuck Taylors.
6. Keep your haircut high and tight. Literally, it will take 10 years off you. ( see Hawleywood Barbers website). There is nothing more pathetic than old hippies who doggedly cling to their scraggly haircuts and scruffy goatees. They look like they should be begging for change and talking to themselves on some street corner downtown. Get some of that No. 9 after shave from Hawleywood's , you will feel sharp.
7. Curse. Everybody loves swearin' and cussin' once in a while. Keep it up. Old squares don't curse, so by cursing, it will keep your brain young. Don't use outdated curses that will make you look square, and don't use really new curses, like hip hop jargon, that will make you look deranged. Use your own idiom, and it will work. Here are a few examples of square and non-square reactions.
- Square------------------------- -Rockabilly
- Oh My. -------------------------Holy Shit!
- Excuse me. --------------------You sum bitch!
- You are rude------------------ I'll kick yer fuckin' ass !
- Go away -----------------------Fuck right off!
- Please go away--------------- Git the fuck away from me , you sack-o-shit!
- Oh, golly ----------------------Ah, fuck!
- I was in line before you -------How would like a punch in the fuckin' throat?
- Oh darn -------------------------Dang or shit'n'piss texas or Faaa-k!
- Oh my look at those beatniks --Dirty, bongo beatin' fucking hippies
- Excuse me young man ------------I'll kick yer fuckin' ass, boy.
- Oh lord ----------------------------Holy fuckin' shit
8. See lotsa live shows, listen to a lot of music, play guitar if you got one. That is the most important point. It really will keep your brain young, and unless you've taken some jiving lessons, sit the fuck down and don't dance.
Nothing will ruin a man's dignity more than spazzing out on the dance floor. Seeing some scruffy old hippie in shorts and sandals doing the tree dance makes me wanna poke my eyes out with a screwdriver.
This is especially prevalent at blues shows. I had a friend who played bass in a blues band and he had to play sideways, because the " dancers" were throwing his rhythm off. It's like a car crash, horrible, but you have to look.
9. Two basics: Black T shirts and cuffed jeans. A timeless look and hard to look outdated. Hot rod and band T shirts are the best. Avoid dumb shirts or low brow humour, any type of T-shirt that has the words "old guy" on it, heavy metal shirts, any type of T shirt with a date on it, and never wear the band shirt to that band's show.
The older you get, the bigger your wallet and wallet chain should be . For some chain safety tips, refer to older blog called " 7 Rockabilly Problems" ( see sidebar, click on month for older posts).
10. Drink, eat burgers, party, have many friends and enjoy life. Life really is too short. The only thing you might have to change is eating more vegetable and salads. Avoid whiskey, cuz it really will make you seem like a crazy old man, stick to beer.
11. Go to Viva Las Vegas at least once in your life. The concentrated shot of 4 days of rockabilly will rejuvenate you. It will jump start your love of rockabilly and remind you why we are all greasy in the first place.
Keep it greasy, and as for myself, " Gonna rockabilly 'til the day I die".