A trip this weekend to the ever overwhelming Todd Farm Flea Market netted this little gem:
I saw Link Wray once. It was in the height of my days as a Pompadour and tight jeans wearing punk-o kid. I was in my early twenties, playing in a band that played a hopped up version of Rockabilly. Needless to say, Link Wray was nothing short of a god to us then. He still is now.
The night I saw him play he must have been in his early seventies...seriously. "Reunion tours" are a plague that the world of punk and rockabilly is lousy with, and I usually did my best to avoid old timer shows. After all, youth and vitriol have so much to do with makes that music good when its good that seeing the old timers is often silly, and usually a bit depressing. Ever seen the Sex Pistols on the Tonight Show from their reunion? Punk is kid stuff, and it tends not to wear so well on the old folks.
Link's band was a couple of young dudes, very obviously thrilled to be on tour with a legend. They start playing one of those dead ahead thumping grooves that almost all of Link Wray's songs are built on. And then the man himself walks on stage. He's wearing a black t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, tight black leather pants, a studded belt and black Ray Bans (like these). At his age, he should have looked downright foolish, but he didn't, because he invented that stuff, he played with as much fire and balls as he ever had, and he was Link Goddamn Wray. He gets a pass. So does Lemmy, a direct heir to the Link Wray School of Life:
You can call it heavy metal, but it kinda sounds like fifties music to me. This one, like Link, has some staying power. A handful of others do as well, but mostly its kid's stuff. You can hold on to the piss and vinegar feelings all your life, even let them define you, but at some point, you gotta grow up.
...and your kids may even choose one day to wear two skull and bones patterns together...with penny loafers. This outfit was of the boys choosing, and who am I to say no to this?
See what I mean about kid's stuff, though? When you're four years old, and you choose an outfit like this, it's killer. But it ain't for grown-ups...not even Lemmy or Link could pull this off, though the very thought of either of them in shorts is worth a laugh.
p.s. those Ray Bans aren't the only new item to hit the shop this week. There's a little bit of everything. Check it.