ARCHIVE LIBRARY

FASHION

by Jerry Honigman

My band, the Romeos, was in New York City to play a series of shows. One was at the prestigious club called TRAX, where we were scheduled to open for the Jim Carroll Band. Carroll was a local hero – a well-known poet, author, and musician, whose current and terrific album, “Catholic Boy,” was being propelled by the fiery single, “People Who Died.” His autobiography from a couple of years earlier, “The Basketball Diaries,” would be made into a movie in the ‘90s and would star Leonardo DiCaprio.

When we took the stage that night, I spotted a couple of luminaries in the crowd – one of my favorite musicians at the time, British rocker Graham Parker, and future United States Senator and current Saturday Night Live cast member, Al Franken. I pretended they were there to see us. Hey, they could’ve been.

Earlier that afternoon, our manager, Steve Jones, had taken me to a notorious new wave/rock and roll/bohemian clothing store for a new and hip stage outfit. We were acquainted with one of the sales girls who had promised me “rocking” attire. What we ended up buying was a pair of plastic/vinyl pants which I was assured looked great on me. Oh, and they were pink. Very pink. Our sales friend said they were perfect and that I looked hot. Men are stupid.

Another feature of my new pink trousers which I hadn’t properly considered was that they were cinched at the waist and ankles by tight elastic bands. This resulted in an unexpected and very much unwanted effect causing them to fill with air anytime I was standing less than straight up. Any type of crouch or bending at the knees would cause them to puff out making me look like a pink, vinyl Michelin Man. As the front man in a rock band, there was a whole lot of bending and crouching going on.

Dance to this side of the stage and point with attitude – “Pffft!”, Michelin Man! See a pretty girl over there and beckon to her like a rock singer and – “Pffft!”, Michelin Man! I soon realized that an hour of that crap would go a long way to permanent embarrassment. My solution was to rip both legs of the pants at the thighs to give air an escape route. This prevented further Michelin misery and added to the punk aesthetic that passed for style at the time.

After a successful and well-received performance, insult was added to my personal injury when we got backstage and our drummer, Dony Wynn, gleefully informed me, “Doc! You’re going BALD!” Seeing the pained and confused expression on my face, he explained that from his position on the drum riser directly behind and above me, he was treated to the perfect view of the spotlight-illuminated crown of my head, which was displaying definite signs of hair loss – the death knell of true rock and roll.

Sure enough, the bald spot matured, migrated, and grew, so that today my entire damn head is a big ole bald spot. Hey, it’s a look. A damn fine look. Leave me alone.

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