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tats up the arm..

Hugh Beaumont

One of the Regulars
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171
Location
Fort Wayne, Indy-ana
Sorry for this rant, and I hope not to offend anyone here, but is anyone else in the rockabilly community tired of the same look everyone has?

Since when does rockabilly mean looking like Jesse James (motorcycle fabricator)? Seems every time I go to an event, everyone looks the same. All the guys have the obligatory tattoos up the arm, greased back hair (no pomp), garage shirt, hair under the lip, and Dickie pants.

All the women look like Betty Page too.

I've been in the culture since the 70's, when guys just dressed like greasers. You wore 50's clothing and piled your hair up. Simple. We were all a variation of the same theme, not twins.

I recently went to see a rockabilly band play at a local bar. I dressed in blue jeans, my old faithful motocycle boots, Gab shirt and pomp. I ended up being the only person dressed that way, and I was even teased by a table of Jesse James wannabees (which really bugged me). I ended up leaving. Felt like I walked into an episode of The Twilight Zone". I would bet to wager none of those posers even know what true rockabilly is....

Sorry about the rant, but this culture has always been an escape for me. Seems like it's changed too much.
 

Inky

One Too Many
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1,743
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State of Confusion AKA California
whenever the hubby (not tattooed up the arms, but i am, and the legs too, for the last 29 years) go to rockabilly shows, we always stand out in because we don't dress "rockabilly." Recently going into a coffee shop we heard people saying hey, look at those rockabillies. whatever, you look good, you feel good, let the trendy folks have at it and don't give them any mind.

--signed one old rock-a-billy granny
 

Talbot

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1,847
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Melbourne Australia
I have followed it since the late 70's and I lament for it now. It's not really about the music, the sound has been adopted by a group of of 'kustom kar kulture greaser lifestylers' that all look and behave the same.

If they find comfort in that, that's OK, but its not for me.

I just wonder what they are all going to do with their tats when they move on to something else, like morris dancing, quilting, or disco:rolleyes:
 

Inky

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1,743
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State of Confusion AKA California
Talbot said:
I just wonder what they are all going to do with their tats when they move on to something else, like morris dancing, quilting, or disco:rolleyes:

My mother often has asked me that since I got my first tattoo in 1980 and started my sleeves and legs some 15 years ago (yep, before it was the "fashion" especially for females). Poor Mom, she just thought it was a phase.

I can cover up when needed or the mood takes me, and when I don't, I always look colorful. We'll be a riot in the nursing home trying to remember what all that stuff is after we smooth out the wrinkles.
 

HarpPlayerGene

I'll Lock Up
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4,682
Location
North Central Florida
Inky said:
My mother often has asked me that since I got my first tattoo in 1980 and started my sleeves and legs some 15 years ago (yep, before it was the "fashion" especially for females). Poor Mom, she just thought it was a phase.

I can cover up when needed or the mood takes me, and when I don't, I always look colorful. We'll be a riot in the nursing home trying to remember what all that stuff is after we smooth out the wrinkles.

That's the right attitude! :)

Personally, I've never been inclined to have any tattoos or piercing. Can't imagine something I'd want inked on my body - and I'm an artist myself. Anyway, it's just not my bag. But I think about it like I do about mini-skirts; just because I don't want to wear one doesn't mean I want them banned. :D
 

Talbot

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Melbourne Australia
Inky...

No disrespect intended, and apols if it seemed like I was making a judgement on tattoo's.

My point was that you can tell who really loves something and is in it for the long haul, as opposed to those that are conforming to the herd.

Enjoy your body art and more power to you!

Talbot
 

Inky

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State of Confusion AKA California
Talbot said:
No disrespect intended, and apols if it seemed like I was making a judgement on tattoo's.

My point was that you can tell who really loves something and is in it for the long haul, as opposed to those that are conforming to the herd.

Talbot

Talbot
- no apology needed at all, no disrespect taken, but thank you :)

HarpPlayerGene - Thanks - It takes me sometimes years to decide what work to do next and most of it is so planned out in advance anyway. I got over the "spur of the moment" tattoos many years ago. Plus the only spots I have left HURT!

I am never offended by people commenting about tattoos one way or the other. After this long a time being tattooed, believe me, I am used to it. I know it's not for everyone, even though sometimes it seems like the tattooed are the majority. Heck, even my hubby has only two tiny ones (never marry someone more tattooed than you are, the competition for tattoo dollars is too fierce ;) )
 

Tiller

Practically Family
Messages
637
Location
Upstate, New York
Indeed it is a problem with our sub-cultures. Some people try so hard to be different that we end up all looking the same, and ridicule those in the group that don't meet our "expectations". Now I'm not a rockabilly, but I certainly appreciate what they have contributed to the vintage community. IMHO enjoy yourself and don't worry about the posers.

If I'd of been in your shoes, I'd of walked over and told them "I've been doing this since the 70's you little wannabes, and if it wasn't for guys like me back then, there wouldn't be any guy's like you so back off."

Of course that's if you want to be polite, if you wish to be more colorful, I would suggest changing wannabes to a word of your choice, and changing "back off" to another famous sounding colorful phrase.

Personally the only sub culture that seems to need to act "that way" ("you aren't dressing the part") all the time is the young fogeys. Now admittedly I'm a American from upstate New York, who was only born in 1985 so I'm far from a member, or even observe of this truly British group, but their creed seems to be "Yesterday was better then today, and tomorrow looks worse". So complaining seems to be needed to be a member of the charming group (and I do like the rantings I have seen of the fogeys they are fun, and often funny peopple to listen to lol). But the rockabilly culture always seemed to me to be a more "open" group, and less "complaining" oriented.

If anything though, since you are a member of the old guard, you have a right to be annoyed at all the young up and comers for borgarting your style.
 

Paisley

I'll Lock Up
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5,439
Location
Indianapolis
Hugh Beaumont said:
I would bet to wager none of those posers even know what true rockabilly is....

Sorry about the rant, but this culture has always been an escape for me. Seems like it's changed too much.

I'll be that in the 70s, there were guys who'd been in the rockabilly scene since the 50s who had the same complaints. ;)
 

Inky

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Paisley said:
I'll be that in the 70s, there were guys who'd been in the rockabilly scene since the 50s who had the same complaints. ;)

No doubt at all. I try to think of the most original of sub-cultures and I suppose maybe hippies and disco (at least in my lifetime). But really, those just evolved from something else.

We just aren't that original :D
 

Lady Day

I'll Lock Up
Bartender
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Crummy town, USA
Shouldn't this thread be called 'Current Rockabilly Subculture' or something along those lines?
Its just EVERBODY always focuses on the tattoos, its just SO over. :eusa_doh:
I mean why not call it 'flat pomps' or 'Everyone looks like Betty Page' (as the first post mentioned) if you are focusing on one aspect of something?


LD
 

CopperNY

A-List Customer
Messages
428
Location
central NY, USA
i'm an admittedly 'fringe' rockabilly. but pretty much all the under fourty Harley and custom car guys here dress in the mechanic shirt and jeans, with (yes) the "olde skool" or whatever the current term is for classic tattoos.

love the look, but i just can't help thinking "i'm an individual. just like all my friends.".

i've got half sleeves, but they're tribal tattoos. my other bad habit is armchair anthropology.

my usual kicking'back look is cuffed fitted jeans with cowboy boots and either a tshirt or Red Kap work shirt. the hair is still growing out from years of baldy cuts.
 

Hugh Beaumont

One of the Regulars
Messages
171
Location
Fort Wayne, Indy-ana
Well, I am certainly not against the tattoos, as I have a couple myself, but it seems now they HAVE to be up the arm on both sides.

When I got into this, we kind of followed our Dad's and Grandparents (my Dad was an authentic greaser, who tattooed himself with a needle and ink).

I would have to guess Mike Ness (whom I like) really popularized what the rockabilly look has become today.
 

Geesie

Practically Family
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717
Location
San Diego
Hugh Beaumont said:
I would have to guess Mike Ness (whom I like) really popularized what the rockabilly look has become today.

Heh, I was coming to this thread to mention Mike Ness but I guess I got beat!
 

Guttersnipe

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San Francisco, CA
I don't think Rockabilly means looking like Jesse James or Mike Ness at all. Tattoos definitely have become a major fixation within the scene in recent years, but by and large, tattoos are becoming generally accepted by mainstream society. I really think that the increasing presence of heavily tattooed folk is more a reflection on current society than a specific trend within the subculture. There are so many amazingly talented artists now, and such a proliferation of top-notch tattooing establishments, that body art is much more accessible as well.

I also think it's important to make distinctions and be aware of the many different facets of the "RAB" sub-culture at large. Low-rent, greaser-uniform-wearing, wannabe toughs are usually around, sure, but they really represent only a small segment of the sub-culture at large. . .
 

pigeon toe

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los angeles, ca
I feel like that happens when you're involved in a subculture at one point or another. Eventually you start dressing for yourself and not to be easily identified as a rockabilly, goth, punk, what have you, and then that group suddenly thinks you don't have the same credibility as you once did. Bo-ring.

I've been involved in some sort of subculture (punk, vintage and psychobilly) since I was 13, so I'm over trying to fit in. All those cookie cutter kids are boring as hell usually and only stay in the scene for a few years anyway.
 

Hugh Beaumont

One of the Regulars
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171
Location
Fort Wayne, Indy-ana
There is so many facets to the culture. People are drawn in for their own reasons.

For me, it is the music first. Then it's because of being an outsider. I was a teenager in the 70's and here in Indiana, there was still a greaser culture made up of prominently poor kids. We weren't extremely poor, but we weren't middle class either.

Third is because of Elvis. He certainly popularized the look but more importantly, he was one of us who made it big. He got out of the rut and lived the way we all hoped to live one day.

I see the people I spoke of and they have their reasons for being a part of this sub culture, but I can't help but think it's not for the reasons most of us are. It's almost like a costume party for them.

I remember hosting a Rockabilly night a a bar I worked in a couple of years ago. I got the usual Jesse James-abees in and even though I didn't play anything too obscure, they didn't even know who Roy Orbison was.

I guess as long as they were pretending to be rockabilly, drinking their PBR, it was okay but I couldn't even talk music with any of them. It was a sad night.
 

Miss_Bella_Hell

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Los Angeles, CA
Actually, I'm surprised that the new RAB kids don't have respect for the people who have been with the scene from the beginning. The scene here has people of all ages and all persuasions. The punk rockers show up at a rockabilly gig and everyone gets along. The old school guys from the revival in the 80s with a pomp, leather jacket, boots, and fewer tattoos hang out next to the kids with full sleeves, mechanic's shirts, and dickies. Then there's the gals some with tons of tattoos and tight black dresses, others wearing 40s rayon dresses, or heck, jeans. AND WE ALL GET ALONG. Or if we don't, it's not because of what we're wearing.

I guess NYC is a 'billy melting pot...good for us. (Also, I hate using the word "scene" to describe the subculture I am part of. Icky, no?)
 

Miss_Bella_Hell

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Hugh Beaumont said:
There is so many facets to the culture. People are drawn in for their own reasons.

[...]
I see the people I spoke of and they have their reasons for being a part of this sub culture, but I can't help but think it's not for the reasons most of us are. It's almost like a costume party for them.

Look, I know what you're saying, but people are into it for different reasons, you said it yourself. I got into vintage/rockabilly via architecture and capital-m Modern design (as in mid-century modern). I've since learned a lot about the music because I was so inclined, and wish I knew more, but, it's not ONLY about the music.

Also, there is a costume element to it I suppose, but like it or not fashion is a huge part of it and everyone has to start somewhere.
 

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