Aug 072011


As far as my research has taken me, no rocker has looked convincingly cool while sporting overalls. As hard as Eric Clapton tries he still looks like a weary truck driver after an 18-hour shift. Perhaps it’s the smack and not the clothes. You’d think with all those buttons and clasps, the average guitarist would be afraid of scratching the back of his SG or Strat. But beyond damaging your equipment, one’s maturity is also taking a hit. This is a rock and roll stage not Romper Room. The video below featuring the long and forgotten brothers Tom and David Farmer (yes Farmer) of the band Blackfoot Sue are totally missing the esthetic of the glam rock sound they are aping. The visuals are jarring.

Of course, I have not discounted the ’80s. What with Dexy’s Midnight Runners and their Too-Rye-Ay-ing up and down a desolate street looking like they haven’t showered in days for the “Come On Eileen” video. I’ll give them a pass since it appears this was just a phase. Plus the music sort of matches the look.

So does that mean, the “overall Look” is acceptable only when a fiddle and banjo are within reach?


  22 Responses to “Rock’s Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas: Overalls”

  1. Elvin Bishop has always been a big fan of overalls. Yep, being a National Merit Scholar and studying physics at the University of Chicago on a full scholarship really makes you a heifer-pokin’ yee-haw country boy (to be fair, he did spend at least part of his childhood on a farm). Can’t say I’m a big fan of his, though I’ll admit that “Fooled Around and Fell In Love” wasn’t a bad single.

    When the Dexys were filming the “Come On Eileen” video, the drummer refused to smear dirt on his face for the camera. He was booted from the band by Rowland.

  2. Thanks for covering this overall bad Look, cliff. I’ve got some more thoughts in development on the subject, but that photo of Clapton is amazingly bad. Nice find. It makes me think the lead guy in Phish, Trey Anastasio, grew up staring at that photo and thinking it was a cool Look to aspire to developing for himself.

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    And overalls aren’t even functional! Don’t you worry that they would slide down your arm while you are playing?

  4. tonyola

    I mentioned this before, but Bill Bruford would often wear white overalls without a shirt while drumming for King Crimson in the 1970s.

    I don’t think I’ve owned a pair of overalls since the age of five.

  5. BigSteve

    God, that Clapton photo is painful.

    Bob ‘the Bear’ Hite of Canned was one the original overalls rockers:

  6. trigmogigmo

    For that problem, I propose a solution: Combination Guitar Strap Overalls.

  7. As dumb as they are, Sting was pretty enough to make a convincing case for overalls in early Police concerts.

  8. No, no he wasn’t.

  9. New wavy-dance-pop-girly overalls:

  10. trigmogigmo

    Should off-stage wear count? If so, this is awful, but the crucifix-as-protective-cup is worse than the overalls.

  11. tonyola

    They both go nicely with that American Legion-style hat.

  12. cliff sovinsanity

    Yes, the wife suggested that I mention Banarama in my piece but I thought it defeated my point. The look here totally compliments the music. I’m unashamed to admit that I’ve always liked this “sunny side of life” song.

  13. Chris Mars of The Replacements modeling the “Rock & Roll Buckwheat” look:

    Then the outfit is handed over to Paul:

    “God, what a mess….”

  14. That’s funny stuff, Bobby B!

  15. Post-plugs Elton in overalls!

  16. Hey, almost any one of Rock’s Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas has at least one example poniting to the Look’s potential.

  17. I don’t mind the song, either, but this era wasn’t their best look – they looked better glammed up a bit, rather than the goofy ragamuffin thing they did at the beginning. Still, I think Siobhan Fahey is a stone fox to this day…but I digress.

  18. cliff sovinsanity

    I forgot about this. It’s funny that Paul, Chris and Tommy were able to fit in each others clothes.

  19. And that nobody wanted to trade with Bob…

  20. The Exception that Proves the Rule


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