Crusty Leather

The Painted Hides of Punk

By Dick Spitz

Photos By Daniel Pelissier
Assisted by Sean Orena and Marilis Cardinal
Jackets courtesy of X20 Rio www.x20.com


Crusty punks are, generally, irritating and useless pieces of shit. That’s not to say that we don’t have crusty friends or crusty tendencies. We do. And we like a lot of crusty music. But those are the exceptions. Most people of the crusty persuasion are wastes of flesh.

But we sure do love what they wear! And that leads us to an idea for a potential purpose for crusties. What if we could hunt them and skin them like exotic fur-bearing mammals? What if that were legal? Let’s barricade a few blocks of blighted urban landscape in a forgotten Rust Belt city, release a bunch of illiterate 17-year-old runaways in Discharge shirts and 38-year-old homeless “street sage” types covered in Nuclear Assault logos, give them a fair head start, and then come after them with bows and arrows. Sounds fun, right?

Then we could sit in our oak-paneled study with the husks of crusties mounted on the wall next to buck heads and a taxidermied bear. What’s that you say? It’s illegal to kill humans? Still? Even crusties? Shit.
OK, then, maybe this is the closest we’ll get for now. There’s this store in Montreal that has amassed quite the collection of punk jackets, so let’s photograph them and get our crusty friend Steve (we’ll let him live since he’s serving a purpose) evaluate each piece. Steve’s been in the scene forever (he’s played in bands like C.C.S.S., Wisigoth, and Inepsy), and he was one of the first punks who sold a jacket to this place for their collection.

What else… Oh yeah, the Montreal police once took him into an alley and whipped him with his own jacket because they wanted to prove that the studs made it a “dangerous weapon.” How awesome is that?

“Whoa, that is a fucking big jacket. I think fit is important—I like to wear tight clothes. Punks who wear leather jackets with big shoulders look dumb. Also, I’m sure the guy was young because he’s got Sex Pistols patches. I love the Sex Pistols, but I wouldn’t put their name on my jacket. They were never really punk. The chain-mail cuff gives it that corny French-Canadian medievalism that’s popular here. This jacket’s not that bad. It’s worn out a bit, and I like that.”


“Oh no, that leopard-skin part? That just fucks it all up. The front looks like a girl’s jacket you could find in a store. There are too many different kinds of studs on it. The way they’re trying to do
contrasting sleeves looks really bad. What is that on the back? It reminds me of the cover of Butchered at Birth by Cannibal Corpse. I’m not a big fan of this jacket. I wouldn’t wear it.”


“In the early 90s there was a fad where you would paint your sleeves and it would mean something
different, like the old boot-lace code. Red sleeves meant anarchy. I forget what green sleeves meant. The arm of this jacket has a Banlieue Rouge patch. They were a Québécois punk band that pretended to sound, like, French from France. I’m a Francophone and even I hate French in punk music. It sounds gay. But the jacket’s nice because it looks like something a street punk wore for a long time. He’s no momma’s boy.”


“Oh! That’s my friend’s jacket. He was my roommate two years ago. I was there when he did
that ‘Destruction’ on the right arm. The Crude SS logo is pretty faint but it’s there. Yeah, he fell into drugs and needed money and he sold it. He was a nice guy; he put a lot of time into that. He probably got nothing for it. He still regrets selling it.”


“Man, I really hate airbrushing on leather jackets, I prefer the hand-done style. What is that? Beherit? I don’t even know what that is. It could be a book company for all I know. This guy’s obviously a nerd and a bit mixed-up in the head. I mean, would you walk around with that shit on? This guy has long black hair for sure. There’s still hope, though; you could paint it all black and restud it.”


“The punk scene in Montreal is really centered on doing drugs. This guy probably just did a lot of drugs and listened to everything. You have Nausea—the New York crust band, really political—then you have Sepultura and then Slayer and Megadeth. The Cradle of Filth patch fucks everything up though because they’re the most stupid band in the fucking world. I don’t think he’s a poser, but he just doesn’t care.”


“Holy shit! OK, where do I start. The most obvious is the Lagwagon logo. That band sucks. Why did he ruin the jacket with that? I mean, yeah, everybody listens to crappy music, but you don’t tell
anyone. You keep that to yourself. Screeching Weasel is the same thing. I kind of like that pop-punk shit, but I would never put that on my jacket. And Rancid? That’s not a punk band. That’s a band that ruined punk. I’m not talking about the music, I’ve heard a few good songs by them. But they’re just MTV fashion idiots.”


“Now that’s a real jacket. I like the studs, I like the bands; Oxymoron, Exploited… oh wait… Casualties? That just ruined it right there. I fucking hate that band. I hope the singer reads this because he knows I don’t like him. I recorded an album against his band once; the cover was a guy throwing his band’s logo into a garbage can. They started off punk and then they were into just making money and being rock stars. You have five girls doing your hair? Man, do your own fucking hair.”


“Look at this jacket: It’s not perfect. A shitload of studs on one side and on the other an ugly Dead Kennedys logo. When he tore the shoulder up he sewed in a metal plate. This guy is a fucking real street chaos punk. He obviously didn’t give a fuck. All his artwork is ugly. But it’s a real punk jacket. Every time it broke, he fixed it. There’s a lot of love in it. There’s a history, there’s life in it.”


“This guy has too many bands. Minor Threat, SNFU, Conflict, Crass, Black Flag, Dayglo Abortions. It seems like he might be trying to cover all the bases, like, ‘If I wear this, maybe the punks won’t beat me up, the hardcore kids will like me, and the metal kids will respect me.’ Also I really hate the blue, plus there are two different kinds of blue. It’s disgusting. At least on the back you’ve got Subhumans. No one can say anything bad about those guys.”


“Again, I hate the Casualties. If that wasn’t on the sleeve, I’d like this jacket. The red trim is a bit
feminine. This could be a girl’s jacket. I moved to Montreal in the early 90s to escape the Nazi skinheads who were all over Ottawa. I spent five years sleeping in ATM vestibules with bums who would piss and puke on themselves. There were some pretty tough girls back then with badass jackets, fighting and shit.”

 

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