A Tip O' The Hat

 At one of The Tooners' Rock & Roll Rehab shows someone accused Greg Piper of "ripping off" Slash's look. Slash (Saul Hudson of Guns & Roses and Velvet Revolver) has long black curly hair and wears a top hat. To set the record straight when Greg Piper and I were in high school, back before Slash was born, we would go to high school football games and to the dances held after the games. We weren't interested in the games but it was the only way to get onto the campuses of other schools in order to meet different girls. We knew better than to mess with the girls with whom we had to be in class, also they knew better than to date us as well. After the games was when the real games begun as the school hosted a dance with a live band and we loved to check out bands almost as much as we loved checking out new girls. Almost.

Football season is in the Winter and when it was real cold out (for Southern California that meant in the 50s), we would both wear hats to the games. The hats helped keep us warm but mostly they made us stand out. I worn an "Aussie" hat my grandmother brought back from Australia for me when she took a trip around the world and Greg wore an old magician's top hat he got from his show business father. His hat was the kind that would collapse into the brim and snap out with a flick of the wrist.

I lowered the brim of my Aussie hat, one side was supposed to be pinned up but I wanted the hat to keep the rain off not look like a fan of The Rat Patrol, so it looked more like a wide brim version of what we now refer to as an Indiana Jones hat.

Back then wearing a top hat, if you had long hair, was just part of looking Rock and Roll. Mick Jagger had worn one, Jerry Garcia had worn one and Alice Cooper was very popular and wore one. Greg had the same hair as Alice so that was the comparison that was made back then.

It's funny how the context of things change. About a decade ago I grew what was known in the Sixties as a Fu Manchu moustache. To me it represented the Old West like Wild Bill Hickok or Wyatt Earp or a Sixties rocker or a hippie but some kid saw me and called me "Hulk Hogan". 

The styles come around again but the context changes. It just irks me when someone accuses Piper of ripping off the style of someone who wasn't even born when he started wear it.

* Greg Piper

* Mick Jagger

 * Alice Cooper

 * Jerry Garcia

 * Leon Russel

 * Slash (Guns & Roses) 

* Mick Mars (Motley Crue)

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