Braden in the Eagle Eye jacket with his copy of "Born to Run".

Braden's Eagle Eye jacket and part of his record collection.

Braden’s Eagle Eye jacket and part of his record collection.

I’ve lived all over. I used to move around a lot, but wherever I’ve lived, whether up north with the hard winters, or down south with the hot summers, I’ve always had a Saturday afternoon routine. You see, I love music. I’ve always loved music. And, I always will love music. So, Saturday afternoons are designated for shopping at the record store. In the 90s, record store shopping was primarily CD purchases, but with the return of vinyl in recent years my music shopping now matches my music taste. Everything has gone vintage.

I love searching through bin after bin, hoping to find that one musical treasure still missing from my collection. Maybe it’s something common like a Paul Simon album I just haven’t yet committed too, maybe it’s something unfamiliar and new…”this looks interesting. Maybe I’ll give it a listen,” maybe it’s something weird like a Rolling Stones bootleg or a German pressing of a Pink Floyd album, or maybe it’s that rare, early record of James Brown or Sam Cooke that you know you’ll never see again.

You just never know what you might find, which is what keeps you searching. But, while the records are always changing, one thing remains constant: my attire…

If there is one fashion staple that is essential for perusing the new arrivals bin, it’s the leather jacket. A leather jacket is utterly American. It is a symbol of freedom, rebellion, and individualism. Yet, a leather Jacket is not simply American; it is also Rock and Roll. You see, Rock and Roll is a musical expression of that very freedom, rebellion, and individualism, which is why Rock and Roll was birthed in America. The same is true of the leather jacket. Whether being worn by a frontiersman at the advent of the American West in the 1800s, a classic ‘rebel’ of the 1950s like James Dean, a punk rocker like Joey Ramone or Iggy Pop in the 70s, or the pop icons of the 80s like Michael Jackson, George Michael, and Madonna; the leather jacket has always been at the center of American popular culture. And, that presence is most clearly visible in the classic icons of America’s Rock and Roll music.

Braden's turntable and record collection.

Braden’s turntable, spinning The Band’s classic first album.

Rock and Roll is here to stay… and so is the leather jacket! It never goes out of style. It’s classic. It’s vintage. It’s forever cool. And, it has become a constant fashion requirement in America’s most influential form of artistic expression, our music. America is known for many things, but what has emerged from our collective cultural ethos is Rock and Roll! Rock and Roll is American, and Rock and Roll and leather go together like peas and carrots, apple pie and ice cream, and baseball and chewing tobacco. You really can’t have one without the other.

When I go record shopping I always keep it classic, and I always keep it vintage. Just like my music, I keep it rock and roll, that’s why I wear my leather jacket. Completing the look is simple; all you need is an old pair of jeans and that distressed t-shirt of your favorite rock band, when coupled with that “go to” leather jacket you’ve not only kept your look cool and hip, you’ve also tapped into something fundamentally American and fundamentally rock and roll.

So, next time you go out to pick up some new records, or to catch that new rock band at the local bar, or even to catch that new DJs set at the club… be a responsible American and don’t forget the leather jacket.Braden's bins of records