WILCO & The Nudie Suit, Part Two

“Hook me up with a suit. That’s amazing.” – Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show, 24 June 2009.

Wilco NudiesIf I were to describe anything as amazing, it probably wouldn’t be the Nudie suits Tweedy & Co. wore on The Tonight Show last night. That said, as previously mentioned, I do love their suits, particularly Jeff’s red Sushi Bar jacket which features the Korean Cat of Prosperity, bassist Stirrat’s nautical number (if I’m not mistaken, that’s a square knot on his left shoulder, bad ass), and lead guitarist Nels Cline’s Day of the Dead duds, all skulls and bones.Nudie Korean Cat

Nudie Nautical

Nudie Dead Day

For more of Robert Loerzel’s photos from last year’s Lollapalooza, visit his site, Underground Bee.

For Nels’ thoughts on the suits, check out his interview in Rolling Stone.

“People freaked out. You know, they’re made to look good up close and far away, glittering the whole time.” – Nels Cline, Rolling Stone, 15 September 2008

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “WILCO & The Nudie Suit, Part Two

  1. A new Wilco record. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. I love Wilco, but these suits are just horrible.

  3. Andrew

    They sounded great last night, but I guess I don’t care for the suits. They just look goofy and ill-fitting.

  4. sam

    Honestly, the idea of Jeff Tweedy in a nudie suit is sacrilege to me. What made the one Gram Parsons wore so special was that like his music he took a standard Country trope and subverted it with his own personal rock and roll edge (the pot leaves in the case of his suit). Wilco sporting them just comes off like a hollow gesture to me

  5. Sam, curious: you don’t think WILCO has taken a standard country trope and subverted with its own personal edge?

    Mr. Tweedy sees himself as the next logical step in a line of country music singers who’ve subverted the genre in such a way they’ve blurred the line. Like Parsons, Tweedy toes both country and rock; in his case it’s the “alternative” or “indie” school of thought within each scene.

    The suit is a reference. The suit is a tribute, but more than anything, as WILCO has grown in popularity, so have their crowds. The suits come out for TV and larger shows (see: Lollapalooza). They’re a natural pyrotechnique, if you will — a way of drawing your attention stage-ward.

    You may not consider WILCO anymore alt-country than Kid Rock. Many don’t. I have a friend who swears WILCO has merely ripped off the Beatles. Their first several albums, their collaboration with Billy Bragg, as exceptions, certainly their latter day creations sound more pop and less country. Then again, so does most of what passes for country today. Taylor Swift, anyone?

    Andrew, goofy yes, but like a terrible advertisement, you’ll remember them more so than a plaid western shirt.

    Casper, Dare you to bedazzle a single performance and see what happens. I’m guaranteeing your largest merch sales to date. Neil Diamond when asked why he wore his shiny shirts, he said, “Sells records.” Ok, that’s not true, but I imagine that’s the thought process.

    longwing, as always, you’re welcome. Thank you for continuing to support APO.

  6. sam

    hey you’re absolutely right – it’s just that Gram Parsons did it first and in such spectacular fashion that it became distinctly his. So it just seems unoriginal and a blatant rip off. Rather than tweak the style they’re emulating in their own way (like Gram did with his suit) they just sort of copied his specific gesture directly.

    • Hate to continue the discussion in this fashion, but Mr. Parsons didn’t do it first, technically. It’s not really clear who did it first, as glitter and sequins made their way onto the garments of everyone from Hank Williams to the Carter family. Gram may have been the first of his ilk – not even his generation – to do it. Either way, we’re counting chickens. I love Gram Parsons. I love what he did with the suit. I don’t so much love what WILCO has done, and from the sound of it – as are most things regarding that band – it was all Tweedy’s doing that lead to the suits.

      My question — if pressed, if forced even — what would be the theme or themes and color scheme of your Nudie suit?

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