Cameron Carpenter: Past and Present Tens – Take Off Your Shirt And Jacket


One of the perks working in the music business is (was) the free clothes. Tee-shirts, hoodies, hats, toques, scarves, you name and some label or artist would find a way to incorporate their logo on it. The big score was always the record label or band tour jacket. In the days of big record company conventions one of the first thing you would do was check your hotel room as more often than not there would be a swag bag waiting for you full of all kinds of treats. Some of these I still possess and others have long disappeared or been given away to friends.

ramones jacket1.       The Ramones  – Although  1992’s “Mondo Bizarro” was not my favourite Ramones album, the leather biker jacket that I was sent when it was released is my favourite piece of promo-wear. Fashioned on the classic jacket that Johnny adorns on their debut  album, the jacket has the Ramones circular logo on the back with the band’s line-up of Joey, Johnny, C. Jay and Marky. This sucker has been all across North America and half of Europe and almost always elicits some sort of response. If nothing else it is a conversation breaker and a few pints have been sent my way when I am wearing it. It’s the perfect fall jacket and it is getting ready to rock for its 23rd season.

Tux2.       Cheap Trick/REO Speedwagon – Not really a tour jacket but a tour tuxedo. It was presented to VIP guests at the Century Theatre when the two bands performed there in September 1978. A group of journalists and CBS record execs travelled to the show and I was there writing about it for the New Music Magazine. Although it is now a bit snug I have managed to hang on to this for over 35 years.


3.       Quality Records – Although just a grey windbreaker with the Quality Records logo over the left breast this was my very first official record company jacket. It wasn’t that well-made or stylish but I felt like a player when I wore it. It was the jacket that I wore on-stage at Ontario Place when I interrupted The Commodores performance of “Nightshift” to surprise them with gold records for both the single and the album. Walking out in front of 15,000 fans with a live microphone was one of the most intimidating things I ever did. I think this jacket found the bin sometime in the late eighties.

royalwt_04.       The New Music – Back in the seventies we called a lot of record company guys “satin soldiers” as the satin baseball-style promo jackets were all the rage. We made some blue satin jackets for the staff of the New Music Magazine which were trimmed in yellow. They were pretty cheezy but I would love to still have it for nostalgic reasons and for those seventies-retro parties I occasionally get invited to. I’m pretty sure it was the only magazine jacket that I ever acquired.

kiss5.       Kiss Destroyer Tour – This was a very light black zip-up nylon jacket with orange racing stripes down the sleeves. On the front were the front cover graphics from the “Destroyer” jacket and underneath were the venue (Varsity Stadium) and date (September 1976). I don’t remember where I got the jacket from (it may have been the promoter) and I don’t remember who I gave it to (pretty sure it was someone from a band I was working with) so if you are out there reading this and still have it, send it back.

Bomber Jacket6.       Chrysalis Bomber Jacket – I went over to a worldwide Chrysalis Records marketing conference in London, England back in the early nineties. When I got to my room there was a very heavy brown flight jacket (think World War II pilots) with the Chrysalis logo on the back and a graphic of a bomber. The jacket was a tad too small but I managed to hang on to it for quite a few years until it ended up at the bottom of a very damp basement closet and succumbed to an attack of mold. At the next Chrysalis convention we were all given blue leather varsity jackets with the classic label logo on the back. They sure knew how to dress their staff.

il_570xN.2228549517.       Motown 25 – When Motown celebrated their 25th anniversary they sent their staff light beige corduroy jackets with a bright blue Motown 25 on the back. They were kind of ugly but I liked the fact that they were all personalized and had our names in script on the front. I spent a lot of years working the Motown catalog and I wouldn’t mind having this one back. Not quite sure where it went so if you see someone wearing them with Cameron in the front please feel free to re-possess on my behalf.

$_358.       MCA/Geffen Jacket – We had this made by Ralph Dunning who designed cool promo gear long before he started his now world-famous line of Dunning Golf. We had just picked up the distribution of Geffen Records over at MCA and these were convention treats. These were long (over the butt), black, hooded zip-ups with MCA Records Canada huge on the back and the Geffen and DGC logos on the front. They were fantastic in the rain and snow but not very subtle when it came to sneaking into a bar to A&R a band. This one was left in a Halifax hotel closet in a last minute rush to the airport. About two weeks later when I went to put it on I realised my mistake but it was far too late to do anything about it.

Aerosmith-Get-A-Grip-World-229150a-9919.       Aerosmith Get A Grip – This jacket has a couple of stories. Former Aerosmith manager Tim Collins brought a few of these black jean jackets, with a red embroidered Aerosmith logo on the back, up to Canada to hand out to the Aerosmith team. I was wearing the jacket one night on the beach in San Diego at an MCA Publishing conference when one of the big L.A. MCA Record guys said that he really liked it and would like to have one. I asked my boss (John Alexander) what to do and he said give it to him as the brownie points would go a long way in my favour. Off it came. When Tim found out who it went to he was happy to replace it. The jacket now happily resides with Jon Chandler from Amos the Transparent as he told me that was the first big concert he ever attended.

12447249-12105917-11965465-bang-tango-logo10.   Bang Tango – Bang Tango were a late eighties L.A. hard rock band. They were signed to MCA and their manager, whom I had worked with prior to Bang Tango, sent me a black leather biker jacket with the band’s logo beautifully airbrushed on the back. I wore it for years until I covered the pack panel with a huge Headstones patch as I had just signed them. I still have the jacket and one day will remove the Headstones crest to reveal its former glory.

Come request “Tweeter & The Monkey Man” one Wednesday night at The Kensington Lodge


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DBAWIS_ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

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