The Edwardian Cowboy | What Are You Wearing? | Chicago Reader

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The Edwardian Cowboy

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Lawrence Peters, 40, drums for the psychedelic band Plastic Crimewave Sound and plays washboard and sings in the country act Hardscrabble.

Heather Kenny: You're known in the local music scene for the way you dress. When did you start paying attention to clothes?

Lawrence Peters: My mom was pretty liberal--she let me dress myself. There are some funny photographs of myself in a leopard-print vest and red-and-white-striped pants.

HK: When you play country, you really look the part.

LP: The country garb I really like is more 50s and 60s honky-tonk, with the fringe and shiny stuff. When I wear it, I really have to live up to it. It's a little extra incentive to cut loose and do your best job representing country music.

HK: But some of your clothes are kind of dandyish.

LP: I like that Edwardian look--tight striped pants, a vest. Back then people got clothes made for them or made them themselves. I used to go to thrift stores, but they don't have a lot of what I like anymore. When I decided to get some clothes made, I went to Dame Couture. I showed them painter's pants--I like the fit and the pocket on the side. The first pair they made was beautiful, but the fabric stretched. So the second pair I had made really tight. I had a pocket put on the side, a utility pocket for keeping rulers or pliers. I keep a pencil or my watch in it. It was really exciting to have them just right.

HK: So do you yearn to live in a kinder, gentler time?

LP: I don't want this to be 1958 at all. It's prefeminism, and racially it was not a time I would have wanted to be born into. For me it's a style thing. If you're willing to dress like a weirdo, let your freak flag fly, you're more likely to be open to other stuff, more likely to be honest about other stuff. But not everyone has the luxury of being a musician and wearing whatever they want.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Saverio Truglia.

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