How One Punk's Battle Vest Ended Up on Display at Macy's
Watch your back at the Battle of the Bands.
In 2014, metal-head Meshach "Attack" Babcock played a Battle of the Bands show at Oregon City High School he'll never forget.
It was the first live show booked by his less-than-a-year-old speed-metal band, Maniac. And according to Babcock: A physical representation of the state's storied metal scene––a vintage denim vest passed down through different generations of bikers, outlaws, and Oregon metalheads; eventually coming into his possession––was lifted from a pile of jackets left backstage.
Babcock's distressed and thought-be-lost-forever denim vest was part of his identity, and represented the music that influenced his own creative vision. He had received the garment as a child. Its patches read as a "How-To" manual for creating fast and loud and heavy music, and its owners lived that way.
From Rolling Stone:
This particular vest itself dates back to the 1960s, and carries with it an unusual provenance. "My grandfather wasn't an outlaw biker, but he spent time with them," says John Huteson, a Portland musician who was given the Levi's denim vest by his grandfather. Huteson passed it along to his friend Cory Boyd, lead guitar player in Spellcaster, a heavy metal band from Portland, who ultimately gave it to Babcock, who had just turned 13 years old at the time.
Meshach's Vest has its own Twitter account too.
When a friend forwarded an Instagram photo of the vest on display at the Macy's Flagship store in New York City––2,900 miles away from Oregon City––Babcock knew his vest lived on. "The dead giveaway was the Nasty Savage patch and a Misfits patch I sewed inside, because I'm a punk on the inside, and the heavy metal on the outside," said Babcock.
The vest was said to have been purchased by a member of the creative team at Ralph Lauren––the section of the Macy's store its currently being displayed in––and the company reportedly plans to return the vest to Babcock as early as next week.
"We have reached out to Meshach, and we are in communication with him so that we can get this resolved as quickly as possible," a Macy's rep told The Guardian.
This all feels like a Tenacious D sketch/song. There. We said it.