When people ask me what band I “tie” for I always jokingly say Slipknot, but I’ve been Aerosmith’s official scarfsmith for longer than I can remember. Actually, I don’t remember much; a lot of decades of partying with the band will do that. But it’s funny that something as stupid as wanting to add pizzazz to my heroin tie-offs could turn into a job. Point is, no matter how long I been doing this or how I got into it people just think I grab any old thrift-shop rag and casually fold up a doubly slipped reef knot onto Steve’s mic stand, hand it to him, and I’m done. You think I got these twisted up tree branch fingers from years of rubbing down groupies backstage with all the free time on my hands? I don’t have free time on my hands; I’ve got callouses. Out of all the stage crew, I’m the first one up and the last one to go to bed. The amount of ironing alone would drive most people to quit. It’s a ton of work and a huge responsibility.
That old saying “the show must go on”? It’s true, except if the tying of the mic ain’t been done. Then it don’t go on. One night, right before a concert, they had to make the decision whether to pick up the drummer from the airport or pick me up from the textile district. Damned if they didn’t just do an acoustic set, cause they left Joey waiting at the baggage carousel. I mean, would you have picked him up and be stuck with a singer who refuses to sing cause his mic stand ain’t colorful enough?
That’s just how rock and roll goes, guys.
A lot of people ask me how I ended up getting into this field and I always say that it’s a real rags to riches story. Truth is, I’ve always loved pirate fashion, hog-tying, sailor’s knots, tie-dye, Japanese bondage. I’ve also struggled with a purely professional interest in autoerotic asphyxiation. I mean, how can you NOT have a passion for scarves? We all know that sometimes there’s a dark side to it though. How many great scarfsmiths have we lost after they’ve done the old bungee jump off the dresser with a pashmina tightened around their neck? Hell, one time I accidentally found one of my colleagues mummified himself using an entire stockpile of scarves and dry-cleaning solution.
I don’t really have any regrets about getting into it, though. A lotta people say I threw away the best years of my life at women’s clothing emporiums neck-deep in scarves. It’s embarrassing, but it’s part of the job. The fact that everyone in the band shops for their wardrobe at women’s clothing stores makes me feel a bit less embarrassed. To scarf shop for them, I mean. The other stuff is embarrassing, I know. I just want you to know I don’t dress them. I just dress the mic stands, right?
Either way, it’s all worth it cause there are few things more beautiful than the sight of my scarves flowing off of Steven’s mic stand like some sort of freak flag tied to a magical musical pole. In a way that’s exactly the problem. Jealousy. This band has been on the verge of tearing itself apart whenever any of the other members have attempted to recruit me for my services or copy Steve’s mic-stand style. They’ve all tried to do it. Imagine tiny scarves—actually they were handkerchiefs—tied onto the ends of Joey’s drumsticks. He looked like one of those little gymnastics girls who dance around and do somersaults with the ribbons on sticks. That was 20 years ago and we still tease him about it. They’ll never admit it now but every other guy in the band at one time or another tried decorating their mic stands with macraméd leg warmers, a giant sock, an extra-long condom, a leg cast, driftwood, a beaded curtain, everything. I told Tom, “Listen, you didn’t become a bass player to be the center of attention now did you? Just fall back and let Stevie do his thing, amirite? It isn’t a gimmick and neither is my stand scarving.”
I know a lot of rockers make fun of me and say that they like their mic stands like they like their women, naked, but personally, I think it makes the music sound better.