8 musicians on what chuck taylors mean to them

    shoes with sole

    by · March 26, 2015

    Photo by Daniel Dorsa

    It’s impossible to chart how, exactly, Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars went from basketball shoes to just Chucks—the footwear of choice for anyone with an instrument or an attitude. Some might credit The Ramones, who took Chuck Taylors out of the gym and onto the CBGB stage. Bands like Nirvana and The Strokes kept the retro Americana thing alive, while artists like N.W.A brought them to the West Coast streets. Their simple comfort and the fact that the dirtier they get, the cooler they look, make them perfect for thrashing around on stage.

    Today, Chuck Taylors and musicians go together like graham and crackers. So last week at SXSW, we asked some of the artists playing The FADER Fort Presented by Converse to talk about what makes Chuck Taylors so special.

    Photo by Daniel Dorsa

    Jonny Piere, The Drums”Chucks were really essential to the image of our band, especially when we were getting going. We were going for an all-American, classic look. I used to have a really oversized fish aquarium, and I used to get through a pair of Chucks and throw them in this glass aquarium. It was full to the top with these old Chucks. It was kind of like an art piece but it smelled really bad.”

    Photo by Daniel Dorsa

    BadBadNotGoodAlex: ”I got the classic red Chucks first in like grade nine, because I remember being like, Oh, Chucks are cool.“Matty: ”My older brother had them so I thought they were cool and convinced my mom to go to the shoe store.” Chester: ”I wore mine all winter because they’re leather and the zippers on my boots kept breaking so these leather Converse held me down in the snow and slush.”

    Photo by Ryan Muir

    Dej Loaf”My first pair was at my 6th grade graduation. I remember wearing a jersey dress too, and those were really popular at the time. I had low top Chuck Taylors in the color black, and I wanted that whole outfit for the longest time. I begged mom for every part of it and I was fortunate enough to get it. I remember that day and that outfit like it was yesterday. I have a few special pairs, too, and I’ll never give them up.”

    Photo by Sean Lyles

    Vince Staples”Everybody loves them. They got ’em in every color, so if you’re trying to rock the one-tone, or the monotone thing going with the lime green Chucks with the Levi’s 511s, or something like that—it’s a staple of L.A. culture but really, Chucks are everywhere. People in New York wear them, people in the South wear Chucks, people in Canada wear Chucks.

    Photo by Greg Noire

    Kehlani”My first pair of Chucks were classic black and white high tops. I remember writing all over them and tying the strings together to hang on the telephone line, but I literally have no arm strength and they ended up falling about three feet in front of me. Ha!”

    Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford

    Tei Shi”I was probably 12 and was really into classic rock and grunge and all that good stuff that my friends hadn’t discovered at the time. I wanted to channel the music I was into, and I remember thinking chucks were like, the ultimate badass way to wear that vibe. They weren’t super in yet with kids my age and I remember picking out bright pink high tops online and making my parents buy them for me. I wore the shit out of those.”

    Photo by Daniel Dorsa

    Ellie Rowsell, Wolf Alice “I got my first pair when everyone was already wearing them. We called them All-Stars and I got mine secondhand from a market and they were pink. But when I got home I realized I got two different shades of pink and I couldn’t take them back since it was a market so I wore them anyway. I didn’t get the piss taken out of me but I did get some looks.”

    Photo by Jesse Lirola

    Austin Millz”New York is Air Force Ones, and Chucks is a Cali thing—Snoop, that whole Cali swag is Chucks, but I feel like in recent years Chucks has gone universal. People are rocking Chucks everywhere now. In summer I love rocking the black Chucks and the off-white high tops, definitely.”
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    Last updated: 2015-03-28T19:53:46-04:00
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