Jack Flash, 30, is the singer and lead guitarist of the local new-wave band Bang! Bang! About three weeks ago he started selling lightning-bolt shaped ties like the ones he wears onstage. They’re available in three colors at the band’s shows, through a MySpace page (myspace.com/bangbangties), at Strange Cargo, and at the John Fluevog store, where Flash works.
What’s the genesis of the tie?
I started wearing it in late 2002. I had the tie on from the first show we ever played. I started thinking about wearing a tie, but everyone wears a tie. I was thinking about Richard Hell and the Voidoids–he used to rip up his shirt, wear torn shirts he painted on. Then it kind of hit me. It’s a symbol I’ve always liked. At first I used to cut them up out of thrift store ties–I used to have to find big fat thrift store ties.
And people started asking you about them.
I would get people constantly saying, “That’s a great idea, I want one,” blah blah blah. So it was always kicking around in the back of my head. At first I asked friends who were seamstresses if they could make it, but it was so complicated and so much work. They were going to take forever and they would have had to be so expensive. Then I ran into a friend who had a friend who works with manufacturing companies. He said, “I think it’s a cool idea, we should try it. I’ll put up the money to make them and we’ll give it a shot.” I got really good at drawing lightning bolts.
Has it been odd seeing your ties on other people?
It was a little weird at first even selling them, because it was my thing that I made for myself. But what made me realize I had to go ahead and do it was I realized someone was going to rip me off. I went to some loft party in New York with all these total scenester people. This girl–I pull out the tie, and she looks at me dead-faced, and she’s like, “I’m gonna steal that.” I’m like, aw, crap. So once you see that, it’s like, why not?
You sell them for $20. That seems reasonable.
I’m not making a lot from the price of them. I was thinking about the pricing in the context of a rock show–there’s only so much money someone’s going to spend at a rock show. Usually people are broke.
Have you been surprised by any of your customers?
There have been a couple of businessy guys. I think that’s funny. I would love to see someone go to a board meeting in one of those. They’re real power ties. –Heather Kenny
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Jack Flash photo by Jim Newberry.