Nathaniel Irvin is a punk, in all senses of the word. As the frontman of The 33's, Charleston's ska punk band, he has a reputation to upkeep and that goes for his garb. "I've had the same boots since '97," he says from a speaker phone that sounds like it's nestled between Satan's ass cheeks. The volume is garbled and a friend keeps shouting in the background.
"You can wear them for a formal function or for a show or in war," he yells. "These Grinders boots, particularly, have 15 eyelets chopped down to eight because I don't have the patience."
When asked to share what he wears them with, he responds, "Tell me what you're wearing. Start from the top."
A punk rocker/Don Draper hybrid? Funny, I don't recall that in the anti-establishment handbook.
Unfazed by the seething on the other line, Irvin continues, "Even though the boots have holes in them and almost no tread left, no one seems to have the patience to repair them either." Irvin tried to have a local cobbler do the job.
But it's of little concern. Irvin wears them anyway. It fits his aesthetic. Nearly all his clothes are hand-me-downs. This pair of Grinders boots came from his brother.
"We're poor," he says. "I buy band shirts every now and then. My other clothes are mix 'n' match."
That's not to say he's sartorially opposed.
"I wouldn't mind looking like James Bond," Irvin confesses. "Or Columbo. He has style. He's up there with Bukowski."
CP tries to ask more questions to the sounds of muffled cackles, then Irvin sings, "These boots were made for walking, that's just what they'll do," followed by the blasts of what we presume is a 33's song.
Then click. Dial tone.
Maybe that was Ashton Kutcher laughing in the background.