Monday, November 23, 2009

Daniel Benjamin Buxton talks galoshes, Bob Dylan, and what he thinks of Edmonton fashion.

He is perhaps Whyte Avenue's most notorious character, hardest working street performer, and who I consider Edmonton music scene royalty. You may have seen Daniel Benjamin Buxton on a summer night, through blurried eyes at 2:00 AM, playing his unique box-shaped guitar on his self-made stage in front of the Ave's Army and Navy. Or you've seen him in a small club fronting his band, The DB Buxton Revue, sending out audio waves from the past - a raw, blues and soul sound that you can't help but dance to.

Not only is Buxton's voice unique, but so is his quirky and exquisite taste and eye for fashion. His look is incredibly his own, an androgynous mix of skinny black suits, Mia Wallace black bob and beautiful, vintage footwear (don't know where he finds those gorgeous shoes!). Daniel is a breath of fresh air and halo of light through crowds of Ed Hardy t-shirts, Juicy sweatpants and bleached tips.

But that's just what I think. Here's his take on it.

How do you describe your personal style?
Mix of 60’s mod/soul, plus a little new wave eclecticism, 100 per cent second-hand, because I have no money. Basically I like weird androgynous street fashion and old fashioned men’s items. I.E. tuxedo shirts, narrow ties, spats, galoshes.

What influences your style?
60’s soul singers, subtler kinds of drag,  Japanese street kids, op art, young lesbians, early 60’s folk beatnik look, French new wave films, strange 80’s sweatshirts, foppishness in general.

As a performer and musician, how important do you think image is?
Image is as important as you want it to be. Performers can be slobs nowadays and get away with it. Me, I’m the old fashioned show-biz type. I think people want you to look your best when you're onstage or on camera. People will remember you better if your image is a good one. The only danger is if it’s too iconic you’ll be stuck looking like that in people’s minds forever, no matter how your sense of style changes over time.

How would you describe the city of Edmonton’s fashion sense as a whole?
At its best:  quietly fabulous, sullen and unintentionally sexy.
At its worst: pretentious, despite being at least six months behind other cities.

Who do you consider one of the greatest fashion icons?
Bob Dylan circa 1966 - black, Cuban heeled motorcycle boots, ridiculously narrow stovepipe trousers, perfect Italian jackets, French shirts, sunglasses. A sort of mod beatnik meets Parisian, bohemian look.

Favourite item in your closet?
Boy's short sleeve, op-art print, button-down shirt.

Where’s your favourite spot to shop in the city?
Any and every thrift store, all of the time.

Favourite spot to shop outside of Edmonton?
Any of several costume suppliers that sell old rental stock in Vancouver.

Where can we see your next gig?
Your guess is as good as mine. Keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Check out the DB Buxton Revue on Facebook and Myspace.

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