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Gram Parsons' Nudie Suit: A Rendition of The Original
Gram Parsons was a singer, song writer, guitar player & pianist that
had been a member of several bands including the International
Submarine Band, The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. It wasn’t
until after his death, however, that he was recognized as being one
of the founders of country rock and alt-country.
The suit that Gram had designed for himself has been interpreted as
a sort of eerie timeline leading up to his death. With the pills,
marijuana leaves, poppy flowers and nudes symbolizing the downward
spiral that caused his death, the cholo cross on the back and the
flames running up the legs of his pants foreseeing his friends’
drunken act of attempting to cremate his body. All displaying his
teetering between sinfulness and faith.
Parsons' suit was hand stitched by Manuel Cuevas, Nudie Cohen's
protégé, who has called the suit "a map for him to follow to his
Since Gram's death, there have been many tributes to him in
the form of albums, movies, concerts and plays. A more recent
tribute to Gram Parsons was in the form of a theatrical concert that
was written to show a more romantic portrayal of the artist when he
was at the top of his game and the time leading up to his tragic
The Legend of Gram Parsons
We were contacted by Michael Bate, a well known Canadian Businessman
and Entrepreneur, to create a suit for the theatrical concert he
co wrote, produced and directed, Grievous Angel: The Legend of
Gram Parsons. With respect to the original designers of Gram Parsons’ legendary
suit, Nudie Cohn and Manuel Cuevas, it didn’t seem right to create a
total replica/knock-off of the original. We wanted to create a
recognizable image of the original, but not a total re-creation.
There was a frequent exchange of ideas, concerns and sketches
between ourselves and Mr. Bate, that in the end, turned into the
final masterpiece that was worn by Anders Drerup, the man who played
When Designing the jacket, we were initially going to create an
entire suit, like the original, but decided to make just a jacket.
We wanted to capture the recognizable image of the suit but give it
a unique look as well. We added a Joshua Tree to the back in place
of the cross because it would first off be too similar to the
original if we put the cross on the back and secondly because Gram’s
body was burned in Joshua Tree California so the tree was rather
symbolic in that way. We also added the Telecaster because it was
one of the instruments he played. We kept
most all of the other elements, just placed them in different
locations and changed the look of them. One important embellishment
we had to include was the rhinestones.
We started out with various sketches of the jacket. This was
the final approved sketch, but we ended up making a few more
necessary changes to the jacket as it was worked on. This
This is the poster that was created for the
concert, based off the original sketch.
Angel; The Legend of Gram Parsons is a theatrical
concert about the life and tragic death of the late Gram
While sketches and ideas were
being exchanged, we sent off a jacket to be fitted to Anders
before we began production of the actual jacket.
The jacket was then
assembled and sent off for the event.