Ian Thomas, Musician and Morelock Music employee

Where are you from?

I was born in Hartford Connecticut. Went to UConn, then traveled the country. I've lived in New York, Philly, Asheville, New Orleans, California, Colorado, and Massachusetts.

What brought you to Knoxville?

I had passed through here a few times. Moving here wasn't a difficult decision. Knoxville has frank, honest people, and good musicians. It's a working man's town.

Tell us a bit about your musical history...

I was learning the drums at age 8. By 14, it was the harmonica and guitar. I was heavily influenced by Chess Records. I listened to Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf—he's just a monster! Raw and powerful simple blues. As I got older it was an inglorious progression. Not really any one thing. In high school I played in a band called FYST. We were a ridiculous rock band with screeching and screaming. We only played a couple of shows. I also played in a Black Sabbath cover band called Children of the Grave. In college it was the Inflatable Circus, a variety show with puppets, skits, and a house band. At 20 I started traveling and playing music on the streets. I wasn't very good, but that didn't matter. New Orleans was where it all really started for me. It wasn't until New York that I was finally playing indoors at clubs.

What is your favorite accessory?

My hat. I have an odd, lumpy head. I've buzzed my hair a few times, but I generally keep it between my ears and shoulders. It looks good with a hat. I almost always have it with me.

What is "style" to you?

To talk about style you have to have some kind of image you're going for. I've never approached the world that way. You can walk outside and see all kinds of stuff going on. Everyone doing something different. I have always worn boots. Various styles for function. It wasn't until I was in Aspen that I bought my first vintage pair. $30, great shape, and I wore them for ages. I'm spoiled to be working at Morelock Music. There is awesome vintage clothing and boots coming in every week. Red Hickey and Nita Dunn are definitely my local fashion influences. Though, if I could dress up, I'd do something like the villains in '40s movies, but I don't think I can pull it off. Old men really seem to know how to dress. And Hank Williams.

What do you consider to be sexy?

I don't have a lot of expectations. I'm not really asking for women to look good. I have never known a woman that looks better in makeup than without. Sexy isn't something you work at. Being natural and comfortable with who you are and your body type. That's sexy!

What would you like to see less of in Knoxville?

Tow trucks, especially at the Visitors Center. It gives you two-hour parking, but the tow trucks don't seem to care. You can be there for 15 minutes, inside the Visitors Center, and when you come out, your car is gone!

What would you like to see more of in Knoxville?

Naked people. Too many people are wearing clothes. I'd also like to see more buskers, good ones. Good, naked buskers would be a plus.

Worn Fashion

Stetson hat: Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries thrift store, 6 months ago, $10

Sunglasses: Dusseldorf, Germany, two months ago, five euros

Tank top: Walmart, 2 years ago

Jeans: The Gap, this winter, gift for $30 from my roommate

Belt: New Jersey Folk Festival, 2005, $20

Boots: Morelock Music, two months ago, $35