Name: Joe Graziano
Occupation: Spanish major at Pellissippi State Community College
Where are you from?
I was born and raised right here in Knoxville. Concord, technically. I lived in Asheville for a year and the state of Tennessee contacted me and offered me more money for school, so I moved back.
What keeps you here?
I know enough people here to feel comfortable in just about any situation. I can go downtown to a hipster bar to hear ’60s rock, head to Toots for unpretentious karaoke, or go to a bro-daddy bar and still have a good time. There aren’t too many cliques here—or at least they aren’t as distinct as in Asheville. I suppose the fact that we have such a wide, crazy variety of people makes Knoxville a more welcome place.
How would you describe your personal style and how it has evolved?
Conway Twitty meets Waffle House guys. I wasn’t always this stylish, though. In high school I was a complete misfit. I didn’t care about fitting in at all and I didn’t talk to anyone. I just wore jeans and band T-shirts, but realized later on that it didn’t work for me. When I turned 20 I discovered Jon Spencer. I was obsessed, a disciple of his style. I always sort of had a fascination with American individualism. I’m from Tennessee, but I’m also Italian so I definitely can’t do the redneck thing. My grandfather looked like Boss Hogg—he wore aviators, a cowboy hat, and gloves. And my dad wore great ’70s fashion. My style kind of springs out of being a little different like them. I find it very hard to dress like everyone else and can’t settle on just one look.
Jacket: Hand-me-down from Dad, “Little Dutch Boy” brand, 1970s
Shirt: Atlanta vintage store, one year ago, $29
Jeans: Levi’s in Chicago, two years ago, $35
Boots: Johnson City thrift store, 2006, $15
Bolo tie: My grandfather
Rings: Mystical Orb in Knoxville, a weird Atlanta store, and Gatlinburg
Belt buckle: Hip Replacements in Asheville
Belt: Western store that has gone out of business in Powell