18 October, 2011

Goodbye Mr Kicks

Australian Kustom Kulture is today mourning the loss of a legend. Roscoe Waddington, also known as Ross, Mr Kicks, The Silver Fox, The Electric Mudcat and Big Daddy was many things to many people but in the hearts of Australian Kustom Kulture he will always be a legend – the King of Kool.

Co-founder of Route 66, Ross had spent the last 20 some years as an incredible influence on the country’s style and was the first to import vintage denim and cowboy boots from the USA up until the late 80s. Ross forever changed the Australian Kustom Kulture landscape, making Mooneyes, Claysmith, Ratfink, Coop and many more finally accessible to the hungry Australian market. He saw trends come and go and come again – many of which were started by him at Route 66.

Established in Melbourne in 1983, Route 66 offers a jaw-dropping range of US vintage clothing, western boots, 501s, Raybans and all the primo goods. As the first dedicated retail outlet of its kind in Australia, it quickly became more than just a success – it started a revolution in style and a cult was born.

In 1989 Route 66 opened its doors in Sydney and was followed by a second Melbourne store in 2002. 28 years later, hep cats and kittens old and new continue to flock to Route 66’s ‘Garage’ in Prahran or the ‘location location’ City store to get their fix.

On my recent trip to Melbourne I was privileged enough to spend some time with Ross. DJ’ing at The Yak Bar, he spun a genuine selection of old school and soulful tunes that had the bar flies up and moving and passersby streaming inside. I’ll never forget the sticker he displayed on his kit ‘NO REQUESTS. Do I look like a fucking juke box?’ Such was his class and integrity.

Late at night when things were just starting to hot up in the Cherry Bar, he used is klout to get us in with the VIP treatment avoiding the lineup. It was an awesome night and he was an instantly likeable guy. I didn’t get to spend that long with him but I am supremely grateful for the time that I did. 

Tributes have been flowing in and will continue to for some time. I’ll leave you with some words of those who have said it better than I.

‘Deepest sympathy are with Ross' family, friends & the Route 66 crew. Such a sad day. Always a legend’ – Jad and Kate

‘Sympathy to all those privileged enough to meet and spend time with the 'Silver Fox' a true stylish gentleman’ – Donna

‘His music taste was authentic, soulful and always impeccable – just like Ross’ – Midwest Trader

‘Today the world lost a true dude! This man WAS Kustom Kulture. He was walkin’ talkin kool. He knew his shit and lived by it. RIP Mr Kicks’ – Wally

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