Jimmy Webb, punk style icon who outfitted rock royalty, dies at 62

Jimmy Webb, the manager and iconic buyer of the famous New York clothing store Trash and Vaudeville, which later opened its own store, named I NEED MORE, died Tuesday morning at the age of 62. Webb’s friend Heart Montalbano confirmed his death at rolling stone, adding that youcause of death was cancer.

Although not a musician himself, Webb counted rock royalty like Iggy Pop, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Joan Jett and Debbie Harry and Blondie’s Chris Stein among his clients and friends. After his death, many musicians paid tribute to the flamboyant resident of New York.

“We will all miss our wonderful friend Jimmy Webb,” Harry said in a statement to Rolling stone. “There is a charming unique character in New York. I feel lucky to have known him.”

“Jimmy Webb was a great friend of mine,” Sebastian Bach wrote. “I bought every pair of Cuban heel boots I wore from 1987 to 2011 at Jimmy’s Trash & Vaudeville. Rest in peace bro, you’ll be missed. You’re from the days of real rock and roll .

“This is heartbreaking. Jimmy, you are a New York treasure. Always positive energy. You always lived out loud,” wrote Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, while McKagan added, “The kindest man and the pure fucking rock n roll punk. Jimmy has such a story, and my family and I feel honored and loved to be a small part of his triumphant story. We love you Jimmy …we will miss you, my brother.

Webb started working at Trash and Vaudeville in 1999 and quickly became the store’s top employee, as well as a manager and buyer. With an eye for perfectly fitting skinny jeans and authentic style, he’s rounded up looks for punk rockers and pop stars, including dressing everyone from the Ramones to Beyoncé and Justin Bieber. The looks he had fashioned were featured in Rolling Rock, vogue, and on MTV.

“He was one of a kind. He wasn’t a famous, wealthy rock star. He looked like it, but he was actually working like crazy at nine to five,” says friend Jasper McGandy. of Webb who worked with him at Trash and Vaudeville for two and a half years.” But the pleasure he took in making everyone look fantastic and feeling good seemed to be all he lived for. Luckily for him, he was really, really good at it. It was fun to watch him interact with all the celebrities who came shopping, but it was even nicer to watch him offer discounts or hide pants for a kid you knew he had to save for the next six months to allow it. The man had a heart the size of his head.

Prior to serving as a fashionista for the rock & roll set, Webb struggled with drug addiction and homelessness. Raised in Wynantskill, New York, he moved to Connecticut for a short stint at community college after graduating from high school. He said the new yorker that when he moved to New York, he got a job “delivering cocktails at a gay bar, and I could see where that would lead, and I wanted more. I wanted to dance and live, so I went down the street alone with all the other runaways. Without fear.”

The self-proclaimed ‘boy on the run’ loved dancing, an activity he took lessons in as a child, and frequented clubs like Studio 54. He spent hours making his outfits before hitting the clubs. He said vogue that he had long wanted to work at Trash and Vaudeville, but it wasn’t until after he got sober in 1999 that he was hired to work there.

In his time in Trash and Vaudeville, his bold style and character resonated with his clientele and the neighborhood — he became, like vogue called him, the “reigning mayor of St. Marks Place” and “the unofficial shopkeeper of punk rock”. In 2017 he opened his own shop, called I NEED MORE, where he worked until his death.

“Dressing up is the whole look,” he told The new yorker in 2007. “If one thing stands out, you’re a nice coat walking down the street or pants on the subway.” With everything on, even if the elements are different from each other, it mixes. You cannot cross this line into Bozo, however. This is my new term, the Bozo line. You must never cross the Bozo line. I might look like Bozo right now, but instead I’m totally fabulous. I happen to look fabulous with thousands of dollars worth of clothes and jewelry and a $20 shirt.

Diana J. Carleton