Hell Bent For Leather: Ray Brown, The Man Who Dressed JUDAS PRIEST and More
A native of Australia, one Ray Brown's clients in his early days was AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott whom Brown dressed a few times prior to his death in February of 1980. Already an established tailor, Brown picked up and moved to London where he started selling some of his designs on King's Row having some success dressing other musicians such as Adam Ant.
Brown's big break would after his move to Los Angeles in 1980, nearly broke he started making custom jeans with a rented sewing machine. Next came a request from Tommy Shaw of Styx to create clothes for the bands upcoming Paradise Theater Tour in 1981–specifically a pretty legendary red jumpsuit for the hard-to-fit Shaw. Brown's work for Styx's stage clothing for the tour would end up launching his long career of making clothing that in some cases has become not only synonymous with metal, but also with metal institutions such as Judas Priest–a band Brown has dressed for over 30 years.
Even though the mighty Priest wasn't the first NWOBHM band to be dressed by Brown (we'll get to that in a future post about Brown's very metal clientele), he did swoop in during a very pivotal period in the band's career. The year was 1982, and Judas Priest had just released their eighth record, Screaming for Vengeance and were about to embark on their massive World Vengeance Tour. Were the boys of Priest wearing leather and studs before Brown came along? Of course. Once Brown started working with Priest, the joint venture seemed to help solidify Judas Priest would always look as metal as fuck in real leather up on stage. Brown still dresses members of the band, most notably metal god Rob Halford and other members of Priest for the Firepower World Tour. I've posted photos of Priest in Brown's sick stage-wear in chronological order below. Devil horns OUT!