Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stone To The Bone

The Stone Greasers were one of the cooler gangs to hit the streets in the fifties and made their mark across the U.S. until the seventies. What's a Stone Greaser anyway? The term "Stone Greasers" was borrowed from the Greaser gangs from Chicago who use to called themselves "Stone Greasers" because they could trace their legacy back to the gangs from the 50s. Back in the sixties and seventies, 'stone' was a common term meaning 'extremely', or 'absolutely'. 'Stone to the bone' was the common full version of the saying.

The groups were characterized by their slicked hair, leather jackets, tough demeanor and extravagant get-togethers. American greasers were known more for their love of hot rod cars and rockabilly music.

They say that the Greaser era died with Doo Wop around 1963, but there was an underground Greaser culture that existed in big cities around the country. It wasn't uncommon to find Chicago Greaser gang members in the mid 1970s "Doo Woping" on their corners.

During the 1960s a lot of greasers wore leather & suede jackets, Italian knit shirts, and baggie work pants. An iconic look was green work pants cuffed up and quilted work jackets and combat boots. The style caught on in other neighborhoods and soon would see white greasers everywhere wearing baggies. 

Some of the Greasers evolved into the motorcycle clubs of the 1960s and the Punk scene in the 1980s. 

Today, the garage group Rockabilly crews on the East Coast have brought the Greaser style back to the shore, though Greasers have always existed in New Jersey.

 The culture lives on in movies like "Grease" and "The Warriors." Below are some terms to help you be stone to the bone and relive the greaser era like those suave fellas.
  • Bopping- Fighting against a rival gang. Also as a body language which said a lot about the nature of the gang. When a gang decided to become a fighting, or "bopping" gang, its members immediately took on a different way of walking. A rhythmic gait characterized by the forward movement of the head with each step.
  • Debs – The girl friends of gang members. Sometimes the debs are loosely organized as an auxiliary of the gang.
  • Down kiddie – A tough guy. He doesn’t punk out; he’s not chicken.
  • Pull a jap – Make a sneak attack. From the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese “burned our guys.”
  • Punk out – To behave in a cowardly manner; to run away, as from a fight or a threat.
  • Rank – To taunt rivals with threatening or insulting looks or words; a form of challenge. Probably from the Army expression “to pull rank,” meaning to make use of one’s higher rank to bully a subordinate.
  • Rep – Reputation, prestige, status. One of the major reasons for joining a gang.
  • Schemer – The shrewd member of the gang. A schemer might take over the gang leadership by subtly playing one faction against another. Also, the one that thinks up things to do.
  • Chickie – The Cops. “Hey Chickie,” warning the Cops are coming.
Catch ya later, jive studs!


Anonymous said...

You'll have to forgive me for posting this too late...firstly, great article. I'd always personally thought that greasers died out in the mid-sixties, and that additionally, there weren't many to begin with. But my real question is this: what are your sources for the greaser slang you referenced? As far as I was informed, deb was slang for debutante.

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