Thursday, May 26, 2011
I came to know of him as many of my generation did, through the Pearl Jam song "Leatherman". At first I just took the song as another in the line of "-man" songs of theirs--Nothingman, Betterman, etc.
Then I ran across a blurb that Eddie Vedder wrote the song as he believed he was somehow related to this "Leatherman" and I looked into it a bit more. Turns out, his most frequently travelled regions were in the same area as I grew up and I could imagine him going from cave to cave, town to town in the mid to late 1800's. Without a real name and such a peculiar method of dress (all leather stitched together from castoffs) he makes for a striking figure and not one to likely leave the imagination anytime soon. I especially like the leather stovepipe hat seen in this picture.
I'm glad that much of this mystery remains as evidenced in his grave's recent uunearthing and re-internment in New York this past week. Life would be such a bore without some mystery in it.
NYT Article on the search for Leatherman's background...