witchtheband.com

COSTUMES

The fashions of the 1980s have been both loved and hated, revered and reviled.  And stage clothing worn by metal bands back in the day have fared no different.  Like most bands of the time, WITCH would get their stage clothes from many different sources: girlfriends, fans, other bands, homemade and store-bought.  The overwhelming majority of stage clothing the band wore has been lost over time.  Leather, cotton, and other fabrics would simply deteriorate from being worn to death, show after show; sweated in, ripped up, and thrown away.  Punky's first WITCH stage outfit--a blue leather jumpsuit purchased from Don Costa--survived the first four months of shows, only to be thrown away years later after falling apart in storage.  Other outfits, like Ronny's custom-made red costume from 1984, were burned to shreds onstage. And others were left behind at venues or parties, or taken by girlfriends as souvenires.

However, some costumes and pieces have survived:

Pre-WITCH.  While in Hawaii in 1981, each member of AMPAGE had a jersey that they wore on stage.  This one belonged to Punky:



This is the oldest WITCH costume piece known to exist.  Size small black leather glove made by Hatch and worn by Punky.  During the first six months of WITCH's career Punky wore this glove on his left hand to gouge at his face and chest during concerts (remnants of blood are still on the spikes).  He also wore it at the first few WITCH photo shoots, and it's the same glove--minus the spikes--that he wore in DAMIEN.  He can be seen wearing the glove on the French THE HEX IS ON, NOBODY SLEEPS, and DAMNATION album covers:



This metal and leather arm band also pre-dates WITCH, with Punky having worn it with DAMIEN.  But he also wore it all throughout WITCH's career, including the first photo session and on the cover of DAMNATION.  In 1986 he loaned the arm band to guitarist Davin St. John, who wore it onstage at most WITCH shows until he left the group in January of 1988.  Davin can also be seen wearing it on the cover of NOBODY SLEEPS:




One of a pair of arm bands given to Punky by Don Costa around the time of DAMIEN.
Jim used this one extensively in 1985, and he can be seen wearing it inside the booklet
of the DAMNATION CD.  Jim also wore it at the June 22, 2013 Malone's show.




Another extremely old piece, this hand and wrist gauntlet was worn by Ronny on stage from WITCH's inception through 1985.  It can be seen on his right hand on the French THE HEX IS ON album cover.  Jim Warmon also wore this piece onstage, and it can be seen on his left hand on the inside cover of DAMNATION:




This red leather studded/spiked wristband belonged to Ronny and was worn onstage in 1983 and 1984.  Like other costume pieces from this period it was also worn by other band members.  Most notably it can be seen on Peter's left arm on the French THE HEX IS ON album cover.




Punky's one--and only--pair of black thigh-high boots.  No tags or manufacturer name remains.  Punky purchased these at Neiman Marcus in the Westminster Mall for $180 right after WITCH formed.  These were worn primarily at photo shoots from 1983 through 1988.  Punky can be seen wearing these on the THE HEX IS ON (France), NOBODY SLEEPS, and DAMNATION album covers:



Jim Warmon's one--and only--pair of stage boots, he wore these at every WITCH show he played from 1983 until 1989.  Black leather thigh-highs, no tags or manufacturer name remains. 
Jim purchased these at Neiman Marcus in the Westminster Mall for $180 right after WITCH formedHe can be seen wearing them on the THE HEX IS ON (France),  NOBODY SLEEPS, and DAMNATION album covers:


Peter's shirt worn at Radio City on June 30, 1984.  A prime example of an early costume piece, this is simply an old tour shirt (in this case from the ROLLING STONES "Tattoo You" tour) that he ripped up and tied to himself.  In the middle of the show Peter tore this shirt off and threw it into the crowd:



A truly amazing piece.  This is Punky's custom made, green crushed-velvet jacket with pink and white polka-dot lining.  Punky purchased this at a thrift store in 1985 during the band's three-night-stand in Phoenix, Arizona.  He wore this on the day of his first marriage in 1985, and in photo shoots that same year:



Punky's claw and eyeball ring.  He purchased this at a store called The Sorcerer's Shop on Sunset Boulevard in late 1982.  He wore the ring everywhere throughout WITCH's entire career, including his 1985 wedding reception:




Ronny's THE HEX IS ON shirt, worn at many WITCH shows in 1985:
(photo courtesy Ronny Too)


Jim's blue leather jacket.  Although it's unlikely he wore this onstage, he was photographed wearing it backstage at various venues in 1985, and at Punky's 1985 wedding reception:



Ronny's red leather jacket.  Like Jim's jacket above, it is unlikely that Ronny wore this onstage, although he was photographed wearing it backstage at various venues in 1985:


Punky wore these white, elbow-length gloves with SPOILED ROTTEN in 1986:



In April of 1986, Jim wore this black-metallic lycra, rhinestone-encrusted tuxedo jacket with CIRCUS CIRCUS:



Peter's snake bracelet, worn at many WITCH shows until he threw it into the Jezebel's crowd on October 31, 1986:



The front and back of Ronny's jean jacket--complete with KNAC button--worn at his MAX HAVOC gigs in 1987, and every WITCH show in 1988 and 1989:
(photo courtesy Ronny Too)





In 1988 Atlantic Records paid for WITCH to get new, custom-made stage clothes.  Jim had the most elaborate costume created, modeling some of it after Gene Simmons' 1975 DRESSED TO KILL costume, and the entire outfit still exists:

Jim started wearing this No Exit jean vest around 1987.  But in 1988 he had it dyed black, and at the same time all of the spikes and studs were attached:


Custom black leather pants.  Made from scratch, no tags or manufacturer name were ever attached:



Black leather bat wings.  I had a photo of Gene Simmons from 1975 that detailed his costume's bat wings.  Jim loved the wings and decided to have a pair of his own made.  He gave the photo to the costume maker and she created this identical pair:



This is by far my favorite costume piece from any WITCH band member.  Jim started wearing this belt--without the logo, studs, and cuffs--around 1987.  The costumer liked the belt so much she decided to incorporate it into the new outfit.  Almost completely engulfed in mold, Jim rescued the belt from his garage in 2007 and I had it restored:




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Newer costume pieces:


Punky's boots, worn for the 2008 Reunion Weekend photo shoot.
The boots were a gift from Jim, given to each band member just prior to the shoot.





Punky wore this Catholic school girl costume at every WITCH show in 2009, beginning February 13 at The Doll Hut, and concluding August 15 at The Black Castle.  It is literally a Halloween costume from Saturday Night Live character Mary Katherin Gallagher (played by Molly Shannon):