This truly is a legendary company, an American icon like Elvis Presley, Levi 501s, The Statue Of Liberty, Tex Avery cartoons, or a 1959 Pink Cadillac.
This incredible Rockmount wood logo is from the 1940s.
Jack A. Weil, creator of the legendary Rockmount Ranchwear,
101 years young, and still going to work every day!
Rockmount doesn't just make "clothes".
What they create is much more than just "clothes": Rockmount is a state of mind, a way to live the American Dream, a way to appreciate the Wild West with all of its majestic beauty whether you live in Fort Worth, Moscow, Tokyo or Las Vegas.
When you wear one of these classic Western shirts on top of your Levi's and cowboy boots, you not only become a purveyor of Americanism, but you also feel like a tornado of freedom is reinvigorating your body and soul, and 20 years of worries are taken off your back!
Out of the 1950s, wow, it doesn't get much better than this: from the
turquoise fabric with gold splashes, to the hexagonal gold rim pearl snaps,
to the unique distinctive packaging, this shirt screams AMERICA, AMERICA,
WILD WILD WILD WEST, ROCKABILLY, ROCKABILLY, it's the LIVING END!!!
Formed in 1946 by Jack A. Weil, now 101 years young and still going to work every day in the same downtown historical Denver office building, the company never stopped manufacturing their signature form-fitting Western shirts with diamond shaped (square) snap buttons and sawtooth pocket flaps.
The classic Rockmount Ranch Wear logo, remains unchanged since the 1950s.
Jack Weil's shirts are slim and form-fitting so as to accentuate the masculine Western look, unlike the boxy products which at the time were worn by Easterners. These trim classic Western shirts were/are the perfect match to tight-fitting Lee Riders, Levi 501s and Wrangler 13MWZ blue jeans.
Jack A. Weil's son, Jack B., joined the company in the 1950s, and expanded the popularity of Western Wear to the East Coast to a receptive youthful population already weaned on hundreds of Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey movies, and tired of wearing the sloppy disheveled clothing of their parents and grandparents.
Steve (Jack A. Weil's grandson) joined in 1981 after returning from studying in Europe. By the 1980s Steve had expanded the brand's popularity to Asia and Europe. His grandfather's "Western State of mind" had spread from the American West to world-wide in 40 years. (The last two lines lifted from their website: www.rockmount.com
A beautiful rayon gabardine pink & black rockabilly shirt currently in
production, based on one of their 1950s styles. Notice the unique black
diamond shaped snap buttons and the fancy saddle stiching! A masterpiece!
What follows is an interview
With Steve and Jack:
Ronny: So let's go back to the very beginning. Was your grandfather born in Denver, where did his parents come from, and why did they immigrate to America, and to Denver?
Steve: My great-grandfather was from Alsace, Loraine near the French/German border. He fled Europe to avoid the Prussian invasion of France in 1871, settling in Evansville where my grandfather was born. My grandfather, Jack A. Weil, was born in 1901. He went on the road for A. Stein & Co., a Chicago manufacturer of garters, suspenders, elastic, etc. He later moved to Denver in 1926 to open a sales office.
Ronny: Your Grandpa started working for the Miller Stockman Supply Company. Can you tell us a little bit about that company, who started it, what did your Grandpa do, etc?
Steve: My grandfather became friends with Phil Miller who was struggling to run one of the earliest wholesale Western companies. Phil asked Jack A. to join him in 1932 as a partner. They built the company into a catalog operation which operated under various names including Stockman Farmer Supply and Miller Stockman. My grandfather ran the shirt and catalog operations. He had a manufacturing background stemming from high school when he worked in the DS Bernstein Overall Factory during WWI.
Ronny: What made him decide to start Rockmount? How did the snaps come about, the sawtooth pocket flaps, the form fitting styles?
Steve: My grandfather grew tired of Miller's dependence on large chain stores who were more concerned with price than quality so he left Miller and started Rockmount in 1946.
His shirt designs were based on making distinctive looks for cowboys and westerners who wanted to differentiate themselves from the conventional clothing of city folk. All the features of the western shirt were intended to be flattering. The yokes and trim cut accentuate broad shoulders and physique. The snaps had a "breakaway" feature if the shirt got caught on the saddle horn or fence.
Ronny: I'm glad to see you are putting more and more emphasis on classic fabrics like cotton, linen, rayons, gabardines, and moving away from poly blends. Any comments on this, and on future production?
Here's two wild ones from the 1950s: these cuffs are not for the timid type!
Steve: Following the family tradition, my grandfather started design, my father saw a void and moved into it beginning in the 50's, later taking over thru the early 80's.. Likewise I saw a need for styles we were not yet making and gradually moved into design, eventually heading it.
We were mostly making blends from the time permanent press became available in the late 60's until the early 80's. I was intrigued by our early designs in wool and rayon gabardine, all cottons and specialty fabrics. I began painstakingly locating sources for these fabrics which had not been in production in 30 or 40 years. The cycle has gone full circle and all natural fabrics are the bulk of our business today. Daily I look for great fabrics, especially pima cotton with high construction, buttery soft hand, and classic patterns.
Ronny: You currently run the company, while your Dad is the Secretary of the Colorado Republican Party, and your Grandpa still comes to work every day at the young age of 101. Can you elaborate?
And here is the whole shirt. Notice the unique pocket flaps!
The shirt also has silver metallic thread running through it.
Steve: Yes, that sums it up. I am fortunate to have 2 veterans to turn to for advice with a combined experience of 130 years between them. Guess you could call it my secret weapon! I ask them the hard questions to which my grandfather often replies "why are you asking because you are going to do what you want anyway". Yes, but I like knowing their views because while I might not follow them entirely they influence me.
Ronny: your family is known for having done much humanitarian work in Denver, not only for the Jewish Community, but for all ethnic groups as well. Elaborate.
Steve: This is where I should mention my grandmother, Bea Weil, who passed away over 10 years ago. She came from Humboldt, TN. My grandfather traveled the South and met her in the early 20's. After their marriage they moved to Denver and established themselves here. They helped found Rose Hospital and supported it for many years. They guaranteed support of many refugees wanting to leave Europe during WWII. Bea supported the USO and hosted service men during WWII. In later years she was on the board of the American Medical Cancer Society.
Ronny: you must feel very proud that your Western Wear is constantly becoming more popular with Rockabilly Rebels all over the world?
Elvis Presley, the King of Rock'n'Roll, whose current CD is Number One in
America, and in the whole world as well, is shown here wearing a Rockmount
shirt. (From the movie "Loving You", probably Elvis' best rockabilly movie.)
Steve: We are thrilled that artists and fans wear Rockmount. It seems that while there has been a long time following in the music industry, it has reached a crescendo recently. Our shirts have been seen on Bob Dylan, Dwight Yoakum, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Vonda Shepard, Mark Chestnut, and their bands in the last year. As for the Rockabilly people many come by when they are in Denver to visit our new store and museum. After nearly 60 years in business we just added the retail. We hear from people through rockmount.com which is nice because we never had the direct contact in the past. We also support the local Rockabilly scene.
Currently in production. Very high class!
Questions for Jack A. Weil:
Ronny: What do I have to do to reach and pass 100 years?
Jack A.: Stop smoking at 60. Eat moderately and drink only occasionally.
Ronny: your classic Western Wear is prized by teenagers all over the world, including my three sons. It must give you great satisfaction to know you've created such timeless classics?
Jack A.: It was a quirk of producing what I really liked and some ingenuity. I made what I liked. It is gratifying to know others feel the same about these products.
Ronny: can you tell us a bit about the owners/origins of companies such as Tem-Tex, Prior, Las Vegas shirt by Cowboy Joe, Karman, RanchMan, Miller?
Jack A.: Many of the original companies came out of Miller. It all started in Denver.
Well, thank you very much, it makes me very happy to know that there are still Real American Companies like yours keeping the spirit of the Wild West alive with Real Western shirts, as opposed to these ridiculous emasculated button-down, no snaps, no yokes, no flap pockets shirts that your competitors are fraudulently trying to pass off as "Western" shirts!!
A classic 1950s print with pinup cowgirls currently in production.
Always Rollin' The Rollin' Rock,
Turquoise is a classic 1950s Western color.
Notice the hexagonal snaps. Unknown brand.
Rockin' Ronny Weiser,
The Rockabilly Rebel Westerner From Las Vegas,
The Wild Wild West!
E-Mail Ronny at Rollin' Rock
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Original Cool's Ronny Weiser Interview
Ken Burke Reviews Rollin' Rock's Discography
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CD-102 - RIP CARSON & THE TWILIGHT TRIO
CD-103 - THE ORIGINAL BAND (Bill Haley's Comets) - "Still Rockin' Around the Clock"
CD-104 - MACK STEVENS - "Texas Heat"
CD-105 - RIP CARSON & THE TWILIGHT TRIO - "Stand Back"
CD-106 - JOHNNY & THE BLADES - "Let's Make Vegas Tonite"
CD-107 - DRAGSTRIP 77 - "Rockabilly Daze"
CD-108 - THE CHOP TOPS - "Always Wild"
CD-109 - ALVIS WAYNE - "Rockabilly Daddy"
CD-110 - ALVIS WAYNE - "Proud of My Rockabilly Roots"
CD-111 - MACK STEVENS - "Let's Rock Tonite"
CD-112 - THE STARLIGHT DRIFTERS - "Thirteen To Go"
CD-113 - PAUL GALAXY & THE GALACTIX - "Cross the Line"
CD-114 - BILL HALEY'S ORIGINAL COMETS - "Aged To Perfection" - Celebrating 50 Years Of Rock'n'Roll
THE ARCHIVES OF
RONNY'S ROCKABILLY HALL OF FAME COLUMNS
© 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Col. #61 for 09/02 - Five Years Of Columns!
Col. #60 for 08/02 - THE 1950s ARE ALWAYS WITH US!
Col. #59 for 07/02 - David's July 4th: Rockabilly Bar Mitzvah
Col. #58 for 06/02 - 44 Years Later ... It Was BENNY JOY!
Col. #57 for 05/02 - RECORDING TECHNIQUES
Col. #56 for 04/02 - VIVA LAS VEGAS 2002 + INTERNATIONAL MEET & GREET
Col. #55 for 03/02 - BUILD FOR A-C-T-I-O-N-!
Col. #54 for 02/02 - THE AMERICAN DINER
Col. #53 for 01/02 - The COWBOY WAY
Col. #52 for 12/01 - LITTLE RICHARD
Col. #51 for 11/01 - The Rock Pioneers Were Patriots
Col. #50 for 10/01 - !!! Gasp, It's Fifty Columns !!!
Col. #49 for 09/01 - TEDDY REDELL: Sooo Underrated!!!
Col. #48 for 08/01 - THE UNSTOPPABLE RAY CAMPI
Col. #47 for 07/01 - BILL HALEY'S COMETS ROCK THE FOURTH OF JULY
Col. #46 for 06/01 - PAUL GALAXY AND THE GALACTIX AT ROLLIN' ROCK
Col. #45 for 05/01 - Second Annual Viva Las Vegas Picture Show
Col. #44 for 04/01 - WHAAAAAAT, NO ROCKABILLY!!!?????!
Col. #43 for 03/01 - VIVA LAS VEGAS 2001
Col. #42 for 02/01 - ELVIS: Never Forgotten
Col. #41 for 01/01 - MACK STEVENS + HIGH PLAINS DRIFTERS + POISON OKIES
Col. #40 for 12/00 - WHATEVER HAPPENED TO COUNTRY MUSIC?
Col. #39 for 11/00 - KATS LIKE US
Col. #38 for 10/00 - JERRY LEE LEWIS IS 65
Col. #37 for 09/00 - THE STARLIGHT DRIFTERS
Col. #36 for 08/00 - ALVIS WAYNE AT ROLLIN' ROCK
Col. #35 for 07/00 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA 2000
Col. #34 for 06/00 - THE CHOP TOPS AT ROLLIN' ROCK!!
Col. #33 for 05/00 - VIVA LAS VEGAS 2000 PIX!
Col. #32 for 04/00 - DRAGSTRIP77: TEARIN' IT UP!
#30 & #31 for 02/00 & 03/00 - VIVA LAS VEGAS 2000!
Col. #29 for 01/00 - ROCKIN' 2000!
Col. #28 for 12/99 - JOHNNY AND THE BLADES AT ROLLIN' ROCK!
Col. #27 for 11/99 - AN UPDATED IMPROVED SOUND?
Col. #26 for 10/99 - TIME TO RECLAIM "THE ROCK"
Col. #26 for 10/99 - TIME TO RECLAIM "THE ROCK"
Col. #25 for 9/99 - YOUNG ROCK AT ROLLIN' ROCK
Col. #24 for 8/99 - COMETS RECORD AT ROLLIN' ROCK
Col. #23 for 7/99 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!
Col. #22 for 6/99 - FINLAND IS A ROCKABILLY LAND!
Col. #21 for 5/99 - THEY ARE NOT FORGOTTEN
Col. #20 for 4/99 - ROCKABILLY REBEL: A SHORT HISTORY
Col. #19 for 3/99 - PINBALL MILLIONAIRE
Col. #18 for 1/99 & 2/99 - VIVA LAS VEGAS 1999
Col. #17 - 12/98 - INTERNATIONAL ROCKABILLY REBELS MEET & GREET
Col. #16 - 11/98 - GROOVEY JOE POOVEY: Reminiscing
Col. #15 - 10/98 - CHARLIE FEATHERS
Col. #14 - 9/98 - NARVEL FELTS AT ROLLIN' ROCK!
Col. #13 - 8/98 - IT'S WESTERN WEAR!
Col. #12 - 7/98 - THE JORDANAIRES
Col. #11 - 6/98 - ROCKABILLY HOF - 15,000 HITS!!
Col. #10 - 5/98 - MAC STEVENS RECORDS AT ROLLIN' ROCK
Col. # 9 - 4/98 - VIVA LAS VEGAS
Col. # 8 - 3/98 - KAY WHEELER
Col. # 7 - 2/98 - 10 ROLLIN' ROCK CDs
Col. # 6 - 1/98 - SAM COOKE
Col. # 5 - 12/97 - LAS VEGAS IS A 1950's TOWN
Col. # 4 - 11/97 - GOD BLESS TEXAS
Col. # 3 - 10/97 - FATS DOMINO
Col. # 2 - 9/97 - RAB DISCUSSION GROUP
Col. # 1 - 8/97 - 25 YEARS OF ROLLIN' ROCK RECORDS