The chance to collaborate with Morrissey isn't an opportunity most young rock musicians would take lightly. Justin Kennedy of the recently reinvigorated Army Navy justifiably jumped at the opportunity. But the band, having just released the vibrant collection of lovelorn-in-Los Angeles power pop that is "The Last Place," didn't gleam much musical knowledge from the dapper chronicler of strained relationships.
Kennedy, after all, pays the bills as a wardrobe stylist. "I dress people for photo shoots or events, or dress actors for red-carpet events," Kennedy said.
Sometimes these lead to exciting encounters, he said, such as the time he flew in Tom Cruise's private jet, and sometimes helping a man dress to his best can be "a dream come true," such as Kennedy's moment with Morrissey.
"I don't get to work with many musicians, so working with him, someone who has influenced me since I was a child -- and probably a major influence on the way I think -- was amazing," Kennedy said. "I was able to chill with him."
Morrissey even gave Kennedy a nickname. "He called me '80s legs," Kennedy said. "He said, 'What's up with the skinny jeans? Is that a retro thing?' At the end of the day he said to me, 'Thanks, '80s legs.' I was like, 'Holy crap, Morrissey just gave me a nickname!'"
Kennedy these days isn't ashamed to let out his music geek fandom for all to see -- or at least those who were drinking and eating at downtown's Senor Fish in the middle of a recent Friday afternoon. Yet not too long ago Kennedy was enveloped in a level of moroseness that would have made his musical hero proud. Army Navy had an arsenal of songs openly tracking Kennedy's recent gone-bad relationship, but no label, and no funds to record and self-release them.
"We write catchy melodies, and we want people to hear these songs," Kennedy said. "We're not an indie band that doesn't want to be known. We'd love to make this our living. None of us can make a living on this. Every money that comes in from the band goes back into the band."