… The boy, Pete, age 12, with tussled black hair and a peach fuss mustache, follows his mother through the endless cathedral-like aisles of the department store’s boys section. Having been promised fifty cents from his mother to play his favorite video game – Street Fighter – if he were to make it through the shopping excursion with nary an outbreak or tantrum, Pete holds his energy close, fidgeting and messing with the stacks of denim and khaki, dreaming of “Uh-ooooga” and other classic sounds of the game.
“Peter?” Asks his mother, holding up a pair of slim, pleated black khaki pants to Pete’s belly, extending the pantlegs to the boy’s boney ankles. The black pants, the sort relegated to youth choirs and, later in life, Red Lobster waiters, are in need as Pete seems to “grow at an inch-per-day.” “Will these work? I think they will be just fine and, god willing, will last longer than your old pair.”
She sighs, bites her lip and questions rhetorically, “Maybe we should feed you coffee to stunt your growth?” Pete, who’ll eventually grow to a staggering 6’9″, doesn’t acknowledge her.
The boy whose sole focus is knowing that he’d soon be doing battle at the Outer Limits arcade with Ryu, Ken, and Sagat – his three fighters of choice from Street Fighter – half-heartedly nods his approval of the slacks without giving them as much as a casual glance. Had Pete taken a look, even briefly, he would surely have noticed the khakis most egregious error: pleats. Any self-respecting 12-year old, deathly afraid of atomic-wedgies and the like would implore his mother to immediately replace the pants with something, well, less harmful to his well-being.
Blindly approving of the pants would be a decision that would define Pete for decades to come …
– Excerpted from the upcoming Harper Collins-released biography “A Pleated Life: Music, Golf, and Project Management” by author Joyce Clark-Neyonyeson
FlashMob! guitar player Peter “Plete” Mohs came to the band on the heels of the departure of previous guitarist and fan-favorite Grant Wright who left abruptly to focus on making due on a bet to “finally brew a lager-style beer.” Plete – braggadocios and confident – experienced in the ways of being in a band, was to bring a missing element to the FM!. An element sorely missed in this current iteration of the group.
“Plete was brought on board to be a guitar player, to be sure,” explains Joe Lover, FM! guitar and keyboard player. “But the impact we MOST expected and looked forward to was his being single.”
“Everyone in the band is married and in being so doesn’t partake in the quote/unquote ‘being in a band’ type of tomfoolery. With Plete in the band we’d be able to sit back and watch as he enjoys the fruits of band labor, so to speak. He was a self-professed ‘chick-ninja,’ so we were excited to say the least.”
Drummer Jeff “Sports Authority” Worden adds “Plete explained that ‘for a guitar player, I’m awesome at picking up women,’ so yeah, we were ready to see him go to work.”
In his epic military treatsie “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu says “All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.” Plete Mohs quotes this saying quite often, but never so confidently as on his first day with the band.
“Let me just say this,” said Plete when he met with the band as recalled by Worden. “When it happens, it happens. Just sit back and watch!”
“Needlesss to say, we were pretty impressed,” said Lover. “It was like FINALLY being invited to the cool kids table in Jr. High. “We were about to witness … awesomeness.”
Giving Mohs space early in his FM! career, the band didn’t expect his single-dom to pay dividends from the start, but after 11 shows and not so much as a tease, nor a public display of deep-tongue kissing and getting “handsy,” the band began to worry.
“Worry is a strong word,” recalls Worden. “But there was justifiable angst. Peter had built himself up so much that seeing so little in terms of results was troubling.”
He added, “Not unlike every year that Mauer has been a Twin. Am I right or what?”
“It wasn’t like he wasn’t trying,” adds Lover. “He’d point out women he’d be ‘going after’ while we were playing, but nothing really came of his talent scouting. He seemed to go home more alone than he’d arrive at the venue.”
The band spent long drives to shows in Wisconsin and southern Minnesota trying to determine its next course of action.
“We thought of everything,” said Worden. “Do we fire him? Was it us? Was it the music we played? Even adding popular hits like ‘Call me Maybe’ and ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ did little to turn the tide.”
“It wasn’t until the wedding gig at the ‘Horse and Hunt Club’ that we really put 2-and-2 together,” remembers Lover. “We were so blind to it all, really.”
“Yeah, we were just so hyper-focused on his ‘game,’ that we sort of ignored … well … we ignored Pete.”
The revelation was attire, not effort.
“The band dresses up for shows. We don’t throw on baggy jeans and Tapout gear like most local bands do,” explains Josh Kobow, the band’s nautical expert and occasional bassist. “Dress shirts, ties, vest and coats, all in the black, red and white color scheme.”
“It wasn’t that he didn’t wear the colors. He did. BUT … he wore these … black khakis.”
Adds Worden, for emphasis, “PLEATED KHAKIS!”
While the rest of the band would sport slim-cut jeans and form-fitting vests and coats, Plete – it seemed – gravitated to his “go-to” outfit of choice for each show. Explains Kobow:
“Colorful striped socks, black pleated khakis, and a black golf shirt, emblazoned with any number of golfing logos. Nike, Titleist, Ping, Taylor Made. Something called ‘Big Bertha.'”
“Worse yet,” says Lover. “He would wear CORPORATE golf shirts, too. Imagine going on stage with this so-called ‘Sam Malone’ who’d be wearing pleated khakis and a collared shirt with some company’s name on it like he’s wearing some swag gift he picked up at a sales meeting? One shirt had a logo that said ‘Johnson Brothers Brand Plumbing Tubes.’ What the hell?!”
It was eye-opening. All at once, what seemed like a failure of personality and overall lack of skill in the area of attaining groupies, became obvious to the band:
“Video didn’t kill the radio star… pleated khakis did!,” Josh Kobow
“At first I thought it was a joke,” explains Worden. “I looked over at him on stage and remembering thinking, ‘Jesus, is Pete late for a golf date or something? It looked like someone sewed one of those Chinese fans into his pants.”
The band had to strike quickly to repair any damage done by Plete’s choice of attire.
“Frankly, we were losing gigs because of him,” remembers Lover. “We were promoting. No, we were PROMISING to be and act and look a certain way, yet there’d be Plete sticking out like an orange Tic-Tac in a bag of really talented Skittles.”
The band, already formed as an LLC for tax and “save our ass from burning a bar down” reasons, voted to create a constitution.
“Really it was more of a style guide,” says Worden.
The guide, unusual for most low- to mid-level bands, stated these guidelines, among others:
- Attire must fit into the red, black, and white color palette (red should be in the PANTONE DS 73-1 U family)
- No band member can buy on-stage attire at Kohl’s, ShopKo, K-Mart or Big K, Walmart, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant, The Buckle (or its derivative ‘County Seat’) or any store selling blinged or bejeweled jeanwear
- All band outfits, to be performed with on stage, must be approved by Collin or MaK*
- No polo-styled shirts, such as golf shirts
- Absolutely ZERO S.W.A.G. (Stuff We All Get) corporate wear
- Ties to be worn with width no wider than 2″
- Women must not wear “slacks” nor “Jeggins.” We’re not from Utah
- NO PLEATS. PERIOD. END OF STORY.
The guide goes on for 36 more bullets, but of importance to this story, ends with the following notice – in bold:
While certain liberties shall be afforded the married members of the band, specifically garments that are to be worn under the directive of any spouse, any and all single persons shall adhere to these rules as if punishable by law.
“Obviously there lies discrimination within our Constitution,” explains Lover. “We don’t pride ourselves on exclusion, but in this case we simply MUST obey and have others obey these rules. The health and well-being of our band is at stake.”
With this Constitution chartered two weeks prior to the publishing of this article and having had zero gigs at which to see whether or not Plete adheres to said guidelines, the band is optimistic, yet cautious.
“We’re nervous, for sure,” says Kobow. “We’ve got hope for Plete, especially with his confidence and stories of ‘shootin’ fish in a barrel,’ but we simply can’t have pleats, nor golf polos anymore.”
Adds Worden “That type of gimikery may have worked in previous bands for Plete, as well as countless sales meetings in Des Moines, but this aint Des Moines. This is FlashMob!.”
“Let’s just put it this way: Pleats stay, Plete goes. Pleats go, Plete stays.”
Stay tuned …
EDITOR’S NOTE: Pete Mohs was unavailable for comment on the story, but released a statement through his publicist:
“While I can agree with members of the band that I may have come off a bit cocksure during the initial “woo-ing” stage of our partnership, let it be known that I in no way claim to be a “player” or some sort of “dirty hot guitar god.” I may have bought into the picture that was painted of me, especially after being called “Dirty Hot,” but I pride myself on how I look. I shower daily, wear Axe brand bodyspray, and wear fine, pressed clothing.
Let it be known that I have done very well with the ladies and have had countless girlfriends – many of whom living in the greater Toronto area can attest to.
Whether or not my bandmates appreciate my attire is up to them, not me. The best I can do is wear what I think helps me to exude an air of confidence on stage … and, if necessary, play 18 holes of golf, should the opportunity arise before, during, or after a gig. — Pete “Plete” Mohs; Guitar
FlashMob! is a Minneapolis-based wedding and cover band covering hits from the 70s, 80s, 90s, Aughts, and today. They will be playing the PubHouse 19 music venue in Albertville, MN, on Saturday, December 15, 2012, at 9:00pm. For more information on the show, please visit: The Facebook Event
For more information on FlashMob!, please visit flashmobrocks.com
For an awesome pair of pleated slacks, go rob* a Goodwill or travel back in time to 1983.
*FlashMob!, nor its band members, business associates, or corporate sponsors, does not condone theft. Nor do they condone pleats.