Welcome to Gig Bag, a BGS feature that peeks into the touring essentials of some of our favorite artists. This time around, Ron Pope catalogs the items he always has nearby when out on the road.
Wrangler denim shirts: I own a bunch of these. My friend Jeff Malinowski gave me my first one because he had one that didn’t fit him. After that, I started a little collection. I like not having to think about what I put on. One of these shirts, black jeans, boots, leather jacket, done.
Rev. Willy’s Mexican Lottery brand slide: This slide is super heavy and made of porcelain. I love the warmth that it lends to my slide tone. Most other slide players tend toward lighter materials, but I play like a monkey, so I go with heavy strings (.12-.52 with a wound G), super high action, and these heavy slides. Slide guitar is a fickle mistress, so anything you can find that makes you feel better about your playing is a plus to me.
Old brown boots: I was in Portland, Oregon, on tour. My buddy Zach Berkman and I were trying to find some dress clothes for a friend’s wedding because we were about to fly out for it, and we didn’t bring those kinds of clothes out on the road. We went into a store and he saw these brown boots that were on sale. He asked about them, but they only had one pair left and they happened to be size 13 (my size). I’ve had them resoled, reheeled, and patched countless times. They’ve been on four continents with me. I think they cost around $18.
Ordning & Reda pen: I went into an Ordning & Reda store in Stockholm a number of years ago and bought one of these pens, then wrote a bunch of songs I really liked using that pen. Now they’re the only pens I write songs with. Every year, I go back into that same shop and buy one new pen with a different color grip. I’m not especially superstitious, so these pens are the closest things to a good luck charm that I have.
Rawlings leather backpack: I was shopping for a third anniversary gift for my wife, Blair, and “leather” is the traditional theme for third anniversary gifts. I knew she wanted a new backpack, so I was looking for a leather one she might like. As I searched, I happened upon this bag, which reminded me of an old baseball glove. That made me nostalgic, since I grew up playing the game, so we both got new leather backpacks. Hers doesn’t look like a baseball glove, though.