Mike Gordon is a wizard on the bass, but these days he’s working up a reputation as something else entirely—a fashion icon. The bassist broke down his thoughts on clothing, “guyliner,” dressing up to party at Prince’s house and more in a new Style Profile with Esquire. You can check out some choice quotes from the profile below.

Mike Gordon, on the origin of his fashion-sense:

We did the Rolling Stone shoot where we were on the cover and they brought crazy stuff… Trey had no shirt and a skirt on, and this big black horn coming straight up from his head. We were kind of going with the flow, thinking, “Lets just be crazy.” But we never wanted to be zany, that’s kind of a bad word. To be unexpected is cool, and at a certain point we did a photo shoot where unexpected was to actually just dress up and look nice, and the stylist had brought a lot of Varvatos stuff, and we thought, “OK, well, this feels good.”

Trey and I got into Varvatos and said, “Let’s go get more stuff like this.” We’d have these shopping sprees with a stylist and other friends to help, to the point where we were wearing so much Varvatos that we were wearing the same stuff. So hence he’s wearing Rag & Bone and I’m doing G-Star, All Saints, whatever just to get away.

Mike Gordon, on hippie clothing:

I don’t think I was ever into the hippie thing. Maybe for one day.

I wonder if sometimes the audience is a few degrees different from the band? I mean, there’s a whole bunch of things that you might call “hippie” that we would never wear. Like no one in the band would ever wear tie-dye, or Birkenstocks, or… What’s the long list of stuff like that? There’s all kinds of things. Not even for a minute would any of us ever have worn that stuff.  

Mike Gordon, on his idea of a nightmare:

My single biggest anxiety dream that I have—and I’ve had it for decades—is I’m backstage trying to decide what to wear and the band’s already on stage, adding salt to the wound, and no one is playing the bass. I look at my wardrobe and I have one pink sneaker and one orange one, and some other really horrible stuff, and that’s all. I have to make these decisions between horrible choices. And it’s New Years Eve and they’re already playing “Auld Lang Syne” and I couldn’t possibly be more late for something, but I still can’t decide. I do it in real life to the point where I start to sweat and think I just have to figure this out earlier in the day… It could just be the choice between two simple T-shirts, but I freak out about it.

Mike Gordon, on the importance of liking your shirt:

I met someone in the Grateful Dead who was interested in my list of what makes a good gig, and the last thing on the list was “you have to like your shirt.”  And I wasn’t just kidding either, it’s really important. There’s so many times I’m onstage where I’m on this musical adventure and adventure of consciousness, and having this peak experience, and liking the shirt, or pants, is really part of that.

You can check out the full interview, in which Gordon also discusses artists whose style he admires, the powers of Jon Fishman’s dress, Mike Gordon bobbleheads and more, here.