Pret-a-Reporter

Inside Drummer Tennessee Thomas' Vintage NY Boutique

Meredith Jenks
Tennessee Thomas photographed Sept. 22 at the Deep End Club, wearing a vintage dress and saddle shoes.

Her East Village shop, Deep End Club, isn't just for showcasing cool retro pieces — Black Lips guitarist Cole Alexander recently played a show there

Tennessee Thomas has her dad, Pete Thomas — Attractions drummer and one of rock’s all-time great percussionists — to thank for the name of her East Village boutique. “He had a thing called the Deep End Club when he was young and crazy,” says the 29-year-old shop owner and drummer. On tour, in his younger years, her father would jump into hotel swimming pools fully clothed whenever someone declared “a Deep End Club meeting.”

Three years ago, Thomas jumped into the deep end herself: She quit her now-defunct indie-rock band, The Like, after 10 years of touring with acts including Kings of Leon, Phantom Planet and Muse, and moved to New York from Los Angeles. In August 2013, she opened a two-week pop-up in the East Village, selling local designers who channel the graphic ’60s vibe she favors. Two weeks turned into six months, which turned into a year — and now the slender, cheery boutique is Thomas' main gig.

The store isn’t just for showcasing cool merch. Black Lips guitarist Cole Alexander recently played a show there, and Thomas also uses it as a forum for organized discussions on topics including women’s reproductive rights and climate change. “I love that it’s a place where people can come talk.”

Meanwhile, Thomas hasn’t entirely abandoned her roots. She DJs a few nights a week and plays drums in friends’ bands. (In July, she popped up in pal Jenny Lewis’ video for “Just One of the Guys” alongside Anne Hathaway and Kristen Stewart.) “In New York there is so much going on,” she says, “and I get to do this during the day.”

SHOP THIS: The Deep End Club, 156 First Ave., New York, NY 10009; thedeependclub@gmail.com; thedeependclub.com.

 

VINTAGE VIBES: Sixties-inspired frocks and shirts at Deep End Club.

 

HOP TO IT: Mandy Coon is a local designer who makes these sweet bunny bags.” ($435)

 

BOLD PRINTS: “Orla Kiely’s clothes are totally mod!” (separates, $99 each)

 

MADE IN L.A.: “Our Dead End Club T-shirts are made by a friend in Los Angeles.” ($40)

 

EYE HEART YOU: “I carry jewelry by Pamela Love. All her stuff has eyes or hearts on it.” ($110-$220)

 

RETRO SHADES: “Future Eyes sunglasses are the first things people tend to go over to.” ($50)

 

This article first appeared in the Oct. 11 issue of Billboard magazine.

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