BRUNSWICK, Ohio - Drive down Route 303 in Brunswick any day of the week and there’s a strong possibility you’ll see his big hair and ripped threads strutting down the sidewalk.
Alex Ambrose, who many have dubbed the Brunswick ‘80s guy, is an ‘80s soul trapped inside a 20-year-old body. His typical jaunt takes him down this main strip with stops at Starbucks and McDonald's for a sweet tea. He lives about 4.5 miles from those stops totaling at least nine miles a day to get his java/iced tea fix. He walks the same route several times a week.
[Tune in tonight to NewsChannel5 at 7 p.m. to see our friends at " The List " interview Alex Ambrose as he walks around Brunswick.]
And he covers a lot of miles – especially since he doesn’t have a car or a license.
About four years ago, Ambrose started growing out his long, tangled mane. A year later, he began dressing the part.
“If you want to wear something, do it. Do what makes you happy,” he says.
His clothing staples consist of cut-up T-shirts, bandanas, spandex pants and black Harley Davidson boots.
His hair? Always teased with tons of hairspray to keep it in place. He goes through a can of hairspray a week to keep his coif big and voluminous.
Ambrose said he loves the ‘80s hair-metal lifestyle because of “the music and the chicks.” However, he doesn’t think everyone agrees with his stance. “The girls out here don’t like the way I look,” he said.
But you wouldn’t know it based on the amount of cheers, honks and waves he gets during his walks.
On a late Friday morning, Steak n’ Shake workers step outside to wave and cheer for Ambrose. Walking a bit further down the road to McDonald's, a female worker sticks her head out the drive-thru window and yells, “’80s guy!”
“It uplifts my spirits,” he says. “I like to see them laugh and smile.”
During his walks, Ambrose plugs in his ear buds and listens to ‘80s hair music including Metallica, Steelheart and Stryper. He has 738 songs on his fifth generation iPod classic and says about 730 of the songs are actually from the ‘80s. He zones out to the music and spends his time thinking about past events.
Although he’s not in school and is not working, Ambrose says he is happy dressing as an ‘80s icon and dreams of one day becoming a famous drummer in a rock band.
“I do what makes me happy while I can,” he says, even though his parents continue to push him to get a job.
He’s hoping to organize his own band and has been reaching out to people on Facebook to try and start one.
“Facebook is where I mostly talk to people,” Ambrose says. The young rocker currently has more than 1,800 Facebook friends on his personal profile and more than 3,700 likes on his fan page , which was created by one of his fans.
His followers leave him messages -- almost daily -- on his fan page.
"Rock on 80's guy...Rock on!!" Vince Salvatore wrote on September 19.
"I like that guy! I've seen him many times!" Nick Kardamis wrote on September 20.
Ambrose admits he craves attention and enjoys the celebrity status and notoriety he receives from the way he dresses.
“People call me an icon,” he says. “There’s always people who randomly come up to me.”
He continues to gain attention with his friends, who join him on his walks every now and then. And when they do, they go all out. Each of his friends dress as a different character. The group he labels the “B-Team” includes a guy dressed in a suit of armor, another guy dressed in a military ghillie suit and a third guy dressed as Raiden from Mortal Kombat.
When Ambrose isn’t walking around Brunswick, he usually can be found lounging at home and playing his drums. He says he doesn’t have plans to stop walking as the weather gets colder.
He says he'll just “wear more clothes.”
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