Clothes make the band?

2 Sep

Topic du jour: Band T-shirts.

I chose this topic because, this weekend, I bought my eighth My Chemical Romance shirt. That’s right – I have eight, count ’em, eight MCR shirts. That is not including my MCR hoodie.

Let’s talk band shirts.

First of all, let’s talk about how I got to a whopping eight My Chemical Romance shirts.

The first MCR shirt I bought was done on a whim:

I had just started getting into the band, and I ran up on this shirt at Hot Topic. It wasn’t my favorite, but since I was really starting to like the band a lot, I couldn’t resist.

Shirt 2:

I went to see MCR in Birmingham on their Sweet Revenge tour, and fell in love with this “From the razor to the rosary” shirt. Still love it.

Shirt 3:

Then, the band’s second album, “The Black Parade,” came out. I had, just had, to have something related to “TBP.” Still love this shirt.

Shirt 4:

My bff Hannah bought me a ticket to see MCR in Pensacola, and also got me this nifty shirt, all for my 24th birthday. Good times. Have since retired said shirt, since it’s looking a little worn.

Shirt 5:

Again, me and the Mighty Nanner celebrated our birthdays (my 25th and her 24th) with MCR, this time at Memphis in May. It rained so much that we couldn’t make it to the merch table, so we both bought this shirt at the Hot Topic in Memphis the next day, to commemorate the event. Everyone says this shirt is especially slimming.

Shirt 6:

Saw this one online and fell in love. It’s a play off the album cover for T. Rex’ “The Electric Warrior,” with the name of MCR’s guitarist, Ray Toro. Get most compliments on this one.

Shirt 7:

Can’t picture this one, as it drops the unholy F-bomb. It is best known as the “Mikey Effin Way” shirt, since it’s the bass player’s name with the F-bomb in the middle. Haven’t worn it yet but probably will when Hannah and I go see “Twilight.” (yep, we’re still 15-year-olds at heart)

And, finally, Shirt 8:

I have loved this shirt since the moment I saw it. It was finally put on sale this week for a nifty $10

My Chemical Romance isn’t my favorite band; that title goes to The Beatles (come on, who else?). But my favorite thing about MCR is how everything they do – from the music to videos to stage designs to T-shirts to any other kinds of merch – is all tied together with a specific look and design. Their T-shirts look wonderful, and always feature exciting designs.

Besides MCR, the only other band with the most shirts in my closet is The Beatles, with three. One features psychadelic-ish White Album photos, one is for the White Album and the other is inspired by “A Hard Days’ Night.”

I usually stop my band T-shirts at two. I bought two Matchbox Twenty shirts when I was into them, and I’ve got two Jimmy Eat World shirts. I’ve got one shirt each for Jeff Buckley, System of a Down, the Sex Pistols, Johnny Cash (does a Flower Pickin’ Festival shirt count as one? If so, then two), AFI, Family Force 5, Moros Eros, White Stripes, Justin Timberlake, the Killers, Smashing Pumpkins (I’d have two, but I lost my old “The world is a vampire” shirt years ago), Sister Hazel (ok, technically two, but I sleep in one), Willie Nelson, Elvis and The Ramones. I also have shirts of local bands, like The Cemetery Surfers, The Cooters and Cockfight Club.

Gosh. That’s a lot of shirts. Of course I am more of a jeans-and-shirt kinda gal.

And I swear I think my Johnny Cash shirt got me a job here. I’d interned at the Journal a little here and there while I was at Ole Miss, and one day I decided to just stop in and say hi to everybody. I was wearing my Cash shirt, and I stopped to chat with Lloyd Gray, our editor. He’s a Cash fan, too, so we started off by talking about all things Cash. I’d like to think that put me on his good side. 🙂

Out of all my band shirts, I’m especially sweet on my newest Smashing Pumpkins shirt, the Sex Pistols tee and a few of the MCR shirts.

What about you?

Do you wear band T-shirts?

Which one is your favorite?

Do you only buy shirts of certain bands? How much do you have to like a band before you’ll buy a T-shirt?

How do you decide to wear a certain band’s shirt that day? Do you wake up, see it and think, “Today’s a (insert band name here) kinda day”?

What’s the highest you’ll pay for a shirt? I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than say $25-ish, although those Willie Nelson shirts were high. I loved a Pumpkins shirt I saw when I went to their Mud Island show last October, but it was $50! I’ll never spend that kind of money on a shirt.

Is there a shirt of somebody’s you want but don’t have? I’d kill for a Hank Williams (sr.) shirt or a really awesome Smiths shirt. I’m also on the hunt for a great shirt of The Decemberists.

Anyway. Talk back to me, tell me about your experience with band shirts.

14 Responses to “Clothes make the band?”

  1. beagle September 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    I have quiet a few Dave Matthews Band T-shirts and Better Than Ezra t-shirts. I have one Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers t-shirt.

    Oh and my Cymbaholic t-shirt ( and Score Music Magazine t-shirt( – not exactly a band but it is music related! 😛

    Band t-shirts are always fun because you get to be a walking billboard.

  2. sheenabarnett September 2, 2008 at 3:34 pm #

    Ohh, I agree w/ you, Beagle, I like the idea of being a billboard. I’m one of those folks that sees someone wearing a band shirt, and if I don’t know who the band is, I’ll go home and google. 🙂

  3. farley662 September 2, 2008 at 4:58 pm #

    Dropkick Murphy’s for me. All of their shirts are always entertaining. Being that I’m Irish, it’s just a good fit.

  4. sheenabarnett September 3, 2008 at 9:05 am #

    That’s true – I’ve always liked their shirts. They’ve got a great way of tying in the band’s overall vibe with their shirts.

  5. BobbyPepper September 4, 2008 at 1:38 am #

    I have a decent collection of band T-shirts, including some from way back in the day.

    My wife still wears – and still looks good in – the Billy Joel “The Nylon Curtain” tour shirt I bought her when we saw the Piano Man in late 1982.

    I have a Rush “Moving Pictures” tour shirt from 1981. There’s a photo on the Internet of me wearing the shirt during a pre-concert fan meetup earlier this year at Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans. It’s not a pretty picture.

    Our daughter, who’s 18, has her share of band shirts, including the first MCR shirt Sheena referred it. I think the Family Force 5 robot shirt she bought at the band’s performance in Muscle Shoals, Ala., is her favorite.

  6. Daniel lee September 4, 2008 at 9:50 pm #

    I had 3 Cure shirts that I bought at this very Barnes Crossing Mall for (are you ready for this?) $3 each. They just could not move any Cure merch or Misfits merch back then (around 1997) and had discounted said shirts to that much. This was at one of the now defunct record stores. One closed and the other was bought-out and/or replaced by fye at some point.

    I have a couple Misfits shirts that were probably 10 bucks each. I don’t have many band shirts at all. I generally will not pay more than $10 for a band shirt (which limits me to underground punk bands for the most part).

    I have a Props shirt which was given to me. I have an Arsonick Scum shirt which I think was also given to me.

    I wear my own band shirts far more often than I wear anybody else’s shirts. This is primarily because I like the way my shirts look.
    But it also doesn’t hurt to be a walking billboard for my own art (and the beautiful artwork of the wonderful fans who designed my shirts)

    I am aware that is for some reason considered taboo for bands to wear their own merch…. however, I am unconcerned with what people think about it. The Misfits wore their own merch. The Cooters wear their own shirts. The Vacant wear their own shirts.

    There’s no reason I shouldn’t wear mine. It is, in my mind, not unlike the old days when country/western singers would write their names on their guitars as a method of self-promotion, identification, and ‘branding’.

    I do not currently charge more than $10 for my own shirts, as it costs a fraction of that to have them made. At that price, I still make a very reasonable profit and can pass the savings onto the consumer. (However, I also do not have to have all my profits go toward an army of invested parties and lawyers such as artists who are enslaved to uncscrupulous labels do.)

    I don’t really think of my shirts so much as a merchandise product as an item that helps meet one of the basic human needs (clothing) while also being a moving piece of art.
    The perfect polygamous marriage of form, function, beauty, and western free-market capitalism.

    Marxism sucks. Long live the invisible hand!

  7. Kim Runnels September 5, 2008 at 9:01 am #

    I have paid $50 for a shirt at that same Smashing Pumpkins show, I buy the shirts for the band if I go to the show and if they’re not too high. For Pumpkins though I would pay any price or for The Foo Fighters. I went to see Foo in Memphis with the Flu and am thinking about having a shirt made that says, “I went to see the Foo with the Flu….because I’m hardcore.”

  8. sheenabarnett September 7, 2008 at 10:37 am #

    Wow, Kim….we should probably be like bff or something. I take it you went to see the Foos in Memphis in January? I totally had tickets but it iced me out…had to stay home and watch the ice accumulate. I’m still upset over that one!!

    Daniel, you brought up an excellent point — bands wearing their own merch. I usually think it’s pretty cool….and for the major bands it’s all ironic and all. I can dig it.

    Bobby! I am so jealous of your shirts!!

  9. popculturefairy September 8, 2008 at 10:33 am #

    It has to be a band I really love AND a really great design AND a decent price before I buy it. I wear for comfort, so whatever I grab out of the drawer is usually what I wear…

    I sport my Dr. Daniel & The Rockabilly Vampires shirt when I feel like plugging them…which is a lot, plus it is a kick@ss design!

    Speaking of MCR, The lead singer was supposedly just wandering around Dragon Con (we went, but didn’t see him…) A few people got pics with him, but some were not sure it was really him and therefore missed their opportunity to meet him.

  10. sheenabarnett September 8, 2008 at 10:36 am #

    I agree with you, fairy, it’s got to have a good design. That’s why I like MCR’s shirts so much — I love the imagery they put out.

    Yep, he was at DragonCon! I’ve seen some pics of him with bright pink hair…pretty interesting. I reeeeeally wanted to go but was both broke and without days I can take off, really. Knowing Gerard Way, James Marsters and others were there…ohh…I’m so jealous!!

  11. popculturefairy September 9, 2008 at 3:15 pm #

    I was most excited about meeting Adam West and Sean Astin…and the HEROES people…Have seen James Marsters around the convention since he goes every year, but I’ve never talked to him because I’m not a fan…

  12. sheenabarnett September 10, 2008 at 9:17 am #

    omg, I’d love to meet Sean Astin. He is such a talented guy! I’ve got to make it up there sometime….

  13. Kimberley January 17, 2009 at 12:21 pm #


    I had a question.. I love My Chemical Romance and wanted to buy the mikey way shirt, but I have no idea which size I have to take (S or M).
    I have US size 8 or something..
    and I thought since you had the shirt, you could maybe help me.

    Thanks in advance.

  14. sheenabarnett January 18, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Sure! I believe I got an XL, because they run pretty small. So, take whatever size you’d normally buy and get one a size up. M would probably be best.

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