I take a fair bit of ribbing over the size of my metal shirt collection, which grows almost monthly. I'd argue that a hundred shirts (or thereabouts) over the course of 20 years isn't particularly ostentatious; it's not like I'm hitting up the Gap or H&M, so these shirts account for pretty much my only clothes shopping. As is so often the case these days, my feelings on the subject were encapsulated by a random internet image:
Where the picture originated from, I have no idea; I found it on Orange Goblin's Facebook page (and yes, I do own an Orange Goblin shirt). I can't vouch for the math - one $20 t-shirt buys 50 miles worth of gas? That can't be right. But at least the sentiment is spot on.
I'm not a snob when it comes to band shirts - I've bought my fair share of bootlegs over the years. Growing up in South East Asia, the first metal shirts I ever owned were all unlicensed. Even now I'm not immune to the appeal of bootlegs, particularly if it's a band who are long gone. But I do recognize the importance of buying licensed shirts, especially straight from the band while they're on tour. Since bands on the road, especially opening acts, can't rely on ticket or CD sales
to cover touring costs, their most immediate and efficient source of cash is selling merch.
Band shirts do double duty; not only are you putting money directly in the pockets of an artist you love, you're also giving them free publicity. [That's one of the reasons why I don't wear any clothes with the logos of sports companies - Nike paid Tiger Woods $100 million to endorse their shit, and they expect me to wear their sweatshop Swoosh for free? Fuck that.] Of course, emblazoning your body with band logos only goes so far - for every person who has commented on my Napalm Death hoodie, there are probably a dozen who've seen me wearing a Gwynbleidd or Mushmouth shirt and thought, "...who?"
Anyways, my thanks to the random internet stranger with too much time on his hands who created that image. Thank you for enabling my band shirt addiction, much to the detriment of good taste and closet space. If nothing else, I now have the smug satisfaction of knowing that I've sent Napalm Death at least 500 miles on their Campaign for Musical Destruction.