classic rock

September 30, 2016 2:20 am

The culture surrounding band shirts is so fucking masturbatorial. I know this first hand, since I own roughly 20-30 of them. As someone who spends far too much time obsessing over both music and sports, I can’t help but notice the similar satisfaction each respective fan base takes in showing off how passionate with specific articles of clothing. For sports fans, it’s a jersey. For music fans, it’s a band shirt. I’ve seen 20 minute long interactions heavy on mutual admiration over both of these items at a game or a concert countless times. It’s like a secret handshake for these people.

Again, I am part of this very snobbish problem. I proudly trot out my Darko Milicic jersey as often as possible in public. People need to know that I know about the Human Victory Cigar. And as a teen, I found a rinky dink website that allowed me to slap a .jpg of a Simpsonized Sonic Youth onto a t-shirt that they then gladly pressed for me. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than when somebody jealously squees “where did you get that?!?!” at me. Might be why all my relationships never last over a month, who knows.

Because this is the type of monster I am, my standards for this subset of fashion is absurdly high. Specifically band tees, since they’re the more commonly worn item. Some are perfect. Others are probably more useful as food for fire. Others, however, reach a rare air of ubiquity that transcend music taste altogether. The design strikes such a cord that people who might not have ever heard a song by a band will proudly wear the shirt.

Whether or not that’s a bad thing is an entirely different discussion that really only means anything to the most annoying realms of my personality. What I want to try to figure out is how many of these iconic shirts are actually worth the hubbub from a design standpoint. Are these shirts worth their hype? Well, let me put my Hat of Objective Judgement on and discuss.


1) Johnny Cash’s Middle Finger Shirt


What a rebel! Boy, oh boy, Johnny Cash was sure a troublemaker back in his day, wasn’t he? A middle finger? My word, what a provocateur! The sheer amount of rebellion it takes to pose in front of a camera with all but Mr. Middle Finger (the most important of all fingers) folded down is unheard of. Not enough artists flip off photographers nowadays! That’s what’s wrong with today’s music. Man, we need more dirtbags like Johnny around, man. Ugh, I’m done pretending that this shirt is cool in any way or that Johnny Cash makes enjoyable music.



2) Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures Shirt

Image result for unknown pleasures shirt

While there’ve been a myriad of spins on the original design recently, from Wu-Tang to Mickey Mouse, oddly enough, nothing can beat the original. It’s a beautifully simplistic design that’s gotten more and more popular over the years. I can never see myself getting tired of seeing it.



3) Metallica’s Master of Puppets Shirt

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Considering that the breed of YouTube commenter most likely to post a homophobic slur on a Justin Bieber video tends to have a Heavy Metal album cover as their their picture, it tickled me beyond belief when the Beebz started incorporating those bands’ shirts into his daily fashion. Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, all of them Biebered. He even copied Iron Maiden’s font for his latest tour’s merch. The trend’s caught on like wildfire. These shirts are all over places like Urban Outfitters and H&M now. It’s kind of impossible to explain exactly how or why it happened, but I’m so over the moon with the fact that it did.



4) Rolling Stones Tongue Shirt

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Look at this stupid fucking logo. This dumb, overly glossy piece of pop-art trash is going to wind up outliving each member of the Rolling Stones themselves. It remains a mystery to me why anyone would want to have some hornily panting tongue smack dab on the middle of their chest, but this is the America that we live in today.



5) Black Flag Logo Shirt

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Even more than the Unknown Pleasures tee, this one has had so many parodies to it. And it’s more minimal than Joy Division’s design, too! It’s just the band’s name with a bunch of skinny rectangles sloppily lined up. There’s no reason why this should be so exceptional, but it is. It’s basically the shirt every Punk band wishes they could call their own.



6) Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon

Image result for dark side of the moon shirt


Listen, I don’t really want to spend too much time on this one. It’s fine, okay? I get it, rainbow on one end, no rainbow on the other. Very symbolic. Is symbolic the right word to use there? I really don’t care enough. For me, this shirt screams ‘Guy In His 40s Who Buys All His Graphic Tees At The Gap’.



7) RUN-DMC Shirt

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For some odd reason, Run-DMC is one of the few rap outfits that currently have a truly exception shirt to call their own. I’m not really sure why that’s been the case, but considering how awesome the merch from guys like Kanye, Drake and Tyler, The Creator have looked the past few years, that should be changing real soon. For now, though, this one remains the genre’s gold standard.



8) Led Zeppelin’s Naked Angel Shirt

Something about a naked angel who appears to be writhing in agony just seems to resonate with a bunch of folks. Whenever I see this dumb angel, I just want to shout “GET OVER IT, STUPID ANGEL!!!” at it. Then I realize I’d be shouting this at someone’s chest and that isn’t really cool. The odd thing is, I do get it on some strange level. Like, when I see this angel being all histrionic, it does sort of epitomize the bombast of Led Zeppelin’s music. No part of me ever wants to wear this shirt, but I understand the appeal.



9) Misfits Logo Shirt


Image result for misfits shirt

Years before I heard a single note come out of Glenn Danzig’s mouth, I was introduced to this shirt. I had no idea if Misfits was a band, a clothing brand, or some horror movie I’ve never seen before. The imagery always stuck with me, though. Once I finally started listening to this legendary band, I was obviously more than pleased, but I still think what Misfits is most known for is this fucking shirt. It’s amazing. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this shirt’s outsold their entire catalogue 10 times over. Everybody has this shirt. And with good reason, too.



Aaaaand that’ll be it for this installment of ‘Is This Band Shirt Worth The Hype?’ As you can see, the color black reigns supreme in the iconic band shirt world. Or maybe it doesn’t, and that’s simply a byproduct of my darkness bias coming through. There were a few other shirts I was considering adding to this list, but no other seemed as much of a no-brainer as these did. Perhaps a sequel is in order. 

July 7, 2016 1:02 pm

Dorothy ain’t in Kansas no more. Comprised of headliner Dorothy Martin on lead vocals, Zac Morris on drums, DJ Black on lead guitar, and Gregg Cash on bass, DOROTHY is rock n’ roll, pure and simple. Their debut album ROCKISDEAD is loud, proud and rowdy from beginning to end. Blending classic rock riffs with blues and metal influences, ROCKISDEAD is a thriller through and through.

DOROTHY’s journey began in 2014, when the pieces of the puzzle began to come together. Martin has an incredible voice; think Amy Winehouse minus the excess drug use. Oozing badass vibes and sex appeal, the band came together to create their brand of rock that kicks ass and takes names. They released their debut self-titled EP DOROTHY in 2014, earning worldwide acclaim. After building momentum, in 2015 they were the hot new band on the block, touring Europe and getting national ad spots from Levi’s and Gatorade. Their lead singles from ROCKISDEAD were appropriately used for Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black ads. They signed a recording deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, setting themselves up for international stardom.

ROCKISDEAD recycles a number of tracks from their original EP, but also introduces some new material as well. 12 tracks total, it provides hard-hitting jams and bluesy interludes, all backed with face-melting guitar solos. Behind Martin’s red lipstick and vintage punk-rock-princess appearance lays an incredible voice full of passion and power. The catchier songs I came across included “Raise Helland “Wicked Ones,” both of which gets the blood pumping, preparing to mosh. The whole album is sonically pleasing and easy to listen to, perfect for angrily chopping veggies for dinner as well as pre-gaming for a night of debauchery and sin.

As far as low notes go, the only constructive criticisms I have are that while DOROTHY is keenly aware of what their ‘sound’ is, it can get repetitive lyrically and rhythmically. Disappointingly, track 8, “Whiskey Fever,” is either a rip-off or an homage to Wolfmother’s classic hit “Woman,” recycling the same guitar melody more or less. I choose to believe it is an homage, as it is much too similar to be an accident. As the old saying goes “Good artists borrow; great artists steal.”

Backed by the almighty power of Roc Nation, as well as multiple tours and ad spots under their belt, it appears that DOROTHY might well be the new face of modern rock n’ roll. For a genre that has slowly disparaged and lost its soul over the years, it would be refreshing to have an iconic band to support. DOROTHY goes to great lengths to resurrect the legacy of bands like AC/DC or Black Sabbath, and comes very close. With a little more finessing in order to really nail down their signature style, DOROTHY is poised to take the world by storm.

January 12, 2016 12:45 pm

David Bowie, a household name, was one of the last greats to fall. Only he didn’t fall, he’s up in the stars where he belongs. This man made strange okay never stopped doing that he loved until the day he died. He’s a hero held in so many hearts and is a constant reminder of what youth feels like. Even at 68 years old, recording his last album Black Star, the power he holds is still apparent amidst the frailty of his voice.

I have not been this sad about an idol’s passing since the death of Lou Reed. Perhaps they are forming a super band featuring, Lemmy, Lennon, Reed and now Bowie. That’s what I hope because regardless of what happens from here, whatever they’re doing up there is far from boring.

Just two days before he died he released his last album. His lyrics from “Lazarus”

‘Look up here, I’m in heaven. I’ve got scars that can’t be seen, I’ve got drama can’t be stolen Everybody knows me now’

were his last farewell, similar to how many other great artists have bowed out. Elliott Smith’s last album came out after his alleged suicide and was riddled with hints of an immanent end. Also similar to “The Show Must Go On” with Freddie Mercury as he was dying from AIDS.

True Rock&Roll will never die, and fortunately for those of us left behind he gave us the last gift of BlackStar. Full of life and wielding an everlasting image of how wise this artist had become, he explores life and death. His music was always as mysterious with soft sweeping melodies melting us all in wonder, one more time.

The Beasts are shedding tears over this loss because Bowie was the definition of an atypical sound. We hope that through his immortal music, newer bands and younger generations will continue to be influenced by him for years to come.  Now excuse me while I overdose on his tasty tunes in memory of him and all of his star dust. Join me?