So I’m working on culling my closet this week in preparation for moving. Part of this includes pulling out my collection of band t-shirts from college and flipping through them. There’s a lot of wishing I could fit into them going on. I mean, my boobs didn’t really grow until I turned 24, so all of my band t-shirts are youth larges because I only had to worry about the shirt going over the tops of my hips. Now it’s another story. So I picked out what I thought was thirteen shirts, turned out to be fourteen, and thought I’d share them with you and why that band was special to me.
This was a unique band. They didn’t sing as much speak in rhyme to very eclectic rock. They were Christian, so a lot of the time I described them as listening to a lyrical sermon. They were very hippie guys I had the opportunity on several occasions to meet and hang out with. They drove a bus fueled on recycled grease and tried to always do a pot luck dinner before their shows with their fans. And their shows always sold out. If you knew they were going to be in town, you got your tickets at the earliest possible moment and made plans what you would bring.
The lyrics on the shirt were some of my favorite.
My life is a cup of sugar I borrowed before time began and forgot to return.
2. Blessed By A Broken Heart
I first heard this band by accident. They were a Canadian band that didn’t travel down to Texas more hand a handful of times, but I read their interview in a magazine. The guys in the band almost all were going through break ups right around the same time and they were all for the best. It allowed them to focus on their crazy 80’s inspired metal music and touring. I met them once at a huge music festival in Illinois and bought the t-shirt. I wish I’d kept their interview because all I really remember was that it really touched me. I’d had a messy break up with a guy who told me from our first date we were going to get married. The interview connected with me and I shot off an email. I never expected to get individual letters from each of the guys in the band. It was a very encounter.
3. Horror Pops
Ah, the psychobilly girl fronted group. This is probably one of the only shirts out of this collection I can still wear. I bought the last Walk Like A Zombie shirt and cut it up to be a slouchy off the shoulder style. I still love the song and listen to them whenever I need a good girl-power kind of rock vibe to my day. They also play my tattoo theme song. Whenever I’m going to get a tattoo, I play Baby Lou Tattoo from their first album.
The Horror Pops are rockabilly, with a focus on horror music themes, thus psychobilly. The music is fun, and there’s something about a woman playing an upright bass and singing like she does that’s just awesome. The lead singer is also married to the guitarist, Neckroman, featured as a skeleton on the shirt behind his wife, Patricia Day. Neckroman is also the front man of the Neckromantics, an all guy rockabilly/psychobilly group that’s probably more popular than the Horror Pops, but less fun to see in concert. As the Horror Pops, the group travels with go-go-dancers and draws in a huge female audience. Guys go to the shows, but they’re shoved to the back by rabid girls in stilettos with pomps.
This ska group played the songs that got me through high school. I was in the high school band and learned to play a lot of what they did on their albums at home on my french horn. This was a hard shirt to pick. I have two remaining FIF shirts in my closet from the previous five. I figured I would pick the non-black one to change things up a little. I liked this shirt because it was blue. Never really understood the design, but it was FIF so I was bound to buy whatever they had to sell because I was that fan. Just to prove it to you, here’s a picture of me at their farewell concert when I was, oh, probably 18. I’m always shocked by this picture because I’m actually wearing a FIF shirt to their show. I almost never did that. It was a huge fashion no-no to wear the t-shirt of the band you were going to go see.
Ah, the red shirt. This one always got the most interesting looks. Showbread was another Christian rock/screamo band. They had seven members, SEVEN! They were one of the few groups that had a black guy, who was one of the TWO front guys and will always be one of the most beautiful black men I’ve ever seen in my life. Their lead singer Josh was funny, and on several occasions we bantered during their sets. They also had a keytar player. Their guitarist, Mike, will always be my #1 musician crush. I was fairly obsessed with Showbread in college, and then I got to be semi-friends with them. Even followed them across three states, despite having a broken arm, which I broke at the first night’s show. That’s a story I’ll save for later.
6. Haste the Day
This group in their early years was a lot of fun to hang out with. How they are now, I have no idea, but back in the day I would bring them pizza and hang out. They had an Asian front man, which I believe at the time he might have been the only one I’d ever seen in a metal/screamo group. His name was Jimmy, and I’ve never heard someone scream with one breath, and then turn around and sing the most beautiful lyrics with the voice of an angel. The band lost a lot of it’s appeal when he left, though they’re still good, it’s not the same. Now that I think about it, I believe they just called it quits not too long ago. I still listen to the album this shirt is inspired by.
7. Inked in Blood
This was a small time metal group from one of the lesser known, but very well represented labels off the west coast. I think the owner of the label was actually the front man for this group, but don’t quote me on that. Inked in Blood had one album at least that I really liked. Though the band went off my radar fairly quickly, I always loved this shirt. I got it around the time that the US was always worried about ‘weapons of mass destruction’ being everywhere, so when I saw this shirt with the crossed guitars and old school microphone, had to get it. I can’t actually remember if I saw the group in person, or if this is one of the shirts my mom ordered for Christmas one year. I used to do that, make a list of band t-shirts for her to buy me. I usually got one or two.
8. Flatfoot 56
This was my tradition band. They were like an underground Dropkick Murphys, who are one of my all time favorites. Though they were from Chicago, they came down to Texas to play the Red Blood Club every year for St. Patrick’s Day. I used to wear this shirt once or twice a week because I loved it so much. Those shows were always crazy with bagpipes and skin heads and old school punks coming out of the woodworks. Their style was very much Irish punk rock, but they appealed to a wider audience. The shows were fairly rough, and I believe I went home with a black eye once, but I loved it. It was part of going to Red Blood Club. I was sad when they closed down because it meant Flatfoot never came back to Texas.
9. Maylene and the Sons of Disaster
I think what drew a lot of us to Maylene was the lead singer, Dallas. He was the original lead singer for a group called underOath, which went on to have a huge following with a new lead singer after their first album with Dallas. While I never liked underOath, Maylene pressed all the right buttons for me. They had a very country/redneck bent to their metal. The guys looked like good ol’ country boys, sported crazy beards and had really awesome shows. What was fun about them was that they were silly and never seemed to take themselves too seriously.
I wore this shirt to death. I’m still kind of shocked it isn’t worn through. I used to wear it whenever I had to work outside at home, and later on when I got a job in the entertainment department of a big amusement park it was my work shirt of choice, as you can see below. I think that the day this was taken we were decorating the park for Halloween. The look is only missing safety goggles that were required for working with some of the crap we worked with.
This was another anomaly in the screamo scene. This group had a lead singer that was female. While there was another well known female fronted metal group out there, the front woman for Flee the Seen managed to sing and scream without sounding shrill and making me want to brain myself with a pencil. The group was hit or miss with me on their songs, and I think I never saw them live. I believe my mom ordered me the shirt for Christmas one year. At the time the label had a design person on staff who did both this shirt and the following Alove for Enemies shirts and I loved the style. That’s why this shirt is here, not so much because I liked the group, though they were undoubtedly special, but because I loved wearing the shirt.
11. Alove for Enemies
Unlike Flee the Seen, I really loved Alove for Enemies. Heck, I even drove to Oklahoma City to go see them on tour because they weren’t coming to Texas. They were another west coast metal group from the same label as Inked in Blood. While I can’t really tell you a lot about their music except that it was metal and I liked it, I can say in all honesty that the band was super nice. I remember hanging out with them for a bit after the show I went to. I think I was one of like four over 18 people at the venue and after they played and a high school group that the venue made the headliner over them started, we all sat back on a table and awkwardly watched and joked about stuff. They gave me the shirt for free because it was a 4x and the last of the style they had and felt bad that I’d driven such a long distance. The crowd was terrible that night, but I’ll never forget sitting outside of the venue flicking french fries and laughing at teenagers trying to impress them.
12. The Showdown
Oh be still my excitable heart. I swoon at the memory of The Showdown. They were in the same genre as Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. I don’t think they ever toured together, but it would have been a tour to die for if they had.
The Showdown is also the band I went on tour with and wound up being some of the best friends with. I had to hide my infatuation with their bass player, but it was okay. He never noticed.
I can’t say enough about this band. They were super fun to be around, humble, silly and always worth going to see them. I believe I baked them lots and lots of cookies multiple times over the years. Their merch guy and I stayed in communication for several years after. I still listen to their rendition of Carry on Wayward Son and rock out to others, like Temptation Come My Way. They had a very old metal meets new rock vibe. *sigh* I miss them!
13. As I Lay Dying
This band is and will always be one of those special groups. In a lot of ways they’re to thank for the good screaming metal out there, but a lot of the bad ones started out wanting to be like them. They’re still going strong, and I just checked out their website and saw that they will be in Dallas in December. My birthday is in December. I might need to go. Anyways! I have lots of good memories of going to their shows, which bring in a lot of the older crowd, which is nice. I do remember a Halloween show they did here where there was, I kid you not, a mosh pit of Disney Princesses. They were obnoxious and I might have pushed a few of them when they bounced into me.
I think I need to go to their show…
Anyways, there’s a look at some of my favorite band t-shirts from my high school and college days. Yes, I wore lots and lots of black and ripped jeans. Eventually I discovered color, makeup and high heels. I’m still sad I can’t sport a few of these on occasion. My plan is to make a blanket out of them, plus the others I still have, because yes, there are more.