Fashion Tips for the Metal Inclined, Segment 1: Your First Tour Shirt

properly aged GnR shirt

properly aged GnR shirt

Last night I decided I was still awesome and went to see the “Metal Alliance” tour at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Featuring Anthrax, Exodus, Bonded by Blood, Municipal Waste, and others! It was awesome, and you can all start with the “1987 called; it wants it’s thrash band back” jokes. Anthrax closed with Bring the Noise and Chuck D was rapping so all was good in the universe that night my friends.

Since I went by myself, (weird that Dr. Wife didn’t want to get her face melted by sound) I had no one to talk to, so between sets I amused myself by crowd watching. Seeing all the “kids” dressed like my friends and myself back in the day, inspired me to write Fashion Tips for the Metal Inclined.


OK, so mom and dad let you out of the house and you’re here with all the grown ups and your sweaty crumpled $20 bill is just waiting to get blown at the merch table.  You are gonna buy a tour shirt and it has everything: band logo, mildly offensive art, the dates and locations of all the stops, including THIS SHOW! If you are a hot chick, do not pay full price at the merch table. That’s a total waste of being hot, and that shit doesn’t last forever.  Don’t be ashamed, I’ve been known to make eyes with gay bartenders if I think it will improve the pour on my Jack ‘n Coke.  Also based on the merch guys at this thing, I think being a warm blooded female who would talk to them would probably get you like half-off. How you handle your new shirt is critical to both the shirt and your own metal cred.

1. DO NOT WEAR IT AT THE SHOW. You will see others doing this. They are dorks, do not be one of them. The only people that should be wearing a tour shirt on the tour are roadies.

2. You may wear the shirt the next day. In fact, this is almost mandatory if you’re in high school so you can show off how awesome you are. If you want to play it cool and wait two days, that’s fine but start rocking that shirt soon… see #3.

3. You should continue to wear the shirt frequently for the next two seasons. This is called creating a patina.  Wear it to keggers, disc golf games, or, even better, other metal shows.

4. The most important step. Once the shirt has gathered some history, had beer spilled on it, become slightly faded, and the graphics start cracking a little, you must stop wearing it. (note: if it is a light colored shirt and gets blood on it, it may never be washed again) Knowing when to stop wearing a tour shirt takes experience; it’s like knowing just when to harvest wine grapes. Also like wine, the shirt must now be aged. I’ve found that the best way to age a shirt is to bury it in a box in your mom’s garage. That way you will not be tempted to abuse it further. Furthermore any girlfriends you may have won’t think it’s cool to sleep in, borrow, then keep when you breakup. Or, and far more dangerous, you risk exposure to a significant other who thinks it’s stupid and childish and throws out “your ratty old shirt.”

5. Time to be cool. It’s been tucked away safely in a box with some crap you wrote in college that you kept in mom’s garage because you think you will actually use or publish it one day. Like a phoenix, it rises from the ashes. The band hasn’t survived as long as your shirt? EVEN BETTER. Now you’re ready. Going to the beach? Going out with your bros to a metal show with a band from the same era that decided to tour again to buy the drummer a hip replacement? Car shows, drag racing, and more are extra rad with a properly aged tour shirt. Now the shirt is like fine cognac (in a trashy way), so resist the temptation to reintroduce it into the regular lineup. This is a special occasion shirt.

6. SMUG AS HELL!  And when you’re in your mid-thirties, married with kids and bills; all the bullshit in the world can’t bring you down when you see some loser in a reproduction shirt. That’s the kit car of shirts. You’re the guy with the real Cobra, not the fiberglass mail order reproduction. If you see someone else with the same shirt and it looks authentic you have a green light to approach them and talk about how much better that show was than the one your at.  You, sir, are killing it. Go up to the bar with the other old guys, order an overpriced beer/shot and put in your ear plugs… because Testament is about to RAWK!!!!!

4 thoughts on “Fashion Tips for the Metal Inclined, Segment 1: Your First Tour Shirt

    • If you actually know where the blood on your shirt came from, you win a prize. (Spoiler alert; the prize is probably a blood born pathogen. Or a broken nose.)

    • I can be yours, somebody else who had it coming, or random stranger. But the unless it was a real life fight it came from “the pit” Blood=Metal. Hence the band “Bonded by Blood, or the Slayer album Reign in Blood, or… I feel like this could go on forever. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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