Your rock t-shirts are a key part of your look. Pivotal really, because they tell the world who you are. Nirvana’s drunk smiley face and Rush’s Starman may peg you as a discerning music fan, but if you’re like me, that’s not enough. You want a shirt that not only shows people you know good music, but that you might just be an art critic as well, such as:
If you had eyes and ears in the mid 90s, you’re probably familiar with this symbol and the band it represented. From a distance, it looks like a slightly impressionist painting of the sun. Take a closer look, though, and you’ll see there’s a lot going on. The surrealist elements include Skeletons, a knife, and the devil himself, with a number of other pictures alluding to the violence and desperation of life in Long Beach that the band sang about with such passion. Beyond that, it’s pretty cool looking, isn’t it?
Does it capture the eye? Sure. Is it Psychedelic? You bet. But there’s something more about this t-shirt that speaks to the point in time it depicts. Jimi played live at Randall’s Island in July of 1970. He died two months later. Here, we see him bright as sunlight, but almost faded into the burst of color behind him. For a man who shown as brightly he did and burned out far too soon, I can’t think of a more fitting depiction.
Led Zeppelin may be one of England’s most successful exports, but this shirt is the American dream on a polyester cotton blend. While most British subjects are still, to this day, a little sketchy on the concept of freedom, the artist behind this piece captured the spirit in full force. It speaks of the raw, naked struggle to rise above the troubled times that the 70s were in search of the promise of liberty. Or, it could just be an awesome dude with wings flying across the American flag. Either way, it’s pretty sweet.
As far as metal t-shirts go, this one captures the hell out of the spirit of the genre. Besides appearing to be one of the lost works of Hieronymus Bosch, Slayer’s Reign in Blood, unsurprisingly, had to fight to be released as is. Its cover art harkens back to the Renaissance, when paintings regularly placed well known figures of the day in various tormented hells. I’m not really sure who these men are, though one appears to be wearing a Pope hat. It also looks like a portrait of Christopher Columbus up to his neck in blood in the bottom left hand corner, but that would have pretty much been par for the course for him.
Boston’s famous Starship logo is a throwback to the band’s previous career as an interstellar planetary wrecking crew. When they reached earth, they loved rock and roll so much that they decided to stay and demolish it through earth shattering music, instead. In all honesty, though, they really needed an extra-terrestrial theme to match the unearthly voice of lead singer Brad Delp. As it turns out, the ship is actually supposed to be fleeing Earth, rather than arriving there. Perhaps it’s a look at the future, when the mother ship finally arrives to bring Tom Scholz and the rest of Boston home.
What did I miss? Leave your comments below to let me know!