Published on March 7th, 2019 | by Alan Cross


Let’s reopen the debate on who should wear band t-shirts

Is wearing a band t-shirt an expression of your personal identity through music? Most people would say so. If you wear one of their shirts, you’re also proclaiming your support of the artist and the music.

Or do wear one just because it looks cool? Do you even have to know anything about the band to wear the shirt? Or is that ignorance enough to have you shunned?

The reason I ask is because this video is making the rounds.

“Metallic” writing? The woman doesn’t appear to recognize the Metallica logo. Should this disqualify her from wearing this shirt? Or should anyone be free to wear whatever they want?

Weigh in below. (For the record, James Hetfield doesn’t care. He believes that in America, everyone should be able to wear what they want.

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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7 Responses to Let’s reopen the debate on who should wear band t-shirts

  1. Shane Smith says:

    I would hope if your are wearing a band t-shirt that you would at least know who they are. Your supporting the band you love, you should not wear something you don’t support.

  2. Scottie McGrath says:

    It would be nice if people where aware of the bands that they have displayed on their shirts, but I agree that they should wear what they like. I find it funny seeing clean cut kids wearing Misfits or AC/DC shirts among others. I used to get called a dirt bag/skid back in school (late eighties) because I wore metal and punk band t-shirts. Funny how things shift.

  3. Kerry says:

    I’m with James. Although to me, it would be kind of foolish to have no idea what I’m promoting withteh logos I’m wearing.

  4. Marty says:

    I agree with Kerry. I have a lot of band t-shirts, and a bunch more in a box downstairs that no longer fit me. I wear them because I like the groups and support their music. Also, being a musician myself, who plays a lot of 70’s and 80’s stuff, it’s kind of become my stage outfit, because it usually is someone from those times that I’m displaying.

  5. Joe says:

    My sister is one of those people. She frequently wears a Ramones shirt, especially at concerts, even though she probably can’t name 3 Ramones songs. If people want to wear band shirts of bands they know nothing about that’s fine, but they have to be prepared when someone talks to them about their shirt and their ignorance and phoniness is exposed.

    • Mike says:

      100% agree! Hit the nail on the head. And don’t get all upset when you do get called out on your ignorance.

  6. Scott McCullough says:

    It seems dumb but it does show an appreciation for the unknown, never-named graphic artists who come up with obviously powerful images.

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