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Ongoing History Daily: Is this the ultimate in band merch?

Artist merchandise is an important revenue stream for all performers. There are all kinds of things a band will sell you to boost that bottom line: t-shirts, hoodies, badges, programs, condoms—whatever will take a logo and to help remind fans of the band and the show.

This, however, could be the ultimate in unforgettable merch. And it was free, too.

A black metal band called Zeal & Ardor once offered fans the opportunity to be branded—and yes, “branded” is what they do with cattle. The deal was get the brand, get free merch. The group didn’t really think anyone would go through with it—but surprise! The group had a branding iron and a Bunsen burner to heat it up.

At least eight people went through with it. That’s a show they’ll never be able to forget–at least not without skin grafts.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38427 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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