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5 Reasons You Should Stop Wearing Shirts for Artists You Don't Listen To

Think you should buy that band tee you saw at Forever 21 because it's trendy and on sale? Think again.

By Mark JanzPublished 6 years ago 6 min read
You'll be thanking me later, because I'll have just saved you from one of the biggest (non avocado toast related) social faux pas a millennial can make.

No matter how extra and vivacious your closet may or may not be, nothing is as timeless and versatile as that classic band tee. It fits you nicely, it’s stylish and iconic, and perfect for any occasion from the clubs downtown to the bonfires in the yard. You love it, and you don’t even mind that you don’t actually listen the band. I’m here today to tell you that YOU SHOULD MIND. Wearing a band shirt that does not make an appearance in your playlist now or ever is one of the biggest social fouls you will ever make. So listen closely (unlike you do to that name on your shirt), because here are 5 reasons as to why you should never wear a shirt for an artist you don’t listen to.

1. It Makes the Band Seem Less Like an Artist, and More Like a Brand

I’m currently in school for business, so I understand from a business standpoint that a band is absolutely a brand when you get down to it. But from a fan’s perspective, the artist is a being that they can connect with and share an intimacy with, that one simply can’t with Calvin Klein. The artist’s value feels diminished for these people when their musical heroes are being represented for the superficial material purposes, rather than the purpose of many people uniting under the bonding admiration of one’s art.

2. It Makes the Genre/Artist’s Scene Look Shallow

While I know this social faux pas happens among many artists and genres, undeniably the biggest victim is classic rock/metal. The most frequent bands you see befall this terrible fate are The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, and The Beatles. Because of this unfortunate reality, these brilliant and innovative artists seem to have less merit to them now because they’ve become “basic” due to the false flag wavers. No longer does representing this artist make you look passionate and part of a community, but it makes you look like you only know what’s popular, and don’t have your own opinion on it.

3. It Can Turn Away Potential Great Connections with Others

We classic rock and metal fans aren’t dumb, we’ve picked up on this travesty. We’ve all seen Kendall Jenner wearing a Slayer t-shirt while carrying a latte in Beverly Hills, and we couldn’t help but notice Justin Bieber wearing a Nirvana shirt throughout his Purpose tour (not that I actually follow the Biebs…I swear…). We are so aware of the status of the band shirt, that we have lost patience for the bands in the list from my last point. I have told my friends many times before: “you can never trust a girl in a Stones shirt.” And before you judge me for judging, I have had countless experiences with hollow Stones “fans.” One actually thought they sang “Here Comes the Sun”…can you blame me? Lots of fans like myself will often not give the time of day to an attractive person solely due to them wearing one of these shirts. It sounds shallow I know, but let me explain: since the state of the classic band shirt has become that of a mere fashion trend, one can’t help but develop the first impression of “this person is basic and materialistic.” And as you would learn if you listen to the lyrics of songs like The Stones' “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” you would understand that the rock audience tends to not mesh well with those types of people. (But who does, amiright?)

4. It’s Kind of an Insult to the Artist

When you wear that Nirvana shirt you saw for $50 in Forever 21, do you even think about the fact that you are contributing to what Kurt Cobain wanted to avoid the most? (That thing was becoming a corporate and overexposed culture symbol). When you throw on that Beatles tee, do you even think about how many lives the lyrics of John Lennon have touched? You don’t. You just thought it looked cute and was on sale. These artists spend their entire lives writing lyrics, performing shows, and pumping out transcendent records for people to bond and unite under them, wherever they may be in their lives. When you wear their t shirt solely because it looks good, and you don’t appreciate anything more than that about the artist, you’re slapping them and all of their hard work right in the face.

5. It Can Make You Look REALLY Dumb

If none of my mumbo-jumbo about integrity and false community moved you, this should do the trick. This may be the most important point of all actually, because who has ever enjoyed being labelled as fake? Or the dreaded term we rockers and metalheads use…a poser. (*gasps and fists erupt in the room*). Nothing is cringier in a social setting than this exchange here:

Mark: “Hey, I really dig your shirt. What’s your favorite tune of theirs?”

Poser: “….”

Nobody wants to be that fool. And it can get even worse, too. There’s a video on YouTube of a girl wearing a Nirvana shirt while a hit of theirs that isn’t “Smells Like Teen Spirit” plays in the background, and when asked “who is this?” she can do nothing but wallow in the silence of her uncomfortable lack of knowledge. That is online forever, she’ll never live that down. Even if it never made pixels, you think her peers would let her live that down? Don’t let that be you. Mom says honesty is the best policy, so be truthful and don’t wear a band shirt that you don’t actually have a bond with. Cause no amount of Pink Floyd tank tops can cover up that shame....

I understand that everyone is entitled to dress how they please, and represent whatever they want. And I also understand that not everyone who wears a band shirt from a trendy store is fake. I’ll admit, I own plenty of band shirts from Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and the like because they fit well and often have a unique graphic or modification that sets them apart from the band’s standard apparel. The point I’m harshly trying to make is that you shouldn’t represent that artist if you aren’t a fan of them. You don’t have to know the lyrics to their entire catalog in 4 different languages, but at least consistently listen to more than 3 of their songs. And if you truly still can’t get enough of the graphic tee, go for the one that has a vintage soda logo on it or something. Odds are you’ll run into more social crimes in a Zeppelin shirt, as opposed to devoted Pepsi drinkers breaking down your door to find out if you really believe Coke is inferior. These artists have a devoted and passionate community behind them, please don’t devalue that for the sake of being fashionable.

Got Any Good Stories Yourself About a Cringe Worthy Band Tee Incident? Strongly Agree or Disagree with Me? Shoot Me an Email and Tell Me All About It!

Follow me on Instagram @mark.janz

Check out my band Dextress, we just released our album to Spotify and Apple Music!

Facebook and Instagram: @dextressband


About the Creator

Mark Janz

20th Century Boy

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