Shirt Stains – hXc For You And Me
This one goes out to all you flushers that have been with us since day one.
Spread this shit out! Side to side, front to back! No one standing still! I want you to kill the person next to you! We’re all family here! If someone falls, pick them up! Split this crowd like the Red Sea! Let’s set this place off!
Sorry, I just flashed back to every VFW and low-level club show from about 10 years ago. Though hardcore came about in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the genre had a resurgence in both the early 90’s and 2000’s. Most here are probably more familiar with the 00’s version, or at least with the cliches and tropes. The spinkicks and windmills, the “fighting the air” moshing, mesh shorts, gauged ears, full-sleeve or chest-piece tattoos. The list goes on and on.
While traditional metalheads still scoff at hardcore, never were the two genres closer than in the 2003-2006 time frame. You had metal-influenced hardcore bands that could shred and solo while also having metal bands throwing in breakdowns and punk beats. Ozzfest, traditionally more metal-based, had bands like Throwdown, Unearth, and Sworn Enemy while a hardcore fest like Hellfest had bands like Fear Factory, Suffocation, and Shadows Fall. You know what else these genres share? Really bad merch.
This edition of Shirt Stains goes out to our resident two-stepper and chief Joe aka Joe Thrashnkill aka Papa Joe aka Pit Boss Joe aka xJOEx aka Joey Hardcore aka Joedown aka Joe Ta Life aka Walls of Jeri-Joe aka PsyJoepus aka Joe Forbid aka JoeXSpinkick aka Jodeseven aka The Joe-Mags. Okay, I better stop now. We could be here all day.
Hatebreed – Saturday Morningcore
Hatebreed probably had the most success out of all the hardcore bands during the hXc/metal heyday. Their straight-forward aggression appealed to both sides of the aisle so to speak. Jamey Jasta’s lyrics about standing up and fighting back (or whatever) were easy to understand and even easier to spout back in a MySpace bulletin. Also during this time, their pits were notoriously violent, whether it was spinkicks, punches to the back of the head, or just sweaty masses slamming into you. Remember that video for AFI’s “The Leaving Song Pt. II” with all the moshing and karate moves? I don’t know if it was just a rumor or urban legend, but word was that they were actually playing a Hatebreed cd to get people moving.
That’s why this shirt design comes as a bit of a surprise. It’s adorable. How many times has that ever been used to describe Hatebreed? It really is the most accurate way to describe the cartoonish artwork that would be more appropriate for a Saturday morning eating chocolate chip pancakes than in some dank, piss-soaked bar where someone might walk on your head at any moment. I guess it’s supposed to be all tuffXcore and aggressiveXkillyou, but it’s just not happening.
The dominant skeleton has a hoodie on. Is he chilly? He doesn’t have any skin, how can he be cold? I know those are supposed to be boxing gloves, but they really just look like Werther’s caramels. Is the other skull spitting blood? That can’t be, it’s just a skeleton. No veins or vital organs. Maybe he just had a mouthful of Hawaiian punch. And those are teeth flying, those are just pieces of popcorn. That first skeleton is just a dick looking to ruin someone’s snack time. Bad message, Hatebreed. Think of the kids.
Blood For Blood – Clevercore
Shirt suggested by Joe.Town Concrete
Blood for Blood were the quintessential Boston/New England hardcore band. I say were because they’re not really around any more following an incident that received just a little attention from the metal world. They were the embodiment of the angry working-class, particularly “white trash” (their words, not mine). Remember how I said that Hatebreed’s shows were known for being particularly violent? Yeah, those shows couldn’t hold a candle to Blood For Blood’s shows. From violent moshing, to targeted swings, to head -hunting, to straight up gang assaults, Blood For Blood shows were not something to be taken lightly. When you’re associated with a group like FSU, it shouldn’t be a surprise. The one time I had a chance to see them, I made sure to stay away from the floor. They no-showed anyway, so it didn’t matter, but the “legend” was enough to take heed to the warnings. This shirt capitalizes on the violence inflicted on their own fans.
When you’re 15, something like this might seem cool. Yeah! Fighting! Awesome! Really, it’s the equivalent of having a band called “The B-Sharps”. It gets progressively less funny every time you hear it. It’s clever in the same way that Carlos Mencia is an original comedian. Why were you going to a brawl? Did you buy a ticket in advance or did you pay at the door? Were you upset that a Blood for Blood show broke out? Did it take away from getting hit with a broken pool cue? Did they explain why why this shirt has so many different fonts?
I love hockey. Some people think fighting should be banned, but as someone who played for over 20 years and got into a few scraps, I disagree. What I don’t like, though, is glorifying fights. You think the Boston Bruins player and the Montreal Canadiens player received compensation for the use of their likenesses? Not likely. How about the teams or the NHL? You can clearly see the Boston Bruins patch and the Canadiens jersey is unmistakable. It’s certainly in keeping with Boston’s rivalry with Montreal. Don’t like the shirt? No worries. There probably won’t be too many Blood For Blood shows breaking out any time soon.
Norma Jean – Casualcore
Have you ever gone to your company picnic but still wanted to show that you’re still down with the underground? Need to go to a moderately-priced restaurant but need to show the world that you’re ready to stay true to everything you believe? Need to show Gram Gram Gertrude that you keep it real? Well now you can thanks to this snazzy polo courtesy of Norma Jean. I was never a fan of Norma Jean, but I have to tip my cap to them as they are still around and putting out albums. Good for them. They’ve done far better than other hardcore/metalcore bands with female names like Catherine, Scarlet, Nora, Karen Page (yes, the Marvel character, I know), Killwhitneydead, and more.
This polo is definitely on the stranger end of the merch scale. It really feels like this is geared towards dad and not the t-shirt wearing crowd. Who in the band said, “Yes, we want to go after the khaki crowd”? You’re not going to wear this at a show. I guess you’d be the most mature-looking person in the crowd, but you probably don’t want people going “Excuse me, sir. You’re blocking the 15 year old’s view. By the way, there’s a hole in the armpit of your golfing shirt.”
After all that, it’s not even a nice design. It’s just a print of two crossed guns and the weak slogan “Support Southern Rock”. Okay, Kid Rock, I’ll get right on that. They tried to fancy up the name to make up for the lack of, y’know actual stitching, but that just makes it worse. They knew this was lazy. Or if this is just a terrible bootleg, the bootlegger knew this was lazy. So you’re wearing a polo that isn’t even a nice polo. It’s the worst of both worlds. At least you’ll look totes br00tal at your kid’s 3rd grade recital.
The Banner – Taking A Dumpcore
Look at this shirt. What is that guy in the Karate Kid evil gang-style mask doing? It sure looks like he’s about to take a big steamy Donald Trump all over New Jersey. Some (read: New Yorkers) are down with plopping all over the Garden State. The Banner, originally named Bruce Banner (again with the Marvel characters), hail from New Jersey. I don’t think their intention was to shit over their state. Well, some parts definitely deserve it, like all the jughandles, but not all.
You know what? It’s probably all just a distraction from The Misfits-style logo. Or perhaps it’s to draw your attention away from the guy’s Mickey Mouse gloves. You have to do what you can when you’re in a My Chemical Romance commercial. And threatening other bands. If anything The Banner should embrace the Mickey Mouse hands. I could totally see people throwing down in the pit with these things on. It would be a flurry of puffy white fists and high-pitched Ha-Ha’s! Maybe we can get a whole bunch of Disney-style paraphernalia and sell it to hardcore kids. Donald Duck feet, Goofy ears, and Minnie Mouse bows would be all the rage at Facedown Fest. Come on, The Banner. Let’s make it happen.
Terror – Smorgasbordcore
LA’s Terror have been bringing the mosh for over a decade now. Despite seeing them live, I never cared for them. Just not my thing, but they’re still putting out albums and touring, so they still have a loyal fanbase. You’d certainly need one when selling a shirt that looks like someone yacked out a bowlful of Alpha-Bits cereal onto a shirt. Do you like tons of white font on a black shirt? Well now you do.
Like a lot of shirts for hardcore bands, this one has a big print of a live shot. It looks like vocalist Scott Vogel is raising the microphone for the crowd. Or possibly punching a crowd surfer. Either one is entirely accurate and appropriate. This isn’t on Shirt Stains because of that. It’s on Shirt Stains because it contains more words than a Quentin Tarantino monologue. Let’s read it all together in one breath:
“Terror I’ve been dealt a thousand lies so why am I in so much pain this time shut you out eye for an eye Reader records”
Apparently periods, question marks, and commas aren’t hardcore enough for Terror, but multiple fonts are. Anyone else appreciate the irony that “Reader Records” is listed below that word salad? As if that wasn’t enough pontification, the shirt also gives us text on both sleeves and the word “Terror” on the front six times? Why six? *Punches you in the back of the head* That’s why. No one is going to mess with you when you have this shirt on. Mostly because they’re too busy reading it and trying to decipher what it means. Reading: It’s xFUNxDAxMENTALx.