Merching to the beat of a different drum.
Shirt Stains has become a bit of a staple for Toilet Ov Hell. I enjoy doing it, and (I hope) you enjoy reading it. It’s been going strong for a year now, but some may not know that Shirt Stains wasn’t the original title for the series. The initial title for the column was Bis-Merched. Yeah, I know. Not the best, but it was short notice and there was a reason behind the title. I didn’t want to limit the rantings and ravings to just shirts. I wanted it to be all encompassing to include all sorts of garbage that bands put out. After many hours of deliberation (read: thinking about it for a few minutes and a wave of the golden scepter by Boss Joe), the Shirt Stains you know and love was born.
Shirts still make up the bulk of this column (bless you, bands with awful ideas and terrible eyes for art), but non-shirt items have found their way to Shirt Stains. While not everything can be love pillows with your favorite musicians on them, these following pieces of merch do manage to earn a special place in the Shirt Stains pantheon. They may not be particularly ugly or unpleasant to look at, they’re still kind of weird and worth a quality razzing.
Atreyu – Surfboard and Bicycle
A few months back, Atreyu released an album called Long Live. Now, I know that news may shock some of you, since most thought Atreyu would be too busy riding Falcor and beating the ever-loving monster-piss out of The Nothing. Sorry, can’t resist making references. Yes, Atreyu, that band you liked making fun of 10 years ago on the SMN News message boards, is still kicking around with tours and new music. Nowadays, bands are thinking of all sorts of merch to entice fans to pre-order albums. Sometimes it’s custom bottle openers, handwritten lyric sheets, and even hot sauce. Atreyu ups the ante with custom surfboards and bicycles.
Wait, what? That… that seems very specific. Limited-run hoodies or jackets make sense. Those appeal to lots of people. A surfboard? That pretty much appeals to just surfers, snowboarders with head trauma, and people who can’t afford a mattress. I suppose with the band being from Orange County, it sort of makes sense in the same way that Florida’s Obituary pre-order should come with a methed-out 46 year-old grandma that’s trying to bite a police officer’s testicles. Once this thing is in the water, it’s not like people can see it’s an Atreyu board anyway. Sharks won’t be impressed either. They prefer Accept.
The bike definitely has a wider appeal, but most people that are avid bikers already have one, and it’s probably better. I suppose this bit of swag is geared towards the “teens who aren’t old enough to drive, but have access to a credit card”. Hey, whatever works for Colby and MacKenzie works for Atreyu. In fairness, both items look fine and do have a practical use for Atreyu fans… as long as they match the mascara they’re wearing.
At least this opens the door for other tangential band merch. I can’t wait to see Swallow The Sun ice skates, Danzig boxing gloves, and Atilla dunce caps.
Papa Roach – Fingerless Gloves
I have to tip my cap to Papa Roach. They went from a mediocre angsty nu-metal band to a mediocre angsty butt-rock band. They shifted their sound to appeal to a wider audience and still play big shows and festivals. I bet the members of bands like Sw1tched and Fingertight would give their frosted tips and goatees to still have that kind of pull. They’d probably also like to sell crappy fingerless gloves for far too much money.
$20 bucks for fingerless gloves that have “PR” on them? Couldn’t spare a few more letters for the full band name? For all we know, these could just be gloves from Puerto Rico, kind of like how the teams that lose the Super Bowl ship their championship shirts to third world countries. If you put your fists together while wearing these, do you start purring like a kitty?
While we’re at it, the band couldn’t spring for gloves with fingertips on them? Do Papa Roach fans typically not have fingertips? Did they cut them into pieces when they thought it was their last resort? You have to wonder what they’re doing with all those glove fingertips. Does Jacoby Shaddix have a thing for little wiener hats? Does he like to surprise groupies with them? Does he fashion them into different hats like a sombrero or a top hat or a fedora? Definitely a fedora. Does he speak in different accents while wearing the different wiener hats? It’s thoughts like this that keep us from evolving as a species.
Children of Bodom – Roy The Reaper figure
Did you know that the grim reaper that appears on Children of Bodom’s albums and shirts is named Roy? I had no idea. To be honest, I never gave even half a second of thought to what the reaper’s name was because, y’know, who cares? Apparently his name is Roy because I guess the band is either trying to be funny or they really like nearly-defunct fast food joints. Most likely it’s the former and not the latter, which is a shame, because it’s a far better reason.
If that little tombstone didn’t say Children Of Bodom, I would think that this little guy was part of the Misfits collection of crap. The other tombstone doesn’t really give much of a clue either as it says “Skeleton In The Closet”. Yup, still sounds like the Misfits. By the way, I don’t want to scare you, but there’s a skeleton inside you right now. No, no. Don’t try to run. It’s already too late.
There really isn’t much more to say about this misshapen blob of plastic. It’s kind of ugly and strange and, oh yeah, it’s face looks like an anus and balls. That right there, children, is called a Fruit Bowl. Take a closer look:
Slayer – Bloody Shoes
Raining Blood. We get it, Slayer. You like covering yourselves in fake blood so you might as well cover your merch in it. Nothing says brutal and extreme like white Vans with little red splotches on them. It’ll send a great message when it looks like you just had an Arby’s-related accident all over your shoes. And that’s still a better assumption than people making the typical “time of the month” jokes. Why white shoes? I guess they make the totes real blood splatters look better, but it just draws more attention to your bad decision. I suppose that’s the point. You don’t buy shoes like this unless you want attention. Let the world know you have Hep C with these Slayer shoes!
From the looks of these shoes, there aren’t any laces. Does that technically mean that these are Slayer slippers? Maybe you can slip some faux fur into these things so you can have Slayer Uggs. Are we 1 step away from Slayer crocs? Just thing of Kerry King slipping on Slayer crocs and heading to the Hallmark Store to pick up the latest Webkinz for his collection.
Five Finger Death Punch – Fanny Pack
Five Finger Death Punch fanny pack. Say that five times into a mirror while holding a black candle and your piss turns into Cake Batter-flavored Muscle Milk. This incredible piece of merchandise lets everyone know that you mean business but don’t have any pockets on your Zubaz pants. You ain’t got time to bleed and you ain’t got anywhere else to put your Marlboro Reds. It’s handy for balancing yourself while jumping onto things at Crossfit and gives your crotch a safe place to land when you pass out after a few too many Pinnacle Pecan Pie vodka shots.
The classic 5FDP symbol proudly displayed on the front let’s people know that you mean business while trying to buy funnel cake on the boardwalk, and the pseudo-military symbols tell everyone that you love this country. Not counting the liberal media and all those crybaby pussy-buckets in the comments section on Yahoo! Answers. Never lose your Dr. Pepper lip gloss, your Bottoms Up strip club VIP card, and your sense of dignity ever again.