Rotting (hand) Out
Typically, when a musician or band releases a benefit shirt, it is for someone who has fallen ill or has passed and the family needs financial help. That is perfectly normal and respectable. Those shirts get a pass in Shirt Stains because they’re for a legitimate cause. Combined with GoFundMe campaigns and benefit concerts, a benefit shirt can really help people in their most desperate time of need.
Of course, that’s not the only time a benefit shirt is created. Sometimes a benefit shirt will be created to help out paying legal fees. That’s where things start to enter a morally gray area. Questions of fair and equal justice, right and wrong, good and bad all get mixed in to a piece of merchandise being sold. People may want to support the band they love, but are conflicted because of what crime or act may have occurred. Then, there’s the case of the Rotting Out Benefit shirt.
About a year ago, Walter (Wally Edge) Delgado, former vocalist for hardcore band Rotting Out, and Anthony Slocum, guitarist for Search Bloc, were arrested on drug trafficking charges. It turns out, driving around with 70 pounds of marijuana and 1,000 hash oil jars is frowned upon in the state of Ohio. Both were fined $5,000 and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Delgado also runs the risk of being deported, leading to both the band and Aaron Bedard, the vocalist of Bane, to call on fans share positive stories in hopes of influencing a judge’s decision. Judges totally love when you flood their inbox, by the way.
All of this has led to the creation of two shirts to benefit Delgado and his family. I hate to bag on a shirt meant to help someone, but that moral gray area isn’t so gray. Most would agree that what was done was wrong. The line from the post on their Facebook page “I do not care what your feelings /opinions are about the situation” kind of reinforces my feelings. Even states that have legalized marijuana wouldn’t let something like this slide.
Aye. I guess if you like the guy enough and are willing to spend $20 to help the guy, you don’t care what’s on the shirt but sheesh. You’re calling on your fans for positive stories and selling a shirt with the guy’s face where he looks like he’s been constipated for 3 days. People would cross to the other side of the street if they saw you wearing this. This shirt should belong in the Big Book Of British Smiles. Independent pro wrestlers would kill for a head shot like this one. That face says “I just need 2 bucks to take the bus and I’ll stab you with a rock if you don’t give it to me.” Who needs a “black merol face” when you’ve got Delgado Face?
The second benefit shirt is a little more, um, interesting. Delgado Face returns but this time it is on the body of a native warrior. I’d guess Mayan or Aztec, but then again, I’m just a gringo, so what do I know? I’m not sure the best way to combat deportation is to show Delgado as a non-American ready to kill (or has already killed, can’t tell) a half-naked woman. Hey, maybe the judge will be really sympathetic after having his inbox flooded and seeing this shirt. I’m probably reading too much into it, but then again, I’m not the one in jail for drug trafficking trying to raise some dough. You’d think they’d want to sell something that might appeal to casual or even non-fans, but nope. Full on Delgado Face.
As you may be able to tell from his nickname, Delgado is (or at least was) straight edge. I guess if you just traffic drugs but don’t take any you can still keep your sXe decoder ring. Maybe it was a total mistake and those 70lbs of pot accidentally fell into the van when he wasn’t looking. Maybe the pot actually owned the van and Delgado was just hitching a ride. Perhaps we’ll never know the true story, but I’d definitely love to hear it.
Walter Delgado will be up for parole in September, so we all better be nice to him because he will be all swole when he gets out. Of course, some think Delgado should not be deported for this, and it sucks that there is going to be a financial burden on his family. Should your desire to help, both shirts can be purchased here.