Un-Grateful Dead


photo by Lara Voelker

Sophomore Lara Voelker wears her PVRIS shirt. She has been a fan for many years.

Senior Katelyn Adair scrolled through her laptop, shopping on Brandy Melville’s site. She added to her cart a shirt with the signature logo from Rolling Stones. She also found a Grateful Dead shirt that she must own, since it is covered in skulls. Although she has never heard a song from either band, Adair loves her purchases.

Band shirts have become a trend, especially for classic groups like ACDC, the Beatles and Nirvana. These shirts are sold at a variety of popular stores and sites like Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Brandy Melville and Aeropostale. Some fans find this to be a harmless fashion trend while others take an issue with people wearing shirts of bands they do not listen to.

Many wear these shirts solely for their certain designs and colors, even if they know nothing about the particular band. People also tend to buy shirts from stores that sell clothes that they already love.

Those who do not have a problem with wearing shirts by musicians they do not listen to view the band as a logo or brand.

“People can wear whatever they want, as long as it’s not offensive,” Adair said.

However, senior Katelyn Carlson and sophomore Lara Voelker have different views on the matter. Many do not look at a band as just a design, they feel as though the shirt represents the band, their songs, their actions and what they stand for.

“Although it’s good to keep old culture alive, it’s ignorant to be unaware of what you’re representing,” Carlson said.

Those against ‘fake fans’ can also find it bothersome.

“I’ll look at someone’s band shirt and ask what their favorite song is. It makes them seem so stupid when they don’t know a thing,” Carlson said.

This incident occurred when Carlson saw one of her friends wearing a Nirvana shirt from Urban Outfitters. When she asked the friend about the band, more specifically her favorite song by Nirvana, she replied, ‘I don’t know, I just liked the shirt.’

Not knowing information about the particular band or musician can make the person seem oblivious and foolish.

“It’s like wearing a shirt with Russian writing when you don’t speak Russian at all or have any relationship with it,” Voelker said. “It’s dumb because you don’t even know what it says.”

Voelker owns Bring me the Horizons, Pierce the Veil, Falling in Reverse and Pvris shirts herself, however, she is a huge fan of both bands and listens to their music.

American singer and songwriter Dee Snider, member of the ‘80’s metal band, Twisted Sister, addressed this issue on Twitter. He called out several celebrities for wearing metal shirts, saying “Gotta say, this new trend of non-metal fans wearing vintage metal T’s if pretty sickening.” He also wrote, “It’s not just the wearing of our metal T’s, it’s their cherry picking of our style. These are OUR symbols; OUR image.”

“Remember that you wear what you want to represent,” Adair said. “As long as the shirt makes you happy, that’s all that matters.”