Archive for October, 2009
People who say the clothes don’t make the rockstar haven’t seen this t-shirt! A truly amazing piece of rock merch, this shirt can play all the major chords–just press the appropriate button and strum using the included magnetic guitar pick. I wouldn’t go as far as ThinkGeek does in their description and call it a “real musical instrument,” but it’s a work of art as far as apparel goes. There’s even an included mini-amp speaker that clips to your belt, and in true rock’n'roll fashion, the volume knob goes up to 11.
Audio purists aside, most music fans aren’t buying vinyl anymore. Turntables have given way to mp3 players, while hi-fi stereo speaker systems have been replaced by ultra-portable earbuds. But what of the records already produced?
Design company Vinylux has repurposed old LPs and EPs as drink coasters, rescuing them from a lifetime of obscurity languishing in basements the world over. If you don’t want to rest that steaming mug of coffee on your favorite album, you can always hang the coaster on the wall as a work of art, but why not raise a toast to your favorite musician, then set down the glass on their masterpiece? It’s no backstage pass, but a great way to recycle the rock’n'roll memories and protect your furniture at the same time.
Here’s a dilemma that faces music merch fans around the world–sound familiar?
The dress code at your job forces you to button down in conservative business apparel. With only the occasional Casual Friday for relief, you watch your awesome band t-shirts languish forgotten in the corner of your closet, the tunes coming from your headphones the only outward sign of your excellent taste in music. Surely, there must be some way to proudly wear your love of your favorite band, even in the workplace! What’s a merch fanatic to do?
Rapper Aesop Rock has an answer: customized shoelaces! These black and gold logo’d laces are eye-catching and stylish, subversively communicating your fandom from under even the most conservative business suit. Rock on!
Musicians cannot express themselves through lyric sheets alone, especially after the band begins to dissolve. Some go on to publish their words of wisdom in books, recognizing those who helped and inspired them along the way and trying to impart some greater knowledge to fans. Along these lines, rapper RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan recently released The Tao of Wu, a “spiritual memoir” branching off the more straightforward chronicle of the group that was 2005′s The Wu-Tang Manual.
Known for his spiritual leanings in addition to his rap prowess, RZA has made the book platform work as both autobiography and philosophical education. It’s not for all Wu-Tang fans, certainly–some want nothing more than the music on their mp3 player‘s headphones, maybe accessorized with a custom t-shirt or baseball cap–but given the number of people that have shown up at bookstores in recent weeks to hear the rapper speak without so much as a promotional poster advertising his presence in advance, RZA seems to have found another successful medium.
Goodjoe has launched a t-shirt design contest to support music education across the country. The contest is sponsored by the nonprofit Fender Music Foundation, which donates musical instruments to school music programs, after-school programs, and music therapy programs, and offers creative individuals a chance to give back to the community artistically.
The contest’s theme is “Give music life,” and it’s open to artists, designers, musicians, music teachers, and anyone else who supports musical education awareness. The author of the winning design gets a wad of cash and a customized Fender guitar sporting a decal of their graphic, along with the recognition of having their work on the site. Goodjoe donates a percentage of its profits to the cause, so even if your design isn’t chosen, you can still buy the customized t-shirt and wear your support on your sleeve. In this clever, unique promotion, everyone wins!
I’ve always found it amusing how the Misfits have branded practically every accessory on the planet in the name of self-promotion. Even though their ghoulish imagery isn’t exactly mainstream, the horror-punk band has put its logo on everything from ordinary t-shirts, to wallets, to light-switch plate covers. My favorite has got to be the Misfits ashtray–it even comes with a hook on the back, in case you want to display it as art on your wall! Personally, I’d rather stick to hanging posters on my walls, but to each their own…
Pepsi ads on the subways of Toronto and Vancouver have gone multimedia, if you’re lucky enough to be the first on the train to plug your headphones into the poster. Each connects to a mini-mp3-player embedded in the ad, which plays 30-second samples of supposedly “exclusive” tracks available on Pepsi’s Canadian website. To access full tracks, of course, you have to actually buy and drink the soda–under each bottle‘s label is a special code customers can enter at the website to download these rare, highly-prized songs, or to gain entry to other “exclusive” concerts and events.
[Not explained here: how exclusive can an event really be if anyone who buys a Pepsi gets in? Not to be a snob or anything, but aren't these "gala" events usually just glorified promotional t-shirt giveaways with free beverages on hand for the lucky few? Not that I'd know, or anything Hey, I like free stuff as much as anyone else!]
Sometimes a spectacular example of BAD music merchandise comes along, so bad I can’t resist spotlighting it. The Bob Marley Bib is one of these items. Bob Marley is dead, and, unfortunately for him, his merchandise rights have passed on to a group of entrepreneurs, each of whom apparently has several screws loose. Bob Marley t-shirts are overwhelmingly popular, sure; his posters adorn the walls of practically every dorm room in the country; his face appears on blankets, stickers, patches, and belt buckles. Even infant t-shirts almost make sense, if you’re the sort of parent who uses your children as a billboard for your musical taste. But bibs?
I suppose it could be worse. They could be selling Bob-Marley-print diapers.
Sunglasses are a must for any rock’n'roll star. How else are you supposed to protect your eyes from the bright lights of fame? Classic sunglasses are available in all shapes and sizes–I’ve probably gone through five or six different styles this year alone–but Oakley was the first to take it one step further and add an MP3 player to this staple of rock-star apparel. They have plenty of imitators by now, of course, but the original remains the most highly regarded. It can be loaded with up to 1GB of music through a USB port like any other player, and it’s infinitely cooler. Next time you want to live out your rock’n'roll fantasy in a pair of super-sleek mirrored shades, make sure you have a soundtrack!
- This is a blog about band merchandise. It doesn't matter if you're a rocker, a rapper, or a pop star - if it's cool we want to know about it. If you've seen some cool music merch at a show or your local record store, snap a photo and send it to: email@example.com
This blog is created and maintained by ePromos Promotional Products, Inc.
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