That time I wore a Natural Born Killers soundtrack t-shirt from Suncoast Video.
Don’t be a poser.
Pointless anecdote time!
Whenever I hear the words “band t-shirt” in any random context, it brings me back to a definitively negative event from my youth. It was the fall of my 8th grade year – soon to become the worst year of my entire life (though I didn’t know it yet). I was your typical 14-year-old bespectacled, braces wearing, pizza-faced, depressed chubby loser. Natural Born Killers had just been released and I somehow conned my Dad into buying me a ticket to the movie, which was remarkable in that I was not allowed to see R-rated films, especially not nihilistic gore fests that barely managed to avoid an NC-17 death mark. Might I mention that at this point I still watched the Large Marge scene in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure through my fingers? Nightmares, for real. Predictably, I chickened out before even going into the theater, too afraid of the violence and Rodney Dangerfield, and went to see something else completely safe and benign and forgettable instead.
Fast forward a couple weeks to Suncoast Video in Duluth’s fabulous Miller Hill Mall. In the rear of the store a giant black t-shirt heavy with screen printing hung limp on a plastic hanger, celebrating the oh-so-hip music from Natural Born Killers, with names of the soundtrack’s bands splashed across the back in a totally kick-ass hardcore font: Nine Inch Nails, L7, Leonard Cohen and others I can’t remember. Did I listen to any of these bands? Sort of kind of maybe not. But didn’t the fact that I had merely heard of at least 50% of them count for something? I nervously purchased the shirt. It was remarkably overpriced considering it was such a blatant piece of marketing propaganda. Did other movie soundtracks get the t-shirt treatment? Wow.
I daringly wore it to school the next week, truly believing it might be my “in” to the cool group. Almost immediately after first period one of my personal bullies called me out on it.
“You don’t listen to Nine Inch Nails; name ONE Nine Inch Nails song.” he said. (I couldn’t) “You’re a poser.” (I was) He likely said some other mean things, too.
I’m sure I responded with some whiny defensive comment as was my way. In truth, I couldn’t wait to rip the lousy thing off the second I got home. Embarrassed, hating myself and the world, I returned it to Suncoast the next weekend, claiming that the screen printing was cracking (it was – adding injury to insult). Lesson learned: don’t own band t-shirts. But if you must, at least make something like this out of them.