By Johanna Sadonis/Nicke Andersson (Facebook)
One should not underestimate the role a shirt can play in the world of a rock fan. The prices of true vintage shirts are rocketing higher and higher these days and understandably so, as they represent so much to us nostalgic ones. I always had too many shirts. I’ve been buying music shirts since the age of 13, and over the years countless have been given to me by friends, bands, even my mother. I gave away many over the years, but still have so many that I stuffed entire Moroccan poufs with them. But no matter how many shirts one has, there are always the Top 10 shirts that make it into every suitcase, and that get worn to death. They hold memories of past times, unforgettable shows and favorite moments of a music lover. The sentimental value of a shirt can be immeasurable. A piece of clothing is irreplaceable! A good shirt is also one of my favorite gifts to give. I just gave Nicke an original Lynyrd Skynyrd 1976 tour shirt two days ago for his birthday, and somehow I can never keep away from looking for more. These are five of our favorites.
Danzig — Thrall/How The Gods Kill shirt 1993
It was one of the first band shirts I bought when I was 14 years old in 1993. Not sure if I had bought the shirt the first time I saw Danzig live in the same year at Berlin’s Huxleys. A venue I literally grew up in. Danzig made a huge impression on me and the first three albums to this day have a big influence on me. It was the band that lured me over to the dark side of rock and metal. I had a cross necklace that I immediately inverted, soon to die my hip-long blonde hippie hair raven black. I swapped my 70s/grungy thrift shop look to wear black only for years to come. Around the age of 18 I was invited to record vocals for the Swedish death/black metal band Vinterkrig consisting of members of early Amon Amarth and Opeth. I stayed two weeks in Stockholm and at the Abyss studio and forgot my precious Danzig rag at my friend Rasmus’ house, who was the main vocalist of the band. We remained good friends all these years but having grown fond of the shirt himself the bastard continuously refused to give it back to me. I couldn’t let it be and wrote him a letter pleading that I bought this shirt at such a young age and had such sentimental attachment to it, I’d actually buy it off him. He finally caved and just sent it back, probably 15 years after it got left behind. I will never let go of this shirt again!
Ozzy Osbourne — The Ultimate Sin/The Ultimate Tour raglan 1986
Vincent Wager was a New Yorker living in Berlin. Him and I ran nightclubs together from 2009 on, one of them a heavy metal night called KILL EM ALL CLUB. Long nights with long music discussions, so we eventually founded the band The Oath together. He had this beautiful original Ozzy Osbourne baseball jersey that he bought about ten years ago for too much money on Ebay. The fabric deliciously thin and soft with colour print as crisp and bright as ever. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Black Sabbath and Ozzy and that I pay obvious tribute with my band Lucifer. He knew I was completely smitten with this shirt and made jokes I’d have to rip it from his cold, dead hands. We were like best friend then. A couple of years later his wife gave him the boot and he found himself in a terrible situation. In order to lend him a helping hand I handed an annoying roommate the notice and gave Vincent the room to live in instead. I was stunned when he offered me his priced possession as a thank you. These ultra cool threads were now mine! From there on I’ve dragged this shirt around the globe with me, probably on almost every tour I’ve been on since. It remains one of my most worn, favourites and I find it unbelievable how the quality of the shirt remains the same after all these years and washes. Gaz Jennings, who wrote the first Lucifer album with me passed two British Ozzy Osbourne bootleg 80s tour shirts on to me that he had grown out of. They had been laying for many years in his attic where he keeps all his memorabilia. I hold these very dear as well.
Heart — Bébé Le Strange World Tour raglan 1980
Sometime in early 2016 a social media friend, John Bultena, had posted a photo of this ridiculously killer Heart raglan to which I expressed my admiration in a comment. I deeply love ’70s Heart, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of cool vintage Heart shirts, to be honest. This one was a real looker! A month later, I got a surprising message from John offering me the shirt for postage only?! I was stunned. Other than being friends on this time consuming social network we hardly had any contact. I couldn’t help but to take him up on it and offered him a trade. The trade of shirts between two music fans — sweet stuff! Regularly worn this raglan became a lucky charm when one fateful evening I met Nicke Andersson. We ran into each other casually several times before at shows. Just this time we fell in love.
Music shirts can hold great stories and I could keep on going on how I accidentally lost my fave Black Sabbath shirt in Philadelphia the moment I was gifted an original 1976 KISS tour shirt by our friend Jake Starr (you win some, you…) and many more stories but I must pass the torch on to Nicke who contributes with two of his favorites.
Autopsy — Autopsy Logo Shirt 1987/1988
’88/’89 was when my tape trading days reached its peak. I had also started trading shirts of my band Nihilist with like-minded metal obsessives around the globe. My favorite trade was the Autopsy shirt I got from drummer/screamer Chris Reifert. Although the shirt wasn’t black but a little off-light grey, almost baby blue color, I grew very fond of it and wore it literally every day. It had their logo at the bottom and half a corpse lying on a stretcher with its entrails falling out like in the scene from Day Of The Dead. I was very proud to be the first fan in Sweden sporting a shirt with the best death metal band in the world. Even prouder when the Severed Survival album came out and Chris wore his part of the trade on the back cover photo. In the early ’90s the basement of the apartment building I lived in was flooded and destroyed half of my wardrobe (shirts). Sadly, the Autopsy shirt was among these.
KISS — Sweden Tour 1980
This shirt is not in my possession either, but it was the first band shirt I got. My uncle took me to see KISS in 1980 at Eriksdalshallen in Stockholm. The show was extremely loud for my eight-year-old ears, so we left early, but I got four pins and a yellow t-shirt with an iron-on that they transferred there on the spot. Nostalgia is a bitch and about 10 years ago I was determined to acquire the same shirt with the help of the Internet. It took me a few years, but got my hands on the original iron-on transfer, two of the same actually, through a famous auction site. I bought myself a generic shirt with what I remembered to be the same color yellow. The excitement levels hit the roof as I waited for the iron to heat up. After carefully applying heat to the transfer and fabric the excitement levels was exceeded by an enormous eruption of disappointment. Either the transfer was too old or yours truly just don’t know his way around an iron. Probably the latter. To this day, the spare iron-on and a spare yellow shirt is collecting dust in my closet, since I don’t have the guts to try it one last time.
** Lucifer’s new album, Lucifer III, is out now on Century Media Records. Pick it up on CD and LP (HERE) now. No better hard rock album will be heard in 2020! Trust us!