Seen a Ramones or Nirvana logo on another band’s merch? Here’s a breakdown of how some bands’ iconography has been popping up in unexpected places.
Earlier this year, Disney was shilling T-shirts with Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures cover in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s face. Bassist Peter Hook called it “quite a compliment for a huge conglomerate like Disney to pick up on a poor Manchester band that only existed for a couple of years.” Around the same time, Akron/Family started selling a tee with Man Is the Bastard’s classic skull logo encircled by anarcho-punk band Crass’ archetypical typography. While Crass made no peep, the skull poaching was not welcomed by MIIB: founding member Eric Wood unleashed his fury by way of Facebook, calling the band “FUCKING LOGO STEALING LOSERS.” Despite the polar reactions in these two instances, there is a long-standing tradition of appropriation of rock iconography. From Dipset to Ryan Gosling, here are a sampling of the weirder ones.
Rappers were taking the unwritten rule that you don’t wear a band’s tee to their concert a little too seriously when this shirt popped up. Hip-hop was having a moment batting for another genre, and even Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul and Juicy J were rocking Metallica and the Misfits T-shirts on their MTV reality show, Adventures in Hollyhood. But Cam’ron and the Diplomats go hand-in-hand with the Ramones: a band of hometown brothers united in their efforts to buck others’ notion of what’s weird, especially when it came to fashion. There have been many Ramones logo knock-offs before and there will continue to be, but this one makes the most sense.
Ghettotech and crunk hybridists House of LaDosha not only have a penchant for vogue ball-style rap performances, but pop culture fusion that extends to the queer-themed merch sold on their site. This flip on a definitive Nirvana wearable could be conceived as adorable irony, but is more a nod to Rihanna’s icon status. The shirt is appropriately festooned with a frowny face — a nod to Nirvana’s tongue-and-cheek smile and the right representation of a girl who’s “ran out of fucks to give.”
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