When you go through your closet, and thinking about the day to come, choose to wear a shirt or sweatshirt with a band logo or image on it, you shoulder exciting and basically unspoken responsibilities to that band, that band’s fans, and music fans in general. You are obligated to talk about the band whenever another person approaches you with the intent to talk.
He or she (usually he) could say something as simple and harmless as dude, nice shirt. In this case, you ought to say thank you or hell yeah! depending on your mood. After all, the compliment-payer might be a norm, in which case he probably just likes the graphic or something.
In the event that the compliment-payer says great band, you should reciprocate with enthusiasm. In this case, hell yeah! is more acceptable than thank you. Frankly, thank you doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
It doesn’t happen a lot, except for maybe at shows, but when a person comes up to you and wants to strike up a conversation (or even a friendship) with your band shirt as the lead-in, you must have at least some opinion about the merits of that band’s work. It will usually go something like this:
Compliment-payer: Love the shirt, brah. What’s your favorite (let’s say) Saves the Day (but New Found Glory, Slayer, Nas, etc. would all work fine) record?
Well, well, well Wearer-of-band-shirts, the burden now rests with you. Tread lightly.
Answer #1: Through Being Cool, of course!
Analysis: Good answer. You stuck with a fan-favorite and older record, a good strategy with most bands. The compliment-payer should react positively, and if spirits have been served, you two might get involved in a wee sing-a-long. “Holly Hox” anyone?
Answer #2: I like the newer stuff a lot, maybe even more than the old stuff.
Analysis: Whoa, dude. You’ve just entered no man’s land. On the one hand, your loyalty to a great band is commendable. On the other hand, you’re wrong. If compliment-payer doesn’t clown you, you’re sure to hit it off.
The point is, don’t ignore someone if they like your shirt. This especially applies if the shirt is from an obscure band. Remember that music people are some of the best people out there. For every geek waiting in wings to discuss the American Nightmare demo, there are countless others who can get all-up-in-your-face, and guess what? They want to talk about The Fray. Be thankful that you’re in-the-know and you’re not alone.
Sincerely,Cat “Why don’t you want to talk about the Descendents?” Plaza