On This Week’s Last Words: The Politics and Etiquette of Band Merch

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Heavy metal merchandise: an awesome expression of your love for a musical genre that survives on word of mouth, or a sick addiction that steals your hard-earned cash and will inevitably ruin a family gathering? Metal is one of the most merch-heavy and merch-dependent genres out there, its fans obsessed only with the artists who made them feel whole and its bands relying on the money made from their T-shirts, incense burners, and rolling papers to pay for their rent. Over time, this has led to questions about who is allowed to wear metal merch, and whether celebrities and Gen Z icons rocking the logos of bands they might not listen to is cultural appropriation. Which leads to the important question: is metal merch a meaningful representation of self, or are our priorities as music fans totally fucked up?

On this week’s episode of our heavy metal talk show Last Words, hosts Katy Irizarry (Season Of Mist), Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves/Ex Man Podcast), and Zeena Koda (Everything’s Political Podcast) talk about the politics, etiquette, and cultural weight of metal merch. Doc opens the episode with the timeless question, ‘Is it okay to wear the shirt of the band you’re going to see?’

“I don’t know where this rule came from,” says Katy, thus admitting she has never seen the movie PCU. “Does anybody know where this rule came from, that you can’t wear the shirt of the band you’re going to see? Because I feel like it’s some arbitrary rule that I’ve just been following, and I’m like, But why?”

Put on your favorite band’s shirt with the Scranton tour date you attended and watch the full episode here:

And if that didn’t make you immediately Google-search ‘The Pit Last Words shirts available,’ you can listen to the full, uncensored podcast version of the episode below:


Words by Chris Krovatin