Shirt Stains: NÜ Thank You


* Bounce riff mobius strip *

Normally, I would use this space to talk about the death and rebirth of nu metal or some sort of esoteric debate of the genre’s importance in spite of its malignment by the greater metal community. Not today. I’d rather just bask in my rose-colored glasses of nu-metal nostalgia. It’s far more easier and pleasurable to think back to a time when I was a teenager, excited to be out of the house and absorbing any new music I could, would actually wait for doors to open and catch all the opening bands. I’d watch as many bands as possible and not leave until the house lights came on. Many nights were spent moshing dumbly at the “world famous” Birch Hill Nite Club in New Jersey. Everything was new and fun and I wanted every, single second.

A lot of those feelings were concurrent with nu metal. We look back and laugh, often times rightly so, at the silly music or fashion of the time. Giant pants, spiky hair, those metal ball-chain necklaces. Goofy, but I always get a special feeling whenever watching live footage or seeing pictures from that time. I know I sound like an old man sitting on his porch, sipping lemonade-flavored sugar water from Country Time, but as someone that now has a tendency to show up late or leave early to shows, I actively miss those past good feelings. That’s probably just the pangs of growing up. Luckily, I still have the music to relive those feelings. Oh, and we also have the merch too.


At first, I thought, “Why does Korn have a shirt with a skeletal Charlie Brown?” That doesn’t make any sense. Then I realized it wasn’t a Charlie Brown shirt. Is that supposed to be Pugsley from the Adams Family? That still doesn’t make any sense. So it’s just a random skull-kid in a yellow and black striped shirt riding a tricycle. For some reason, that doesn’t make me feel any better. This is like the visual form of Jonathan Davis’s gorilla-noise scat-daddy vocals. Ugh, ‘scat-daddy’ doesn’t sound right. Like we don’t get enough weirdo bot emails asking to review toilet seats.


Oy. Sometimes things don’t age well. I get that. At one point, there was a time and place where a design or aesthetic fit. I don’t think that was ever really the case with this Cold shirt. You can associate a lot of things with this band. Vocalist Scooter Ward looking like the after-picture of a Dave Attell weight loss program. Drummer Sam McCandleless looking like he’s still active on The band providing the official song to WWE’s Tough Enough show. Their sappy-ass song with Aaron “Muh Freedoms” Lewis. Sure, that all fits. Spooky clowns making faces at a sad girl? That’s a new one.

It’s not like Cold had some sort of “omg they’re so crazy and want to kill me” gimmick like Lollipop Lust Kill or, y’know, an actual clown in their band like Slipknot. Such an odd choice and I can’t get over it. Let’s just chalk it up to “The late 90’s and early 2000’s were a special time, dude,” and call it a day.


These computer-generated images sometimes used for shirts never fail to make me laugh. They look so fake they could stand in for the terrifying nightmare baby from Twilight. The drop shadow does not  help. It’s even funnier when the shirt’s main focus is just a giant white pill. Thanks Mudvayne! You may not provide as many unintentional laughs as Hellyeah, but thanks for trying. The sleeve displays the band’s song “Pharmaecopia” for some reason. Why not “Dig” or “Death Blooms”? Those were the hits.  They probably just really liked the pharmaceuticals theme and went all giant blue chin hair extensions into it.

The back of the longsleeve shirt co-sponsored by Ocean Spray Cranberry juice features…a whole lot of words and symbols. Every time I try to look at it to see what it says, my eye start to involuntarily twitch. It’s like staring directly into the sun, but without the benefit of getting any Vitamin D. There’s probably some sort of deep meaning intended with this symbol, but I’ll never know because I keep needing to grab the Clear Eyes.


This shirt looks like the after-effects of a brutal Kool-Aid Man murder. This is the shirt you wear when you want to get out of jury duty. This shirt is now the state flag of Iowa. This shirt just signed to Victory Records. This shirt is thinking about getting dreads. This shirt wears those contacts that make your eyes look like cat eyes.

I can actually smell this shirt just by looking at it. It’s a mixture of old blood, salt and vinegar cips, and the inside of Shawn Crahan’s mask after a big meal of microwave pepperoni pizza and Schlitz. The stench of a million stale fries at the bottom of a mall food court trash bag wafts through the armpits of this shirt. The famed ‘Tacoma Aroma’ holds its breath around this shirt. Joey Jordinson formed another side band because of this shirt.



Now is probably a good time to revisit our interview with Stuck Mojo’s current vocalist. Cringe along while looking at this shirt, softly uttering a disdainful “mmmhmmm” and “yup” at every objectionable thing.

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