Back in the day, I had one of those great “This Is Not A Fugazi T-Shirt” T-shirts. It was produced, presumably, by some canny, anonymous bootlegger, because Fugazi — and by extension, Dischord Records, the label run by Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye — famously refused to make or license T-shirts. (On the back, the shirt read, “You are not what you own,” a line from “Merchandise.” The person who made those shirts had a pretty decent sense of humor. Extra-hilariously, nowadays those things go for like $200 on eBay, if you can find one.)
In 2009, Forever 21 started selling bootleg T-shirts borrowing intellectual property from another MacKaye/Dischord band, hardcore gods Minor Threat. That practice was deemed by Dischord Records to be “absurd” and “unacceptable.” Now, though, Urban Outfitters is producing a Minor Threat T-shirt (retailing for $28, only three times more than a Fugazi concert ticket), which has been licensed by Dischord via Tsurt Clothing.
Today, MacKaye talked to the Washington City Paper about the new endeavor:
“Dischord doesn’t make T-shirts,” MacKaye clarifies in a phone call. But Minor Threat is another story. Because so many bootlegged Minor Threat shirts are constantly floating around the universe, MacKaye decided the band had to do something about it. The solution: Get another company to oversee their official shirts, and when a bootleg crops up, let them deal with it. “It’s fucking absurd the amount of bootlegs are out there,” MacKaye says, and “my time is better spent doing other things … It’s not a political thing for me. I just don’t give a fuck about T-shirts.”
Maybe Urban can work out some sort of arrangement with Disney on a T-shirt design wherein the black sheep from Out Of Step is replaced with an image of Mickey Mouse? I’m just spitballing here but I think it could work … Read the full interview with MacKaye here.