Band T-shirts – How old is too Old?


How old can you be and still get away with wearing a band t-shirt?

This is the question I’ve recently begun to ponder for reasons I’ll outline later.

First, lets examine the evidence from the pictures above.

On the left, the guy can get away with it, I’ll contend, simply because he’s with his eleven year old daughter. This pic comes dipped in that unmistakable and readily accepted ‘whacky-Dad’  type vibe. The chap on the right however is not so lucky. He’s chosen to not only accessorize (I imagine my fashion-conscious seven-year old daughter beaming with pride at my use of this word) the t-shirt with a matching cap but then go one step further and assume the trusty hard rocker’s finger salute as well. As a result we’re inclined to wonder if this is someone who might be taking themselves a little too seriously at an age when they probably could be expected to know better. (And no the guy wasn’t off to a KISS concert, he was pictured in the foyer of a movie theatre standing next to a sign advertising the film TERMINATOR 2 in 3D.)

2 girls

So what got me thinking on this weighty matter in the first place?

A few months ago a chap visited my workplace to inspect the installation of some impossible-to-injure-yourself-on playground equipment. I’d guess he was aged somewhere in his mid forties. He was the foreman. This guy was dressed in steel caps, black denims and… a KISS ‘Destroyer’ (the name of the band’s fifth album) t-shirt. He was tall, lanky and came with the requisite builders tan and face stubble. And I’ll come right out and say it… in that t-shirt, he looked good. Not ironic good. Not trying hard to look good good. Not even good for his age good. Just plain old-fashioned smart. Street smart if you will. Naturally it got me thinking – could I pull off a similar look?

Having the wise money spending habits of a Mexican drug runner with a bank overdraft, I’m not usually allowed anywhere within 50 feet of regular withdrawals from our accounts, but what I am green-lighted for is requests come birthday and special occasion time.

August saw me celebrate the 30th anniversary of my 21st birthday and Christmas is still months away, but I’m happy to report neither of those untimely obstacles has stopped me casting a serious eye over all 109 varieties of KISS t-shirts available from the on-line shop portal of the band’s website. For those of you who are amazed at the news that this group of hard-rockers who near ruled the world back in the 70’s are even still around let alone have an active website, truth is, much to the delight of their millions of fans worldwide, they never really went away.

From those 109 designs,  I’ve now reduced it down to choosing from just six.

T shirt slection

And before you say “Could you honestly get any more ridiculous?”, let me briefly make the case for why each one has a different reason to recommend it.

A.    Wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “The Spirit of ’76”, no one could possibly accuse me of not acting my age.

B.    With this tastily-inspired Halloween-themed choice at least I’d have a legitimate one day a year I could claim to feel entitled to wear the thing.

C.    I have absolutely no ties whatsoever with the country of Italy but I do like the colour scheme. Isn’t that enough?

D.    Even the most skeptical among you would have to agree this does tie in rather nicely with my professed interest in movies.

E.    Contemporary anyone?

F.    Japan and I have a love-affair dating back to the early 2000’s when I lived there for three years so this one is a strong contender.

Bear in mind the last time I wore a shirt bearing the image of a music artist on the front would have been around the summer of ’84  (from memory we’re talking about a little black and white number with Deborah Harry‘s face on it). But life is circular after all, so here I am, 33 years later considering my options.

If you can provide anything resembling clarity on this matter, the comments box is down below, where it always is, awaiting your gems of wit and wisdom.

And to those who think this whole topic is just a bit too adolescent, even puerile, I say – give me some credit. At least I’m not thinking about forking out for a KISS pinball machine!

kiss pinnie

Ps. On a completely unrelated note, raise your hand if you’ve heard the name Stephanie Chiocci. Could possibly be a slow internet connection but at the moment I’m not seeing many hands up. Stephanie, at age 29, is the inaugural captain of the Women’s Collingwood Football Club. She played in all eight games of the debut Women’s AFL Season that kicked off on February 3rd this year and concluded in late March with Adelaide being crowned as the very first premiers. Next year the competition is set to expand to ten teams with the admission of Geelong and North Melbourne. A Women’s Gold Coast team will join the comp in 2020.

Our favourite Victorian children’s writer Matt Porter has teamed up with Stephanie to publish a fun kid’s adventure story enitled STEPHANIE CHIOCCI AND THE COOPER’S HILL CHEESE GANG. That’s a truly grate (sorry!) title Matt and we hope it’s a runaway success (not sorry that time!). For all the cheese lovers, I leave you with this ode to 80’s duo The Eurythmics and their hit “Sweet Dreams” –

Sweet dreams are made of cheese

Who am I to dis a brie

I cheddar the world and the feta cheese

Everybody’s lookin’ for stilton

That’s right. Doesn’t really work so well unless you know your cheeses and you know the song. Want better? Click here


Pss. Accolades have been flowing in this week for 58-year-old Texas born American writer George Sanders. His debut novel LINCOLN IN THE BARDO has beaten a field of 144 other submitted novels to win this year’s Man Booker Prize. One of the world’s richest literary prizes, the Man Booker has been running since 1969. The ‘Man’ in the title comes from the London investment company that stumps up the prize money each year. Sanders, previously the author of four short story collections, will receive the equivalent of $88 000 (AUD).

LINCOLN IN THE BARD is a story set in a graveyard that unfolds in a single night. The book features narration by a total of 166 different voices. This is at least 150 more than I have currently clamoring in my head. By George that’s definitely what you call fully weaponised characterisation!


In less formal surrounds, George probably wouldn’t be above wearing the occasional Kiss t-shirt himself.

24 thoughts on “Band T-shirts – How old is too Old?

  1. I have to confess to being really impressed with the rationale behind each pick. Writing this on a Friday, and feeling rather subdued with the week now behind me, I can’t help but feel a bit perked up now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will argue that the geriatric in the rock t-shirt is really a new phenomenon never seen before in history as serious rockers really are getting older. To question the right or wrong of wearing the t-shirt may be akin to being surprised that a rocker does indeed age.

    I woke up to this when Jane and I only a couple of years ago went to see Def Leppard with Heart. For Heart it was their first time ever in Australia. Wow was it good to see them, even if late.

    What nearly impressed me as much as the music was seeing so many pickled rock fans struggling to get to their seats, with walkers, sticks, and of course… the t-shirts from previous Def Leppard appearances. The only thing I couldn’t see was the pace maker that I’m sure quite a number of them carried, given how much they struggled up the stairs.

    I’d never seen this before, but then had to question myself for being so surprise by what I was seeing. I guess we tend to view rock music as being purely in the domain of the young. It would seem the lines are blurring between the generation gaps that no longer exist as they did say 50 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As a Gen-Xer pushing 50, I still listen to metal (my new favorite band is Gatecreeper) and wear rock shirts pretty much exclusively. With the disclosure that, I’m a bum, I feel uncomfortable in any other clothing, and I have no idea how to age gracefully. I’m getting increasingly self-conscious about it though, and I do worry that I’m taking myself too seriously, as the author put it. I’m adrift and uncertain about the whole matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll take any excuse to play a Def Leppard video Glen. Thanks for that. Joseph is showing ultimate disrespect by asking me to turn it down. I might comply, but I won’t put down my air guitar.

    OK, it all comes out now. It does a lot for me to know I’m not the only one who likes (let’s be really honest – loves!) Def Leppard, here in Forest Lake. I could even prove how good they are in a mathematical equation! Might need a bit of help from Jane to develop the theorem, but with sufficient financial incentive that could be done.

    I’m not much for going to concerts, but we have seen them in Paris, France, at the Zenith, and twice in Brisbane. Hmmm, the song is over; the Serotonin levels are moderating, and vague reason comes to the fore. Maybe I have a problem?

    Nah! Will play the video again and get over it. 🙂

    P.S. Next time we meet for one of those nail biting ping pong tournaments, we should up the ante by playing the Sheffield boys in the background.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Message from me to Joseph – try playing the Dad role in the house one more time with the “Would you turn that noise down!” and you’ll have not one but two rabid Def Leppard fans on your case!”

    First time, believe it or not, I heard the song “POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME” was on the Phil Donahue Show sometime back in the 80’s. The particular program was about male strippers. Out from behind the stage curtain emerge a chorus of oiled-up beefcake who then proceeded to gyrate their way into the hearts of the mostly housewife audience while the Def Leppard anthem played loud and proud in the foreground.

    Ever since then I’ve associated that song with male strippers, which, I’ll admit isn’t a tie-in I particuarly relish.

    For stadium rock, THE LEPPARD, in my book, are right up there with KISS, BON JOVI and LED ZEPPLIN at their peak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooo! Not the best intro to Pour Some Sugar – male strippers. At least for the Forest Lake Fan Club – not to my taste at all! 🙂 The thought of it is almost bringing on Nam flashbacks.


    • Another brilliant video too Glen. Stevie was in the room this time and showed more respect. He asked if they were still alive, and then asked if they still rocked.

      Did you ever see any of your big 4 stadium rockers in concert Glen?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Probably one of my big regrets in life is never having seen KISS live. I guess there’s always time but seeing a band that many years after their prime runs the risk, I think, of tarnishing those earlier pristine memories of the band at their peak.

        I saw some big name acts at the old Lang Park including Dylan and Bowie, both of whose music wasn’t really suited I thought to a big outdoor stadium concert.

        Would you believe the best concert I ever attended was at a little place on the Goldie called The Playroom back in December ’83 where I saw Kate Ceberano positively set an audience alight when her band I’m Talking were only supposed to be the support act for Mental As Anything.

        Somebody stop me before I get sucked back down the memory time tunnel for good!

        This one’s for Joseph and anyone else who wants to know what old school stadium rock sounded like before Generation Eminem and the dime-a-dozen ‘duff duff’ dj’s sent music to hell in a handbasket.
        (I know how old that last statement makes me sound but a person can’t help the way they feel!)


  5. Pingback: When Fashion Meets Icecream | Scenic Writer's Shack

  6. Hi there! I am so glad I found this website!

    This is wonderfully written. I am 48 yrs young, sitting here at the computer with a Pantera T-shirt on my lap sewing the neckline. I was just going thru my collection upstairs. I thought about the question when am I too old?? So of course let’s google it ha ha! I found you. I love how Roger put it, that basically we are the people who should be wearing these t’shirts! The bands are our age, even older. A 20 yr old wearing it for fashion actually is not cool. An 11yr old true fan is!!!

    I actually came across a one of those teenage heavily washed fake AC/DC shirts my daughter-in-law gave me. I have had it for about 3 years. I finally took a good look at it and it is AC/DC Fly on the wall 1985. Hmmm I started doing some math and this was supposed to be my first AC/DC concert at the Boston Garden Sept. 13, 1985. I was 14 and a die hard fan. The day before the concert I came down with, believe it or not, SCARLET FEVER! 34 Years later I just choked up a bit when I realized I have a t-shirt with the concert information on it. I was obviously devastated, but I figure maybe it saved my life, we were wild!!!! I love my Van Halen T’s and those guys are 10-15 yrs older than me!!! Huge Def fan too! I think I was 13 when Pyromania came out. I still have my vinyl.

    Thanks for this!
    I belong in my band t-shirts!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Comment of the Century from you Christine.
    That is such a buzz for me to wake up this morning and see that overnight (Australian time) a comment of this weight abd value has been left on this site.
    Van Halen? Now THERE was a band!
    Their induction into the Hall of Fame back in 2007 was long overdue.

    The ‘Roger’ you refer to is an engineer mate of mine who like me lives in Brisbane, Australia.
    He will be chuffed to know you have connected to a comment he wrote 15 months ago.
    Thankyou again so much Christine for taking the time and effort to make such a thoughtful comment.
    You might also possibly be interested in two lists I have compiled of my favourite songs over the years

    Here they are –


  8. I’m a month shy of seventy, the fiftieth anniversary of my twentieth birthday. I still wear my Jimi Hendrix tee. I don’t think you can get too old. Since retirement, my dress consists of tees and jeans. Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: 150 Reasons to Smile | Scenic Writer's Shack

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s