Band T-Shirts in Films

Oliver Lunn

Here's a game for you: it's called "Spot The Band T-shirt". It's a game we've been playing ever since we noticed that kid from Mud wearing a Fugazi T-shirt (scroll down). After getting over the fact that this 12-year-old listens to Fugazi, we started to think of young Edward Furlong, another hip kid, sporting a Public Enemy tee in Terminator 2 (scroll down); and then, inevitably, a flurry of others sprang to mind. 

So, have you spotted any band T-shirts in any films recently? Let us know in the comments below. And while you mull that over, take a look at the ones we've already discovered...

T-shirt: Metallica
Spotted in: The Place Beyond The Pines

(Image via)
Popularised by MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head, Metallica T-shirts are not that uncommon in films, but Gosling's tee in The Place Beyond the Pines has to get a special mention because of his creative adjustments to the sleeves. What's with the sleeves (or lack thereof)? It's not really a wife-beater, so what's up with that?

T-shirt: Public Enemy
Spotted in: Terminator 2: Judgement Day

(Film still from Terminator 2.)
Edward Furlong's John Conner was – and still is – one of the coolest on-screen teens. As a boy, how could you not want to be just like John. Those denim jeans, that floppy haircut, that attitude. But above all, that classic Public Enemy T-shirt that screams teenage rebellion. If you were a kid when this came out you probably tried your damndest to find out who or what Public Enemy was. Curse the days before Google. 

T-shirt: Fugazi
Spotted in: Mud 

(Image via.)
This kid is like, 12 years old or something and he's rocking a Fugazi T-shirt? Really? It may seem dubious but he could have had an older brother with rad taste in music, or maybe his mum picked it up in a charity shop and he had no idea who it was or what it meant. Or maybe he's just the coolest 12-year-old to ever walk Planet Earth. Either way, Fugazi rule.  

T-shirt: Led Zeppelin 
Spotted in: The Client

(Film still from The Client)
RIP Brad Renfro
. Not many people remember the Bully star's debut film role alongside Susan Sarandon in The Client, but he was actually damn good as cocky trailer trash kid Mark Sway. More importantly, he was cool. Why? Because he wore a Zeppelin tee, that's why. 

T-shirt: Aerosmith
Spotted in: Wayne's World

(Image via)
To be honest, we could have easily focussed this entire article on Garth. His collection of band T-shirt shirts – including Led Zeppelin, Guns n' Roses, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue and a bunch of other hair-metal groups – is something to behold. That said, his colourful array of tees are ones you probably wouldn't wear yourself unless, that is, you were attempting to be ironic. I mean, who actually listens to Aerosmith? 

T-shirt: Sonic Youth
Spotted in: 40 Year Old Virgin

(Film still from 40 Year Old Virgin.)
Seth Rogen's character can be seen wearing a Nirvana tee at another point in the movie, but hey, Sonic Youth are Sonic Youth so we went with Sonic Youth. Plus, knitted aliens on T-shirts? WANT WANT WANT. 

T-shirt: Joy Division
Spotted in: (500) Days of Summer

(Film still from 500 Days of Summer.)
Here's a divisive one. Criticised by many for its cutesy, twee vibe and its presumption that if you listen to The Smiths or Joy Division and you meet a girl who listens to The Smiths or Joy Division you will inevitably fall in love (can you tell where we stand yet?), we still have to say, that's a rad Joy Division T-shirt, where can we purchase such a fine garment?

T-shirt: The Clash
Spotted in: Bring it On  

(Film still from Bring it On.)
Coming at the tail-end of the 90's, aka the golden decade for the teen movie (10 Thins I Hate About You, Clueless), this tiresome Kirsten Dunst vehicle really is insultingly cliched. One of its many clichés was "arty geek" kid Cliff who, by the way, just happens to be really hot. Cliff proves he's "unique" by donning a Clash T-shirt, prompting a curious response from Dunst's character who had never heard of the band. WHO WROTE THIS SCRIPT? OH COME ON!

T-shirt: New Order
Spotted in: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

(Film still taken from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.)
Pretty much every T-shirt in this film has that weird bit around the neck (you can just spot Michael Cera's one), even the New Order T-shirt has it. Did they have all the T-shrts specially made or something, 'cause no one would actually buy one with that strange neck bit, would they? Customer to store clerk: "Do they come without the weird neck bit?"

T-shirt: Sonic Youth
Spotted in: Amateur

(Film still from Amateur.) 
The Sopranos'  Michael Imperioli wasn't famous at the time of Amateur's release (1994), and, to our recollection, he only appears in this one scene as the doorman to a New York punk club (was it CBGB's?). Although his appearance was brief we still salute him for wearing what appears to be a Sex Pistols-inspired Sonic Youth T-shirt. Maybe this is where Gosling got that sleeves idea from? 

T-shirt: Black Flag
Spotted in: The Forger

(Image via.)
Poor, poor Black Flag. You would have thought their T-shirt, with its iconic bar logo, would have been worn by some cool art-kid type in a genuinely "arty" film with an anti-establishment agenda. But no, you can't get much more conventional than teen drama The Forger. The I feel for you, Henry Rollins. 

T-shirt: KISS
Spotted in: Detroit Rock City

(Film still from Detroit Rock City.)
Who knew Edward Furlong would feature TWICE on our list? OK, so KISS are hardly as cool as Public Enemy but you've got to admire this scene where diehard KISS fan Hawk gets his kit off on stage, including his beloved KISS T-shirt which he proudly wears throughout the film (either they had a washing machine on set, or the costume department bought at least five tees before they went into production). 

For more T-shirts in film....

Fashion in Film: T-shirts

Follow Oliver on Twitter: @OliverLunn

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