Band T-Shirt: Clever or Copycat?

A few days ago, one of my students was wearing what I thought was a New York Rangers t-shirt.

“Rangers,” I said. “Nice. You a hockey fan?” Whenever a student of mine–I teach college–wears hockey apparel, I have to voice my approval.

“Huh?” she said. “This is a t-shirt for a band.”

Upon a closer look, I saw that the text that would normally read NEW YORK RANGERS was replaced with STRAY FROM THE PATH.

I thought that was stupid. Take a recognizable sports logo, and put your own text on it. It lacks creativity and is a cheap attempt at recognition.

Plus these guys are a metal band, and the Rangers “shield” doesn’t really scream hardcore. Not that I’m hating on metal–I still listen to my Megadeth CDs every now on then.

What really annoyed me, though, was that my student didn’t know that this was a hockey logo. She never heard of the New York Rangers, and thought it was just some design the band made up. In all fairness, I never heard of Stray From the Path. But I checked them out onĀ GrooveShark, and they sound all right.

Later, I found an interview where the guitarist talks about their last CD and their Rangers-themed t-shirt:

“… we all worked our asses off for that CD and I stand behind it, I stand behind everything. If we sell a million t-shirts of our New York Rangers shirt that we’ll get sued by the New York Rangers, then maybe I’ll see someone from the New York Rangers in court.”

Tough words from a guy who’s band doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry.

It is cool when a musician shows their appreciation for hockey. Back in high school, I had a magazine clipping of Anthrax guitaris Dan Lilker wearing a New York Rangers jersey while performing. When I saw the alt-rock band Candlebox in college, I thought it was awesome when they took to the stage clad in red Blackhawks jerseys.

But this…just lame.

So what do you think?

Is this a cool t-shirt design that you would wear if you were a fan of Stray From The Path?

Or do you think that repurposing a recognized team logo is an inappropriate method of self-promotion?

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

6 thoughts on “Band T-Shirt: Clever or Copycat?”

  1. Wow!! That has to be the coolest shirt on the face of the earth. I can't believe they were so inventive coming up with that idea. I have to get me one…and one for every member of my family.

    But I digress…don't hate on the metal. (I know, you weren't) Those guys remind me of Veil of Maya or Born of Osiris. Kind of a "rip off" band but what music isn't these days? I'm sure once the Rangers brass sees it or if they get any kind of popularity, the attorney's will come calling.

  2. I'm the guy from flickr that you asked about the picture and I read your article. Personally, I have noticed that when bands do this, it is usually a sports team from their area and/or a team they are fans of.

    I do find that pretty atrocious that your student had never even heard of the N.Y. Rangers. I personally think she must be some kind of ditz to not even associate the shirt with sports because it has a number and name(song name) on the back.

  3. I'm an avid fan of Stray From the Path. I enjoy both the music and the ideas portrayed by the lyrics of the art they've created. I will gladly wear their merchandise to help spread the word about their determination and talent.
    As much of a burden it is to be proud of something, they LOVE the place they came from. They even have a song off the new album that addresses the adornment.

    So why not use your home-town heroes to take a piece of home on the road with you? Now kids in different states, miles away from where you are, have something to look up, to be interested in.

    It may be our differences in age, the span of years, or change in opinion across our generations, but I think the idea was clever.

    In an Interview with Alt Press, the band unveils the meanings of each song on the new record. I just wanted to have reference for what I said earlier.

  4. Look, they're not metal first of all. Second, it's their favorite team, who cares? So everything has to be innovative and completely creative to be okay in this world? What if that had more meaning then any other shirt they have? I understand you being annoyed that the kid didn't even know that's a hockey team because that was the reason then made it. I honestly think you shouldn't take it personally and realize they do it because they love the team.

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