Friday, March 28, 2014

Branded Metal

I took the above photo a couple of weeks ago while out shopping. I wasn't aware that Converse had released a set of Black Sabbath trainers. The ones featuring the artwork of the first album are tempting in a garish way; I like the fact that they subtly declare your allegiance. You can imagine yourself seeing someone the bus wearing these and nodding knowingly. "Can you help me?", you would ask, "Are you for my brain?" they would reply. Except of course there's the likelihood that the person wearing them wouldn't recognise the secret language, or indeed any Sabbath song.

The evidence is accumulating that Heavy Metal band names, logos and artwork may live on longer than their music. Bands such as AC/DC, Motorhead, Kiss and Black Sabbath seem to being used more and more frequently to project some kind of image, real of otherwise; imagine Che Guevara but with a Jack Daniels T Shirt.

I've nothing against bands "maximising their revenue streams" via Motorheadphones or Kiss Koffins, but I can't help thinking that ultimately they'll overdo it and become shorthand for a lifestyle choice, like what has happened with Bob Marley and happening with the Ramones.

Of course, the irony is that 40 years ago the idea that Sabbath and fashion would in any way intersect would have seemed as likely as Ozzy singing in front of the Queen at Buckingham Palace. But then what do I know? Perhaps the officially-licensed Sabotage Chequered Underwear and Red Tights Combo is already in development.


  1. On the verge of absurdity beyond satire. One can now avail oneself of a Metallic Cruise.
    You can sail round the carribean in the company of several hundred other Planet Rock VIP types being entertained by Lemmy and co of an evening.

    Aaaah the stories, the muzak, the whiff of petuli oil.

    Socking it to the man is so mainstream these days.

    Queensryche quoits anyone?

  2. Perhaps if Agatha Christie were alive, she'd be writing whodunits set on a Metal Cruise where the bassist from Magnum is found in his room clutching a glass of strychnine-laced Jim Beam and pointing at a copy of Kerrang! #4.
    Actually, to be fair Tom, I would buy that like a shot.

  3. I accuse Varg Vikernes in the galley, with the lead pipe.

    Er. Come to think of it, the lead pipe, the rope, the dagger and the revolver.
    The rolled up copy of Kerrang #⁴ as an improvised silencer.

  4. PS. What's the rebranding about. Did Thumper go into receivership?

  5. I was using Hawkfall and Thumper in different places Tom, so I decided to consolidate. I believe that doing so will reduce my tax exposure and allow me to reduce overheads and build scale, enabling me to better meet demanding consumer needs and become ever more competitive in today's global marketplace.

    *eats Monster Munch for breakfast*

  6. I saw cans of Bob Marley pop in Sainsbury's yesterday. I'm sure it's what he would have wanted.

  7. I think the whole Bob Marley brand thing is very depressing. His face seems to be used by people as a way of saying "I'm a laid back bohemian". It's probably going to get worse too, as rock musicians start to pop their clogs and their estates sense marketing opportunities. I'm waiting for Dumpy's Roasted Nuts.

  8. ...let's not forget Iggy's Pop.

    Although I think he jumped the shark with his insurance ads.

    "Iggy Pop there......socking it to the man for over 40 years...I notice the man took everything he had to give, and went on about his business." Stephen Marchant

  9. To be honest Tom, I think Iggy Pop has been a brand for ages. His brand equity is "skinny Californian punk dude" and he's always been available to add some cool to Friday night of your underselling festival.
    I was going to say that it's difficult to think of someone who has built such a long and lucrative career without an awful lot of ability but then I thought of Ozzy Osbourne and that was that.