Wednesday, April 9, 2008
In My Closet—D.I.Y. Morbid Angel Shirt
The year was 1991, and I was lucky enough to be living in the epicenter of death metal culture, Florida. Earache records could do no wrong then (we'll just try to forget Fudge Tunnel for the sake of this piece), and Chuck Schuldiner was practically reinventing death metal as he and an impressive list of studio musicians recorded "Human" in Morrisound Studios. It was a heady time for sure.
My family was broke as hell at the time, and sadly we could not afford proper metal attire for me to wear. Yes, I did manage to buy an Obituary back patch at the record store next to Bird Bowl in Miami...but that took months of saving. If I wanted a metal shirt, I was on my own. Back in the day, we didn't just buy our shirts. By god, we made them.
Enter Mr Delpino. Mr Delpino was a bug eyed drunkard of an art teacher at the school I attended. He was best known for multiple stints in rehab, drinking on the job (out of milk jugs he kept under his desk) and speaking to the class through a lapel clip-on mike. He would often leave the classroom as he was teaching, only to keep on teaching through the microphone. Hearing him take a piss in the bathroom through the small speaker at the front of the room as he continued to talk is something I'll never forget.
Anyway, I signed up to take his class because I heard that he allowed students to do silkscreening during and after class. I was hooked. During that semester I produced three shirts, the highlight of which is this fine Morbid Angel shirt you see here. I wore this shirt proudly all the time back then, knowing it was a one-of-a-kind item. It worked well with my black sweatpants. In retrospect, I'm not sure why I picked a white t shirt (the two other shirts are white also), except that perhaps I already had the shirts, and my mom refused to buy me black ones so I could screw them up by screening crap on them. It was an unusual choice for metal shirts to be sure, but also a smart one considering the blistering Florida sun. I was super metal AND weather conscious. What a combo. Ladies....I was a catch!
Looking at it now, I think the most redeeming quality of the shirt is the design in the front. I'm not sure where I came up with the idea for doing a typographic representation of the song "Immortal Rites", much less combining it with Morbid Angel's pentagram/cross/6 combo. A good bit of work seems to have gone into the word "immortal", while "rites" seems like an after thought. As I think about it now, I'm sure my mom was thrilled when I brought the shirt home. Not only had I ruined my white t shirt, but I had chosen to put this crap on it? Great. Unlike many people my age who look back on their younger years in shame, I look at this shirt with pride. Well, okay...and also some shame.