Origin’s Jason Keyser and Paul Ryan Share Their Favorite Metal T-Shirts
A metalhead’s t-shirt collection contains some of their most prized possessions. Sweaty, stained and torn, our shirts are chronicles of our lives, physical markers of a past time and place that we pridefully put on our bodies every day. They have a clear pecking order: there are those shirts you wear only when all the best ones are in the laundry, there are the absolute favorites you wear once every couple of weeks, and there are all the shirts in between, each with their own clear rank. To a metalhead, T-shirts are EVERYTHING.
Origin vocalist Jason Keyser and guitarist Paul Ryan are the latest to share their favorites for our new series My Metal T-Shirt Collection. Origin are headlining the MetalSucks-sponsored Bloodletting North America Tour later this fall with Archspire, Defeated Sanity, Dyscarnate, Visceral Disgorge and The Kennedy Veil; get dates here or at the bottom of this post.
1. Obscene Extreme 2012
Over the years I’ve made an effort to keep at least one t-shirt from every tour or festival I play on. Needless to say, 15 years of road life has left me with a closet jam-packed with shirts from around the globe. Sadly, I suffer from a horrible fear of being “that guy,” the dude who walks around wearing his own band’s gear as some sort of corny, oblivious, look-at-me self promotion. Even bands I haven’t been a member of for years or with whom I only did a few tours of session work, I’m still waiting for the statute of limitations to expire so as to not look silly. I give it 20 years. An exception is this shirt for the Czech Obscene Extreme Festival which Origin played in 2012. It was my second time performing there, the first being 2007 with Mucopus, so I knew what to expect when we pulled up to the festival grounds. Without a doubt, Obscene Extreme is the most fun, absurd, and intense festival in Europe, possibly the world. I drink quite a bit, and the two times I played OEF remain my top two drunkest days I can or cannot remember. If you aren’t aware, OEF is going into its 20th anniversary and has remained true to its principles of a vegan, freak friendly, non-commercial grindcore and death metal showcase. Always a ridiculous amount of fun accompanied by some of the best people. Killer design, great memories. Ill be “that guy” for this shirt.
Aside from being one of my all time favorite bands, this one comes with a story. In 2009 I returned to university. I spent my junior year studying abroad on a program that took me through India, Tanzania, New Zealand and ending with three months in Mexico. On my first day arriving in Mexico City I learned that every weekend for the past few decades there is a DIY metal/punk/goth street flea market downtown called El Chopo, and naturally I wasn’t going to miss checking it out. It was pretty great, with about a quarter mile of vendors, bands playing and a few thousand people. I made friends with a couple kids who saw I was pretty obviously not local, and they offered to show me around, go out for a drink etc. Nice guys, they made a point to assure me over and over that Mexico City wasn’t as dangerous as the world portrays it, that it’s very safe and no one really gets robbed that often. I let them know I wasn’t too concerned, so when El Chopo was ending I picked up this bootleg Brujeria shirt and we left to find a bar. Right outside, as all the attendees were leaving en masse, I was approached on the street by a guy about twice my size who put his arm around me and started saying something to me. Since my Spanish wasn’t so good at the time and I was an irritable road weary traveler, I brushed him off without much acknowledgement and pressed forward. As it turns out he had a knife to me that I didn’t see and was trying to rob me, which I learned because he proceeded to rob my two friends I had just met who were walking a few feet behind me. They didn’t lose much and were more hurt by the irony of them assuring me how safe the city was just minutes earlier, but I had my passport, phone, all my remaining money, camera, etc. on me and I would have been royally screwed. Through the power of Juan Brujo and my own stubborn unfriendliness I was spared, and it makes me chuckle every time I war this shirt.
3. Cephalic Carnage
Maybe the oldest shirt I still own that’s still intact since I don’t wear it out that often. The front image is benign enough at first glance, but every once in a while a kindly old lady will stare at it a little too long and yell at me. Its kind of like a magic eye puzzle where the end result is being offended. Still, that was a golden age of modern death metal — 1997 – 2001 or so — and while I wish all the other shirts I own from that time hadn’t disintegrated into nothingness by now, I’m glad I got to hold on to this little gem from seeing Cephalic Carnage back in 2000.
Total rip off bootleg from one of the most underrated grimy metal bands of all time. I was super excited to find it in some marketplace so I bought it even though it’s the size of a nightgown on me. I don’t think I’ve actually worn it out because its so oddly shaped for a size L, but you don’t see Gehennah shirts very often so it resides in the archive.
I love a good gag/spoof shirt, especially one on some Inception-level shit like this. It’s a Seeker shirt goofing on Deafheaven by goofing on a Goatwhore design while spoofing the Slayer logo. It’s a goddamn four-fer! Plus the band is sick as hell, some angry-ass, Neurosis-style metal.
Squidmonster Skeletor?? Yes. Surprisingly awesome color and print job for a hoodie as well.
While I love this band and help them out with session work from time to time, this pick is more for the material quality. This hoodie was accidentally printed with t-shirt thickness, making it a perfect spring/summer hoodie that I don’t see bands do very often. The band was angry with the misprint at first but it turned out to be a blessing as I can safely say I wear this hoodie more than any other article of clothing I own, as you can kind of tell by the sun-bleaching on the sleeves. It’s just perfect comfort in any weather condition. Great design on top of it.
Another self-indulgent one. I was in what I was told was the only metal shirt store in New Delhi, India in 2010, looking for awesome obvious bootlegs. I picked up shirts by Immortal, Emperor, and a kind of silly Suffocation zip-up gym bag. Before I left, however, I found this bootleg shirt by a band I used to sing for, Skinless, and bought it just for the fact that it was a better quality shirt as a bootleg than anything Skinless had actually printed themselves by that time. Now it’s apparently covered in cat hair.
Awesome band, one of my favorites ever to tour with. No story here, except its nice to have a metal shirt that isn’t black now and again.
10. Fuck Our Shitty Future
Pretty self explanatory.
1. Cannibal Corpse
I first heard Cannibal Corpse eaten back to life right as Butchered at Birth came out. It was the band everyone was talking about with the crazy low vocals and they finally came to Kansas in 1992 with Gorguts opening and Corrosion of Conformity headlining. They came back a few times for the next two albums, but it’s when they added Rob Barrett to the band that I felt like they really hit their mark! I rode in the hatch back of a Mazda RX7 180 miles to see this tour (with Sinister and Cynic). Some say it’s not as cool as the other earlier Cannibal Corpse album covers but I like the eerie horror aspect to it rather than the blood and guts. The pick axes for tour stops was a clever addition.
I got this at Suffocation’s first show in Kansas (with Vader and Dismember). I lost my job to see this show! The recording of this album held back its true brutality, and anyone that saw Suffocation on this tour would have to agree. I had the short sleeve as well (it had the logo in red) but it got ripped in the pit so this one is sacred to me.
3 and 4. Deicide
The original Deicide scared people, and these are two of my favorite albums as well as shirts. If you had the cloth you were a part of Legion! Demolition Hammer and Cancer opened for the Legion tour!
For obvious reasons this a favorite. Impaled are great, but it also features the longest middle finger in metal, that of Leon Del Muerte. It’s the 2001 bastard son that spawned what we know as Summer Slaughter today, with Vader, Skinless, Origin, Impaled, Withered Earth and Enter Self.
6, 7 and 8. Bolt Thrower
Bolt Thrower were playing on my birthday on the Unleashed Upon America tour. I didn’t want to drive as I knew I was gonna get wasted, so I regrettably asked some friends for a ride who were even more drunk than I was. When we got there two of the three guys didn’t have enough loot to get a ticket so I had to pay their way in after having already paid for gas and booze. It sucked because I couldn’t buy a shirt at the show. They said they would never tour America again, but in 2013 they finally made it back so I bought two shirts!
How did I acquire the Bolt Thrower ’91 shirt? Luc Lemay of Gorguts and I had become friends over the years and I did some favors for him over time. He took this shirt on tour to give to me and I can’t thank him enough. The one shirt that got away came back!
The Bloodletting North America Tour, featuring Origin, Archspire, Defeated Sanity, Dyscarnate, Visceral Disgorge and The Kennedy Veil (tickets for all dates are available here):
10/20 – Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
10/21 – Milwaukee, WI Club Geribaldi
10/22 – Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge
10/23 – Westland, MI The Token Lounge
10/24 – Toronto, ON Mod Club (**MOVED from Rochester, NY Montage Music Hall**)
10/25 – Manchester, NH Bungalow
10/26 – New York, NY Saint Vitus Bar
10/27 – Stanhope, NJ Stanhope House
10/29 – Durham, NC Motorco Music Hall
10/31 – Spartanburg, SC Groundzero
11/01 – Nashville, TN Exit/In
11/02 – Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
11/03 – Houston, TX Walters
11/04 – Tulsa, OK The Shrine
11/05 – Dallas, TX The Curtain Club
11/06 – Austin, TX Come And Take It Live
11/07 – Lubbock, TX Jake’s Sports Cafe
11/08 – El Paso, TX Rockhouse Bar
11/09 – Mesa, AZ Club Red
11/10 – Upland, CA Gideon’s Hall
11/11 – San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
11/12 – Sant Cruz, CA The Catalyst
11/13 – Portland, OR Rock Hard PDX
11/14 – Seattle, WA Studio Seven
11/15 – Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theatre
11/17 – Salt Lake City, UT Metro Music Hall
11/18 – Denver, CO The Roxy Theater