Visceral Disgorge’s Travis Werner and Eric Little 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.
Visceral Disgorge frontman Travis Werner and bassist Eric Little are the latest to share their favorites for our new series My Metal T-Shirt Collection. Visceral Disgorge will appear on the MetalSucks-sponsored Bloodletting North America Tour later this fall with Origin, Archspire, Defeated Sanity, Dyscarnate and The Kennedy Veil; get dates here or at the bottom of this post.
1. Danzig II – Lucifuge (Travis)
I got this shirt in 1992 while on vacation in Ocean City, MD from a long gone “mom and pop rock shop” on the boardwalk called Believe in Magic. I was 13 at the time. For me Danzig was a gateway band for Satan, the occult and evil imagery in general. Danzig played a crucial role in introducing me to other bands that had lyrics and imagery at the time that the PMRC would NOT approve of.
Since the only place at the time to check out THE HEAVY SHIT was on MTV’s the Headbanger’s Ball (R.I.P.), which came on cable television late as fuck, I would record the episodes on my VCR. A year or so later I got to see Danzig perform live on tour with Type O Negative, my first ever experience at a large concert. It was an all-ages general admission venue in my hometown of Baltimore, MD called Michael’s at 8th Ave., and I consider it a moment in my life that I feel defined my love for music.
2. Helmet – Strap It On (Eric)
Circa 1991 Strap It On was re-released on a little old label you might have heard of called Interscope Records, before Helmet signed to Amphetamine Reptile Records. Pretty sure I picked this up at a local independent record shop called Record & Tape Traders sometime in the early to mid ’90s. I feel like at the time Helmet was one of those bands that helped bridge the gap for a lot of kids from alternative hard rock into more extreme forms of music like hardcore punk, metal and crossover.
3. Cannibal Corpse – Butchered at Birth (Eric)
Next up we have a Cannibal Corpse Butchered at Birth long sleeve tour shirt. I believe I acquired this shirt from tape trading with friends. Cannibal Corpse are pretty much responsible for bringing death metal to the public eye after a cameo in Ace Ventura Pet Detective, which is around the same time the record labels figured out that there may be a market for such material and quickly started signing every death metal band. Cannibal Corpse are arguably the biggest death metal band of all time, but when this album was released people were just hearing Nirvana’s Nevermind for the first time on commercial radio. These guys were pushing the boundaries of censorship and artistic expression writing songs about meat-hooking someone’s anus and ripping entrails from a virgin’s vagina. It’s really funny for me to think now, in a time where everyone is offended by everything, that Cannibal Corpse were doing this shit 26 years ago and being fucking banned from distribution and performing live in other countries due to their “offensive subject matter.”
Travis also has an original direct merchandising Cannibal Corpse The Bleeding shirt I feel should receive an honorable mention here, but since mine is slightly older and in much better condition (he has the tendency of cutting the sleeves off of all his shirts) we decided to go with mine.
4. Morbid Angel – Blessed are the Sick (Travis)
I don’t remember where I picked this up, but if I were to guess, I probably acquired it second-hand by trade twenty some years ago. In addition to Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel were the other heavy hitters dominating the extreme metal scene at the time. Morbid Angel helped define what death metal would come to sound like. Pete Sandoval basically invented what has come to be known as the blast beat with his first band Terrorizer alongside Jesse Pintado, who would then go on to join a little band called Napalm Death, who would in turn create the foundations of grindcore and inspire many bands thereafter.
5. Brutal Truth – Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses (Eric)
Speaking of grindcore, while searching for old t-shirts for this column I started digging through my closet and buried deep beneath the remains I came across one of my oldest jizz rags and figured I’d give ‘er another go! In my opinion this is Brutal Truth’s best material and solidified their place in grindcore history.
6. Doom – War is Big Business (Travis)
I ordered this one sometime in the mid to late ’90s from Profane Existence Records’ mail order catalog. Anyone into crust punk/D-beat/grindcore should recognize these pioneers dating back to the late ’80s. Doom were highly regarded in the ’90s punk scene but very much unknown elsewhere. I had a chance to finally fucking see these guys live at a recent Maryland Death Fest, and I can tell you based on the amount of oogles in the mosh-pit that night that punk is NOT dead… but it sure smells like it!
7. Septicflesh – Mystic Places of Dawn (Eric)
I noticed a few weeks back that the members of Septicflesh participated in this column as well, and I figured that they might appreciate THIS one especially. This is definitely pre-Draconian Armor Septicflesh for those of you who may not be familiar. These guys have been waving the death metal flag from Greece since the early ’90s and they’re still going strong.
8. Emperor – Wrath of the Tyrant (Travis)
I got this shirt sometime in the mid to late ’90s. Back then there were really only a few mail order companies carrying black metal merchandise. I’m guessing that I ordered this shirt from either Necropolis Records (R.I.P.) or Nuclear Blast Germany. Back before there was an Interwebz people relied heavily on independent distros and mail order companies to buy their music and merchandise via snail mail by sending money orders to strangers and hoping that they wouldn’t rip you off. You also prayed that you liked what you were ordering, which was usually based on some small written description in the catalogs. Emperor were one of the first Norwegian black metal bands to receive any media coverage in metal magazines at the time such as Pit and Terrorizer, paving the way for countless other black metal bands and kick-starting the ”black metal mania” that was to follow.
9. Satyricon – Hvite krists død (Travis)
This one is from Satyricon’s Shadowthrone era. Another gem I picked up in the mid to late ’90s, most likely via mail order from Necropolis Records (R.I.P.), Full Moon Productions (R.I.P.) or Nuclear Blast Germany. Check out that inverted Norwegian cross sleeve print! When I would rock this shirt along with my bullet belt I would instantly become the grimmest motherfucker at the show. Personally The Shadowthrone is my favorite Satyricon album, and in my opinion one of the best black metal albums ever recorded. I love Frost’s drums on this album and the dark melodic atmospheres.
10. Pessimist – Cult of the Initiated (Eric)
This shirt is a souvenir from my first tour opportunity with a band. I was playing bass in a band called Pessimist in 1999 for a European tour alongside Godless Truth and Fleshless. I was still a teenager, and it was really exciting for me to travel outside the United States for the very first time in my life. I met so many awesome people and saw a ton of cool bands each trying to push the boundaries of extreme music. At that time, Pessimist and Dying Fetus were really the only two bands in Maryland (that I knew of) who were THAT extreme. Not too long after my European excursion I found myself joining a band called Severed Head, which is where I met Steve (our current guitarist) and Trey Williams, who would later end up joining Dying Fetus.
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