Four of the Strangest Pieces of Heavy Metal Merchandise
Queue up at a band merchandise stall and you’ll see the usual badges, patches and t-shirts occupying the majority of the table. There may even be the odd CD, vinyl record or decorative cushion. However, go a little further afield and the range of merch gets a whole lot stranger. Check out these weird and wonderful items of heavy metal merch.
The most unusual items of music memorabilia tend to turn up at dedicated music auctions. In the past we’ve seen John Lennon’s detention slip plus one of his extracted teeth, Madonna’s expired credit card, Kurt Cobain’s cardigan and a bottle of Elvis’ expired Valium come under the hammer.
They’re a crazy lot, those mainstream music lovers – but if you expect metal fans to be a little more discerning, think again. In 2014, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler saw his health insurance card put up for auction with an estimate attached of between $400.00 to $600.00. Heavy metal stars are idolised, whether they like it or not. Their merchandise sells even if they mistreat their fans, something which we’re sure Axl Rose will confirm.
Head to the auction houses and you can find all sorts of creepy stuff that once belonged to the stars, but for fans who don’t want to battle it out and wait for the gavel to strike, some weird items can be obtained by much more comfortable means.
The Guns N’ Roses slot game
A great night out for heavy metal fans might combine two favorite companions – a night on the slot machines accompanied by the odd beer or two. It’s a duo that was heavily endorsed by Lemmy and in the 1980s, if you wanted to bump into the Motorhead frontman, the best approach was to simply turn up at a London music venue and seek out the fruit machines.
The synergy between the two was later recognised when Mr. Kilmister was immortalised in a Motorhead themed slot game and there have been many more like it. This is one of the more unusual areas of heavy metal merchandise and others to have been converted into slots include Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne.
Metal fans who love a go on the slots consider their downloads folder to be part of their overall music memorabilia collection. These slots are simple to access, free to install and players can spend as much, or as little money on them as they wish.
And now Guns N’ Roses have joined the party. Online operators have recognised the popularity of the band and the genre. This slot game comes with high-grade graphics and engaging visuals, accompanied of course by timeless hits such as Welcome to the Jungle and Paradise City. And of course, there are so many ways to win – with five reels, three rows and 25 paylines.
You can find the official Guns N’ Roses slot available, among a host of other entertaining slot games, at Wink Slots.
Kiss pinball machine
It couldn’t be more easy to download one of those themed slots, but prior to the digital age heavy metal fans of a certain vintage would have to head out into the real world to get their gaming entertainment.
In the late 1970s and early ’80s, the concept of themed slots had yet to be fully embraced but that’s not the case with pinball machines. Immortalised by Captain Fantastic in the Who film Tommy, the game had been linked to metal and the wider world of rock and roll from that point.
It would be common across Europe to find a Kiss pinball machine, especially in the bars of Germany where the band were particularly popular. Other bands would be featured in the years that followed but the Kiss version is arguably the most enduring. If one were to turn up at auction today, it would cost several thousand pounds to acquire while even the paraphernalia surrounding it can set buyers back by a considerable sum.
At the time of writing, an original piece of advertising copy for the machine was listed on the world’s most popular auction site for a Buy It Now price of $300.00.
Modern machines are being produced and they, too, are costly pieces of memorabilia. Aerosmith and Iron Maiden are among the bands to be immortalised by pinball with prices reaching up to £10,000 in places.
Iron Maiden beer
We mentioned that the odd beer might be the perfect companion for a night on the slot machines, so step forward, Iron Maiden. The band commissioned their own real ale to be produced and along came ‘Trooper’ – a golden beer handcrafted by the established Robinsons brewery.
Trooper features iconic imagery from the band’s 1983 album of the same name and at the heart of the labelling is Maiden’s unmistakable ‘mascot’ Eddie who also has a separate range of his own action figures. Fans of the band can, of course, collect those labels and also the bottles but the arrival of Trooper has spawned its own set of merchandise. Clothing, glasses, pump clips and beer towels are for sale while the official Trooper website doesn’t miss out on the opportunity to offer plenty of additional Iron Maiden related gear.
Maiden’s move has just started to catch on and over in the States it’s possible to buy Smoke on the Water Porter and Dark Side of the Moose, so don’t be surprised if other bands follow their lead in the near future.
Black Sabbath swimming shorts
Heavy Metal fans with less than a few thousand pounds burning a hole in their denim pockets need not despair – there is a host of strange collectables available for more modest budgets.
Fancy a pair of Black Sabbath swimming shorts? No problem, they will set you back somewhere in the region of £16.99 plus postage and packing. Iron Maiden candles of various designs are also a popular seller while there are beach towels and themed ear plugs for those whose hearing has taken a little too much of a bashing at gigs over the years.
Among all this weird and wonderful stuff are, of course, the ubiquitous t-shirts, badges and patches for fans whose tastes have yet to spread from the norm. It seems that when it comes to producing and collecting heavy metal memorabilia, we’re only bound by the confines of our imagination and, at times, the restrictions placed on us by our pockets. From beer to credit cards to virtual slot games, the possibilities are endless and the only question that remains is: whatever next?
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