04.21.01 – Chicago, IL

I remember I met someone in Atlanta last week who told me she was a licensing agent, meaning she helped bands protect their images from people who would try to profit off of them in the form of bootleg t-shirts. Ominously, she warned me that one day we would need her services. I was skeptical, having only witnessed this in the parking lots of big arena shows. And then last night we found some woman selling illegal Guster shirts outside our show at the Riviera in Chicago:

I was pretty flattered by the whole thing, you know, in the same sense that it’d be sort of flattering to have a stalker or something. She was really nice too, and allowed me to take lots of pictures of her in action, without any clue that she was selling shirts with my likeness on the front, or that the police were on their way to LOCK HER UP AND PUT HER BEHIND BARS FOREVER. Well, not exactly, apparently she has some sort of peddling license that permits her to sell bootleg shirts of bands (like us) that are not part of some greater national injunction thing. Apparently also unaware of this, six members of ICP (our good friends, Insane Clown Posse) were arrested before their recent show at the Riviera when they tried to bully the t-shirt bootleggers off the premises. Anyway, I’m getting off the point. The point I wanted to make with this whole thing is that bootleg t-shirts are rare gems to be snatched up and sold immediately on ebay for huge profits because they combine unlikely aesthetic elements that even a t-shirt-idea-o-centric band like ourselves would never think to create…. for instance, the very psychedelic back side of this woman’s bootleg shirt:

…. which combines the album art themes of “Lost & Gone Forever” with those of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” An intriguing and ambitious artistic statement no matter how you look at it. Clearly she did her homework, picking up on the dynamic ambience of the song “Rainy Day” before she designed the shirt.

When we were done harrassing this lady we played the biggest rock concert we’ve ever played outside of the Northeast, during which Kevin Simpson proposed to his girlfriend Becky while on stage with the band:

Good luck to the happy couple. Make babies. Name at least one of them Maggie.

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