It’s said that every picture tells a story. Every t-shirt can tell a story, too, if you’re talking about my collection of souvenir shirts from my music career.
In a burst of spring cleaning last weekend, I found and opened a box that apparently had been sealed since my move from Chicago to Seattle more than 15 years ago. Inside the box was an assortment of t-shirts from my stints with various rock bands and jobs as a music product specialist/clinician, as well as composer/sound designer jobs.
I’ve held onto these shirts, for several decades, not because I plan to wear them anymore but because they bring back great memories. There are so many stories associated with these old shirts that I’ve decided to launch a weekly Facebook post called “Swag Sunday.”
You’ve probably heard of Throwback Thursday. Swag Sunday is my take on that trend, using photos of “swag” I’ve collected to share tales about the educational or sometimes outrageous experiences I’ve had in my musical journey.
To begin this series, here’s the lowdown on this very small mesh shirt that was presented to me by a fan at a nightclub called Mr. B’s in the college town of Ames, Iowa (USA).
This fan found out it was my birthday and gave me this shirt, with the words I PLAY WITH MY ORGAN, spelled out in red felt, as some sort of joke about the Hammond C3 organ that was part of my gear when I was in the band Lois Lane.
What can you say or do when someone you don’t even know hands you such a gift? The only polite response was to accept it and say, “Hey, thanks!” That is what I did, even though I would never actually wear this shirt.
The same fan baked this birthday cake for me, in the shape of a keyboard stack, with plastic figures of The Beatles on top. Needless to say, this was a very unexpected and slightly odd gesture. But I was touched that someone (especially someone I didn’t personally know) would go to the effort to do this.
As you can see from this photo of the Lincoln Lodge, the motel where Lois Lane stayed when we performed in Ames, Iowa, it was not a glamorous gig.
Yet after finding this long-lost, crazy shirt, I can smile at the memory of that night. And I’m grateful that I’ve had opportunities to travel to so many places, meet so many people and entertain them with my music.
Also, reflecting on that particular gig at Mr. B’s, here’s a photo showing the actual shirt that I wore onstage that night. In retrospect, it looked like a costume from “Star Trek!”
Check out my Facebook page on Sundays for more great swag and the stories behind them! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Duane-Decker-Music/111562938973298