Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Patch Over

 Patches have always been a crucial element in underground music of every genre. Metal(in all its forms), punk, hardcore, crust, grind, sludge, doom. Patches are an essential piece of merch for touring bands, just like shirts, CDs and vinyl. One of the best ways to show where you allegiances in music scene, and generally the world around you today are through wearing shirts and sewing patches on whatever you can. It's like wearing a bandanna showcasing your gang affiliation. No one has to ask questions, they take one look and know your stance. Patches are worn by all underground music fans in various ways and designs. Some people use them for their intended purpose, to fix holes in their clothes. It's easy to wear out elbows in your sweatshirt or knees in your pants. I see tons of people with patches over their front and back pockets as well, those go fast when you only own one or two pairs of pants that you have to wear everyday (this is a choice by most of us as it turns out. I only two pairs of pants period. One work pair, one not-work pair. Both are Dickies.)
 Patches come in all sorts of materials, compositions and sizes. Some people choose linen or canvas and silkscreen them. Others use iron ons, some bands have them professionally made at a relatively low cost. Different materials and processes yield different looking patches of various lifespans on your clothes, that is if you patch your shit. I know several people that collect them in an almost archival sense and several people that have patches everywhere, some of which are barely recognizable due to the amount of time worn.I think most of mine are printed on canvas, not many silk screened because that can be very tedious and expensive. Bigger bands have their patches embroidered and sometimes have iron on transferability if you don't know how to sew and don't want to use safety pins. Safety pins work but are quite prone to coming undone and fucking you or the people around you up. But those patches are so big and bulky. They do work well on a denim jacket or vest but can make you look like a posing chump if you're not careful. A surefire way to not make friends is to look like you're trying too hard and showing off eight dollar embossed, appliqued patches of Static-X, Mudvayne or Machine Head. But maybe that's just me being an elitist dick, I don't know. All I can say is that if a band goes on stage and is showing patches of bands I really like or respect then I get more stoked to hear these dudes I've never seen or heard before. That was kind of how i got into No Master among other bands.
Repping OH pride on the OU hoodie
 I'm not really sure where the practice of making patches for bands came from. My first assumption would be patches have deep roots dwelling in the DIY punk community of anarcho punk, hardcore and crust bands from the mid-late 70's, possibly from England though I wouldn't be surprised if it started here in the states. I just keep getting this image of Discharge and the Exploited just hanging out and drinking cheap beer while drawing on pre-cut strips of fabric to fix their clothes and then get the idea of selling them for merch. I know that in the very early American hardcore scene people would make band shirts out of white tees purchased from local stores and just write on them with sharpies before printing became an accepted medium. How much more DIY does it get then that? Well besides way expensive but fucking amazing looking silk screened shirts that you can make yourself.
 Once I get my camera's battery problem figured out I'll take pictures of the wrap pants I wear for fighting in, they have lots of sweet patches too, except my Bodies In the Gears of the Apparatus patch, it got ripped in half. :(  There are many more bands I want patches for though and I feel like a real dick buying them on eBay so if anyone wants to sell or trade, just let me know!

Not the best overlapping images, but fuck it, you the idea.

1 comment:

Perpetual Strife said...

Update already. jay-zus f. christ.