Part 249: The Shirts

RECORD STORE TALES Part 249:  The Shirts

“Mikey,” said Trevor one afternoon, “I’m talking to you as a friend.  I know you don’t want to stay single forever.  I’m only try to help you out, but…that style you’re rocking just isn’t working man.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.  I thought I was actually dressed pretty cool.


shorts n’ docs

“Well,” Trevor continued, “You’re wearing Doc Marten boots with shorts and a Deep Purple T-shirt.  It’s like you’re wearing three looks at once.  What you need to do is focus on one look and go with it.”

I was shell-shocked.  My Doc Marten boots were the bomb!  Deep Purple rules!

“But the boots and shorts are kind of grunge, right?  And that’s cool.”  My counterargument was sound.

“Yeah but the Deep Purple shirt isn’t grunge.  You see?  Trust me Mikey.  I’m just trying to look out for you.  I’ll take you shopping, and after that, you re going to get tons of action!”

Tons of action!  Right on.  I’m in, T-Rev, say no more man!

True to his word, that Saturday, T-Rev picked me up and took me to the mall.  And shop we did.  Apparently Hawaiian was in.  I picked up a Hawiian shirt and this cool burgundy velvety shirt.  I also picked up a couple T-shirts to wear underneath, and a beaded necklace which also was apparently in at the time.  That night, Trevor’s lovely then-girlfriend now-wife Michelle threw him a birthday party and I was able to give the burgundy shirt a test-run in a social environment.  While I did not see any “action”, the feedback was positive.  I have to say that I rocked the look really well and received numerous compliments.

Unfortunately, this kicked off a shirt addiction.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I had a flirtation with shirt addiction that lasted a couple years.  Next I bought an expensive black shirt with cool ridges at a place called Caesar’s Closet in Cambridge.  Then another burgundy shirt, even more velvety.  Then a black one with sparkles in it.  (That was my favourite, it later got recycled into my Paul Stanley Halloween costume.)  Two with flames.  One with guitars.  One with dice.  One that was shiny like a foil-wrapped baked potato, and many many more.  My bosses may have thought I’d lost my mind, as I showed up at the record store in more and more outlandish shirts.  I ended up with at least two dozen in my collection.

When I wore the silver baked potato shirt to work one day, one of my bosses was nearly blinded by it.  “Mike!  That’s a shirt for clubbing!”  Well, probably, but working in a record store gave me a certain amount of leeway that other jobs didn’t have.  I guess I wanted to have fun while I was young!

My “shirts phase” lasted a couple years before it finally faded away.  The obsession was excessive though.  One cottage weekend I packed 7 shirts for a 2 day stay.  By the end of it, I had even written a movie outline for a horror comedy film titled “The Shirt”.  The premise:

A cursed Hawaiian shirt finds its way into a clueless vacationer’s luggage.  The shirt kills those who wear it by strangulation; it can also possess the minds of those it has an affinity for.  Putting on the shirt could get you killed, or possessed — or both!  The evil shirt’s only weakness is bleach.

I’m hoping to get James Franco interested in playing the main character, the guy who makes it to the end of the movie.

Surprisingly few photos remain of my expansive shirt collection.  Perhaps that is a good thing.

More SHIRTS at
Record Store Tales Part 86: Captain Gold Shirt



  1. Can’t knock the Maiden shirt, Mike!
    I remember Brian May saying once that he was immune to fashion, and I remember nodding in agreement and thinking that most rockers are. But then a quick run through Queen’s video back catalogue and live performances shows that this is untrue! I look back on my own late 80s/early 90s jumper collection in amazement!
    Cool post!


    1. Thank you for the support Michael! I believe Queen and Rush can both be held “guilty” in questionable stage wardrobe.

      I’ve never had a clue what looks good so I have no shame in saying, I’m glad my wife dresses me today. She makes sure I don’t walk out of the house looking too much of an asshat.


  2. That would have made an interesting movie. My problem is (and it drives Mrs 80smetalman nuts) is I don’t like to throw away my shirts. I still have my shirt celebrating the Steelers 2006 Super Bowl win and I have a Dio shirt from The Last in Line tour somewhere.


    1. We were packing a bunch of our old clothes up, and the wife says to me, “This is the pile of shirts for donating to Goodwill.” There’s THE Deep Purple shirt in there. THE Motorhead shirt that Sarge gave me in an earlier chapter. My “Protect Your Nuts” shirt. (I love that one, it has a picture of a squirrel with a shotgun and it says “Protect Your Nuts”. :) Gee wonder how that ended up in the pile to donate, eh!

      Anyway needless to say I pulled them out of the pile and they are safe!!


      1. 3 for 3 there, especially Kristin Wiig. She’s one of those characters that if she’s in a scene, it’s automatically 20% better! I wouldn’t object to seeing Stanley Tucci involved (another who enhances every scene he’s in), perhaps as the one who first links mysterious deaths to the shirt?


        1. Oooh. I love Stanley Tucci. Take a look at him in The Hunger Games and then The Lovely Bones. Very few actors can be so diverse. Get his agent on the phone.


  3. Myself, I have a collection of Hawaiian shirts. Must be 20 of them in there. Love ’em.

    I nominate Statham for all the fight scenes in your movie.

    Hahaha ‘asshat.’ I’ve always liked that.


  4. Fun post Mike! Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I checked my old pics and all i had was the wolverine shirt… And some from that halloween staff party (you as paul stanley and me as jules winfield!). When we got the boss that monogrammed ikea chair!!!! .i remember the burgundy and silver shirt well


    1. I remember the chair and I remember him dressed as a giant elf too!

      Tom dressed as Willie Nelson, and I believe Troy dressed as Tom that Halloween. Does that ring a bell?


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