When I was in college (I feel like I start a lot of these with “when I was in college,” oh well…) I had a rotation of like five T-shirts that I deemed cool enough to wear on a regular basis. One was a Warren Haynes Christmas Jam shirt, another was a Bonaroo 2003 shirt that I bought in a mind-altered blur based solely off of how trippy the design on the front was (it had a tree with all the members of the dead growing in it and a bunch of other Roo-centric imagery) and a Phish shirt that had much the same backstory as the Roo shirt, purchased in a less than sober state in a lot in Atlanta with the purchase based once again on my enamor with how trippy the imagery was. The rest of my wardrobe most likely consisted of University of Michigan T-shirts purchased at Steve and Barry’s for $5 or handed out for free at some kind of school pride event or football/basketball game. I wore each one of those shirts ragged, and in retrospect, I probably could have/should have tried a bit harder, but, and this is where I’m getting to with this, I really like(d) band shirts.
I am a huge sucker for merch. There’s yet to be a gig-lot that I can’t find something to spend money on. I would probably find something cool to burn cash on at a Rafi show if given the chance. In fact, my girlfriend polices how much cash I’m allowed to have in my pocket when heading to a concert nowadays, as I’m apparently not responsible when it comes to these matters. At any rate, one of the perks of this Jam Van gig has been the merch trades that we’ve been able to strike up with bands. We give them a Jam Van shirt, they give us a band shirt, everyone goes home happy. Some shirts are better than others obviously, and I’d have to say that Banditos falls into my top two so far. I don’t know if I’m willing to put them ahead of the chicken on a motorcycle baseball-Tee that I received from The Yawpers, but it’s really close.
The Banditos roll around in a bad-ass converted school bus, and in the front of that school bus are an impressive amount of bins stacked upon one another, inside of which is a treasure trove of really, incredibly awesome band merch. I was blown away by the selection and attention to detail, and being the merch-addict that I am I just had to have one of each. So, being the awesome dudes and dudette that they are, they humored my addiction and filled my “Banditos” logo tote bag (for real though) with about five different shirts, each more awesome than the next. I’d have to say my favorite is the baseball-Tee with the seventy’s style conversion van busting out of the center followed by the rat-fink shirt. They’re all really cool, and I would like to use this space to once again thank the band for humoring my childish affinity for band merchandise. If only I could hop back in time and hit the streets of Ann Arbor in my new threads, but then again, it was college and who wants to have to do all that laundry?