About four months ago, the Japanese street-wear consumer guide for boys — Boon — had a special issue on “Cool T-shirts for Summer.” One of the lucky tees to grace the cover was this Dinosaur Jr. tour shirt from the Green Mind era. At the time, I had assumed that the magazine was heralding the return of band T-shirts, or perhaps more specifically, ’90s alternative band T-shirts. But this is a consumer culture incapable of extrapolation, and hence the magazine coverage has led exclusively to an explosion of Dinosaur Jr. T-shirts floating around the city.
On Thursday, I saw two different kids wearing the monster shirt within a five minute time span. And judging from the differences in color quality, they are apparently both importing the old American shirts and re-pressing a new batch for the Japanese market. Is there a resurgence of interest in J Mascis, Lou, and Murph now that the T-shirts have the magazine world’s authoritarian stamp of approval? Unclear. I’ve never heard the band referred to in conversation, except for someone once describing a Japanese band to me as, “A cool rock band, like Dinosaur Jr. They have a turntablist.”
Everyone should know, however, that the coolest t-shirt of all time is the purple cow design, which the website helpfully reminds us, was frequently worn by bass prodigy Krist Novoselic of grunge band Nirvana. I mean, if famous people haven’t worn a t-shirt, how could it possibly withstand the social pressure of contemporary society?