Show us your . . . band T-shirt collection | Show us your [____] | Chicago Reader

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Show us your . . . band T-shirt collection

We check out Justin Anderson's hundreds of band t-shirts, ranging in genre from heavy metal to psych


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"At a young age, in my teens, I had to decide whether I wanted to buy albums or T-shirts," Justin Anderson says. "I guess the narcissist in me wanted to wear the bands I listened to rather than have a record collection. I opted for the shirts and have been collecting for about 12 years."

Anderson's collection now runs approximately 225 shirts deep—90 percent of them black—and includes genres of music you expect to traffic in grim colors and outrageous designs of gloom: heavy metal, doom, psych, grindcore, thrashcore, and a slew of other "cores."

Over the past three years, Anderson has shed 65 pounds—dropping from 225 to 160—which has forced him to reevaluate his incredible hoard of T-shirts. He's holding on to about 40 of his favorite designs, like his White Hills and Sleepy Sun tees, but the rest of the XLs are going up on the selling block. (You can browse the designs at

"I'm sorry to see them go, but at the same time, I've lost interest in a lot of the ones I'm selling," he says. "It's either bands I don't listen to anymore or a phase of music that I'm done with."

The majority of Anderson's collection comes straight from the bands, with the sale either conducted online or at a merch booth. And just because he's smartly ditching out on the tees from his heavier years, that doesn't mean he has plans to stop compiling.

"I've shrunk down to a large, and I'm restarting the collection from there."

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