A few weeks back, Ultimate-Guitar reported that Judas Priest were suing a Gap for illegally using the artwork to "Screaming For Vengeance" on a t-shirt without the permission of the band. Yet, according to Classic Rock, Priest frontman Rob Halford is happy for people to wear metal band t-shirts, even if they have never heard of the band in question. In an interview with the Quietus, Halford explained that Gap shouldn't have used the design because it violated intellectual property rights:
"It's very naughty of them. They shouldn't have done that and we're investigating that right now, because that's intellectual property rights. We were never asked, neither was our label."
However, the front man went on to state that he didn't have a problem with people wearing t-shirts advertising bands that they have never heard of:
"...You'll see somebody walking down the street with a Cannibal Corpse T-shirt on if you say to them, Oh, I love that band,' they'll go: What band?' You say, The t-shirt.' They'll probably say, 'Oh, I just like it!'
"I think that's great, because you're making a visual, emotional connection with people. That's what 'Screaming For Vengeance' is doing all these years later."
Non-metal fans wearing metal t-shirts have increasingly become commonplace in recent years, with the likes of David Beckham, Miley Cyrus and Lindsey Lohan having been pap-snapped in Iron Maiden and Metallica t-shirts. High street fashion chains have started selling the kind of metal t-shirts to the masses that you used to only be able to get at a gig's merchandise table.
Rob Halford's comments bring into focus a sharp question. Should non-metal fans be able to get away with wearing heavy metal t-shirts? Does the fact that metal covers have become so commonplace in popular culture speak for the visual quality of the artwork, or does it represent the rape of the heavy metal subculture by the mass media?
Let us know your thoughts below.