After being raped over royalties by record companies, most rock bands don’t actually make a lot of money from their music. Most of the cha-ching comes from plastering the band’s logo on t-shirts and touring, which has led many bands to stick their logos on far more than just t-shirts.
We could create a huge list of some of the stranger band merchandise over the years, but let’s take a quick look at some of the more unique and bizarre band merch that have particularly stuck out over the years.
Motörhead video game for Amiga consoles
Heavy metal icons Motörhead had their own Double Dragons-style beat’em up for the Amiga console, and it was actually a decent game. In the game, Lemmy wakes up from a blackout-inducing alcohol binge, and discovers the rest of the band has been kidnapped.
Cue angry Lemmy ass-kicking action, as you beat enemies to a pulp using punches, kicks, and smashing them with your guitar. Oh, and instead of food rations to restore health, you drink beer. It’s kind of obvious why this game was released on Amiga, and not a more popular console like Nintendo.
It wasn’t the last time Motörhead had their own game, as they also feature in an expansion pack for PC/PS4 title Victor Vran, and there’s even a Motörhead licensed online slot game available on Casumo online casino.
Todd McFarlane Kiss action figures
Kiss has stuck their name on nearly every type of product imaginable, from caskets to bicycle shorts, toilet paper, and gag gifts like “Kiss air guitar strings” which aren’t even the weirdest Kiss merchandise you can buy.
But in 1997, Kiss signed a deal with Spawn comic creator Todd McFarlane, and released a series of actually badass action figures, along with 31 issues of the Kiss: Psycho Circus comic book, which also spawned a first-person shooter available for PC and Sega Dreamcast.
The action figures were done in the insanely detailed, intricate style of Todd McFarlane, turning the old-aged, pot-bellied, hairy-chested bodies of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss into blood-dripping, axe-wielding superhero versions of themselves, complementing the action-figure collection of any 90s child who otherwise had no idea who the hell Kiss were.
Journey arcade game
The early 1980s were a weird time for video games, as pretty much anything franchisable got its own crappy Atari game. Most rock bands had enough self-respect to not turn themselves into 8-bit pixels, but we’re talking about Journey, a band universally recognized for like, 3 songs out of their entire 14-album discography.
Bally/Midway released an intergalactic-shooter arcade game, featuring black-and-white digitized portraits of the band, which was considered some next-gen technology at the time. Gameplay revolved around reuniting the band with their instruments, so they could play an intergalactic concert.
To Journey’s credit, former frontman Steve Perry has been quoted as saying he thought the entire idea of a Journey videogame was “dumb,” although that didn’t stop the intergalactic wankery from proceeding.
Alice Cooper Whiplash mascara
Rock artists have been donning makeup long before glam-metal made it questionable, but none marketed it quite so questionably as Alice Cooper wearing what appears to be a gold-foil halter top with daisies in his hair.
The incredible thing is that “Whiplash” mascara is one of the rarest and most sought-after Alice Cooper memorabilia, with occasional eBay listings selling for over $1,800 USD.
Rolling Stones Hot Licks telephone
The Rolling Stones released this home telephone in 1983, based on their iconic band logo. We’re sure the boys slapped each other high fives at the sheer genius of people using their mouths to talk into a mouth.
The original packaging has a warning that the phone is “non-hearing aid-compatible,” which must’ve really sucked for fans with hearing loss from attending too many concerts.
Steel Panther’s guitar pedals
Steel Panther generated a bunch of controversy in 2018 with the “Pussy Melter” preset for TC Electronics’ Toneprint pedal, marketed with loads of in-your-face sexual references in the product description, like:
“When we met up with Steel Panther’s oh-so-humble guitarist, he had only one condition: that the tone is as wet as the ladies on the front row.”
TC Electronics pulled the preset from their store after a petition started by female musician Jessica Fennelly garnered around 1,000 signatures.
Steel Panther went ahead and released an actual “Pussy Melter” pedal on their website in limited stock, which apparently sounded good enough to be named Ultimate Guitar’s #2 best overdrive/distortion pedal of all time.
Steel Panther went on to release a delay pedal called the “Poontang Boomerang,” and an updated version of their distortion pedal called the “Butthole Burner.”
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