Most of you who read this article will probably have spent some of your hard-earned cash on band merchandise at one time or another. Whether purchased at a gig in a small sweaty venue or on the barren emotionless webstores of internet, you’ll at least have a t-shirt or poster tucked away in a drawer somewhere. But what happens when bands take it a little bit too far and give the fans not only what they want, but what they don’t want as well? Read on to discover 20 items of merchandise that seem too strange to be real...
1. Metallica – Monopoly
Here’s a relatively normal, if unnecessary, one to start with. With Monopoly’s exclusive Metallica edition, you can travel through important moments in the band’s history on your quest to collect 200 every time you pass ‘Go’. Sounds thrilling, eh?
2. Justin Bieber – Shower Curtain
The king of pre-teen pop is no stranger to the allure of crap merchandising. Just take a look at this shower curtain, for example, which can be found in the “Tween Girls Room Decor” section of the Toys R Us website. Considering the average age of his Belieber fans, is it not really inappropriate for Justin’s massive head to be watching them get all soapy in the shower?
3. The Killers – Toothbrush
Sticking with the bathroom theme, why not polish your gnashers with this Smile Like You Mean It toothbrush? I’m not quite sure if these are official or not, but either way someone is making a pretty penny selling them online.
4. One Direction – Toothpaste
And of course, to clean your teeth you need toothpaste. One Direction have teamed up with Colgate to cash in on their inexplicable global mega-fame with a new line of dental hygiene products. There’s really nothing more to say.
5. Weird Al Yankovic – Trading Cards
My childhood was soundtracked by Weird Al; I loved his parodies, and so did my friends. At no point, however, did I ever think to myself, “I really want to collect small pieces of card that tell me trivia about Weird Al’s songs and albums.” Apparently someone did, though. Why not collect all 110? Or, you know, don’t...
6. Lady Gaga – Bluetooth Headset
You know those businessmen that always walk around looking like crazy well-dressed homeless men talking to themselves, when in reality they’re on the phone? We should make them all wear these. That’d teach ‘em.
7. Motorhead – Lemmy Action Figure
Hey kids, forget Action Man and Barbie... how about a real toy? That’s right! It’s the new doll in town: whiskey-swillin’ Lemmy, with real chain-smoking action! Mole sold separately.
8. KISS – Ketchup
In the past, KISS have come up with many a savvy marketing ploy: they’ve cornered the market in crazy band merchandise. Over the years, KISS have dabbled with many foodstuffs, but the strangest has to be their own range of ketchups. I mean, who wouldn’t want to splurge Gene Simmons’ sauce all over their food? Wait, that came out wrong...
9. Tenacious D – Cum Rag
The phrase “cum rag” just makes me shudder, and knowing that it comes from the sordid imaginations of the famous comedy duo doesn’t make it any better. Apparently it’s the size of a beach towel, which is surprisingly big, but I suppose it means that there’s more to use so you don’t have to wash it as much. Not that the kind of people who would use it are likely to wash it...
10. Mr Scruff – Tea
This is definitely one of the tamest items on the list, but it’s no less unusual. It would seem that the DJ’s tea, which is sold all over Europe, is rather popular and comes in a variety of flavours. Apparently he started selling it in clubs, in between sets.
11. British Sea Power – Mug
And of course you can’t have tea without a mug to put it in. This wouldn’t really be considered a remarkable piece of merchandise if it weren’t for the tremendous “British Tea Power” pun that adorns its side, and the fact that they are so popular they’re now on the twelfth design.
12. Ween – Colouring Book
Conceived by artist and Ween uber-fan Thea Wolfe, the colouring book was created as a kind of joke tribute to the band before they saw it, loved it, and decided to get it published. It can be yours for a mere $20, which according to Thea’s website is “a very reasonable price for a limited edition book in which I have so lovingly and graphically drawn Ween naked.” Not a great stocking filler for the kids, then.
13. The Rolling Stones – Skis
Is it just me, or would rolling stones on a ski-slope not cause an avalanche? Poor marketing.
14. Black Veil Brides – Back to School Set
I’m not really sure who Black Veil Brides are – I think I might have heard their name mentioned briefly in a conversation once – but this is just too awesome to leave out. What says “I’m excited to be back at school after the holidays” more than five angry-looking Goths staring up at you from your jotter? Nothing, that’s what!
15. KISS – Coffin
KISS are back for their second appearance on the list with a promotional coffin. Yes, you read that right, a coffin. The sensitively named KISS Kasket is made of pure steel, for the most metal of metal fans. Apparently Dimebag Darrell was buried in one. (At his request, I should add, not as some sort of sick practical joke.)
16. AC/DC – Barbeque Cover
For the measly sum of $85, you can be the proud owner of an AC/DC barbeque cover. (Note: read “proud” as “deeply troubled.")
17. JLS – Condoms
If there’s anything that says “sexy time” more than a boyband’s promotional prophylactics, I’ve never heard of it. Someone once told me that each one has the face of a different band member printed on it but I’ve never cared to check.
18. Noel Gallagher – Trainers
Noel Gallagher teamed up with Adidas to design these stylish trainers, which even feature his face on them. You probably wouldn’t be seen dead in them, but consider this: it’s the closest you’ll ever get to grinding one of the Gallagher brothers’ faces into canine excrement.
19. The Stone Roses – Baby Grow
A baby grow that says “I wanna be adored” on it? Boke.
20. Rammstein – Album and Sex Kit
I have, of course, saved the best til last. Well, I suppose that depends on your definition of “best”. Back in 2009, Rammstein decided that a regular special edition of their album Liebe Ist Für Alle Da wasn’t enough, so they released it alongside a sex kit complete with six dildos, a pair of handcuffs and some lube. It’s no Barry White, but it’s better than nothing. There were rumours flying around that the dildos were actually modelled on the band members’ genitalia, but that theory didn’t stand up to further examination.