Meet Jochen from Germany. That’s a picture of him with Travor from Sadus. He’s the webmaster of a DEATH and Overkill fansite and two others that are vintage t-shirt specific. Jochen’s outstanding vintage t-shirt collection at Old School Metal Shirts is over 600 of the most sought after vintage metal shirts on the planet. And he’s not selling a single one of them. You might have better luck tracking down something to buy on his popular forum of heavy metal shirt collectors, Shirtchaser.
How long have you been collecting?
I’m 34 years old, and I bought my first shirt when I was 13 or 14. So about 20 years. I started my career very early – at 15 I had a steady income so I had lots of money for concerts and shirts. By 18 I had my first small collection of about 25-30 Shirts.
Where do you find your tees?
In the Past (before the internet and eBay) I bought my shirts at concerts and in a street shop next to my city. In the late ’80s and early ’90s they sold original band shirts which were imported from the UK.
The Holy Bibles from the past were the EMP and Bullshirt merchandising catalogues. They were like a dream come true, filled with hundreds of great shirts. It was amazing, at that time, you got a original Cynic Tour Shirt from 1993 for around $6. Today you have to pay $150-200 for this shirt. If you only knew then, you would me a rich man now.
Seven or eight years ago I started buying t-shirts on eBay. Then about a a year ago I had the idea to create a online forum to bring metal shirt collectors world wide, together, to share their passion with other crazy people. So now Shirtchaser is a very big community of metal shirt collectors. This portal is a very good place to buy and trade shirts.
Tell us a little something about the two rarest t-shirts you have and the most you have ever paid for a tee.
Hmmm, that is always hard to answer, because this changes a lot. Narrowing it down to two is tough because I’d like to mention 15-20 shirts in my collection. At the moment I think Metallica – Metal up Your Ass (first edition) and Control Denied – a shirt which Chuck Schuldiner made only for the band and some friends, only a few were made.
Some people think high price shirts are “rare”. But, how rare is a shirt with a price of $400-600 if you know 15 people who have it? For me, a really rare shirt must have a unique story or background.
I think the most money I’ve ever spent is about $350-400 on a Iron Maiden Texas shirt. I hunted for it for a really long time.
Your site details how you store your shirts, do you wear any of them?
I wear all my t-shirts but I also protect them in plastic when not in use. Sweatshirts and baseball shirts are hanging in my wardrobe. In the beginning it was a lot of work to pack all the shirts into plastic, but the end result was worth it. I sort my shirts like a CD or LP collection by band name, so it’s easy to find and pick them out. And believe it or not, after washing it’s much more easy to fold them. I see only pros in this kind of shirt storing.
You also have a section on your site for dyeing vintage t-shirts, don’t you think it’s more important to preserve the original look of the garment?
In the past I also had this opinion about faded metal shirts. But a deep black color of a shirt raises the value. In my dyeing description you can see also the positive effect of dyeing. With a darker black, you get a better contrast to the print, and then the shirt and print looks unused and fresh.
It’s a mission of mine to keep some rare shirts in a amazing condition. To conserve them for a long time, and show the next generation of shirt collectors what kind of shirts existed in the past. Just like a archaeologist would do with his discoveries. I’m not really into cutting sleeves and collars – that’s a crime against old shirts. I also keep the shirts away from sunlight and moths, both are t-shirt enemies.
Do you have any secret stain removal techniques?
Hmmmm, some stains are impossible to get out. Sometimes I use special textile cleaning liquids (for oil, blood, and other things). Sometimes I use a cutter to scratch some paint stains. Also black re-colouring brings good results.
When you die, which t-shirt will you be wearing in your coffin?
This changes a lot. But if I have to make a decision at the moment, I will wear my Slayer Reign in Pain tee. But in ten weeks I am having my first child, a boy, and I hope he follows in the footsteps of his father and finds love for the greatest music in the world – HEAVY METAL. Then he’ll inherit my collection.