Thanks to a world filled with freeloading downloaders, merchandising—long the tacky, distasteful necessary evil of the music industry—has become the tacky, distasteful pride of the music industry. With bands unashamedly putting their names on just about anything that’ll hold it, you’re certain to be able to find a music-related gift your favorite rocker is sure to despise just as much as any old fruitcake. Unless, of course, Fall Out Boy has a branded fruitcake available for sale.
This is what it smells like when doves cry. Not every artist can get into a prolonged contractual dispute with his record label and change his name to an unpronounceable hieroglyph and then back in time to play at halftime at the Superbowl, but with Prince’s signature fragrance, 3121, any artist can sure smell like it. Revelations Perfume, manufacturer of the unisex cologne, markets the fragrance as “a kaleidoscope of florals,” but it’s easier just to think of it as the funk of the funk. At a price of $70 for a 100 ml bottle, it’s a lot cheaper than say, diamonds and pearls—and a lot less tacky than that Britney Spears-branded toilet water, too. Buyer beware: In a lawsuit, Revelations alleges Prince didn’t uphold his end of the bargain and promote 3121 as planned.
Makes a perfect gift for: Former members of the New Power Generation.
My Chemical Romance prom jacket
In the highly unlikely event that you’re a tortured emo kid who actually has a date to the prom, My Chemical Romance literally has you covered. Its Prom Knight jacket, designed personally by frontman Gerard Way, features plush red satin trim that’ll perfectly set off your eyeliner and, with any luck, call some attention to your floppy bangs. In the astronomically improbable event that you wear this and it ends up on in lustful heap the floor, Way is there for you, too: An MCR logo is silk-screened into the lining. Going stag? No problem. You'll be the most fabulous wallflower to be ignored by the fairer sex all night, guaranteed.
Released by Hurley back in 2006, the Prom Knight getup was crafted in a small run of only 600. The jacket, which originally sold for $80, is known to fetch about $200 when it surfaces on eBay.
Makes a perfect gift for: That My Chem fan who already has one of those Black Parade drum-major jackets in his closet.
Katy Perry doll
If the notion of sebaceous middle-aged men getting their jollies from the mild-mannered girl-on-girl themes of Katy Perry’s smash “I Kissed A Girl” aren’t creepy enough, the notion of those creeps getting their mitts on a 12-inch tall vinyl version of the pop starlet should make you want to take a long, long shower. The limited-edition doll, which sold for about $50, comes clad in a miniature replica of the gold dress Perry sported in her monumentally popular, lesbian-lite video for “I Kissed A Girl.” It’s also plastered in too much painted-on makeup, just like the original. Rustle up a Barbie and all you creepers can enact the lip-to-lip contact that never materialized in the final cut of Perry’s supposedly taboo music video. Hey, even if doll-world Katy likes the taste of Barbie’s cherry ChapStick, things can’t get too steamy, what with those smoothed-off fashion-doll groins and all. Sorry, perverts.
Makes a perfect gift for: Freaky-deeky idolators saving up the $6,500 for their custom-built Katy Perry RealDoll.
Ween coloring book
What happens when an artist with a penchant for drugged-out, bad-trip paintings attends one too many Ween concerts? She develops the notion of the Ween coloring book. After super-fanning it up and following the band on its La Cucaracha tour for one too many cities, Seattle artist Thea Wolfe had the, uh, pipe dream of immortalizing Dean and Gene in a coloring book. It was more than a bad chemical reaction, and, after putting pen to paper, Wolfe actually achieved something that’s even weirder than Ween’s music. The $20 coloring book walks you through the altered states of Ween fandom with 21 illustrations, including Ween members gleefully yanking their own viscera out onto a plate, or disguised as centaurs inexplicably cavorting in a field littered in castoff bras, or as majestic rock deities in quasi-Eastern metaphysical settings. Huffable markers sold separately.
Makes a perfect gift for: Those Ween-obsessed 5-year-olds who were so tough to shop for last year.
Of Montreal paper lantern
It’s no secret that Of Montreal main man Kevin Barnes is a bit of a head case, flitting in and out of depression and anxieties as he wrote his band’s last few albums. These days, the marketing department at Polyvinyl Records is following his lead. Not content to offer Of Montreal’s latest, Skeletal Lamping in the usual formats, the label went all out developing new ways to release the same songs. It hit the jackpot, packaging Skeletal Lamping in seven different physical forms. Going past the pedestrian vinyl and CD releases, Of Montreal fans could embrace packaging excess in all its forms. As a CD that folded out into a three-dimensional cardboard sculpture. As a record sleeve that mutated into a white horse. As T-shirts. As a button collection. As a pile of wall decals. Most useless of all, as a paper lantern. At least it’s on par with the sonically and thematically nutty Lamping.
Makes a perfect gift for: Any one of Barnes’ seven or eight schizoid alter-egos.
Metallica light switch plate
Who isn’t tired of not invoking the awe-inspiring legacy and power of metal’s preeminent merchandising juggernaut every time they turn on the bathroom lights? Nobody, that's who. With a bit of home décor that’s about as pleasing and unnecessary as everything between the black album and Death Magnetic, Metallica throws its brand into the world of interior lighting with a fury. The $8.99 stainless-steel switch plate—which is, naturally, emblazoned with the famous logo—covers a standard on/off light switch. With any luck, the band will have one manufactured for dimmer knobs by next Christmas, so fans can more effectively fade to black.
Maybe home accessories were the natural next step for Metallica’s merchandise department, after already conquering bar furniture (the Metallica bar stool), seasonal decorations (the Metallica Christmas stocking), and linens (the Metallica pillowcase).
Makes a perfect gift for: That one dude who just can't decide whether to watch Metalocalypse or HGTV.
Insane Clown Posse energy drink
Some days, being a Juggalo can really wear a fella out. Between the daily greasepaint makeovers, ritualistically dousing your homies in Faygo soda, keeping up with professional wrestling, and working toward that GED, who has time to sleep? With the Insane Clown Posse’s Spazmatic Energy Sauce, you don’t have to worry about shut-eye. Packaged in enormous 24-ounce servings, just one can packs enough wallop to crank out even the most obese ICP fanatic and get him or her through the strains of even the most haywire Gathering Of The Juggalos festival. It's only sold through the band’s website and merch table, so skip the late-night trek to the corner store, unless you need some more generic soda to dump on your buddies.
Makes a perfect gift for: Serial-killer clowns who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.
Misfits Christmas lights
The coffins are wrapped and under the tree, the zombie expectantly looks at you from under the mistletoe, and a festive red ribbon perches on the end of your devil lock. You only need one thing to make the scene complete: a string of holiday lights that bear the Misfits’ iconic fiend face on each and every bulb. It’s hard to imagine the band that penned horror-punk classics like “Bloodfeast” and “Mommy, Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight” would have much in the way of holiday spirit, but season can melt even the darkest undead hearts.
Makes a perfect gift for: Everyone that takes The Nightmare Before Christmas way, way too seriously.
Is there anything you can’t purchase without a Kiss logo on it? Band mastermind—and legend of merchandising deals—Gene Simmons already covered most of the bases, from pinball games and action figures to condoms and hot sauce. The Kiss Kasket, on sale between 2001 and 2006, might have been his crowning achievement. An honest to goodness coffin emblazoned with the band’s iconic logo and the band members’ faces (in makeup, of course), the Kasket pretty much guarantees an eternity in damnation if that whole Judgment Day thing turns out to be real.
If you’re not the type to wait for the great Starchild in the sky to call you home to get some use out of the Kasket, the band was proud to point out that the watertight coffin could double an ice chest/cooler. Seriously. There’s nothing quite as dignified as meeting the great hereafter in a cooler.
Makes a perfect gift for: Ex-Kiss drummer Peter Criss’ solo prospects.