THE ULTIMATE COLLECTOR
How deep does your collection go?
I don’t know. It’s ridiculous. When I was working at Myspace, every day I’d wear a different shirt and people would say, “How many do you own?” Eventually I said, “I could literally wear a different shirt for 500 days.” So I did. Then I did 1,000. Then 1,400. [He chronicles this on his site, Minorthread.com.] Now I don’t know how to stop. I feel like at some point I’ll just freak out and sell them all.
But you’re still buying, right?
Yeah. Nobody’s buying records anymore, and I want to support music. But I also set ebay alerts for bands I love. And I’m not afraid to go up to someone at a concert and say, “That shirt’s awesome; I’ll give you $20 for it right now.” Worst case is they say no, and you start a conversation with somebody who has a common interest with you.
Why did you develop such a connection to shirts?
It’s kind of an analog social networking. When you’re out someplace and someone looks at your shirt and says, “Oh, Green Day, sick, I love that record,” that’s how you connect to people. It’s the cover of the book of who you are.
Do you have a favorite?
No. Every shirt is a memory or reflection of some time in my life, or maybe an album I loved or the era of music I loved. It’s all about my relationship to that music.
But relationships with bands come and go. And when they go, all you’re left with is some lame shirt.
That’s what makes you interesting— your pitfalls, that you liked the band that might have been cheesy. I used to love Primus in the ’90s. The music doesn’t hold up, but I still have this Frizzle Fry shirt that I bought from that tour, and I’ll wear it gladly, even though I’m slightly embarrassed. I’m totally proud to say I was there at that time, and I was into it, and I’m not going to lie.
ISAC WALTER HAS WORN A DIFFERENT BAND SHIRT EACH DAY FOR ALMOST FOUR YEARS STRAIGHT.