This Day in Music, July 11: Money, Money, Money

By , Contributor

On this day in 1992, a range of eight ties, designed by Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead, went on sale in the U.S. President Bill Clinton bought a set. So did lots of former hippies who were now caught in the 9-5 trap and a daily humdrum life. At least now they could stare longingly at their $36 tie hanging from their neck. During meetings they could stroke the fabric and let their minds wander and reminisce about those long lost days of letting it all hang out. The drugs, the freedom, the girls, the music!

Before he became a band member, Jerry attended the California School of Fine Arts where he worked on his painting skills. Twenty years later, it would seem that his painting became a hit when he put it into tie collections. The collection grossed millions in the U.S. by the end of the year.

The sales blurb said it all: “They are vibrant, yet not overly gaudy for it to be unacceptable to wear with corporate attire. The ties are lovely, very detailed in design and unique. You would have never thought fruit pictures would be appropriate for a formal gathering? But Jerry Garcia has somehow managed to make unfussy pictures to be appropriate for formal wear.” 

It continued: “If you check on the Jerry Garcia 'Lust' tie, it is a very rich looking tie which has a heart at the bottom of the tie. It would be perfect for luring your Valentine. Any dates would definitely be great when you have this collection for a tie.”

Merchandise is of course a massive money-spinner. We’ve come a long way from Beatles chewing gum: some acts make money from merch than they do from record sales.

Fancy a Rolling Stones lunch box? AC/DC playing cards? Or how about a meadow in a can from R.E.M.?

But hold on; the award for the best range of merch undoubtedly goes to that fire-breathing, blood-spitting group of men from New York City called… KISS

See for yourself at the KISS Army web site. It’s amazing - you can buy KISS golf club covers, rhinestone icons, KISS sandals, wigs, mugs, calendars, puzzle cubes, KISSopoly (Monopoly to you), along with the more conventional hoodies and t-shirts.

And the ultimate piece of merch - branded by your favorite hard rock group - the KISS Kasket. Yes, order yours now. How cool is that, knowing that when it’s your time to go to that great gig in the sky, your remains can gently decompose in one of these.

I’ll give you the sales pitch from the site: “The burial caskets are made of 20-gauge steel and feature iconic KISS images with a striking black interior fabric. Both head panels display classic KISS logos. The Premium Design model exterior is entirely encased in deluxe KISS graphics that features flames all around and includes large image of the band on top.” 

So, when you’ve sneaked out for a hot date wearing your Jerry Garcia lust tie, and you’ve sown your seeds from your ‘meadow in a can’, there’s still a payoff, even if it all goes horribly wrong. Your wife found the empty packet of Gene Simmons KISS Condoms 3 Pack in your suit pocket, and gave you a swift blow with the KISS baseball bat to dispatch you to the great merch store in the sky. 

But you can still have the last laugh, secure in the knowledge that your nearest and dearest have to carry you to your resting place in a gaudy rock ’n’ roll box, adorned with the four faces of men in full make-up and the legend "KISS Forever".

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A former musician, Neil was in the 80's group The Cheaters who were once signed to EMI's Parlophone label, and released three albums. He was also a radio presenter and is still a regular music pundit on various BBC stations. Neil is the founder of the award winning web site This Day in Music which is…

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