Best Band Paraphernalia - 2003
There isn't a lot of money to be made on the local rock scene if you're a musician -- Clear Channel sees to that; hence the merch table that appears at nearly every show. Local bands attempt to financially justify getting the night off from work to play the show by selling logoed and branded shirts, hats, CD-R's, singles, tape comps, live videos, anything at all that brings in more money than it costs to make or buy wholesale. Some bands are better than others at merchandising themselves, but when it comes to laying out an enticing array of self-promotional paraphernalia, the Conformists are the acknowledged masters of the art. In addition to keeping all the aforementioned items in stock, the Conformists have, at various shows, attempted to sell rocks with "Conformists" hand-lettered in magic marker on them, shards of metal with the distinctive Conformist Kitties sticker slapped on them and a plastic ashtray that someone left on the merch table while they were sizing T-shirts. Art statement? Fugazi-esque commentary on the commercialization of youth culture? Desperate attempt to separate drunken showgoers from their cash? Who knows? A Conformist rock is no stupider than a Dead Celebrities T-shirt.