While walking up through SoHo earlier this week, I passed by a shop on the eastern end of Prince Street that I’ve spoken about before called Quality Mending. Despite its patina of ersatz-folksy charm, it’s essentially a pricey emporium of “vintage” duds. You might remember my anecdote from a little while back of spotting an old Generation X t-shirt in its window with an astronomical price tag. This week was another such occasion, but with something of a bitterly ironic sting.
As I glanced into the window, I noticed they were displaying an entire ensemble, ready-made for someone intent on replicating a fully curated “punk” look in one fell swoop. While that’s certainly nothing new (check out Barney’s latest attempts at same), I was immediately struck by the t-shirt hidden beneath the spike-laden, black leather jacket.
While I could only see a little bit of it, I immediately recognized it as Eric Drooker’s illustration from the cover of the second False Prophets album from 1990, Invisible People. I spoke about same on this post, but the cover looks like this….
Just as with that Generation X shirt, as much as I basically resent Quality Mending and everything it represents, I am a genuine fan of False Prophets and that album in particular. As such, I felt I needed to find out what their story was with that shirt.
It should be reinforced, at this point, that False Prophets were not just another noisy punk band. I mean, yeah, they were noisy and they were punks and part of that whole proto-NYHC scene alongside Kraut, The Mob, Even Worse and the Stimulators, but by and large, they were way more experimental. But what really set False Prophets apart from the rest of that horde was their social conscience. This album in particular is steeped in the band’s leftist, anarcho world view. Reinforcing that message is the sleeve art of Eric Drooker’s, who also provided illustrations for the video of the title track, which documents the plight of the homeless in New York City.
With all that in my head, I stepped into the shop and asked how much they wanted for the tattered garment in question. I learned that If I wanted to own this shirt, one that extols the merits of a band devoted to calling out the inhuman inequities of a capitalist society, it could be mine for upwards of $150.00.
I can only imagine this would make the False Prophets nauseous.
And just `cos it's awesome, here's a bit more of Eric Drooker's artwork: