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My Favorite Merch: Antonio Marquez

“Antonio Marquez is a pillar of the community!” That’s what I’d shout if I was a loudmouthed New Yorker and somebody said something to disrespect Antonio Marquez. Not that anyone does have a reason to disrespect him. Antonio has been a part of Kansas City’s hardcore scene for over a decade, singing in the bands Sorry Excuse, Contrast, and Spine and instilling fear into the hearts of any mosh pit weaklings whenever a Bad Brains cover is played. Considering he’s a lifelong music fan who enjoys many different genres (we talk hardcore, punk, salsa, and post-punk below and got into some country music chat before we started recording), he has one of the most impressive merch collections of anyone I know. So let’s dig in, yeah?

What shirt are you wearing right now?
My [Cro-Mags] tie-dye shirt.

This is one of your three picks?
No, I just have a lot of different types of music shirts that I like to collect. So yeah, it was kind of hard thing to pick.

Where do you pick up a tie-dye Cro-Mags shirt? Was that official merch?
Official, 1993, Near Death Experience tour. Euro tour. I had a longsleeve and I had two t-shirts. But I got these maybe in the last like eight to 10 years or something like that. And then with the popularity and stuff like that and the obscurity, it's now considered up there next to like the Down But Not Out ‘89 tour Cro-Mags shirts, but I just like it. I like the record. I actually liked the record. So it's a cool shirt. I got rid of the longsleeve and my extra shirt a few years ago.

Antonio, how do you feel about the Wonder Woman movie Cro-Mags t-shirt controversy? [Laughs.]
Yeah, ‘cause it was like that, arguing because like, it was ‘84 and then the shirt was obviously -- the record came out in ‘86 or whatever. I mean, it's goofy. [Laughs.]

Yeah, that was a fun discourse to watch for about a week.
Yep. Yeah, it was a big year. It was like all over the place, man. Yeah, it was very much like, “Well actually, the demo was recorded in ‘84.” I actually have the demo tape and I think it was actually recorded in ‘84 but then they were like, “Well the artwork done blah, blah, whatever.” You know the artwork that probably would have been on that shirt if it was true to the time period, probably some problematic shit, you know?

Yeah, like the dogfighting design?
The dogfighting design is not an actual shirt design. It’s just from the uncensored [album] artwork which has the dogfighting, it's got drug abuse, it's got homosexuality on it, it's got all this stuff that they were like trying to show that the world's coming to an end because of all this shit. This real fucking small-minded bullshit from like the ‘80s. But whatever, it would have been something like that on a shirt. [Laughs.]

I want a bootleg of that on a shirt.
There's one of the uncensored artwork that you could definitely get. Yeah, for sure.

Did James K. do that one?
No, James K. just took one of the images from the dogfighting -- the “life's hard, I gotta be harder” or whatever, just blew it up and put it on the back or whatever, but the actual uncensored artwork from the [album] sleeve it's definitely been on shirts and stuff like that. So I was trying to remember if I had it. I can't easily find the record right now. But you can search for it. If you look at the vinyl version of the Cro-Mags demo that they did, that's like the bootleg. It's got the uncensored version now where you can see it pretty clearly on there. It's really ignorant shit.

So I usually start by asking what your first piece of band merch that you remember being excited about owning was. Is that something you remember?
Yeah, bro. This is 1999, Sam Goody. You know what Sam Goody is? Sam Goody sold CDs. They were like $20 CDs in the mall and they did shirts in the back and posters and some novelty tapes or whatever.

And I remember really being into Korn and so Follow The Leader had come out or whatever. Ironically, not my favorite Korn record, but Follow The Leader had come out and this was like the Limp Bizkit era, this is like MTV on in the summer 24/7, Tom Green Show, all this shit. Sam Goody had some discounted shirts and it was like this olive green Korn shirt with the Follow The Leader artwork, but there was like a kid with a backwards hat and a CD discman player listening to music. And there was an orange sort of bubbly outline to it. It was fucking weird. And I got it for like nine bucks or something like that and that was like my first piece of merch.

Then my second piece was shortly after that, when I was like, “I really like wearing merch.” Rockabilia had a catalog and you would look at the little thumbnails and shit and I bought a Nine Inch Nails shirt by money order. Sent it and it was on sale for like 12 bucks. Those are like the first two ones and then I remember my first one from eBay when eBay was coming up, it was the early 2000s. It was just like a picture of Marilyn Manson’s face, it had Marilyn Manson [written] on it below and it was I don't know, like 10 bucks again, money order sent through mail. It's just crazy how things have changed.

You mentioned Rockabilia and I'm guessing they do not send out physical catalogs anymore, but I do remember looking at their website a lot when I was in sixth grade and middle school, getting into kind of starter pack ‘90s punk and alternative rock bands and stuff like that. So I don't know if I ever ordered anything from them. Maybe a NOFX t-shirt or something at some point. Also important to me, I definitely ordered some stuff from Interpunk. And I always lump these three together: Rockabilia, Interpunk, and Angry, Young, And Poor.
Yeah, man. Those catalogs for Rockabilia were just all alphabetical order and they're real small thumbnails on these catalogs. Kinda like CCS did. Those were the ones you would get with your friends, you just flip through them all the time looking at the new decks. Same thing, I remember going through and seeing shirts for a band at the time -- I had no idea -- Eyehategod and being like, “This is crazy.” It was for Dopesick and it was like the cover art for it. I was just like, “What the fuck is this? This is nuts.”

There was a lot of stuff like that I was exposed to, but I would use that to get into bands and learn more about bands and stuff like that, because this was Napster era, basically. And so you would be like, “Okay, what does fuckin’ Dimmu Borgir sound like?” This is before YouTube, you had to type it in, download it. So yeah, it was pretty pivotal with merch stuff.

But yeah, that's basically how my merch [collecting] started. And that Korn shirt, actually, I probably wouldn't rock a Korn shirt anymore. I don't really care about Korn anymore. I mean, I like it, I'll listen to it and stuff like that, but it hasn't grown with me. ... I'm not gonna wear that Korn shirt, but I thought it'd be cool to have what that first shirt was because it was like ‘99 and you got to think I was probably 11 years old then. And I was into music really young and I’d trade baseball cards for CDs and shit and that was my first one. I thought it'd be cool to try to find it again and just have one just for the sake of having it.


Definitely post about that if you track one down for yourself. What’s the first of your three shirts?
I was trying to pick it because I have a lot of stuff that people haven't seen before, that I don't wear often or whatever, but I really wear everything that I have. Just not as often as some people do, but this is probably my number one. I have a lot of cool shit. This is definitely like my number one.

So, Bad Brains is my favorite punk band of all time. No question, most important to me. Second, probably Agnostic Front. So this is the Quickness tour tee. And the ‘89 tour, which is really cool. ‘89 was just such a sick year for music and hardcore was changing, especially if you think about what was going on with New York and the transition from like ‘86 to ‘88 -- your demo-core stuff and then things kind of shifting -- your Underdog. You had a lot of bands like Supertouch that were coming up. Obviously, there's a big shift musically, sonically, with punk and hardcore, so Quickness comes out, everyone hates it. I've just always been really fond of Quickness and the styles from it and I think a lot of the music from Quickness is very much -- a lot of influences are even more prevalent now. And I think Quickness is received a lot better [now] than it was when it came out.

But I think Mackey from Cro-Mags actually played drums on that record, which is really cool. But the thing about this shirt specifically is that this shirt, there's a few different Bad Brains Quickness tour shirts, like colorways -- this one specifically was only available for like two shows. And the story is that the shirts were made for a gig that they played, I think it was in Southern California or maybe like Tijuana or something like that. I can't remember. And as they were playing the gigs, Dr. Know was supposed to be in charge of the merch or whatever. He had a box of these. They sold them at those two dates and then for whatever reason, he lost the box of shirts, so they had to rush order some other shirts, which are the yellow versions. But as far as this dark navy blue, there's not many of these since they were only sold at a few shows. So I was really fortunate to get one of these, especially with the front design and the back designs.

Yeah, that one’s sick. Funny enough, we also talked about a Quickness tour tee that LT has in her merch interview, though she never wears it and has it hanging on her wall since it’s already in not the best shape.
Oh, really? I think she showed it to me. Isn't it the white version? I think the front design is different but the back is the same [as mine].

Yeah, I think so. Wonderful how that tour has touched two of these columns so far.
Well, if you think about it, too, Quickness came out in maybe ‘88, the tour was in ‘89. I could be wrong. But you have to think the sizing on shirts in the ‘80s was not comparable to now. Your XLs basically fit like mediums, maybe a small large, you know? So, for me, I'm tall. I’m like 6’ 5”, 220. I can't wear an ‘80s XL for most stuff, but since this is towards the end of the ‘80s and they were starting to make the bigger sizing, I can rock that XL.

I had a large Quickness tour shirt and it was a European Quickness tour shirt. It was yellow and the person I got it from had the concert ticket that they purchased it from in London, which was really cool. I could never wear it. So eventually I sold it or traded it or something like that with the concert ticket. ... And I think that's one of the reasons why you might see more Quickness stuff than I Against I or even Rock For Light or anything like that, especially stuff like that from Rock For Light era and the ROIR Sessions or whatever, that's really, really fucking hard to come by because we're almost 40 years out from the birthplace of hardcore.

That’s funny. I haven’t heard before about the sizing disparities over the years. What year did McDonald’s roll out the supersize? Makes you think.
[Laughs] So true. I have an Age Of Quarrel -- this just like bonus material -- ‘86, like, original Cro-Mags shirt. Yeah, but it's a double XL and it fits like an XL and finding a double XL from the ‘80s in merch is like a unicorn.

Yeah, it must be hard for you to find ‘80s stuff that fits!
Extremely difficult. And there was a period of time where I was just buying stuff or trading for things just for having them, but it got to a point of like, what am I gonna do with this stuff? I don't wear it. It doesn’t fit.

Gotta get your measurements before you order it if it's that old, I guess.
Well, yeah, so I just slimmed down on a lot of stuff and just basically kept things that fit and just only tried to trade for or to purchase things that fit me because you know, hopefully someone else who can wear it is buying it.

Yes. So what's your next tee?
Alright, so this one is interesting. This is a Fania All-Stars 30th anniversary shirt. So for people that don't know, Fania was a record label that put out a lot of very important Latin music from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s. That's where you have some of your greats, obviously like Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe.

And Spine has sampled Lavoe. Was he on that tour?
Hector Lavoe died in ‘89 I think, maybe ‘90, and this tour was in 1995. But he's part of that whole group. So it's like a record label. I think about [Revelation], like if it was like our Rev tour, which I guess they've done, but like a Rev tour with basically similar sounding acts as well. So you had like Yomo Toro, you had El Condé, you had like a lot of people that played Latin soul, salsa music, in general that were part of it.

So Fania for me is really pretty important. I love Spanish music in general, but salsa music is really near and dear. I mean salsa is like a mixture of a lot of different sounds, particularly from Cuba. And because of the revolution and all the stuff that came with the country like politically, your salsa artists and those artists from Cuba and the music that they helped kind of cultivate, those artists never really got to be like some of these. Most of the artists that were part of Fania are mostly Puerto Rican, Dominican, Venezuelan, Colombian artists, so yeah, for me it's pretty cool. And Fania, I think it's the last name of the guy that owned the record label. He wasn't he wasn't Latino at all if I understand correctly, but anyways.

What, is he Italian!?
[Laughs] I have no idea, but the cool thing is the shirt’s kind of an interesting design. It almost looks like it's potentially a parking lot [bootleg].

Yeah, like the same color palette as a boardwalk airbrush tee.
Yeah, exactly. So it's like it's [from a show at] MSG. In 1978 they did [a show] at Yankee Stadium. They did some Fania All-Stars records, Volume One, Volume Two there which is really cool. Sold it out. Cool thing about that is some of my family members that lived in West New York at the time totally remember that gig. It was such a big deal, but you think, in the ‘70s Latinos selling out a salsa concert at Yankee Stadium is incredible. But anyways, that's actually on record. It sounds really good. Just for the culture, I think I just needed to have this and you don't find this [easily] like a lot of music shirts. For salsa merch like that, that’s just never really been like a super big thing. I have some reprints of some Hector Lavoe stuff and some Willie Colon stuff, but for this, this was cool. A lot of artists in one.

I forgot to ask. Where did you find these first two shirts?
Alright, so the Bad Brains shirt I got from someone that got it from a friend of mine. They got it from a friend of mine in Chicago who got it from Dr. Know. Dr. Know had some extras from that box or whatever that he had sold, I think in the early 2000s, that he had found. And that was one of them.

This [Fania] one, I just got this. I was searching for it, found it on Depop. I actually got this maybe two years ago or something like that for 10 bucks. So yeah, the merch game has gotten so fragmented from what it used to be. So it's really hard to find things nowadays. Because it's like, in some ways, it's really easy, in other ways it's super hard. I mean, how many people are out there trying to buy stuff like this?

Yeah, and the stuff that is easy to find is all over $100.

Yep. Exactly. Yeah. 100 percent. Because people will think that they thrift something and they look it up and be like, “Oh, this is worth $400!”

Yeah. A lot of inflation in the market.
Yeah, I mean, like this [Cro-Mags tie-dye] shirt here, specifically, $100 shirt. Yeah, I think it was like 100 bucks or 200 bucks in 2011. It's kind of a lot of money in 2012. But now the last one sold for $900. Like, what? Why? No one really likes the record. [Laughs.]

But you like the record. [Laughs.]
I do like the record. It's kind of a weird Mags record because if you listen to it through the vacuum of what was going on in 1994, 1993 musically in the United States with grunge and alternative music, it makes sense. But anyways.

Is that the Cro-Mags record you get the most shit for liking or is that another one?
No, that’s Revenge.

The 2000 record.
Yeah, I mean, I don't love it front-to-back. I think it's a good record overall, but I don't listen to all the songs on it. There's just some songs. Because the songs on that record, most of those songs were White Devil songs. White Devil was Harley's band he did before they just decided to call it Cro-Mags. He played with some of the guys from Biohazard. Paris and Rocky who’s in the Mags now and was in Suicidal Tendencies. White Devil songs are really good. The White Devil record is pretty cool if you can find it. I think it’s on YouTube or whatever, but they just re-recorded most of those songs for Revenge and then added some stuff and I think the White Devil songs are still pretty good. People hate on the record, but it's cool.

Spine did the Revenge bootleg album cover for the Faith release show, right?

And there was a Bad Brains album cover, too?
Yeah. I Against I.

I fucked up, I only got the Revenge one.
[The Revenge bootleg cover] is the better one, dude. It’s better as far as the Photoshop. If you look at I Against I, John and I had to do this and these photos are photoshopped pretty poorly. But it passes.

What’s your third piece you’re sharing?
Alright, so I'm not a sad boy like [David] Chavez is, but I love some sad boy music. This is a Cure Disintegration tour shirt. So this is the 1989 Prayer tour shirt. I really love The Cure. Big, big Cure fan. Disintegration is actually not my favorite Cure record. Pornography is my favorite Cure record, but this I like Disintegration basically front to back. And the coolest thing about this shirt is the back. So there's a white version of this shirt that has green ink to it. And I've always loved it and I had one and it had holes and stains on it and it barely fit me, so I got rid of it. And I've always been trying to search for it.

This thing popped up maybe like six or seven years ago. Someone had barely worn it. I don't know if you can tell, but it's pretty crispy like for a shirt from ‘89 and it fits pretty well. And I just always wanted it just because I love that record. Pornography came out in ‘82. There's no shirt that was released that probably would fit me. So this is probably the closest I'm going to get and it's a pretty sick design.

Disintegration is definitely my favorite Cure album. I bought it on CD as a teenager and played it all the time. I love that this shirt is just the album cover pretty much, but just slightly rearranged, then it's just Robert’s eyes peering at you on the back.

It’s cool. It's simple though. You just got like the text really big on the back but yeah, I love it. I think someone actually asked me one time, and I don't care about this, but they asked me like, “Dude, is it a bootleg? It looks like it,” and I was like, “Nah, man that's OG, straight up.” I have a Head On The Door bootleg though that is pretty sick. I like that record a lot. A lot of heavy saxophone on that record. I really love and respect the fat sax on that, for real.

I need to spend more time with that album. I almost always just default to Disintegration.
I'd say that's a top three record for The Cure, so probably, Pornography, Disintegration, Head On The Door.

Have you seen them live?
Yep, I saw them at Starlight, like like six years ago?

At least at least six years ago. Yeah.
Bro. Amazing. They played “The Hanging Garden.” They played some Pornography songs and they played a lot of Disintegration stuff.

Amazing show, but my one critique was that they closed with “Boys Don’t Cry” and played it at like two-thirds its original speed and part of what makes that song great is its tempo. I was like, “You can’t end the show like this!” But otherwise, amazing time. Robert still had it.
Totally. Well, you know like the other thing too is I thought about this Depeche Mode shirt -- I thought about going straight up sad boy mode on all this and just showing my sad boy stuff, but seeing Depeche Mode would be insane. Like, I would die. They played here like seven years ago or something like that. I couldn't make it.

Yeah, it seems like their tours are pretty rare now, too.
Yeah, they did a pretty big one before COVID but didn’t hit KC. It was pretty big though. But yeah, Depeche Mode would be pretty sick. But to your point on the “Boys Don't Cry” stuff. It's one of those things that I would love to -- I’ve never seen Bad Brains before and I’d love to just to say I did, but I can almost assure you that it would be like The Cure playing “Boys Don’t Cry” at half speed, but for every song. [Laughs.]

Well you know, H.R. played The Riot Room the summer before the pandemic and I went to see Facewreck on Vine that night and I could’ve easily made it to both shows, but I just assumed it would be a bummer and skipped it, but LT told me it was really cool.
Damn, I did not know. I literally never heard anyone talk about that gig. So I just assumed it was not very good. Like, there's not a lot of solo H.R. stuff that I like, either. But I mean, I would have liked to go if it was sick.

Yeah, to be in the room with dude and have a decent performance. That's enough for me.
Yeah, I would say like Roger and H.R. and Dr. Know, like, those are I think some of the coolest people of the elders of hardcore. People would probably throw in Henry Rollins like that, but I don't really care about Henry Rollins. I mean, I like Henry Rollins. I prefer Rollins Black Flag any day, 100 percent, but Henry Rollins never had that big of an impact on me. So I'm just kinda, whatever.

Yeah, you mention Roger and I was really impressed by both the most recent Agnostic Front show in Kansas City and the Cro-Mags J.M. show at The Riot Room with Eyehategod a few years back.
I didn't get to go to the Brick [AF] show and one of the things that people probably don't know is that when I started playing punk music, one of my biggest things was to play with Agnostic Front because Agnostic Front is a [formative] band for me. My dad listened to them growing up in West New York. It was one of the first records that I knew was a punk record. I remember looking at Cause For Alarm and yelling at my dad because I thought all skinheads were racist,

Yeah, so it's like, I just wanted to play with AF -- it would have been sick. And then that Brick show happened. It was like around the holidays or something like that and I couldn't make it. And like holy shit, what a crazy gig that would have been.

But then I was fortunate enough that the other band I was in at the time, Contrast -- AF was coming through on like an off-day and played Springfield and we went down and played with them. I got to meet Roger for the first time. Literally to this day we still talk, but he's had some health problems and stuff. But really cool. My dad and him actually had some connections with mutual people that they knew. Roger also lived in West New York pretty close to where my dad used to live and I thought that was pretty cool.

But literally as recently as the other day he wished me happy anniversary for me and my wife's three year. Dude’s amazing. But he's also -- not to go on this trip, but from a representation standpoint -- I'm Cuban American. I never had anyone to look up to except for someone like Roger. Not that he's a role model by any means, but just someone to be like, “That's me. I can do that.” You know what I mean?

Yeah. And Roger’s never been an insanely animated frontman. That’s kind of what they have Vinnie Stigma for. He’s a blast to watch run around the stage and ham it up.
Well, you know, the story is they actually turn his guitars off because they don't think he can play at the same [level] you know, so he gets to do a lot of stuff like that and they have that other guitarist, which is cool. I don't know if he played at The Brick this way, but he usually has a guitar that's wireless or whatever so he can kind of do some Stigma shit or whatever. And I think he might play some. I don't think he plays any leads. But he plays some guitar. He just doesn't do a whole whatever ‘cause he's 60-something years old or whatever. But yeah, Stigma is sick for real.

I remember when I saw Bitter End open for Ghostemane at The Granada a few years ago, the singer was wearing the sickest Agnostic Front shirt that on the back had a picture of him and it said “Stigma!” I’m not one to track down a shirt usually, but I might have to find that one.

Oh yeah. AF and Negative Approach, US hardcore essentials right there. Goated, straight up, no question. Most people just assume that I'm a huge Mags fan and they’re my favorite band or whatever. They're not. Probably top five, but AF is king in New York to me as far as from that area.

Listen to Spine at or on digital streaming platforms. Listen to Antonio’s Hard Stance Hardcore Podcast on Spotify. He has also begun to catalog some of his merch on the Instagram account @WorldsUnfold.


[This article first appeared in Issue 5 of Shuttlecock's free monthly print edition. Click here to order a copy online, or pick one up for free at locations around KC/Lawrence/JoCo.]   

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