News & Politics

Justin Bieber’s Guitarist Wears a Fugazi T-Shirt

Like all Fugazi merchandise, it's unauthorized, says Ian MacKaye.

Screenshot via BBC Radio.

Every once in a while, an internationally famous musician or global retail brand piques DC music fans by trotting out merchandise featuring the seminal post-hardcore band Fugazi, who have historically shunned most forms of commerce. But on Thursday there was a fresh sighting of a Fugazi T-shirt in the wild on the torso of a guitarist accompanying Justin Bieber during an acoustic set at a BBC Radio show in Los Angeles.

The guitarist, clad in a black T-shirt with Fugazi printed in a lower-case blue typeface, sat beside Bieber for most of the five-song set, which included three of the Canadian singer’s own songs—”Cold Water,” “Let Me Love You,” and “Love Yourself”—and covers of Tupac Shakur’s “Thugz Mansion” and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” (the only tune on which Bieber strummed for himself).

But none of this seems to faze Fugazi frontman Ian MacKaye. “There are no authorized Fugazi shirts (or any other merchandise, for that matter), so it’s a boot[leg],” he tells Washingtonian via email. “However, we appreciate the idea that the guitarist is presumably a fan.”

While any Fugazi-branded item out there is bootlegged, one of MacKaye’s other bands, Minor Threat, hired a company in 2013 to manufacture authorized T-shirts, which were sold at Urban Outfitters for $28, to repel a flood of counterfeit apparel. MacKaye told Washington City Paper he made the deal to let someone else deal with the headache of unauthorized merchandise. “I just don’t give a fuck about T-shirts,” he said at the time.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.