Oakland-based rock apparel brand Rock Roll Repeat has announced a new merchandise collaboration with Green Day and the first drop is now available for pre-order. Today’s drop features t-shirt designs and a tote bag inspired by Green Day’s iconic albums Kerplunk and Dookie.
We reached out to Joshua Shame, who is the owner, designer, and sole employee at Rock Roll Repeat, to see how this all came about and what to expect in the future from this new partnership. (Note: the interview was conducted before the first items had been revealed)
GDfm: You mentioned on Instagram that you used to be able to draw the Dookie logo by memory, was that the album that first got you into the band?
JS: Yep. I was talking about something that happened in 8th grade. My best friend and I had just ran away from home and walked across the 3 Mile Bridge from Gulf Breeze to Pensacola. A cop stopped us on the other side, and, while he was calling it in, I was drawing Dookie on my hand haha. We had just enough time to lie about where we were going before he got a 911 call on his radio and just took off!
GDfm: You also mentioned in a post on your Instagram that you had previously worked with Green Day as one of your first clients, can you tell us a bit about that?
JS: Right! I worked for a punk print shop here in Oakland, called Cinder Block, which was owned by Cinder and Jeffrey from Tilt. Green Day was one of the bands that had their merch made there, for years, along with so many others. I remember Jeffrey had an old Op Ivy screen in his office…I would LOVE to know where that is now…can you imagine making an Op Ivy shirt today using the original screen??
We did tour supply, online stores were just starting to take off, too, all that stuff. If you bought a Green Day shirt, NOFX, AFI, Misfits, etc, in 2003/4, chances are I was the one who stacked the blank shirts and rolled them over to the dudes on the printing press. And, depending on which press, it might have been printed by Johnny Peebucks from the Swingin’ Utters.
Anyhow, by the time I had worked my way into the art department, American Idiot had just come out, so I went from packing a ton of American Idiot shirt orders to helping develop a lot of new merch using that art. We got to make some original designs, as well. I did a Winston Smith inspired illustration of a 1950s family looting a strip mall (Welcome To Paradise), a repurposed bit of 50’s clipart which I posted about on IG recently, and I did an illustration in crayon of Billie Joe from the Holiday single photo, where he’s strapped with dynamite.
I still freelance on the side, so I’ve gotten a few more GD designs under my belt since then.
GDfm: Now you have your own shop and are working with Green Day again, how did that come together? Did the band reach out to you or put out a call for designers to submit ideas and they just pick the shop they want to work with based on those?
JS: The world of band merch and licensing is wild! And I love talking shop, so I’ll try and keep it short haha. Bands do have artists that they like to work with, like Alkaline Trio and Heather Gabel.
In the case of my work at Cinder Block, it was definitely a situation in which we would submit many designs to bands in a presentation from our in-house team, and our own favorite freelancers, and they would approve designs from that.
Sometimes a band would really like designs that came from a particular freelancer and the next time they’d need new designs they would be like ‘More please!’.
These days, I’m a one-person brand that also does freelance design. So I sort of have a foot in both worlds and in this case, I reached out to them through their label with a general outline of what I had in mind.
GDfm: Is there any collaboration with the band in terms of how the items are designed or do you just submit your ideas for approval?
JS: I was able to dive into their catalog, my own history with their music, put the Turn It Around doc on the tv for added flavor, and come up with what I think is a pretty killer little capsule, submit it, and it was approved with no notes so far haha.
GDfm: Not to go too inside baseball but when working on a collab like this are you given free reign of the band’s various iconography or just given select stuff to work with?
JS: Totally depends on the project, when it comes to my own brand it’s a bit more free. I like to come up with original designs that don’t lean too heavily on existing art, but it’s usually a bit of both. For instance, I’ve been given freelance projects with absolutely zero assets, but free reign to be creative, and sometimes I’m given limited assets with very specific direction. That can also be liberating.
GDfm: On Instagram, you were teasing some classic Kerplunk images, will that album be the basis for the collab or will there be other eras incorporated as well?
JS: There are definitely multiple eras in this first drop, including Kerplunk. And you can expect some deep cuts in the future, as well.
GDfm: Will this be a limited edition run or will fans have an easy time getting the items they want without worry of it quickly selling out?
JS: Oh don’t you worry! Fans can reserve however many shirts (and other things) that they want while the presale is live, which is the easiest way for me to manage it as a one-person brand (it’s just me here). I can’t afford to over-order, and I definitely don’t want to under-order. I want everyone to be able to get what they want. And this drop is available in unisex and junior tees ranging from small to 3X.
And at least one person will definitely get what they want because there’s a giveaway.
But speaking of limited runs…I’ve done some super limited, Mosquitohead-style designs on custom bleached tees, where I only did 50, and I definitely have one of those up my sleeve for Green Day.
GDfm: A lot of fans felt priced out of the last merch collab the band did with Brain Dead, will your items be higher-end pricing as well or more in line with what the typical fan can afford?
JS: I think fans will see a good balance between unique and affordable, for sure. And they’ll be supporting a one-person brand, as well.
Huge thanks to Joshua for taking the time to answer our questions. Make sure to follow along with his Instagram where you can enter to win some of the new merch and then head over to Rock Roll Repeat to pre-order a new shirt.