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The story of a band, a letter, and a t-shirt

Swamp Terrorists are one of my favorite post-industrial / electro / aggrotech / whatever-you-want-to-call-it bands. Yes, it is a silly name; extracted from the two members’ previous bands, Strangler Of The Swamp and The Disco Terrorists. Just think, the alternative could’ve been Disco Stranglers. It is up for debate whether that is any better.

I was first exposed to them in college, in the mid 90s, by a guy who came to industrial music by way of Front Line Assembly, whereas I came to it via Skinny Puppy. That album, Grim • Stroke • Disease, embodied the rare moment where everything just clicked and formed something that you didn’t know you were missing. The CD itself was imported; hopelessly rare in those days. But I wore out my cassette dub in that transitionary period between CDs and cassette tapes. (I later recorded some amateur music with this friend, and even filmed a music video for a college class, but that is another story)

Forward to post-college, and Swamp Terrorists released Combat Shock, and I actually found a copy in the local CD shop in Mariettta, GA. At some point I got the idea of writing a letter to them. Their address must’ve been in the CD inlay somewhere. Who knows what I was thinking at the time. I probably thought I had a shot at a career in music. That’s hard to accomplish when you never practice.

Amazingly enough, they wrote back. To be precise, STR wrote back. He was the programmer of the duo, responsible for sampling and sequencing everything. I don’t know if his name is meant to be pronounced as ‘stir’ or if those are his initials, or something that is lost in translation. Such is the way of industrial bands. Ever inscrutable.

(I haven’t found the letter yet)

He sent a few freebies along with the letter: some cheaply produced stickers and a printout of their discography. I wrote back offering a place to stay if they possibly toured in the U.S. I never heard back. What a fanboy.

A few years later, I jumped at the opportunity to purchase their upcoming album Killer in a ‘deluxe edition’. By this time they were signed to Metropolis, the go-to label for these kinds of bands. This edition came packaged in a large cardboard box, with stickers, an autographed band photo and a t-shirt. The t-shirt quickly became one of my favorites; an essential part of my ‘going out’ clothes. I never saw anyone else with the same shirt. It possibly could’ve been unique in all of Atlanta.

Swamp Terrorists t-shirt front
Swamp Terrorists: Killer (front)

So close to 20 years later, it is still going strong. A little worse for wear, but it still fits. I’d have to say that one of my favorite aspects of this shirt is the back:

Swamp Terrorists: Killer (back)

How’s that for a URL? I am guessing that this was a fan site from a fan who used his student account at college to host a website for the band. This was 1996, which in internet years may as well have been the equivalent of the stone age. Very few bands had an online presence, so this was something special. In case you were wondering, that URL no longer works: http://www.fiu.edu/~wjones01/swamp.html

last modified on August 31, 2021

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