The shirt’s creator says it’s “irrelevant” now.
Last week I was having a drink with friends on the High Noon Saloon patio when I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with downtown club The Frequency’s logo and the words “I STAND WITH DARWIN.”
This refers to Darwin Sampson, who co-owns The Frequency with Dana Pellebon, and expresses solidarity with the venue’s decision in March to stop doing hip-hop shows for a year, following an incident in which someone smashed a bottle over a Frequency employee’s head. I confirmed this with the wearer but couldn’t help but ask: Why are you still wearing this shirt in May?
The thing is that technically, Darwin didn’t stand with Darwin in the sense that the shirt means—instead, he and Pellebon reversed course after two days of outraged reactions, and seem to have really learned something from the people who criticized their initial decision. The fellow on the High Noon patio basically shrugged at this and told me the shirt means he supports Sampson whatever he decides.
A quick search led me to the shirt’s creator, a Madison resident named Bill Martin. The shirts are still available to order through his online shirt store, but Martin told me that he only makes shirts when they’re ordered, and no one ordered them except for a few friends. “The shirts were made three days after the ban… or the day of? Don’t recall,” Martin says in an email.
Martin’s band, Dr. Noise, played a show at The Frequency the day after the ban was announced, and he wanted to “support a friend the day after his bar was met with violence.” I asked Martin if he’s kept up with the issue since then. An account named “DrNoise” did take part in the comments discussion on our initial report about the ban, but Martin claims he doesn’t have much of an opinion about hip-hop at the venue.
“As I’m in no way a part of the hip-hop scene I followed up with nothing, cause it was irrelevant to me personally,” he says.
In our conversation, Martin seemed surprised that I’d even found out about the shirts. “It was relevant for like 30 seconds,” he admits.