The Guys Get Shirts

It’s a slow day for tour announcements so we thought we’d ask: Do you know what the phrase “The guys get shirts” is all about?

If you’re a musician that’s done enough live work, you should be familiar. The story goes, one night Paul Anka was pretty angry at his band for being unprofessional and, in particular, for not wearing the right clothes. The band got a piece of his mind afterward.

Unfortunately, someone brought along a tape recorder. Whoever it was, he was “a snake we later fired,” Anka told NPR interview program “Fresh Air.”

The rant got passed around and eventually hit the Intertubes. It includes phrases that are recited at band practices like “I slice like a … hammer,” “The guys get shirts” and my personal favorite, “Where’s Joe?”

Photo: AP Photo
Vina del Mar International Song Festival, Vina del Mar, Chile

Some of Al Pacino’s lines in “Ocean’s Thirteen” are taken from this rant verbatim.

You guessed it: extremely NSFW. There’s a YouTube reenactment, but this link has better quality and the reenactment is kinda lame.

Oh, and be thankful we didn’t link to Buddy Rich’s “bus rants.”

By the way, Anka is still touring stong and is currently in France. And, hey, anyone who’s been in a band can appreciate how mad you can get at some of your closest buddies. AND Anka’s 2005 album Rock Swings is still one of the baddest ass things out there.