Ballroom Marfa Art Fund


If I Can’t Go To Heaven, Let Me Go To Kohl’s

11 Mar 2013

Last week our favorite Marfa-via-Portland-by-way-of-Los Angeles band Yacht posted an image of a T-shirt from Kohl’s that featured lifted lyrics from their song “Shangri-La” …


“Listen,” they asked their fans, “we’re interested in how ideas circulate through popular culture, but this “If I Can’t Go To Heaven” triangle t-shirt is too much. Kohl’s is a huge corporate entity that stands to make way more money off our lyrics and design than we ever will. Please share this image and let Kohl’s know it’s not OK to rip independent artists off this blatantly.”

Listicle-heavy audioblog Stereogum responded with a list of similar unsolicited “corporate makeovers” from years past — including the unexpected Mickey Mouse/Joy Division T-shirt — and more or less declared this instance to be “corporate-enabled theft,” lamenting that “artists have little to no recourse in cases like this.”

However, as of March 8, Kohl’s appears to have removed the T-shirt from its website, though no word on the band’s Twitter feed as to whether or not anyone from the department store chain addressed the incident.

Here’s the video for “Shangri-La”, should any other aspiring corporate T-shirt entrepreneurs care to reconsider upcoming text-based designs:

YACHT – Shangri-La from Jona Bechtolt on Vimeo.

Please note that shout-outs are not limited to Southern California …

If I can’t go to heaven let me go to LA
Or the Far West Texas desert or an Oregon summer day
If we build a Utopia will you come and stay?
Shangri-La La La La La La La La La…

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