It’s no secret that the guys of 5 Seconds of Summer luhhhhve them some band tees. The smaller the sleeves and the more destroyed, the better. It’s also no secret that 5SOS is performing at the 2014 Video Music Awards this Sunday and, TBH, we’re expecting no pants, but plenty of T-shirts. The guys have affinities for vintage tees, especially those of bands with VMA history.
So, what better way to brush up on your VMA knowledge than while staring at the chest region of four dudes from Australia? Yes, exactly—there is no better way. We present to you: VMA history through 5SOS’ T-shirt collection.
Things kick off, of course, with the creation of MTV in 1981. The first VMAs were in 1984—a full 10 years before any member of 5SOS was born.
EVENT: Pink Floyd took home the award for Best Concept Video at the 1988 VMAs, for the song “Learning to Fly.” It was the final year for the Best Concept Video category and the only time Pink Floyd won a Moonman, so a very noteworthy show for the band on Ashton’s shirt.
MEMBERS OF 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ALIVE: Zero.
EVENT: The 1992 VMAs were huge for Nirvana. Not only did the band win the Best New Artist award for “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” but they got into a feud with Axl Rose backstage, which continued onstage. Based on how frequently 5SOS wears Nirvana tees, it seems like they’re on Kurt’s side.
MEMBERS OF 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ALIVE: 0.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
EVENT: The 1992 VMAs were equally important for Red Hot Chili Peppers, though way less dramatic. The band—the most nominated of the night—took home three Moonmen, including Viewer’s Choice. Ashton, if you couldn’t tell, may be king of the 5SOS band shirt collection—his suitcase must weigh, like, 50 pounds.
MEMBERS OF 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ALIVE: Still 0.
EVENT: 1994 was the first time Green Day performed at the VMAs—they performed four more times in the subsequent two decades. While they performed “Armatage Shanks,” they were nominated for three awards for “Longview,” off of Dookie. Also a big Dookie fan? Calum Hood, obviously, who wore the album’s artwork on his shirt to perform in New Jersey.
MEMBERS OF 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ALIVE: 1 (Ashton).
EVENT: At the 1997 VMAs, Sublime took home the Best Alternative Video Moonman for “What I Got.” It was the only VMA they ever won, and it came on the heels of lead singer Bradley Nowell’s death. Despite all that, nearly 17 years later, a young man from Australia wore a Sublime T-shirt to perform on the Today Show, so their legacy definitely lives on.
MEMBERS OF 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ALIVE: 4!!!
EVENT: In the first show of the new millennium, Blink-182 performed “All the Small Things,” and took home the VMA for Best Group Video. While Calum repped Blink across his chest in 2014, he was only four when they performed at the VMAs.
MEMBERS OF 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ALIVE: 4, though they were all under the age of six.
GUNS N’ ROSES
EVENT: While it seems like the guys of 5SOS, generally, are big Nirvana fans, at least one is also into Guns N’ Roses. At the 2002 VMAs—when said member was eight years old—Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses (with a modified lineup) hit the stage for his first live performance in eight years. If Ashton hasn’t watched the highly anticipated performance in the 12 years since, he should—he’s old enough now.
MEMBERS OF 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ALIVE: 4. Two of them were about to start first grade.
EVENT: In 2003, Metallica closed the VMAs with a multi-song medley. The performance was 11 years after the band had won its first VMA for “Enter Sandman.” Eleven years after that, Michael wears their merch whenever he can. What will happen in 2025? Will a metal band wear a 5SOS shirt? ~We’ll see~.
MEMBERS OF 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ALIVE: 4—they were all still young enough to eat off the kids’ menu at restaurants.