Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Barred For Life

April 8th, 2009 by

It’s got to be one of the single most popular tattoos amongst punk rockers and musicians who paid attention to the early 80’s hardcore scene: Black Flag’s black bars.  Hell, even if you don’t have a single tattoo on your body, if you’ve ever spent even five minutes in a punk club at some point in your life or hung around with punks, metal heads, skaters, surfers, stoners or even jocks, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to have known or seen someone with the iconic four staggered black bars.  It’s a legendary design that honors a legendary band.

Until now, it’s been somewhat of a secret society, these black bar tattoos.  I’ve come across people in places as far flung as Tokyo and Bangkok with the tattoo.  It doesn’t matter if two people speak the same language or not, if you come across someone with this tattoo, all you have to do is point at it, nod and smile.  Bingo, you’ve found common ground.  A few beers later and you’re screaming the lyrics to “Six Pack” with your new pal over a plate of nachos.  This tattoo brings people together, and that’s exactly what four guys from Philadelphia have realized.  Stewart Dean Ebersole, Matthew Smith, Todd Barmann and Jared Castaldi are going to be travelling around the USA and Canada in search of everyone with the bars tattoo.  They are photographing these and featuring them in an upcoming book entitled “Barred For Life”, dedicated specifically to the ultimate punk rock tattoo.  The guys are even thinking about going worldwide in further search of the bars, which I personally am all for.  In all the times that I have seen this tattoo on people, no two ever seem to be alike.

If you happen to have the bars tattoo and are currently living in the USA or Canada, then head over to Stewart Dean Ebersole’s MySpace page and send him an email letting him know.  Your tattoo could help be a part of what sounds to be a very cool project.

Punk rock and tattoos, kids…all we need for a better world.

Also, I can’t talk about a better world and not include Kermit the Frog.  Perhaps entirely out of place alongside Black Flag, but hey, Kermit’s always been down with tattoos. Too bad about Miss Piggy, though.  Besides, it’s spring and I’m in a good mood.  Enjoy.

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