Tattoos and Rock and Roll – Two Great Tastes That Go Great Together
Yesterday I stood in line for ice cream at an adorable shop on the tiny perfect town square in a quaint little tourist town near where I live. While contemplating my creamy choices I noticed something kind of funny. 4 out of the 5 guys working in this busy shop were sporting full bushy beards, flannel shirts and tattoos.
Now don’t get riled – I happen to think they all looked great (except for the poor beardless guy – he just looked out of place. I think he was wearing a polo shirt too – probably not going to be working there long.) It was just sort of funny to realize they all had a theme going on. Like when you would call your friend the night before school to make sure she was also going to wear a skirt the next day so you wouldn’t be the only one. You did that right? No? Just me? Ouch.
Anyways my point – and I do believe I have one – is that the beards and flannels and tattoos made a great combination. One that lifted any average guy out of “ho hum” to instant cool guy/hipster. It was by all accounts a great combo – much like some of their ice cream flavors ie: cornflake-maple and swiss chocolate peppermint. (shout out to Noble Folk Ice Cream!)
What else goes really well together (here comes that point I was trying to make?) Umm motorcycles and leather, camping and smores and…Tattoos and Rock and Roll. (woop there it is!)
Rock and Roll has been around for a while and tattoos far far longer but when did these two ultra cool worlds really start to collide? If we are looking back to Rock and Roll’s early beginnings i.e. Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis etc. these guys were all pretty clean cut. Imagine if Elvis had sleeves? He probably wouldn’t have gotten very far. Back in the 50’s and 60’s visible tattoos were definitely NOT a part of Rock and Roll culture. But now? If you want to front a band having tattoos seems almost mandatory. Or does it?
Could you imagine Motley Crue without their tattoos? No…you can’t. Unless you check out some of their early promo shots.
Because back in the early 90’s fully inked bands were not the norm – yet. But the Crue worked hard to catch up…
But what about some of their predecessors like KISS and Alice Cooper?
OK that was too fun…One more.
So there you go – Kiss had barely any ink back in their heyday, although the amount of tattoos OF KISS is …astounding
but surely Rock Legend Alice Cooper was covered in tattoos? I mean he had the eye makeup and the snake and everything…
but no ink….OK Iggy Pop – surely Iggy has it going on…
Uhhhh – David Bowie?
Ok so what have we learned. First- that you can find just about anything on the internet – but of course we knew that already. Secondly – Tattoos and Rock and Roll are not exactly new but it doesn’t go as far back as one would think. So let’s take a look at some more current bands;
and then of course we have even newer bands…
So do you HAVE to have tattoos to be in a current rock band. No of course not silly – this is just a puff piece! Not an information piece! But here are two HUGE bands that have tons of tattoos but NONE on their lead singers….interesting.
My daughter assures me that Frank – guy in the striped shirt – is covered but lead singer Gerard Way (red haired guy in center – duh) has none due to a fear of needles.
And here we see copious ink on all band members except lead singer Patrick Stump (hat and glasses) and yes…he is the lead singer. For real.
So what does it all mean? It seems like bands are getting more tattoos at an earlier age which coincidently is also the trend nationally for non-rock stars as well. More ink younger. We see it everywhere. But at the very least if you are in a band your scorpion neck tattoo (Frank from My Chemical Romance) is not going to limit your job options.
Post Note; I personally love many of the bands I have shown here (cough cough David Bowie) and have total respect for all of them – all amazing musicians and showman in their own right. I’m not dissing shit on your favorites – just having some fun.