So you’re really into a band. Not just quite a big fan, but truly obsessed.
So you’re really into a band. Not just quite a big fan, but truly obsessed. As far as you’re concerned their every note is the zenith of musical genius – they’re not just good, they are the finest musicians in the history of the observable universe.
You’ve got all the albums – even the terribly recorded live ones and the best of compilation that only has one mediocre new track on it. You’ve been to every major gig they’ve played within three hundred miles of your home for the past ten years.
You buy festival tickets based on whether they’re performing or not. You own all the collectables – the badges, the commemorative beer glasses that commemorate nothing, the expansive range of t-shirts and hoodies available on their website and you even have a rare demo tape which was only sold outside their first gig in a pub in Peterborough in 1987.
Where do you go from here?
The common idea seems to be to get a tattoo of your favourite band. Why not? It’s a sign of your devotion to the band. If you’re even seriously considering such a tattoo you’re obviously a real fan of them to begin with so it can seem like a logical step.
I’m not going to tell you not to get a tattoo – it’s your body and your life. I’ll admit I’m a pretty jaded person who doesn’t feel strongly enough about anything to even consider getting it permanently inked onto my skin. What I am going to tell you are a few reasons why you should really think hard before getting such a tattoo.
Fads change and so do your music tastes
Firstly, your musical tastes do change over time. A lot of peoples do anyway. When I was 17/18 I was really into Norwegian Black Metal. I had a load of the rare albums and vinyl’s and even went to all the obscure metal stores when I visited Oslo.
However my tastes have changed, softened you might say, and I’d feel pretty daft spending the rest of my life wandering around with a Darkthrone tattoo on my shoulder blade – especially given its been years since I actually listened to them.
Of course a few decades down the line I may still be listening to Iron Maiden, and there’ll be pensioners who never gave up on Black Metal, but I’m still not convinced.
As an extension to this it would be a poor idea to get a tattoo based on a pop-fad. A Justin Bieber or One Direction tattoo may seem like a good idea when you’ve just turned 18 – but are you really going to wake up at 32 and look at that tattoo and think: “Wow! Yeah! One Direction Rock?”
I’ll be completely honest with you – you won’t.
A story that is becoming all too familiar
I know a lot of people will be getting ready to down-vote this article or posting a comment calling me bitter and telling me that you’ll love your favourite band forever and so it’s ok for you to get a tattoo. Has it occurred to you that things might suddenly make you never want to listen to that band again? Let me tell you a story about a mate of mine.
My friend was really into a band – incredibly so. He’d come to work in their hoodies, he listened to their songs non-stop, he had posters all over his house and it seemed he went to see them every few months. A few years ago I went with him to a tattoo parlour so he could get the lyrics to one of their songs tattooed on his forearm. It was all harmless enough.
About a week later Ian Watkins, lead singer of the Lostprophets, was arrested for what were revealed to be a horrific series of paedophilic acts. Suddenly having the lyrics to “Wake Up (Make a Move)” on his forearm didn’t seem like such a good idea. I doubt he was the only one who found himself in that situation.
If you think your friends would be sympathetic to you in that situation, you’re wrong. Everyone who you have any form of social interaction with – from friends, to colleagues, to the barman at your local, will use every form of communication available in our well-connected world to make you aware that you’ve got lyrics from the “nonce-band” tattooed prominently on your forearm.
A lot of people, including my friend, still listen to the Lost Prophets, but their legacy is forever tarnished by the actions of Watkins. And we still have a good laugh at his tattoo when the mood takes us. As such I strongly urge you to think twice about your tattoos.
They can be beautiful works of art – or disasters that stalk you to your grave. I’m not saying don’t get tattoos, but I’m saying you don’t want to be that guy who got arrested in Stoke the other day after being recognised from having his own initials tattooed onto his face.
The only difference between the two is a little forethought.
What are your thoughts on band tattoos? Have your say in the comments below!