Tattoos are Stupid, Don’t Get Them

Since moving to the Land of Enchantment, I’ve noticed something. So far as I can tell, there are more tattoo parlors then there are black people. This speaks more to the fact that there are far too noticeable amount of tattoo shops, while the African-American population of this country seems far under-represented. This also means that Albuquerque is probably per capita one of the most tattooed cities and the most poorly tattooed cities in this country.

It will come as a surprise, especially after this little pictorial that I have planned that I adamantly am against people getting tattoos. Some people will tell you that tattoos are deeply personal and have a lot of meaning to the people who get them. And this can be true. For me, this is true as well. But that’s not why I got my first tattoo and it’s not why I have committed my body to the art form.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to get tattoos. Much to my wonderful, loving mother’s chagrin, I was drawing on my skin since I can remember. I think I wanted tattoos before I even really saw tattoos on other people. They weren’t too prevalent in my life until I discovered heavy metal at age nine. This of course only heightened my desire. Oddly enough, it took me until the age of 20 to get a tattoo, an om kanji on my right arm. The reason I got that was because I wanted a tattoo and was studying Tibetan Buddhism at the time. I still like the tattoo, wish I had gotten it bigger and placed better, but it’s sat on my arm nicely in an unfinished ring next to a DC Flag and a rat bones scrawl, co-opted from the Dog Town boys. That particular one was done because I used to draw that on my arm all the time as a kid. So it just made sense.

The reason I don’t think people should get tattoos is because they aren’t something to be taken seriously or lightly. I have a lot of tattoos that are silly and stupid. They are great tattoos and I don’t regret them. I don’t regret them though precisely because any normal, thinking person who did this to themselves would and should. But I don’t feel like Tattoos are something that can just be applied without consideration to who you are as a person. If I see one more tramp stamp, butterfly, kanji, barbwire or cartoon figure on an otherwise bare and standard looking body, I might just start the final war and wipe out this failed experiment we call humanity.

So in honor of that, I thought I would give you a tour of my body. The art here varies from really good, to really bland and terrible. Some of these tattoos are deeply personal, others were and their meaning has faded. Some of them I just think are really cool or are really funny and ill-advised. Enjoy, and let this serve as a warning should you be considering a Care Bear or a dolphin or something as equally stupid. Your tattoo won’t mean shit to you in a few years and you’ll either forget about it or regret it. Also, it will be trendy for like five minutes (See: Massive Unicorn on left Pectoral) and then it will just be laughable, another branding of the herd.

These beauties are the beginning of a very large, very funny and very expensive concept. See, one of my favorite bands right now is this band called Too Many Daves. They have this song called “The Night The Light Went Out in Chattanooga”. It’s 39 seconds long. Let me repeat that, it’s 39 seconds long. It’s a blink in the eye of even their short attention spanning songs. The majority of the lyrics for this song are “You can’t slay the dragon, one more fucking dragon, until you ride the unicorn. Unicorn, unicorn.” Now, I could sit and say how this is like a metaphor for conquering your fears by capturing your dreams and shit like that, but the fact is, I just think it’s really funny. To the tune that I have mutilated a significant part of my body. This is not what I originally imagined but when Leo Gonzales at Stay Gold here in Albuquerque drew up this Dungeons and Dragons art work, I got psyched. $600 in and I can’t wait to finnish it. Unfortunately, I really need a job and can’t justify spending any more cash on this until I have a steady supply of cash. Leo and his shop partner Marie Sena do some amazing work. If you’re gonna get your body modified for life, at least be smart and have them, or people like them, do the work. They are passionate not just about tattooing, but art and are more well-rounded then most tattoo shops and artists I’ve come across.

Fredericksburg, Virginia has been really good to me in terms of body art. There is an amazing shop down in that not so small anymore town that does, as far as I am concerned the best tattoo work on the entire east coast. After all the years of punk rock shows in DC, Philly and even NY every now and then, I have never seen work as good as the work that comes out of Jack Browns Tattoo Revival. Honestly, if I had been going to shops of this quality the entire time I was getting work done, my tattoos would look a lot cooler. But I didn’t start going there until relatively recently. I’ve had four different pieces done there, all of which are amazing. I first saw Kenny Brown, part owner of the shop to do some cover up work. My initial design idea was simple and stupid. I just got really tired of people grabbing my wrists to read the non-sensical words I had added to my wrists. I liked those tattoos a lot by the way, but if I had known a lifetime of assholes would be grabbing my arms without asking, I would have thought differently about their placement. Anyway, Kenny knocked out these two awesome lotus flowers on my wrists. These were easily done over five years ago by now and the color is still as amazing and vibrant as when I first got them (this photo sucks, taking photos of your own tattoos is really hard). At that point, I was sold that this was the place I would always go so long as I lived in the DC area. Sure it was an hour drive, but the pricing was better than any shop in DC or the surrounding area, the guys were way more approachable, cared more about the work and it made the drive totally secondary.

After Kenny did my wrists, I made another appointment to get some more work done. I decided to get an interpretation of some artwork from Thurston Moore’s Psychic Hearts, which I own an original LP pressing of. The art work was originally by Rita Ackermann, but I wasn’t too keen on the coloring choices. So Kenny and I reworked them. It was the first time I had blood lines etched in my skin. This tattoo has absolutely no deeper meaning to me whatsoever. I just thought that the art work was really cool. It remains one of my favorite tattoos that I ever got in my life and was the first time I really saw the beauty that modern tattooing was capable of.

A few years later I was finally financially in a position where I could get more ink done. I decided, I was gonna go for it, the ultimate tattoo idea I had ever thought of. Penguins. Now, here’s the thing. I don’t really have any grand relation with penguins. I don’t like the movie Happy Feet or March of the Penguins. I don’t really know a lot about penguins other than I think they are kinda cute. But I think lots of animal creatures that we share this planet with are cute.

The best thing about these tattoos is they are total soccer mom magnets. I get more ladies complementing them and commenting on them in check out lines then I ever thought possible. If yr gonna get visible tattoos on your arms, make sure you get cute stuff that people can’t argue about. That way if you are discriminated against (and I have been discriminated against by a boss who HAD A FUCKING MARINES TATTOO) then it’s only because the person is a total asshole. I mean seriously, how can you not love these guys. I’m thinking about getting round two done on my other arm if I can come up with some more actions for penguins to do.

   

The last tattoo I got at Jack Brown’s before I left the east coast was actually a pretty personal one. Since I didn’t have time to schedule, and frankly trusted the work of all the artists in the shop, I drove down super early on a Saturday, the only day that one dude, Kelly Drake, does walk-ins at Jack Browns. Kelly, I have to say, is the man. I mean, tattoo artists are nice, if you are nice to them and treat them like the people they are in a service industry. Tattoo artists have to put up with a lot of dumb shit. Like idiots brining kids into the shop. Idiots asking lots of dumb questions about price and size. Idiots questioning artists about what can and can’t be done well. And then of course they have to take their incredible talents of drawing INTO HUMAN skin so you can have a fucking My Little Pony or a Redskins Logo etched in you for life. I have a rule that if I want to get something done, I want the artist to have input and control. Even if it’s based on something I like, I want it to be good art, like the Rita Ackerman piece. Unfortunately for Kelly, I had a specific, basic tattoo I needed this time. This is my tree of life tattoo, done graciously by Kelly Drake for a ridiculously small amount of money. Thanks Kelly. It means a lot to me, this one.

So all the work up to this point is really quality work. But I have some half-assed, no thought, I walked in and ask for this shit tattoos as well. Now, some of the artists are really good artists. As is the case with the birds on my arms. The problem with this is, ten plus years and I can’t decide what color to get these damn birds. I really want them colored, but I have no concept of what color I want them. The other problem is, the original design had a banner under it but I had that taken out. However, I failed to notice the remnants of the banner ends on the inside of the tattoo. A small, but permanent mistake. I want to get the whole upper arm colored in and I hope those lines can be hidden with some wizard dust trickery, but until those check come in for being an awesome dude. I just don’t see that happening.

On the inside of my left leg I have a version of a Sailor Jerry tattoo. That is the LTD name for any tattoos that resemble the old school navy tattoos. I replaced the blonde bombshell for a Bettie Page looking lady because I was really into (and still love and admire) Bettie Page at the time. This tattoo in concept is pretty good, but I failed to realize that the artist couldn’t really draw faces that well that small. I wish I had paid more attention to that because I probably would have reconsidered it. Again, it’s a small, but permanent detail. Also, over the years the blue has kind of gotten all mushed together and some of the detail has been lost. Not sure if this is just do to age and older ink types, because I liked this tattoo a lot more when I first got it, now it just doesn’t present well. Hence why I am not naming the artist or the shop, because I still think that guy does good work, and have seen tattoos he’s done long after mine that have held up over time.

Finally, for you, my right leg. My right leg is my cosmic leg that basically just doesn’t look good anymore. Never get words tattooed really small on your body. The tattoo artists who did that part of the tattoo should have talked me out of it and redesigned it and worked with me. But he was more interested in my $50 than actually working on something cool, doing some design, taking his time and getting more money. The other stars, are basic. One is in memory of a friend of mine that passed away. She wasn’t a close friend, but it felt appropriate at the time. At this point, my idea with this leg is to get a full sleeve on it and have some of the goopey words covered up and re-do the whole cosmic thing and just get better stuff done. It’s probably another thousand dollars I am looking at, and again, if from the start I had a better grasp of what could be done, I might have already been there. I still like the concept, but the execution came off poorly. Partly it’s my fault, but it’s also the artists not wanting to take time to do exceptional work. Had I never gotten the great work at Jack Brown’s or Stay Gold, I would have never really known that this work was inferior. Further,  they are simple and there is no joy for the artists in this kind of work. It’s not that the work itself is bad, again, it’s just thoughtless. Luckily there are no holes and they healed well, but in relation to the work where both the customer (me) and the artist were dedicated, it just doesn’t stand up.

So yes, here we have the pros and cons of actual tattoo work. Maybe I was just dumb, impatient and too trusting when I was young. Sure that’s part of it, but I wouldn’t trade these, or the other experiences I have had with tattoos. I went to one tattoo artists several times just because we had good conversations. I mean if I’m going to pay to talk to someone about shit, I might as well get something cool out of it. But in all seriousness, unless yr willing to donate your money, comfort, life and the vision of your body to another person, who also has economic interests in mind, and you are willing to live a life of visible idiocy, don’t get tattoos.

On the Announcement of Lollapalooza’s 20th Anniversary Lineup

I woke up this morning and put on Krallice. You might actually know about this US Black Metal Band even if you aren’t into metal, black or otherwise. The reason you might know about them is because Nation Public Radio, or NPR as it’s now solely referred to, did a review of their new album. I’m really curious to how and why this is happening. After all, growing up, parents, teachers, peers and others looked at me like an idiot for being into Heavy Metal music. It was considered low-class and dumb, full of comic book imagery and violence. Never mind that it got me to read more, do research into alternative religions and generally made me feel good. Now, heavy metal is getting reviewed on public radio for the sweater wearing Ira Glass wanna be’s and all the Paula Poundstone innocents who like to believe they are left of center and subversive.

I get the same amount of confusion when I see that the über indie nerds over at Pitchfork start covering the LA hardcore band Trash Talk. I like Trash Talk. I think they are a pretty heavy and intense band. But, when it comes to hardcore music, they aren’t really breaking the mold. They lean towards a more palpable side of hardcore music with a slick sound, eschewing the lo-fi grit that hardcore was founded on. But the reality is, they are a pretty typical hardcore band. Why Pitchfork would even bother covering this band and giving their record a mediocre review baffles the mind. This band doesn’t have anything to offer hipsters in the world of hardcore that a myriad of other bands can’t offer them.

Clearly, this has a lot to do with the internet becoming the main source for communication these days. And we won’t talk about the economic divide which once again leaves lower-income peoples behind like always. That’s an important factor in what music gains popularity in the internet age for sure. But I am not well versed or researched enough to talk at length about that. But as information spreads easier among the internet and faster, it is also more diluted with millions of blogs and writers and critics and fan-boys like me getting hard-ons for the stupid things they like. Now, that isn’t to say that punk rock music doesn’t have some interesting things going on. There is a whole nation of bands that are popping up in smaller cities and towns that make some terrible and vicious music. It’s not pretty and it’s filled with a resigned hopelessness. Further, it’s connected not by a network of national touring and small fanzines but by personal run blogs that post the music for people to listen to. This is interesting, this subverts the mainstream, and it’s music that is, for all intent and purpose unlistenable to even the average music aficionado.

So, as I read the line up for this years, 20th anniversary edition of Lollapalooza, I laugh to myself. I remember 1991, the first year that Lollapalooza existed. I didn’t get to go, despite the show in my area being less than five miles from my house. I had to go on vacation that week. We arrived home on that Sunday night and I rolled down the windows and could hear Jane’s Addition, amplified beyond belief, cutting up the air of Fairfax, Virginia. I listened to the rest of the set from my back porch. It was that loud. Despite not being at the show and not seeing the band, I was transfixed by the power that music could have, both in its electrical amplitude and in its sure beauty.

Of course at 14, I didn’t really understand that Perry Farrell, for all his talk about self liberation and individuality was  just another cog in the corporate rock machine. Sure, it sounded a lot more idealistic and crazy than Metallica. But at the heart of it, there isn’t too much different between those bands. They were rock and roll bands. Not a movement, or part of any scene or community. At that size, they had surpassed any notions of being “alternative” even though Lollapalooza marketed itself as the alternative. The true alternative, that I would learn not too much later, was in my backyard in Washington DC. And then I would learn that it was all over the world, happening in basements and churches and other reclaimed spaces.

This didn’t stop me though for the next five years from going to Lollapalooza every summer. And I don’t have any regrets of that either. I heard ten thousand white kids scream “Fuck You, Ice Cube” as prompted. I finally got to see my beloved Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was introduced to Nick Cave and George Clinton. I saw Superchunk two nights in a row because they played at the Black Cat the night before their side stage appearance. I saw fucking Neurosis. There was also The Breeders, The Beastie Boys and Sonic Youth. These were bands worth seeing. But it was the realization, that slowly crept over me, that this was nothing more than a machine designed to sell a lifestyle and beer to kids. That lifestyle was one that I had embraced, and now it was being co-opted. Or maybe it had always been co-opted. It did, for a while, at least try to be an alternative, and in some ways it succeeded, by having a local stage, a side stage of indie acts and tents filled with information about social causes. Which back in the days before the internet was massively important. Of course those good ideas ebbed and flowed with equal rapidity.

So, 20 years later, as I look at the line-up for the three-day festival, I wonder what the point even is of calling it Lollapalooza? There is nothing remotely subversive or alternative about any of the bands on the line-up at all. None of them are DIY bands or alternative from anything that most funded media outlets report on and support. And sure, that concept is more murky what with dirty punk rock and Black Metal now being haphazardly reviewed by these neocons of music “criticism”. But really, even on Perry’s so-called side stage, Kid Cudi, a master of self loathing and women hating is featured. What’s so alternative, or even palpable and acceptable about that shit? Eminem is your headliner, so surely the gays and women are not the target market for this festival of “alternative” music. Looking at the line-up the only truly, left field weirdo band on there is Ween. Ween? That’s all you guys can come up with? I mean, don’t get me wrong, Ween is great. This isn’t a reflection on Ween, but it’s always Ween with you people. Krallice and Trash Talk would be a welcomed addition at this point.

I don’t know, maybe there is a bitterness, watching my youth being more and more run through the ringer. The older I get, the more down into the holes of off the beaten path of music I get. There’s more dissonant sounds, more vile grindcore, more black metal that’s not being covered by leftists radio conglomerates. There are vinyl records of hypnotic drone and cassette tapes of story tellers. I am actually more invested in an “alternative” to what corporations want to sell me then I was when I spoke so fervently against “the system” as a youth. For the rest of you, taking in all these festivals of music, overpriced and over saturated with more bands than you could even reasonably care about in a three-day period, I hope you enjoy it. I’ve got some Wormrot to listen to.

Dude Jams – How to Abuse Everything


Dude Jams
How To Abuse Everything
ADD Records (Currently only available on iTunes but Physical Copies Available Soon)

Punk rock history taught me that the movement, the music and the scene started with a serious desire to say fuck the man and had a bit of crass humor. At the very least, the Sex Pistols may have been all about Anarchy in the UK or they might have just been a bunch of filthy jokesters. The Ramones played fast and loud, but let’s face it, the songs were also light-hearted and amusing. The Clash didn’t really have any sense of humor in the music or on stage though, but they were still the greatest band to ever come out of England. That’s sorta besides the point. Over time, punk rock factioned off into two schools. There was the crude side of things, with songs about fucking, drinking and doing stupid shit and there was the more serious, politically minded and social conscience people. One side took to the standard set of power chords and 4/4 tempos. The other created a litany of new experiments to where, only the ideas of revolution and fighting back really stayed put (notable exceptions to this include Strike Anywhere, Anti-Flag and Rise Against, the latter two becoming major label darlings for the mall punk revolution).

Growing up, I spent some time in the drunk punk scene for a little while. It was full of a lot of beer drinking, dorky looking, working class dudes and some pretty hard looking women who were, for the most part, nearly nonexistent. It was an alright time, but it was definitely a time of excessive drinking and total thoughtless anarchy, crammed in the hours after my 9-5 job and on weekends. It all came crashing down and I quickly abandoned that scene. The music was never the point. It was mostly about hanging out with a group of friends I had at the time.

Today, punk rock is a million dollar industry. Indie bands look all glossy and pretty and it’s hard to say where so many bands get their influence from. Musically, it’s a bit more than The Ramones, but the content is even more vacant than anything I can attest to with confidence. Mostly it looks like hair cuts and make-up are the center of it all. This music, amazingly did not come out of the alcohol fuel raged of the previously mentioned working class, street punk scene. The music is more closely related to the post-punk, proto-emo of the early nineties. It’s just fueled with a lot less substance and meaning. So, it begs the question, which scene, which path really kept true to the essence of punk rock?

Dude Jams sits somewhere on the line of punk rock bands made up of dudes, playing to dudes, singing songs about dudes. Clearly, they are after all called Dude Jams. And what do they do? They pick up guitars, write songs with power chords that have a bit of a hook to them, sing about getting fucked up (i.e. songs titled “Fucked Up”), drinking too much (“Drink. Drank. Panic”) and odes to beer (“12 Pack Anthem”). There really isn’t a lot else about it. Either you have room in your life to realize that the race to the middle is all your going to get and that shit is always going to suck, or you don’t. Dude Jams, much like their brothers in Too Many Daves, chose not to wallow in the misery and sorrow, but take the down trodden truth and turn it into a celebration.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about these two bands, why they do it for me. I mean, I do genuinely like the music, it’s a mild, fast pace bit of pop-punk with funny lyrics and song titles. Part of it is a relief, a release from the worry about being unemployed, on a path to not too much and destined for a life of working until I die. There is commiseration in this music. Part of it too is that it’s all truth and no bullshit. Dude Jams is not trying to be something more than what it is. The so-called intellectual punk rock movement, those versed in political and social ideologies, made up of mostly privileged white kids from suburbs who have chosen a working class life, is filled with just as much of the base desires found in their drunk punk brethren. The difference a lot of time is expectation, language and a lot of guilt and denial. It’s still people getting fucked up, doing fucked up things and fucking. But so often these people cloud themselves in rhetoric and theory. Some of which I find valid and true, for sure. But Dude Jams, there just dudes, playing jams. It’s meant to be inclusive and accepting, even if it isn’t totally enlightened or thought to death. It might be male centric, but it’s only because it’s told from the perspective of the people making the music.

I’ve already over-thought the entire thing. This is a lot of words dedicated to a 23 minute album of mid-range, middle of the road, drunken punk rock music. I dig the music, a lot. It makes me feel okay with my mediocrity. Somehow, here in the middle, I know it’s gonna be okay. There’s always a beer or 12 at the end of any shit day. There’s always some dudes I can rely on when shit sucks. There’s always a couch to crash on when the bill collectors take everything away. In that, I know, I can always pull myself up until the day they toss the dirt over my coffin. That’s the magic of Dude Jams.

New Release from Fabrica Records

Fabrica Records Announces:
FAB04 STRNGLV Psychotropia C-30 Available Now!
STRNGLV Psychotropia C-30 $5.50Debut release on Fabrica by New Jersey solo-electro-acoustic-ambient project STRNGLV. Our first pro-dubbed release, and one we are very proud of.

The title says it all: pyschotropical-ambient noise with tribal percussion, flashes of white noise and soft rings and tones that co-mingle to create an amazing cinematic and exotic sound-scape.

Edition of 50 on pro-dubbed chrome cassette w/full color j-card

This is FAB004.

Get it here – http://fabrica.bigcartel.com/I’m a big fan of Joao’s and Fabrica records. Please change your life and get into this!

Just Some News and Updates

I am, slowly, getting over whatever deep hell infection has overtaken my body for like the last ten days. I still haven’t left my apartment and spent most of Sunday working on the KYS universe. As you may have noticed, we have a new layout. I think it highlights some of the other aspects of Korrupt Yrself Entertainment that people may have been missing. So you know, buy some zines, buy some art, read some ideology.

The other thing you will notice to the side is a drop down box where you can look at all the different types of content. It’s now also easier to search podcast episodes too. So if you need some new music or just want to hear my voice from back when i used to talk on podcasts, you can just select podcasts. You can find the few interviews easier. Etc. Etc. Here is a link to the podcasts. Get into it.

The biggest news is that Issue #6 of the zine was also laid out this weekend. In honor of that, I figured out I could put PDF’s of the old issues up on archive.org. So currently, issues 3-5 are available for download as PDF’s. There is a button up top you can click. I will announce when new issues are available. The first two issues might be a while because those I have to actually scan.

Issue 6 needs to be laid out by hand and then I need to find someone with access to a photocopier (greater Albuquerque, holler at me if you have an office job and after hours/weekend access). Once I have physical copies, issue 6 will be available for download. They look great on the Nook Color. Let me know how they work on your eReaders and Tablets and stuff. Definitely looking for feedback.

Doing PDF versions of the zine has been something I wanted to do from the start. I wanted people to have instant access in digital form as a way to cut down on paper. I will continue to do paper zines for the foreseeable future. I like the analog version, but I thought this option was a way to show that we can have our own digital publishing and we still don’t have to rely on corporations to tell us what to put on our devices.

Anyway, thanks for the support. I’m psyched that KYS has lasted this long and been this consistent with output. I really love the hell out of doing this. Take care.

Episode 23 – The Department of Short Attention Spans

This is the shortest episode of KYS Podcast Magic. It’s a grand 18:28 seconds. It can be found here.

Deceased Occupation – Wormrot
Grock – Gone to Coratoan
What’s Gone Wrong – Limp Wrist
Rations for Victory – Rations
Keep Out – Coke Bust
12 – Disciples of Chirst
High Country – Diet Cokeheads
The Snake that Eat’s It’s Own Tail – Lotus Fucker
Manic in the Grips – Trap Them
Ingerity – Token Entry
Bullshit Life – Vile Gash
Licking Evil – Lion of Judah
My Hands Are Cold – Throats
Deep – Sabertooth Zombie
Waste – SQRM
(18:26)

Totally META!

So, I’m pretty psyched at the moment. My awesome cousin Anders in Norway sent me a link to this video on youtube of Kvelertak being interviewed by fellow Nords DATAROCK. At the two-minute mark my review of the Kvelertak show here in Albuquerque gets a bit of a mention. That’s pretty awesome. Kvelertak are six dudes from Norway that play some metal-punk-rock hybrid so seamlessly. It’s a raging good time. So, if you’re looking to fly off the walls a bit and get some Viking damage done to your brain, pick up their album. The Video is down below!