It’s 2017 and to get out of my writer’s block funk and to increase the content on this blog, I decided to branch out beyond just albums and concert reviews and also get more personal. Today I’ll be discussing my music-related tattoos.
The art of tatooing has been around for thousands of years. The more commercialized forms of tattooing we see today is still somewhat stigmatized and considered especially taboo for women. I’m a firm believer in one’s own body autonomy and that anyone can modify themselves however they want regardless of gender. For some young people it can be a sign of rebellion and a way to show that they’ve broken free from their parents at 18. Some people get tattoos solely because they like the image or design at the time. And for others, myself included, each tattoo represents an important piece of themselves and tattoos become a written history on their bodies. While I will never judge someone’s reasons to get a tattoo, tattoos with stories and especially fandom connections are the most significant and interesting for me personally.
I currently have 8 tattoos on my body. Since my very first tattoo in 2010 till today, there hasn’t been a single tattoo that I regret. Each of them signify a significant achievement in my life or something I am proud of, be it a movement, ideology or fandom. Even if I get older and may not necessarily agree or like what I have tatooed on me, it will be a reminder of my journey in life and where I was at the time of that tattoo and how much I have grown as a person. No apologies. No regrets.
I currently have 4 music related tattoos which I will share below.
The first ever musician whose music connected deep to my core was Amanda Palmer. Like most fans, I began by listening to a few albums and then found myself following all her social media on which she is very active. Like any musician, her style changes with each new album, but the woman behind the lyrics inspires me every day with how she connects with the world and her fans. I have seen her perform 3 times and twice I got to meet her in person after her shows. It took me almost 2 years to decide on what sort of tribute to Amanda I want on my body and on my birthday in February 2010 I went in and got her signature eyes on my back. It was also my first EVER tattoo so I was especially nervous about doing her justice. Amanda is also the type of performer who wants to know her fans personally and will sign and hug each and every person after each gig. After the gig in November 2010, Amanda had “personalized” my tattoo and now I have a full Amanda face to be proud of. While I do not like every single one of her songs equally or agree with all her decisions as a person, her art has shaped me to be the person I am today. I’ve also been very lucky to meet some of the most incredibly kind and wonderful people through her fandom and will be eternally grateful for her existence.
My most painful tattoos have been my feet and I choose those quite deliberately. The music of Trent Reznor and Maynard James Keenan and their various bands (Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, etc) have always spoken directly to my dark side which I battle with almost on a daily basis. Their music reaches into the darkest parts of me and soothes those demons. To take a metaphor and make it literal, they “ground me” when it need it most and thus they are represented on my feet. These have also been the most painful tattoos since the skin on the feet is the most sensitive and that had also been a conscious choice.
Lastly and most recently in my collection of music tattoos, after having seen Aurelio Voltaire in concert 3 times and not only fallen in love with his music, but with him, I decided it was time to permanently show that love. Not only does he write wonderful music which brightens up even the darkest days, but having met him, I’ve see the kind and generous soul who also embraces his own darkness and goth style much like myself. I’ve found a kindred spirit in the music and the person behind the glamorous musician. So just last week shortly after Voltaire’s 50th birthday and close to my own 29th, I decided to add more permanent “goth” to myself that’s not just disposable clothing or makeup. In such way I am embracing myself in a world where often alternative people aren’t always accepted.
Finally, semi-related to music, I also added more “gothness” by adding bats to my head not only because they are cute but also because of Voltaire’s song “Raised by Bats” and further embracing my weirdness and choosing to celebrate it.
What music related tattoos will I get in the future? I have no idea. I usually dwell on a tattoo for a long time considering design, colours, size and placement. I have many more musicians who mean a lot to me but it’s always tough to choose good representation. Song lyrics are a popular choice among fans but I find that to be unstable as favourite songs change and new albums are always being put out. So who know? I would certainly like something to represent my love for IAMX and Placebo next but I haven’t decided what.