June 19, 2013

Barred For Life: How Black Flag’s Iconic Logo Became Punk Rock’s Secret Handshake


JadedPunk.com posted a great review of the new book "Barred For Life", a pictorial history of Black Flag bars tattoos around the world. 

Excerpt is below, click through for the full review.

If you’re reading this, chances are pretty good that you have a Black Flag bars tattoo. And you probably think it makes you pretty special, huh? Well, bad news: It doesn’t. Thousands of people have The Bars permanently branded on their flesh. Tens of thousands, even. It’s arguably the most common music-related tattoo out there. But is it more meaningful than just a tattoo? Barred For Life is a book that seeks an answer to that question.

The 8x10” book features interviews with all Black Flag members except for two who declined: Henry Rollins, who was probably busy doing deadlifts and Greg Ginn, who was probably too high to answer the phone. The interviews give some insights into the background of the band which, if you’re enough of a fan of the band to read this book, chances are you’ve heard before. But the band members’ reflections on the tattoo and the logo itself are uncharted territory for most Black Flag aficionados and are most relevant to the crux of the book’s story.

Barred For Life is held together by the personal narrative of the author, Stewart Dean Ebersole, who reflects on Black Flag, The Bars, and the meaning of the Punk Rock movement. (His capitalizations, not ours.) While not uninteresting, it is a distraction from the book’s main eye candy: Dozens and dozens of black and white photos of people with their Bars tattoos and their brief thoughts on it. Each subject is asked for the following: name, age, location, occupation, favorite singer, favorite song, favorite album (amazingly, someone said Family Man), and what the band/logo means to them. Through hundreds of pages of these featurettes, we get a comprehensive picture of what kind of people get The Bars tattoo. And the answer is all kinds.

Click through for the full book review.