Barred For Life in Library Journal

Barred for Life: How Black Flag’s Iconic Logo became Punk Rock’s Secret Handshake

by Joshua Finnell
Library Journal
August 2013

Tattoos are like a passport, a record of the roads a person has traveled over the years. They are also a publicly displayed philosophy, articulating the wearer’s worldview in swirls of ink. For interviewees in this book, “the Bars”-the iconic four-barred logo of punk band Black Flag, designed by Raymond Pettibon-signify their deep connection with the punk scene. Writer and photographer (and punk fan) Ebersole, through numerous interviews and photographs, explores the ways in which this symbol is given meaning, convention, weight, and philosophical narrative by its adopters. For some the tattoo is a sign of a larger ethos; for others it signifies an awakening or turning point in their lives. In sum, the individual narratives collectively suggest that “the Bars” are larger than Black Flag, symbolizing a punk rock code for standing against the establishment and being true to yourself.

Ebersole successfully employs the frame of Black Flag to assess the social and cultural impact of “the Bars” across countries and generations. If you have four vertical black bars tattooed somewhere on your body, you will enjoy this book.

Back to Stewart Dean Ebersole’s Author Page | Back to Jared Castaldi’s Artist Page