by Craig HIavaty
April 10th, 2013
Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m., tattooed Black Flag disciples are encouraged to stop by Vinal Edge in the Heights for sweaty fellowship with their fellow “barred” brethren to celebrate the release of Stewart Dean Ebersole’s Barred for Life: How Black Flag’s Iconic Logo Became Punk Rock’s Secret Handshake.
The book looks at people who have tattooed Black Flag’s iconic four bars logo onto their skin, whether it be on their neck, hands, bicep, or ankle. I have even seen the bars inside a gal’s lower lip.
According to Flag history, the bars were Raymond Pettibon’s idea after the band changed their name from Panic. As the band’s in-house graphic designer, he also created their iconic album art, posters, and flyers, and he also happened to be guitarist Greg Ginn’s brother.
(Wanna know a fun semi-secret about Fred Durst, from Limp Bizkit? He’s got the bars inked onto one of his index fingers. How do I know? I met him in 2010 at a Buzzfest meet-and-greet on a lark with Buxton’s Chris Wise, and Durst noticed my bars near my left wrist and decided to show me that he also had the bars. I shit you all not.)
Ebersole’s work began on the book years back when he first spread word that he was looking to photograph the bars on punker skin in the wild. Along the way he also asked fans to tell their stories behind their tattoos, which he compiled into the book, which you can get on Amazon.
Saturday at Vinal Edge, Hates drummer and occasional Rocks Off contributor David Ensminger will be shooting video and taking pictures of the festivities. The Barred project will continue on, even now after the book has been released. Ensminger helped edit Barred for Life for PM Press, and has a Black Flag tattoo himself, natch.
He’s also singing and playing drums in Black Flag cover band My War, which features members of 500 Megatons of Boogie and Super Dragon. Locals Ex-Girlfriends will also be performing.