Welcome to Tattoodo's Punk Rock Week! We're celebrating everything punk this week — from some scary dudes in New Jersey to heartbroken nerds from SoCal, and everything in between. We bitched about how being a NOFX fan used to be fun and weird, but now it's just problematic. We sniffed glue with The Ramones, dove headfirst into a New York Hardcore circle pit, and went down to DC to pay homage to the progenitors of Straight Edge. Now we look back at a tradition as old as time — tour tattoos!
Going on tour is one of the most magical things one can do. There’s something about traveling around the country (or world) with your tightest friends, seeing new sights, meeting new people (and sleeping on their floors), and going to a show in a new town every night. And sometimes you get lucky and come across a tattoo artist in your travels who wants to give you free tattoos. This is how you end up with tour tattoos – matching pieces with your tour-mates that cement your shared experience for the rest of your lives.
I can’t even count how many tours I’ve been on in my life, though if I had to guess I’d say around 30. And all of them have been extremely special experiences for which I will be forever grateful and hope to never forget. And there’s one particular tour I can’t forget because I lucked into a tour tattoo.
It must have been that magical fall of 2013. I was taking Scottish pop punks The Murderburgers around the Midwest and the East Coast before ending up in Florida for Fest. The band did a few solo dates before joining up with Lipstick Homicide and Boys. On one such date in Columbia, Missouri, this dude came up to us after the show and said he was stoked as fuck and wanted us to come into his tattoo studio for free tattoos the next day.
We showed up at the shop (which despite my best efforts, I cannot recall the name of [thanks, pot-addled brain]). He showed us some pizza flash and we settled on a slice piercing the skin with the word “Rammy” in the space between. “Rammy” is Scottish slang for party. Three artists attended to the five of us, and about an hour later we all had matching tour tattoos.
We got super lucky, because normally tour tattoos are super quick pieces that end up looking not so good as they’re usually done in someone’s kitchen at 4 in the morning after a night of drinking. We are now forever bonded in tattoo ink, our friendship and shared experience cemented with sick tour tattoos.
A lot of my friends have tour tattoos, and I’ve got a few examples for you aside from my mates and I’s rammy pizzas. They aren’t the best tattoos, admittedly. But they represent a joy in life that those who have not lived it could never understand.
If this story and these pics of tour tattoos don’t make you want to quit your job and hit the road, well, I feel sorry for you.