A few of the poems in Front Man reference first tattoos and the meanings and reasons behind getting tattoos. One of the poems specifically references the ficticious front man getting a Clash tattoo, the cover of London Calling, on his forearm. That poem and some of the others have sometimes prompted people at readings to ask me if I have tattoos.
I actually have four of them-two on my upper left arm, one on the upper right arm, and a pretty big one on my right leg. Most of the tattoos were inked on me during my punk rock days, but all of them having meaning. Though I don’t have a specific Clash tattoo, I do have a few punk rock band tattoos, including two Hot Water Music-inspired ones and one of the inconic Lawrence Arms logo-the hourglass with the bat wings/time flies symbol.
So that then poses the question by people, Will you regret those music tattoos when you are older? Maybe my answer will change when I’m 55, but for right now, I don’t foresee any regrets.
Truth be told, some of my best memories are of punk rock shows, like the time I saw the Lawrence Arms for the first time at the cramped basement hall at the First Unitarian Church in Philly, when they opened for Against Me! a number of years ago. Those bands and shows remind me of being young and raising my voice with best friends to sing along with some of our favorite songs. And still, to this day, as soon as I hear Brendan Kelly or Chuck Ragan’s raspy voices roar over the crunch of power chords, I feel good.