A forearm with the words “she’s a sunrise” tattooed in the lead singer of Bad Sun’s messy handwriting, with jean material in the background of the picture.

A Permanent Love for Music

By Jessie Bonner
Music Journalist

Tattoos and music are both phenomenal ways in which people can express themselves. In many cases they both go perfectly hand-in-hand. I asked several people about their tattoos and what they meant to them. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Amber

A tattoo on the back of an arm above the elbow of a large ship coming out of a heart.
A tattoo inspired by the song “Amber” by 311. Photo by Jessie Bonner.

This tattoo belongs to yours truly. I got it in May of this year, right after finals ended. It was inspired by the song “Amber” by 311. The tattoo is an illustration of my favorite line in the song and is probably one of my favorite song lyrics ever: “launched a thousand ships in my heart, so easy.”

I absolutely love this entire song, but this line in particular is so wonderful to me because every time I hear it I can almost personally feel the love Nick Hexum, the lead singer, has in his voice as he sings. I love to sing my heart out to this song in my car and I always ask my friends “Can you imagine how much he must have loved whoever this song is about?” Why wouldn’t I want such a positive feeling illustrated on my body forever?

2. The Hatchet Man

A fully shaded-in tattoo of the Hatchet Man logo for Psychopathic Records on a man’s forearm. The logo is a little man running with a hatchet in his hand.
A tattoo of the logo of hip-hop focused record label Psychopathic Records. Photo by Jeremy DePinto.

Jeremy DePinto, 42, got this tattoo in 2002. We met in Colorado while I was on a road trip with my friends, one of which is his daughter. The Hatchet Man is the symbol for the record label Psychopathic Records, which is focused on hip-hop music.

The method he went about getting this tattoo done is pretty funny. Back in 2002, smartphones weren’t widely used and available, so “When [he] went to get it…they photocopied [his] friend’s and traced it.” When he got it done, the tattoo, to him, “meant attacking the world head on and not taking any [crap] from anybody.” Now, he says, “It’s just a part of my history.”

3. Scary Love

A tattoo on a forearm of a dagger going through a heart made of chains, with three drops coming off of the end of the dagger.
A tattoo inspired by the band The Neighbourhood, especially their song “Scary Love”. Photo by Selena Romero.

This tattoo is one that I absolutely love as I am a huge fan of the band this is for as well. It belongs to Selena Romero, 23, from Austin, Texas. We went to high school together for a few years before she graduated, and we both attend many of the same concerts in Austin.

She had this done in May of 2017 as a tribute to the song “Scary Love” by, “The best band in the world, The Neighbourhood.” When I asked Selena how many times she has seen them live, she said, “Honestly, I’ve lost count.” She even traveled to Europe with her friends and had the opportunity to see about half of their shows there.

4. Bionic

A tattoo of a woman’s head on the outer calf area of a woman’s leg. Half of the head is gears and metalwork, and the other half is normal, and the woman is wearing bright red lipstick and has purple hair pulled into two buns on either side of her head.
A tattoo inspired by Christina Aguilera’s album “Bionic”. Photo by Dianne Weiss.

Dianne Weiss, 44, loved the cover of Christina Aguilera’s Bionic album. She “isn’t a fan of pop, but the album spoke to [her].” She stated that Christina’s face on the cover was beautiful, but she gave her purple hair for the tattoo, “because [she’s] not a huge fan of blondes.”

5. Bel Air

A tattoo with the words “Bel Air” written in cursive on the top of a forearm. The arm has a black beaded bracelet and a gold bracelet and there are grass and leaves in the background.
A tattoo inspired by the song “Bel Air” by Lana Del Rey. Photo by Tiffani Goddard.

Tiffani Goddard, 23, got her tattoo in the winter of 2015, a week before her little sister came home from her treatment for an eating disorder. Her younger sister, Tori, “had been struggling with an eating disorder…and had relapsed and had to go back to treatment. She [was] gone for five months,” and it was very hard on Tiffani.

The song “Bel Air” by Lana Del Rey, “always brought [her] to a place of solitude.” One line in the song, “Gargoyles standing in front of your gate,” illustrated for her how the eating disorder had controlled her little sister so much that Tiffani felt she couldn’t reach out and help her.

Another line, “I’ve been waiting to meet you,” gave her more “peace and reassurance that everything would be okay…and [they] would be able to rebuild [their] friendship and strong bond”. The main message of this tattoo is a reminder “that there will always be a way to get back to [Tori] and that her eating disorder will not win.”

All of these tattoos have some kind of special meaning to each person I interviewed, and I loved being able to see all these different pieces of art and hearing the stories behind them. This really goes to show how much of an impact music and musicians have on people, and that’s just one reason music is such an important part of so many people’s lives.

Featured image by Julia Railey.

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