Music isn't Dead: The Impact of Fan Tattoos
Music has been around for generations. Every year a new sound, new album, new song is released. Sometimes there's that certain song that will make a permanent mark on our heart, and even on our skin. Some songs you just have a connection to. Where it takes you back to remember the good times, an old fling, a battle you've overcome, or someone whose no longer with us. Music is a healer for us that most people nor medication can not fix and you just need to see an everyday reminder of that. So you get a tattoo to always bring that song or certain lyrics with you. I've reached out to six different people who have that special song that means something to them and here are their stories:
"April 1, 2014 was my first time seeing Crown The Empire live at the House
I got my first (and only at the moment) tattoo about a year ago now, done by my family’s go-to tattoo artist Rick Pugliese (Body Graffiti Tattoo). Most of my life I’ve dealt with anxiety and small bouts of depression, though up until college it went undiagnosed. I knew I handled stress differently but figured it was due to my perfectionist nature and inability to say “no” to anyone that needed my help. Knowing the underlying cause didn’t help much though, as my college courses, rigorous majors and the sudden death of my father pretty much sent it all into overdrive. While I remain a pretty composed person my head is at constant war with itself and the rest of my body just falls victim to it.
My freshman year of college I stumbled upon a free concert taking place on campus, a band at the time I had never heard of called The Wonder Years. Being a free source of entertainment on a Saturday Night and an avid music lover I showed up, and as Dan “Soupy” Campbell took the stage I felt like someone had cracked my head open and sang all the contents inside. Without knowing any of the lyrics prior to that night I found myself choked up to the point of tears. The songs they sang about anxiety, the confusion of your 20s and feeling like a complete transient with no direction, really spoke to me, and still do. I left that night with an “I’m not sad anymore” T-shirt and a newfound love of what would be my new favorite band. Over the past 5 years I’ve seen them 6 times, and I’ve seen Soupy perform his solo project “Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties” 3 times, to say I’m obsessed is an understatement. I had decided for a while that I wanted a TWY tattoo but always said that if it was going to be lyrics that I wanted it in Dan’s handwriting, no exceptions. I got that chance 2 summers ago when he performed as Aaron West at Scranton Warped. After his set, trying not to completely break down I explained, “Your album (We Don’t Have Each Other) explains how Aaron had the worst year of his life, well I recently got through the worst year of mine and The Wonder Years really was the one thing that got me through it” and then asked him if he could write something out for me for a tattoo. He was very sweet about it, humbled that I would want his handwriting, and kept assuring me that if anything needed to be tweaked or shifted or resized that my tattoo artist had every right to mess with his writing (which made me laugh.) I was fortunate enough to show him and his fiancé the finished piece at a show just a month after to which he again, thanked me for the honor and beamed with pride as he showed his fiancé his words on my skin.
These lyrics mean and will forever mean a lot to me. I know that in the grand scheme of things there is no perfect happy life, and that there are a lot of bumps in the road. These lyrics are my more logical alternative to “Cheer up, things will get better.” Sometimes it’s unrealistic to just suddenly become happy but as long as the sadness doesn’t win, I consider that a victory. It’s been a long road and I’m still walking along it, but knowing that I have The Wonder Years to comfort me through my bad days and panic attacks makes me feel much less alone.