What is this? Read on.....
Last week I met Joel, a writer and a marketing director for an artist management and development company.
Joel couldn't tell me how many tattoos he has (he has that many), but he did share two of them with me.
The first is posted above and, despite being a little blurry in the photo, this small piece is an early band logo. In fact, Joel informed me that it was the first tattoo ever inked in honor of the band Linkin Park, one of the first acts to achieve a massive audience with their blend of hard rock
Joel explains that, in September 2000, he was travelling with the relatively obscure band in Utah, working as a driver and director of merchandising. They were touring just prior to the release of their breakthrough album Hybrid Theory.
Tattoos are often road maps for one's personal history and this tiny Linkin Park tattoo marks that moment in time.
More important to Joel, however, is this, one of his more recent tattoos:
It's an interesting and unusual take on the knuckle tattoo. Rather than the 4x4 knuckle piece, it's a 2x2, with the letters "M" and "C" on the right hand and the numbers "5" and "9" on the left. When the fists come together, the MC 59 display, representing Mike Conley and the year 1959, when Mike was born.
Joel described Mike as his best friend, who died tragically in February of this year after falling and hitting his head in a parking lot of a Chicago motel. Mike introduced Joel to the work of Charles Bukowski and Jack Kerouac, and to the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. He was the owner of The Avalon Bar in Costa Mesa, California. I could see the sadness in the eyes of Joel, as he recalled the friend that was taken from life
too soon. Joel said "I'm never gonna be over it."
This was inked by Hek at HB Tattoo in Huntington Beach.
I learned later, by visiting the Mike Conley Family Memorial Fund website, that Mike was a founding member of the Southern California punk band M.I.A. (Not to be confused with the hip hop artist of the same name.)
I encourage folks to visit the website and, if so moved, to make a donation. There are links to some nice articles about Mike and his influence on the music scene.
Thanks to Joel for sharing his tattoos with us here at Tattoosday. And our condolences to Mike Conley's family and friends who lost so much when he was taken at such an early age.