It’s been quite a while since my last tattoo – even longer since my last full-on tattoo post…

On Saturday I found myself in Rob Jarrett’s chair again over at 2Ton Tattoo Gallery in Kingsport, this time to add the most important piece to the ska half-sleeve: The Reel Big Fish piece!

First of all, Reel Big Fish acted as my intro to ska when I was in the 4th/5th grade when I saw them perform “Everything Sucks” on MTV’s Spring Break special. Questions in my head ran like insanity – “Why does he play guitar like that?,” “Why does this band have horns, are they classical?,” “Why is this music so much FUN?,” and most importantly – and a question they have asked themselves via the title of one of their albums, “Why Do They Rock So Hard?” It took me the entire summer to finally figure out who they were and, of all places, I found “Turn the Radio Off” at Wal*Mart. My sister and I sang “Snoop Dog Baby” all the way to Myrtle Beach that summer and my life hasn’t been the same ever since. And while I listened to them and No Doubt at such an early age – and though RBF uses the word in several song lyrics – I didn’t know the term “ska” until I was in high school and started finding out about other bands like Less Than Jake, the Specials, the Voodoo Glow Skulls and Catch 22. While I didn’t know the name of the genre for several years, there’s no doubt that ska has been a hugely influential force in my life.

So when it came time to put together a ska half-sleeve, there was no doubt that Reel Big Fish would have a prominent spot on my arm. I’ve had the pleasure (and displeasure in some cases) of seeing others’ RBF tattoos via their Myspace and Facebook profiles and took away several ideas from them. What I learned was most people get the “angry” fish design – and the majority of them got the traditional black and white. There were a few folks, however, who ventured out of safety and added color to their fish, some even adding features such as a cigar and in one instance, a nose. I, too, wanted the fish, but I also wanted it to be in color with no added features save for some water to hold him up – it reflects the water holding up the swan on the opposite side of my arm. Hours of debating with myself on a color scheme were finally put to rest when I climbed into the chair and we got started on my favorite tattoo thus far.

What follows are the source image, the sketch Rob made for me, and the finished product. As always, however, haters are certainly going to “hate” and some have already started talking smack about it after it got uploaded to RBF’s fan tattoos photo album – but I’ve also included a screen shot of someone very important who digs it: observe-



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