Welcome back to Ink Spotted, a feature in which Eater talks to DC's tattooed chefs and gets the stories behind their most intriguing ink.
- "This was my first tattoo on my arm, so I wanted to get one that my parents couldn’t get too upset about. It’s based on a photo of my father, who was in the Air Force at the time."
- "Elaine is my mother’s middle name and the flowers are Black-eyed Susans, which are the state flower of Maryland."
- "Marines often get a sailor style tat that says 'Death before dishonor' with a dagger through the heart. Death before decaf was a tongue in cheek way of me getting a coffee-related piece that also referenced tattoo culture."
- "Stretch Out and Wait” is a song by the Smiths, but I didn’t want a tattoo that was obviously a Smiths reference."
- "The phrase 'Where are you tonight?' comes from a Blink-182 song, which is about Star Wars. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd."
- "It’s taken from the cover of Daniel Johnston’s album Hi, How Are You? He’s really weird; a quintessential tortured soul."
- "It’s a line from a Jawbreaker song, which reminds me to be myself no matter what’s going on in my life."
"I have a lot of band tattoos," admits Kris Fulton, the café manager at Baltimore’s Lamill Coffee inside the Four Seasons Hotel. There are pieces that reference the Smiths, Blink-182, Jawbreaker, and Daniel Johnston.
One piece of a giant lightning bolt shattering the Capitol Building is taken from DC hardcore band Bad Brains’ 1982 debut. Fulton grew up in between the District and Baltimore and fell for music at the same time that the group was gaining popularity. "They're all African-American, which was surprising for a band like that at that time," he says. "They went into an environment that they weren’t used to or familiar with, then made it their own thing and shaped it."
There's one clarification that he has to offer up about this tat on a regular basis. "It’s not anti-American," he says. "When I was first getting tattooed, I wasn’t thinking outside the process of getting tattooed and looking tattooed; I wasn’t thinking about what symbols might mean or be perceived by a lot of people."
But why so many band-focused tats in general? "Music has been a huge part of my life," says Fulton. "Tattoos are a yearbook of my life."
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