By Scott Sterling
“We have a lot of matching tattoos,” begins Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace while removing her shoes to reveal her newest ink to the Radio.com cameras. For the latest episode of Radio.com Essentials, Grace, along with guitarist James Bowman, put some context behind some of their more interesting and often personal tattoos.
For over a decade the Florida punk rock band has been collecting tattoos from various artists as they’ve toured the country and have finally reached the point at which blank canvas is hard to find.
“James actually gave me my first tattoo,” explained Grace. The “stick and poke” tattoo, which has since been covered up, featured the logo of English punk band Crass, popular in the late 70’s. Bowman admits he may have been drinking during the process. He tattooed the image backwards.
Without dwelling on the cover-ups, Grace jumped right into revealing her brand new ink, which she points out are by far the most painful tattoos she’s ever received. Covered in an intricate design, each of her feet took more than ten hours to complete. Japanese artist Kenji Alucky, who created the art, is famous among the tattoo community for his incredibly detailed pointillism.
Speaking of the sheer pain of being tattooed on her heel and Achilles tendon, Grace recalled, “I was on a yoga table, just like gripping it… every muscle in my body tensed, trying not to freak out. I thought I was going to pass out at various points.”
As it turns out, the string of random numbers on the inside of her wrist weren’t random at all as Grace explained. At the time, her theory was if her guitar was to ever be stolen she would simply roll up her cuffs to reveal the instrument’s series number. The thief would have no choice but to concede it was hers.
Growing up touring and spending months on end together, Grace and Bowman share some interesting tattoos. Case and point, a pair of brightly colored flying snakes. Why flying snakes? “It’s a flying snake!” exclaims Bowman. “It’s pretty bad-ass.”