Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hang the DJ

I met Rohan on a Brooklyn-bound A train.

He has "thirteen or fourteen" tattoos, and he offered up this one from his right arm:

The phrase "Hang the DJ" refers to lyrics sung by Morrissey when he was with The Smiths.

I was only on the train with him for two stops, so I didn't get a full explanation of the tattoo until later, when Rohan e-mailed me:
I got this tattoo for several reasons - first and foremost I love The Smiths and their music changed the way I viewed myself against the social and cultural backdrop that we're all in. I thought a jukebox with the lyrics "Hang the DJ", the refrain from the song "Panic", was ironic.

The jukebox is what allows all of us to be the DJ and in "Panic", Morrissey is singing about how the music the DJ is playing means nothing to him and his life, and I share that sentiment with most of what I hear. The tattoo is sort of an encapsulation of how I feel about rock and roll and how certain bands and certain songs can, when they're really good and really honest, mean a lot more than just entertainment value.
The tattoo was inked by Dusty Neal in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is currently working at Donny Manco's New Republic Tattoo.

UPDATE: I exchange a few e-mails with the artist Dusty Neal after this posted and he remembered doing this tattoo very early on in his career as an artist. He wanted me to clarify this point, and to communicate that he feels that his art has developed to the point that this piece does not best represent his work as a tattooer. A look at photos of his work on MySpace here certainly showcases some amazing tattoos. Dusty encourages people to check out his current endeavors and, with all due respect to Rohan and the tattoo in this post, judge his talents based on what he has done more recently, and not early on in his career.

Thanks again to Rohan for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

As a little bonus, here is the video from "Panic" by the Smiths:

1 comment:

Punkerdad said...

Very cool. Nvere was much of a Smiths fan, but his explanation of the tattoo is really well thought out.