Cro-Mags/Harley's War Tattoos' Interview

This interview was made in Le Mans the 25th of June 2005.
Laureline and Manu have met Harley.

How did you get into tattoos?

I got my first tattoo when I was 15 years old. It was the Budweiser can.

Why did you get into them?
Well when I was a kid I used to draw tattoos on my body. My father had tattoos but I don't remember him cause he went to prison when I was very young, but in the back of my brain I remember. My chest was my third tattoo; I got them all within two months, my chest and the dragon.

It was different back then, not everybody had tattoos, you were a subculture. You were not part of the rest of society, only outcasts, criminals and hooligans did tattoos. You were pretty much a rebel. I left home when I was young at 13. Tattoos were like maturing, like saying " I'm a man ", you run from home, you get tattooed, that's where life starts. (Laugh)

Which one do you prefer and why?
I prefer my back, it does not have the best art work, but its me and my woman. Of course I was younger then and in better shape. Its us and death is coming and I am giving him the finger. Its my last act of defiance, "Fuck You" to death, I don't give fuck I'm ready for the end.

Which one is your last one?
This one, my back and its not finished.

Which one hurt the most?
Either this one (back), or the back of my head.

Do you have any ideas for new ones?
I got more ideas than I know what to do with, I'm gonna have to slow down, I'm gonna have to start to do tattoos again to get rid of all the ideas.

Which tattoo artists have impressed you?
My favourite was Craig Irons but he passed away a long time ago. My first one was by Bob Roberts, he's one of the originators, one of the old school legends. There's so many good tattoo artists now out there that its like asking what is your favourite band? There are new artists every day, young people. There's more to it than art, I don't give fuck about tattoos, everybody has tattoos. It's the person that makes the tattoo cool. I have a friend that has a tattoo on his chest that says "I eat pussy", very stupid tattoo. He's got "Worship shit" written backwards, they're all jail tattoos. Its not the tattoo, it's the person. When I see a person with tattoos walking down the street I don't feel like I got anything to do with them, I don't give a fuck. It's the person that makes the tattoo, not the tattoo that makes the person. People forgot that, people get tattoos cause they think if they get it they make the person, you're still a fucking poser. Tattoos used to mean something, now they mean they are fashionable that's not to say though don't get a tattoo. But I tell you now, if I didn't have them I'd still get them ...but maybe I wouldn't cause everybody now in order to be part of the hardcore club, the hardcore scene, the cool guy crew, you have to have a tattoo. You know what, I was cool before I had tattoos. You know what I'm saying? That's how its gotta be. The tattoos, that shit don't matter. It's the person that makes the tattoos. The tattoo doesn't come to life if the person doesn't have spirit.

Do you see correlation between music and tattoos?
Fuck yeah look at Ozzy, everybody. (Laugh)

Is the new rise of tattoos a fashion or a breath of air for body culture?
Fashion. There's gonna be a lot of funny looking people in 20 years. (Laugh)
Bunch of fucking old women with tattooed titties down to here, old men. I'm gonna look as funny as fuck man. I can't wait to see myself in about 30 yrs. My kids are gonna be laughing at me. Haha!

Do you a have message for kids that are gonna get tattoos?
Yeah think about what you're gonna get for a long time, cause once you get it, its for life. You don't wanna walk around in 5 years from now looking like an asshole. You know how many people I know that when they were skinheads they thought it was cool to get a fucking swastika and shit like that? Now that they are a little bit older and smarter they don't know why the fuck they did it. Or some idiot that goes to get his face tattooed cause its the cool thing to do that week. Guess what? For the rest of your life you're never gonna get a fucking job, so unless you're independently wealthy or unless you plan on being a bum your whole fucking life, think about what you do. That's my message to the young people, think about what you do you stupid fucking children motherfuckers. Think about what you do, life is short. You have to use some intelligence because life is short, you have to get the most from it.

Thank you for answering the questions!
My pleasure.

Interview Laureline & Manu
Traduction Manu

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