Barred for Life

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More About This Title Barred for Life


Cataloging the legacy of the American punk rock pioneers Black Flag, this photo documentary uses stark, contrasting portraits to share the stories of the die-hard fans who wear the iconic four-barred logo tattooed on their skin. From doctors to homeless punks, stories range from the intensely personal to the absurd as each larger-than-life soul mugs for the camera. Adding to the idea that mixed messages can come from one unifying design, each image is highlighted with a personal quotation, a name and bio, and a Black Flag favorites list. Captured during an extensive tour through the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, this collection serves as a visual testimony to the hyper-distilled mythology that the band is more prevalent now than when it was in service, and serves as a soundtrack for those living as self-imposed cultural outsiders. Interviews with former members of the band, tattoo artists, photographers, and other relevant luminaries round out this ethnography and serve to spotlight Black Flag’s vicious live performances, forward-thinking work ethic, and indisputable reputation for acting as both champions and destroyers of the punk rock culture that they helped create.


Stewart Ebersole is a writer, photographer, freelance designer, and builder who dedicated much of his time to punk rock culture between 1982 and 2002. Jared Castaldi is a professional photographer. They both live in Philadelphia.


"While the book is packed with insightful interviews and tales from inked fans and band members, it's Castaldi's beautiful black and white photos that are most impressive, and leap kicking and screaming from the pages."  —Bizarre Magazine "Barred for Life is a book with heart. Ebersole's tome gets into the history, joys, and sorrows of the Black Flag years, landing on the one point every fan can agree on: their awesome, four-bar logo that so many have had permanently inked onto their bodies."  —"The phenomenal thing about Barred for Life is the community that exists between hardcore punks still, decades later, spanning generations and nations."  —Jeva Lange, NY Daily News

"The individual narratives collectively suggest that 'the Bars' are larger than Black Flag, symbolizing a punk rock code for standing against the establishment and being true to yourself." —Joshua Finnell, Library Journal"It’s amazing that four simple sticks can capture such a comprehensive story, but much like Black Flag did for the punk scene, Barred For Life ties it all together."  —Dan Ozzi, Jaded Punk"The black and white photos that adorn Barred For Life create an honest appeal that sets this book apart from other tattoo focused publications. The interviews add another dimension to it as well, one that adds a personal touch."  — Louie Bones, Big Wheel Magazine"This sleek heavy tome is a perfect combination of art and politics, beauty and truth, gift and emblem of history." —Chris Estey, KEPX"How 'The Bars' signify not only Black Flag's relevance three decades after their career, but the impact of punk upon those who in this collection were usually far too young to have seen a gig, makes this photographic and journalistic anthology compelling."  —John L. Murphy, Blogtrotter