I listened to Dashboard Confessional's 2001 album The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most last night in full and thought back to the first time I saw singer Chris Carrabba on "MTV Unplugged" in 2002. He stood at the mic, gripping his sunburst Gibson acoustic with a red-white-and-blue wristband, each arm covered from wrist upward in tattoos. To me at age 12, it was cool, but also kinda frightening.
And now, at age 25, that's pretty much still my view on tattoos, sleeve tats especially. They look cool -- there's even a Dashboard lyric about this that Chris sings to open up that very show -- but I have my reservations.
You're probably braver than me. You probably aren't scared of ink and probably even have one or two or 20 tattoos. Or maybe you're planning on getting more as a New Year's resolution. If you're thinking about it, here's where to look for INKspiration.
Obviously, INKspo icon Ed can help you reach your true potential as a giant canvas for colorful ketchup, paw-print and snowflake tattoos (and, yeah, gigantic lion heads across your chest if you want). You can check out Ed's ink on our interactive tat map (though he's added a few more since then).
Let JB be your goal for when you want one full sleeve and one half sleeve -- and also want to get potential album titles splayed across your stomach. Oh, we have a Bieber interactive tat map, too, because the world needs it.
In September, we talked about Liam's latest ink -- including a banner on his wrist that reads "we are the quiet ones" and an eagle on the back of his hand -- and hypothesized it was the foundation for an upcoming sleeve. A few months later, Payno's tats have crept upward, though we can't see quite how far (yet).
If you're going for that comic-book edge, do what Zayn did: Get "ZAP!" tattooed on your forearm. And then get the rest of your arm covered in cool designs and cartoonish hands with their fingers crossed because you're only young once.
Back in my day, John Mayer was an unambiguous guitar-based pop star with a few strategically placed tattoos that read "HOME" and "LIFE" and one on the inside of his right forearm. You could see it on the Heavier Things album cover.
And then I woke up one day and he had a really bright sleeve and I was like, alright, this is the world we live in now. It took a while, but I'm cool with it. You should be, too.
What part of Travis Barker's body isn't tattooed? I'm sure a very select few people in the world know the answer to that question. So, take your pick. You'll surely find some INKspo wherever you look.
No one rocks a white tee with a slight hole under the left armpit like Adam Levine. Whether he's sitting in the red chair on "The Voice" or getting sugar-bombed on the street, he looks cool always in part because of his serious sleeve action. And there's more where that came from.
Cher Lloyd doesn't have a proper sleeve, but she has a cool stash of inner-arm tats and some other stray ones positioned in such a way that she can easily hide them, should the occasion call for it. That would be my move, too, for when I go visit my grandma.
The Green Day leader is now a married 43-year-old father of Joseph Armstrong, who plays drums in the punk band SWMRS. And whenever he needs to engage in some serious father-son bonding time -- say, tossing a baseball around -- he still looks cool as hell with his sleeve tats. Ultimate dad goals? Sure.
Once upon a time, twin Good Charlotte maestros Benji and Joel Madden were easy to tell apart. Joel was the clean-cut frontman with a faux-hawk, and Benji had all the tats and a wild, cartoonishly punk haircut.
But times change, bands break up and then get back together, and brothers grow older and simultaneously become indistinct from each other. With their matching goatees and sleeve tats, the bros remind me of the silent killer cousins from "Breaking Bad," or maybe twin Heisenbergs? And that's actually pretty cool.
Deadmau5 is kind of a wild dude, as evident by his string of Twitter feuds that he said are over with now. But that wildness plays into his tattoos, especially the 8-bit space invader on his neck. His sleeve, though, is where you just may find your next divine INKspiration.