Disfiguring Yourself for Your Favorite Musician

Why you shouldn't cut off your ear, and probably shouldn't get a tattoo, either

Jared Leto
Hey crazy fan, Jared Leto hears you loud and clear!. Nicolas Genin, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

I'm sure all rock stars get a wide range of gifts from adoring fans, and I bet those gifts run the range from very nice to very sweet to very sincere to very bizarre. But how often are those gifts bizarre and disgusting?

In the case of Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto, his latest gift both of those. You see, someone sent him a severed human ear.

Now, OK, that's pretty weird and deranged and whatever, and it's probably a sign that the fan involved is more than a little twisted and needs serious help. But what does it say about Leto that he took said ear, put it on a string and made a necklace out of it?

If you think I'm making this all up, then I will post a link to the photo that Leto shared of the severed ear - on the string - on his Instagram at the end of this sentence (but note that I have done my due diligence by warning you that should you click said link, I'll not be held responsible for nightmares or loss of lunch).

Honestly, I'm hoping that it's some sort of viral stunt to help launch a new song, video, or even some new Jared Leto cologne for men that will have the girls chopping themselves up in order to be close to you - you know that sort of thing. Anything is better than the idea that somebody is so devoted to a musician that they have disfigured themselves to express it.

Which brings us to another thought - what is the proper way to show devotion to a musician you really dig? Is it chopping off a body part to show how much a band really means to you the way to go? Probably not. And by probably not, I mean no, it's absolutely not. If you think otherwise, you need to talk to someone, and by someone, I don't mean that creepy dude with the close-set eyes and the Black Sabbath t-shirt who works at the mall food court. He'll think it was "pretty cool." And he's wrong. About almost everything.

If you want to permanently disfigure yourself to show what a big fan of a band you are, you could always go the route of getting a tattoo of the band's name or logo. But there are some serious things to consider before you take that route - in fact, there are even more things to consider before chopping one's own ear off because the simple answer to that one is that you shouldn't.

Do I Really Want to Wear this Band's Logo on My Body for the Rest of My Life? ​

This is a serious thing to consider. When I think of all the bands that have been my absolute favorite at any given moment, enough so that I would consider getting them tattooed on my body, there are only a few that I still like enough that I wouldn't be embarrassed to show off their names - perhaps the Ramones, Clash, maybe Valient Thorr (Great Lakes Thorriers represent!), and that's probably about it. If you get a band's name tattooed on your bod, you run the risk of being a billboard for that band for the rest of your life, no matter what happens to them. They could get really douchey at some point (how many old school Alkaline Trio fans are sporting the heart and skull and regret it now?), or even worse, they could turn out to have some sort of sordid revelation and be convicted of some sort of grievous crime, and you'll always be associated with that. Are there any Gary Glitter tattoos out there? We'll probably never know, as those people (wisely) keep them hidden.

Can I Afford to Have it Done Well? ​

If you've ultimately decided that you're going to get some ink in order to show brokeNCYDE that you'll be a devotee of their crunkcore madness for life, then you probably didn't ask yourself the previous question. But if you did and somehow came up with a "yes," then you owe it to yourself to have it done well. And that costs money. Don't skimp, and get it done well. There are tons of old school punks with bad Black Flag logos because they didn't go see a good (which usually means expensive) tattoo artist in order to get the job done right. And sloppy tattoos are sloppy tattoos. They're never cool, and they're almost insulting to the bands in question.

If You're Getting Lyrics, Have Them Proofread

If you've decided that some lyrics are so meaningful and so life-altering that you must get them emblazoned upon your skin, write them down. Look at them. Make sure they're spelled right. Show them to someone else (and not the food court guy I mentioned before because he can't spell either) and have them proofread them. The interwebs have a famous photo of a tattoo where a girl who was a big Goo Goo Dolls fan got the line "You bleed just to know your alive" tattooed on her skin. There are two things wrong with this. One, it's a Goo Goo Dolls tattoo! And two, well if you don't know what two is, you shouldn't get words on your body. And you should retake remedial English.

Do I Want to Have a Career?

If you reached this far into the conversation with yourself and you're still thinking about getting a tattoo of a band you like, then think about the fact that you may want to work somewhere other than a Waffle House or Hot Topic someday. That means getting the tattoo somewhere other than your face, neck or hands. Nobody wants to buy insurance from someone whose hand has the name of some screamo band that was huge for 15 minutes in 2011. They'll know that this insurance agent just is not cool. And if you want anything out of an insurance agent, it's the knowledge that they're cool.

OK, hopefully, I have talked you out of your righteous ink job for a band you just discovered on Facebook 15 minutes ago. If not, there are safer ways to flash your adoration for a while. Write their name on your notebook, tennis shoes, locker, whatever. Decide if you want to be associated with them that way. Or even better, buy one of their t-shirts. At least that way, you'll be showing them you dig them, as well as putting some money in their pockets.

Whatever you do, don't chop off a body part. It's gross and, hey, it's been done. Pretty soon we'll have people one-upping this by sending whole severed limbs, and that's not something we really need. Artists on tour don't have space in the van for that stuff and never mind the fact that tour buses smell bad as it is.