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Stewart Dean Ebersole


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Stewart Dean Ebersole is a Marine Geologist living and working in Nyack, NY. Never one to sit in idle, Ebersole spends much of his free time traveling widely, designing and building beautiful things, photographing beautiful people, and conjuring up new-and-interesting ideas for long-term artistic endeavors. Formerly a musician, a science instructor, a welder/fabricator, a fine artist, and a street art provocateur, Ebersole’s wide range of interests, and manifestations, can be instantly attributed to his 20+ year stint in the Punk Rock subculture. “Punk Rock” since the very early 80s, the people, places and things having represented the culture allowed the more ambitious to more-or-less create their own reality as they saw fit, and Ebersole was no exception. Barred For Life, Ebersole’s first book on the topic of growing up Punk, is a testament to this culture’s ambitious beginnings, tumultuous musical and cultural changes through its timeline, its current crisis of identity, and the iconic band Black Flag’s part in the story in pictures, words, interviews, and as ink-on-skin of its die-hardiest fans.



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Barred for Life: How Black Flag’s Iconic Logo became Punk Rock’s Secret Handshake
Author and Photographer: Stewart Dean Ebersole
Additional Photographs by Jared Castaldi
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-394-9
Published April 2013
Format: Paperback
Size: 10 by 8
Page count: 320 Pages
Subjects: Music–Punk/Photography/Art–Tattoo
$24.95

Barred for Life is a photo documentary cataloging the legacy of American Punk Rock pioneers Black Flag, through stories, interviews, and photographs of diehard fans who wear their iconic logo, The Bars, conspicuously tattooed upon their skin. Author Stewart Dean Ebersole provides a personal narrative describing what made the existence of Punk Rock such an important facet in his and many other people’s lives, and the role that Black Flag’s actions and music played in soundtracking the ups-and-downs of living as self-imposed cultural outsiders.

Ebersole and photographer Jared Castaldi’s stark black-and-white portraits provide visual testimony to the thesis that Black Flag’s factual Punk-pioneering role and their hyper-distilled mythology are now more prevalent worldwide then when the band was in service. An extensive tour of the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe in the Fall of 2009 found Ebersole and Castaldi documenting dedicated fans bearing Bars-in-skin, and other Black Flag iconography. Nearly 400 “barred” fans lined up, smiled/frowned for the camera, and issued their stories for the permanent record.

Barred for Life expands its own scope by presenting interviews with former Black Flag members and some of those close to the band across their ten-year existence. Interviews with alumni Dez Cadena, Ron Reyes, Kira Roessler, Keith Morris, and Chuck Dukowski, as well as photographers, Glen E. Friedman and Ed Colver, and the man responsible for tattooing the Bars on more than a few Black Flag players, Rick Spellman, round out and spotlight aspects of Black Flag’s vicious live performances, forward thinking work ethic, and indisputable reputation for acting as both champions and iconoclastic destroyers of the Punk Rock culture they helped to create.

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
Rebel Ink
March 2014

Barred for Life (PM Press) catalogues the legacy of Punk Rock pioneers Black Flag through stories, interviews, and photographs of diehard fans who wear their iconic logo, The Bars, conspicuously tattooed on their skin. Author Stewart Ebersole provides a personal narrative describing what made the existence of Punk Rock such an important facet of his and many other people's lives and the role that Black Flag's actions and music played in soundtracking the ups and downs of living as cultural outsiders.

The paperback book includes amazing black-and-white portraits shot by Philadelphia photographer Jared Castaldi that provide visual testimony to Black Flag's Punk-pioneering role. Nearly four hundred "Barred" fans lined up, smiled/frowned for Castaldi's camera and issued their stories for the permanent record.

Barred for Life expands its own scope by presenting interviews with former Black Flag members and those closer to the band. Inside you'll find interviews with alumni Dez Cadena, Ron Reyes, Kira Roessler, Keith Morris, and Chuck Dukowski, as well as photographers Glen E. Friedman and Ed Colver, and the man responsible for tattooing The Bars on more than a few Black Flag players, Rick Spellman. Their testaments spotlight aspects of Black Flag's vicious live performances, forward-thinking work ethic, and indisputable reputation for acting as champions of the Punk Rock culture they helped to create.

Barred for Life is available for $24.95 wherever books are sold.

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Troy Denning
Tattoosday Blog
December 15th, 2013

The scope of this volume is magnificent. The number of people who are “barred for life” is staggering, just based on this sampling alone. Think of the thousands of others who have been similarly branded – where a tattoo of a band logo goes above and beyond one’s appreciation of the group itself.


That said, this is more than just a tattoo book – it’s a chronicle of a mindset, a visual exploration of a family that united around a symbol that inserted itself as a logo of a punk band, and evolved into a cultural icon.


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barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Joshua Finnell
Library Journal
August 2013

Tattoos are like a passport, a record of the roads a person has traveled over the years. They are also a publicly displayed philosophy, articulating the wearer's worldview in swirls of ink. For interviewees in this book, "the Bars"-the iconic four-barred logo of punk band Black Flag, designed by Raymond Pettibon-signify their deep connection with the punk scene. Writer and photographer (and punk fan) Ebersole, through numerous interviews and photographs, explores the ways in which this symbol is given meaning, convention, weight, and philosophical narrative by its adopters. For some the tattoo is a sign of a larger ethos; for others it signifies an awakening or turning point in their lives. In sum, 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.

VERDICT
Ebersole successfully employs the frame of Black Flag to assess the social and cultural impact of "the Bars" across countries and generations. If you have four vertical black bars tattooed somewhere on your body, you will enjoy this book.

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Kurt Morris
Razorcake
May 17th, 2013

"The interviews are great, though. But it's misleading to call them interviews. They're actually essays by the individuals with no questions interspersed. I learned things about the band and the lives of the individuals outside the band, as well as their thoughts on Black Flag all these years later. It's a shame they couldn't have been longer and included even more members. (Morris and Dukowski have talked about their time in Black Flag quite a bit, but what about Bill Stevenson or Anthony Martinez?) It's unfortunate Greg Ginn and Henry Rollins weren't included, but it's not really a surprise, either, considering their past lack of interest in giving interviews about their time in Black Flag."

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
Scanner Zine
May 13th, 2013

The whole book has a very original feel to it, mixing high quality visuals with an excellent yet understated narrative that’s laden with knowledge and comprehensive, uncluttered interviews. If Rollins’ Get In The Van is too angst-ridden and depressing, and Stevie Chick’s Spray Paint The Walls a little sterile, then this is the perfect anecdote to any faults those books may have.

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Meghan MacRae
CVLT Nation
May 23rd, 2013
I can't tell you how many people I know or have met who have inked that logo somewhere on their body. With Barred For Life, Stewart Dean Ebersole has put together a photo documentary of how Black Flag has touched people's lives - literally in the form of tattoos. Interspersed with photos of people he and photographer Jared Castaldi captured along their six years of travel in North America and abroad, Ebersole tells the story of being a punker of the 80¢s in America, and how Black Flag figured in punk rock lore of the time. The result is rad to look at and a captivating read, and also includes in-depth interviews with Dez and Chuck. I would wager at least half of you reading this have a Black Flag tattoo on you somewhere, and you know you're not alone! Check out some of the rad portraits below, and head over to the Barred For Life facebook page here and get your own copy here!

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Jonathan Valania
Phawker.com
April 19th, 2013

PHAWKER: So what made you want to do this?

STEWART EBERSOLE: Originally it started as a joke amongst friends who all had the Black Flag bars tattooed on them. I'd say since Black Flag broke up in 1986, I've probably known about 25 or 30 people with the tattoo, and zero of those 25 or 30 people don't have issues with their tattoo - fading, white blotches, bars running together etc. - so when I met up with four or five of my friends in Columbus, Ohio in 2006, to get a touch up on my bars we were all talking about this. We talked about starting a magazine where all the contributors have the bars. When we started doing some research we found people from all over the world with this tattoo, which is ironic because Black Flag as a band never really extensively toured outside of the US. They are an American band, even more so a regional band from the west coast.

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Patrick Rapa
City Paper
April 4th, 2013

Barred’s subjects, some in their 20s, many in their 30s and 40s, are all over the map when it comes to the meaning behind their tattoos. “We got far more non-Black Flag answers than we got answers about the band,” says Ebersole. “Those kinds of tattoos are, like, ‘Oh, I got wasted at the Spectrum in ’85,’” jokes Castaldi. He helped launch the Barred project, but had to bail on the big tour when he landed a day job. His photos dominate the first 80 or so pages of the book, after which Ebersole did the shooting.

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Louie Bones
Big Wheel Magazine
April 13th, 2013

Ron Reyes, Edward Colver, Glen E. Friedman, Kira Roessler, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Keith Morris and Tattoo Artist Rick Spellman shed light on what it was like around Black Flag during the bands original incarnation both on and off stage. Their inclusion make this a must have for fans of Black Flag's music and art while the hundreds of photos make this a must have for both fans of Black Flag and tattoo culture. If you love Black Flag, tattoos and Black Flag tattoos then you will need this book!
  

We highly recommend getting this book!

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Dan Ozzi
Jaded Punk
April 10th, 2013

Flipping through Barred For Life is a bit like looking through a high school yearbook. Chances are pretty good that you’ll spot someone you know, either personally or from a band/record label/venue you’re a fan of. A former member of Avail makes an appearance, as does the drummer for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and the founder of Equal Vision Records. Frank Turner is featured on the book’s final page. Some punk notables, like former Indecision and Milhouse singer, Artie Phillie, aren’t even credited as such. Everyone from 44-year-old NYU psychology professors to 25-year-old bike messengers in the UK are included. Some are self-professed bums and others are city councilmembers or Daily Show producers. Some seem to have intimate and deep connections with the logo and the band, whereas others profess to having gotten it to fit in to a scene.

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barredBarred for Life: A Review
by  John L Murphy
Blogtrotter
April 7th, 2013        

I am not sure how many have tattoos of the Bars on more inaccessible or intimate areas; the ratio of males to females here appears to balance that of those inked overall in American (and Canadian, British, and Continental) cultures where many get by as bartenders, skilled workers (or not workers!), artists, or creative or casual laborers a bit off the corporate or mainstream grids. I kept turning the pages--which mimic punk collage as you need to find your way around the text and images and odd juxtapositions--expecting to find a familiar face. While I did not, I saw people that I'd like to meet--an indication of Jared Castoldi and Ebersole's casual but approachable style behind the lens.

barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Victor Ozols
Black Book
March 12th, 2013

And so does Barred for Life. It's a book with heart. It also avoids the trap that similar single-subject photo books fall into. There's actually a narrative arc, thanks to a series of interviews with former band members (though not founder Greg Ginn or Henry Rollins) interspersed throughout, telling the story of the band and its fans.

barredBarred for Life: A Review
by Greg Pike
Vice Beta
March 2012

Like Sublime suns or Insane Clown Posse portraits, most band tattoos look like complete shit. But Black Flag transcends this rule because even the shoddiest stick ‘n’ poke versions of the punk band’s logo, four rectangular bars, somehow always look great. In fact, a chance meeting between strangers sporting time-weathered versions of the iconic bars prompted geologist Stewart Ebersole and friends to travel North America and Europe for five years shooting photos of others inked with the cult insignia for the upcoming book Barred for Life. Having a crooked and faded set of the bars myself, this compilation reminds me of how meeting others who’ve defaced themselves similarly often means meeting your new best friend or future wife.

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barredBarred for Life Release Party Event: A mention & review
By Tony Rettman
Village Voice Blog
June 23rd

Like Sublime suns or Insane Clown Posse portraits, most band tattoos look like complete shit. But Black Flag transcends this rule because even the shoddiest stick ‘n’ poke versions of the punk band’s logo, four rectangular bars, somehow always look great. In fact, a chance meeting between strangers sporting time-weathered versions of the iconic bars prompted geologist Stewart Ebersole and friends to travel North America and Europe for five years shooting photos of others inked with the cult insignia for the upcoming book Barred for Life. Having a crooked and faded set of the bars myself, this compilation reminds me of how meeting others who’ve defaced themselves similarly often means meeting your new best friend or future wife.

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