What began as a clever way to reward its ‘dye’-hard fans has turned into a conundrum for a San Diego punk-rock band, reports Ryan Dezember in The Wall Street Journal (2/9/14). Sixteen years ago, members of Rocket from the Crypt had the band’s logo – a rocket ship blasting out of an open grave – tattooed on themselves (image). Fans who followed suit were granted free admission to their shows. It wasn’t as though the band promoted this idea. "We decided, let’s just say anyone with the tattoo gets in for free," says lead singer John Reis. "We didn’t really see this wild increase of people getting the tattoo."
Well, the band broke up in 2005, but is "now on a reunion tour" and its shows are selling out. Promoters, however, are not willing to accept tattoos for payment. The band feels bad about this, but can’t do much to help. "When we were around the first time, selling out shows was not our forte," says John. "There was usually plenty of room." Interestingly, their ever-loyal fans understand. "I feel bad for them says Graham Fahey, who has a rocket tattoo on his left forearm. "They got their dream, they’re selling out places, but they have to disappoint some of their original fans."
Matt Fish, a fan whose own band once toured with Rocket from the Crypt, decided to use the concept to promote the opening of his restaurant, Melt Bar & Grilled, by offering "a lifetime 25% discount to diners tattooed with variations of its sandwich-and-crossbones logo." "I was trying to promote the restaurant like a rock ‘n’ roll band," says Matt. The concept worked "beyond expectations as the business has added locations." "I thought maybe 25, 30 people would do it," says Matt. To date, he counts 549 sandwich-and-crossbones tattoos among his customers.