Following the success of 1991's Nevermind, Kurt Cobain and producer Steve Albini wanted to make a record that predated polished, commercial sounding tracks like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" that took over the radio and launched Nirvana to success. By this time, Cobain was struggling with fame. At its core In Utero was Cobain's departure from what the band had accomplished. The album set the tone for his death.
Along with two other stores in in the U.S., yesterday Long Beach's Fingerprints Records celebrated In Utero by giving away free tattoos to whoever purchased the reissue of the album. Not only was everyone receiving identical permanent imprints on their skin, they were getting the Nevermind logo for buying In Uetro. Most customers didn't seem to notice. A free tattoo is a free tattoo; am I right?
Maya Lynne, a customer who received the free ink, saw the positive aspects of sharing the exact same tattoo with 50 people from the Long Beach area. "I think it's cool; it makes it feel like a little community," she said. Lynne, who was sporting an N'SYNC t-shirt and acid washed high waisted denim, seemed to be a complete product of the '90s. She makes her own jewelry from bullets and sells it and puts out a zine that highlights drug use and partying, which she described as "rachet."
Most current college students cannot possibly have a vivid memory of when these albums first came out, because they were babies. These albums, however, can still mean something. Lynne's recently been getting into Nirvana's debut album Bleach. Fingerprints let her buy the reissue of that album, which came out a few years ago, to get her tattoo. "In Utero is my favorite," she said. "Bleach is a close second. I love Nevermind, but it's not my favorite. I don't mind having that logo."
Lynne already had one Nirvana tattoo on her wrist, so she decided to get the Smiley face logo on here ankle. Yesterday, the most popular tattoo placements were on the wrist and on the ankle. One customer, however, decided to get the tattoo on their butt. This was many people's first tattoo.
The day before the free tattoos, Fingerprints held a concert where local cover band, Dick The Citizen played In Utero in entirety. The band's bassist Anthony Shadduck said he not only felt that Nirvana influenced him to write his own songs, but that he wanted to make a band to commemorate Nirvana and other '90s rock groups. "Nirvana is always a seminal part of our setlist," Shaddock said, "Without the Nirvana tunes, I don't know what we'd do." The band smashed their instruments on stage as part of the show
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To Shaddock, who didn't get the tattoo, Nirvana is a band that transcends the generation X era. "They are the most important band in my musical development," Shaddock said. "In Uetro is so important to me."