Though Tim Barry hasn’t played punk music in over a decade, he says he still identifies as a punk despite playing country music and living a more sedated lifestyle, raising his two young daughters while writing new records and touring periodically.
At 48, he knows his outward appearance can leave a certain impression on people who aren’t familiar with his folk music career or his time as the singer of Avail.
Even now as a solo artist, he says how he plays, how he tours and how he views politics and social issues are influenced by his experience as a punk rocker.
"Even on the days I decide I don’t want to have anything to do with the overly critical and judgmental punk community; I am one. I can’t get out of it," Barry said. "It’s just part of who I am."
In a city like Richmond, where other people from his generation are now raising families or working professional careers after playing in bands or embracing punk rock in their youth, tattoos can often tell people what bands you love and the way you were.
For example, Tony Foresta, who sings in the bands Municipal Waste and Iron Reagan, has a tattoo of a stick-figure carrying a flag above his foot, just like on the cover of Avail’s album Dixie.
Though inescapable from its allusion to the Confederacy, Barry said his doodle of a guy with a bare flag and the album title are meant to invoke a "lust of wanting to be home."
While talking with Foresta about the upcoming Avail reunion shows at the National later this month, he suggested writing a story just about people with tattoos commemorating the band.
He quickly followed up on an offer to make a Facebook post asking people with Avail tattoos to share photos of them, so I asked if he could also share their name and why they got that tattooed on them.
Here’s what Foresta shared with us…