Matt Grayson (photographer),
Rick Florino (writer)
Believe it: The Bible is better fodder for tattoo inspiration than it might seem. In fact, New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert probably wouldn't have gotten his first tattoo if it weren't for the good book. "When I was really little, my mom gave me this Bible. On the spine, there was a shield with a cross in it," he explains. "At 15, I decided to get that shield tattooed on my left calf. I went to a shop called Bruce Bart's in Florida, and the guy told me if I got permission from my mom, he'd do it. I got permission, and he tattooed that shield on me. Now, looking back at it, the cross was definitely a selling point for my mom."
These days, Gilbert is promoting New Found Glory's newest—and first for Epitaph Records—album, Not Without a Fight, which was produced by Blink-182's Mark Hoppus. "He's a good friend of ours. We wanted to work with someone who understood our band and knew where we came from," Gilbert explains. "The record is definitely energetic. The songs are straight-up rock songs. There's no bullshit or crazy effects."
Gilbert is also contemplating his next tattoo: Ariel from The Little Mermaid. His other animation-inspired tattoo is The Nightmare Before Christmas sleeve on his leg that was done by Spotlight Tattoo's Juan Puente. "On the back side, there's a huge Oogie Boogie in the clouds. In the front, there's a moon at the top of the pumpkin patch with Jack Skellington and Sally. All of the other characters, like the mayor and the mad scientist, are down around the base." The inspiration for it came from Gilbert's childhood. "When the movie came out, my older brother worked at the theater. While he was working, he'd have me come in and watch it all the time. So the tattoo has a deeper meaning than just featuring some cool Hot Topic movie on my leg."
NFG's rabid fans probably feel their band-tribute tattoos have equally deep meanings, and that doesn't surprise the band members. However, Gilbert did have his doubts about one fan's piece. "This young girl had all of our signatures tattooed on her stomach. We were like, ‘She's going to get pregnant one day, and her stomach's going to stretch out the tattoo!'" Gilbert laughs. "Sure enough, a year later she came to see us and she was pregnant."