Remembering Mike Conley

Hello from Tattoosday.

Thanks to Nathan for allowing me to contribute directly to KnuckleTattoos.com!

I wanted to share an interesting story involving knuckle tattoos that appeared originally, an an expanded form, here on Tattoosday.

In early October,  I met Joel, a writer and a marketing director for an artist management and development company.

Joel couldn’t tell me how many tattoos he has (he has that many), but he did share two of them with me, one of which appears across four of his knuckles.

This is one of his more recent tattoos, and one of his most important:


It’s an interesting and unusual take on the knuckle tattoo. Rather than the 4×4 knuckle piece, it’s a 2×2, with the letters “M” and “C” on the right hand and the numbers “5” and “9” on the left. When the fists come together, the MC 59 display, representing Mike Conley and the year 1959, when Mike was born.


Joel described Mike as his best friend, who died tragically in February of this year after falling and hitting his head in a parking lot of a Chicago motel. Mike introduced Joel to the work of Charles Bukowski and Jack Kerouac, and to the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. He was the owner of The Avalon Bar in Costa Mesa, California. I could see the sadness in the eyes of Joel, as he recalled the friend that was taken from life
too soon. Joel said “I’m never gonna be over it.”

This was inked by Hek at HB Tattoo in Huntington Beach.

I learned later, by visiting the Mike Conley Family Memorial Fund website, that Mike was a founding member of the Southern California punk band M.I.A. (Not to be confused with the hip hop artist of the same name.)

I encourage folks to visit the website and, if so moved, to make a donation. There are links to some nice articles about Mike and his influence on the music scene.

Once again, I’d like to thank Joel for his contribution to Tattoosday and, subsequently, KnuckleTattoos.com.

I look forward to contributing more knuckle art, freshly photographed, from the streets of New York City in the future.