In 1991, Richey James Edwards, guitarist for the Manic Street Preachers, carved the words "4 Real" into his forearm with a razor blade. The wound required seventeen stitches. Richey was involved in a discussion with an NME Live Reviews Editor at the time of the cutting. He called the NME the following day to apologize and explain: "I tried talking to Steve for an hour to explain ourselves [The Manic Street Preachers]...I didn't abuse him or insult him. I just cut myself. To show that we are no gimmick, that we are pissed off. That we are for real."
Iggy Pop used cut himself onstage almost nightly when performing with The Stooges. There's long been some association of physical risk and harm with authenticity (with really meaning it) in popular music. In graphic design, the obvious visual parallel is Sagmeister's AIGA Detroit poster — though the designer was probably drawing less from music and more from art (Catherine Opie, Maria Abramovic). How do we read Sagmeister’s poster, and are there other examples in design of creators putting their bodies on the line to prove their seriousness?
In the interview below, Iggy talks about cutting himself onstage…
(around 2:00 in)