Top Row: “I once shot an album for Bad Boy Records, and the whole crew got shot at by a semi-automatic machine gun,” says photographer Zach Wolfe. “My street cred went up a couple notches that day.” For this month’s issue, Wolfe shot R&B star Tweet (page 90).
When I was 15, my boss at the liquor store yelled at me for not mopping the floors. “People see my name on the sign," he spit. “So when these floors look like shit it makes me look like shit. What are we gonna do about it?" I told him to put my name on the sign and walked out.
NAME: Jessica Tong OCCUPATION: Industrial Designer HOMETOWN: New York City “I got my first tattoo when I was 17 as an act of freedom. It’s a phoenix on my back, and it was done by the late, great Todd Vargas at Village Pop, in New York City. In reaction to my first tattoo, my mother got a frog tattoo.
With the ban lifted, we peel back the myths about absinthe, the world’s most mysterious spirit, and give you the truth about the Green Fairy.
Absente has been around since before the ban. The company found a loophole by using a less bitter cousin of wormwood called "southern wormwood," which still contains thujone but is a little easier to drink than the original.
At 110 proof, this Czech Republic absinth (the Czech heritage is why this brand drops the "e") uses the highest legal amount of wormwood. Its rich licorice and anise flavors make this perfect for sipping without overpowering your palate.
The first classic version of absinthe to be sold in the United States after the ban was lifted, Lucid is a powerful 62 percent alcohol, so mix it with a little water and sugar. If you use this for your next round of body shots, you'll end up in a body bag.
SUISSE VERTE CLANDESTINE
With 72 percent alcohol, this wormwood-infused absinthe is made in the Swiss region where absinthe was invented. The green spirit turns milky when water or ice is added (a trait of most absinthes), and at this proof you should be sure to add plenty.
For a long time, absinthe was much like pot in Vancouver and health food in Alabama; it was legal for you to own and consume, but frowned upon to sell. The notorious spirit is distilled from a mixture of herbs and spices developed by the Swiss, and it's known for its high alcohol content and distinct licorice flavor.
by Dennis King (Chronicle) Poster collector Dennis King, co-author of Art of Modern Rock, complied this miniature coffee table book that contains reproductions of 200 rock ‘n’ roll posters, many featuring voluptuous vixens, sexy librarians, and alien sexpots. Most of the posters date from the '90s and feature classic artists such as Coop and Frank Kozik and their posters for shows by Social Distortion, Supersuckers, Reverend Horton Heat, and others. The collection unequivocally proves artist R. Black's theory that, “There is nothing more tempting than a scantily clad woman hawking a product." It also proves that in many cases, like U2, the poster is better than the band.
BAD SEX: WE DID IT, SO YOU WON’T HAVE TO
by The Writers of Nerve.com (Chronicle) Sometimes sex sucks. No one knows this better than the 26 writers who contributed essays to this book. For example, Steve Almond always fantasized about having his girlfriend wax his chest, thinking the pain would be “awesome, in an S&M kind of way." In reality, it left him bloody and smelling like a “giant crayon." Other highlights in this book include Neal Pollack's essay about the time he accidentally jizzed on his cat; Jonathan Ames' story of accidentally having sex with a virgin, and Sarah Hepola's tale of accidentally electrocuting herself with a vibrator. After reading about these accidents and more, the answer to the age-old riddle that's stumped everyone from Greek philosophers to Gandhi, “Is bad sex better than no sex at all?" seems obvious. Sometimes, yes.
LIKE A ROLLING STONE
by Steven Kurutz (Broadway) Just because tribute bands are imitators doesn't mean they're any less rock ‘n' roll. For this true tale about two Rolling Stones tribute acts, Sticky Fingers and the Blushing Brides, the author spent years touring with them. Along the way, Sticky Finger's “Mick" is arrested for beating up two fraternity brothers and later he fires, then rehires, several bandmates, including a “Keith" who always dresses in character, even at his day job with the NYPD. In case you forgot why tribute bands rule, this book will remind you. As Kurutz so eloquently puts it, “[They] are a happy compromise. The musicians onstage would probably rather be in Black Sabbath, and the audience would rather be at a Black Sabbath concert, but in the absence of those options, ‘Sabbra Cadabra' is a fine substitute."
TOUCH ME, I’M SICK<: THE 52 CREEPIEST LOVE SONGS YOU’VE EVER HEARD
by Tom Reynolds (Chicago Review Press) Millions of lovesick fools croon along to “Every Breath You Take" without truly picking up that the sweet-sounding lyrics are actually disturbing enough to warrant a restraining order and a shotgun. To prove the point that love songs can be scary, writer Tom Reynolds collected 52 love songs from Paul Anka to Slipknot, gave them a spin, and dissected the lyrics to gauge the creepiness factor. Sinéad O’Connor's “I Am Stretched on Your Grave" definitely sends a chill, and Motley Crue's “You're All I Need" is downright twisted (“I loved you so I set you free/l had to take your life"). There are creepy classics such as “Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and “(You're) Having My Baby," but the thought of an omnipotent Clay Aiken (as he portrays himself in “Invisible") scares us the most.
by Chuck Palahniuk (Doubleday) Only Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk could make porn this un-sexy. His ninth novel takes place on an adult film set, where XXX film star Cassie Wright is attempting to break the world record for a gang-bang—600 men in one day. There is just one problem: One of the men wanting to help Cassie reach her goal believes he is the son she gave up for adoption years ago. As he waits in the green room, he debates the pros and cons of having sex with his mom. Later, he and the other guys discover that Cassie's real goal isn't about banging 600 guys; she really wants to die in front of the camera. We won't tell you what happens at the book's, er, climax.
THE COMPLETE PIRELLI CALENDARS: 1964-2007
by Edmondo Berselli (Rizzoli) No pinup calendar impacted the world quite like Pirelli. In 1964, the Italian tire manufacturer created the sexy calendar to send business associates, and in the decades since it has become an icon, known for featuring worldfamous models and photographers. Gorgeous celebs such as Gisele Bündchen, Kate Moss, Penélope Cruz, and Selma Blair have graced the pages, and famed photographers such as Herb Ritts and Annie Leibovitz have shot for it. The exclusive calendar is only sent to a limited list of connected people so this book is your chance to see them all. The collection even includes the rare 1963 calendar the company never released.
THE CHILD BALLADS Cheekbone Hollows (Pop. 1/2 Life)
In the late '90s, singer Stewart Lupton swaggered and swayed on stage with Jonathan Fire*Eater, one of New York City's most electrifying bands. After the band's implosion the remaining members formed The Walkmen, and Lupton walked off into a supposed drug oblivion. Ten years later, the singer resurfaces with The Child Ballads. Over strumming guitars and drums from John Spencer Blues Explosion's Judah Bauer, Lupton rediscovers his slurred delivery and stream-of-conscious lyrics about transients who “huddle around puddles." And in too-cool Lupton style, he shrugs off his disappearance: “Thanks for being good to me. I'm sorry if you were scared."
Arts & Crafts
CONSTANTINES Kensington Heights
Ask any Constantines fan what the Canadian band sounds like and he's sure to say Bruce Springsteen and Fugazi. The comparison isn't totally crazy. The Constantines play blue-collar rock crashed up against D.C. post-rock, but what fans are really picking up on is the passion. They sound like they actually care about channeling something through the decibels. “Hard Feelings" builds around a twitchy riff and singer Bryan Webb's grizzled howl that “Some people's love isn't strong enough," and later the singer promises “I Will Not Sing a Hateful Song." By “Do What You Can Do," the Constantines sound like they've found a balance between what they hope for and what they can expect.
Arts & Crafts
IN FLAMES A Sense of Purpose
Heavy metal fans don't like change. Tweak your sound too much and metalheads will drop you like an unwanted stage diver (we're looking at you Metallica!). Yet over a string of albums, Sweden's In Flames have grown from grind-and-growl death metal into a band with melody. The trick is the way the band throws down a flurry of heavy riffs and pounding drums then broadsides it with melody. The metal chug of “Alias" lurches behind singer Anders Fridén's growl then opens up into the chorus. “Sober and Irrelevant" charges with wide-open drums and galloping riff. Somehow, In Flames has become one of the best metal bands on the planet—just don't tell anyone how they did it.
Arts & Crafts
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Last year, Australian weirdo Nick Cave ditched his piano for a guitar and launched Grinderman, his noisy-as-hell side project. It awoke something in Cave, and for his first album with the Bad Seeds in four years the singer sounds more like the twisted soul who sang “Stagger Lee" and less like the balladeer behind “Still in Love." Reconnected with his sinister side, Cave sneers “Night of the Lotus Eaters" and rants across “We Call Upon the Author" (which sounds like a Grinderman leftover). Elsewhere, Cave begs you to be his girl over the squelching feedback of “Lie Down Here" and slithers and moans through the sexually ominous “Today’s Lesson." The bad guy is back.
Arts & Crafts
THRICE The Alchemy Index, Vols. III & IV: Air & Earth
We cringe every time we hear the term “concept album," even when it's uttered by one of our favorite bands. So when rockers Thrice announced they would be releasing four thematic EPs built around earth, air, fire, and water, we nearly curled up in a ball. Released in pairs, the final chapter Air & Earth is Thrice at their mellowest. Think of it as part Refused, part Pink Floyd, and count on only occasional bursts of the loud rock where Thrice started. The twin set starts with Air, the louder of the two, then transitions into Earth, a mostly acoustic set built around piano, acoustic guitar, and even banjo. The noisy “Broken Lungs" and somber closer “Child of Dust" are highlights. Overly ambitious? Definitely. But still worth checking out.
Arts & Crafts
BILLY BRAGG Mr. Love & Justice
Leftie singer Billy Bragg got his start in the late '70s by standing solo on stage to sing songs about labor issues and socialism to rowdy British crowds. But in the States he's probably best known as the guy who teamed with Wilco to record leftover Woody Guthrie lyrics for the amazing Mermaid Avenue albums. On “Mr. Love & Justice," the elder statesman lays down all he's learned from the protest rallies, tours, and accolades. Backed by his band, The Blokes, Bragg sounds loose as he brings an old-time revival feel to “Sing Their Souls Back Home" and the jumpy “The Beach is Free." But later, when he bemoans the fate of political prisoners on “O Freedom," it's all business as he sings, “O Freedom what liberties are taken in thy name."
n8vandyke.com San Francisco artist Nate Van Dyke has created artwork for a wide range of companies, from Scion and Old Navy to Slayer and Bullet For My Valentine. His latest creation is Payday, a simian stick-up artist. You might recognize the gun-toting future primitive ape from the pages of Heavy Metal magazine or T-shirts from Upper Playground designed by Van Dyke. This 5.5-inch vinyl version comes with a Glock, a bag for carrying stolen loot, a pair of sneakers and a walrus mask (not shown) to ensure a clean get-away. Keep an eye out for more from Van Dyke as he just finished concept art and storyboards for Sega's new Iron Man video game.
EAST 3 MUGSY
east-3.com While most graffiti masters come up on tough inner-city streets, East 3 was raised just off the radar in Honolulu. In 1994, he was recruited by street art icon Crazy Legs and joined the legendary Rock Steady Crew. Since then, he has done design work for Rawkus Records, Adidas, and GQ. Now he's turning to toys. East and his clothing company, Anomalies, teamed with toy and fashion powerhouse Kidrobot to produce this spray-can vinyl figure, limited to 500. The 8-inch mutant comes with two markers, three cans of spray-paint, a fat gold chain and a visor. Use his swivel head to keep a sharp lookout for the cops.
strangeco.com Italian artist Simone Legno's adorable Japanese-inspired Tokidoki characters grew into an international phenomenon, popping up on purses, tote bags, and clothing. The latest additions to the Tokidoki line are Skeletrino & Skeletrina (sold separately), a new toy series from Strangeco. The story goes that after being kicked out of hell for being too good-natured, these cats and their owners are condemned to live forever on Earth. They come with cool scythe tails and the female is printed all over with the Tokidoki heart-andbones logo. Taking care of them should be easy; there's no litter box. Watch for them to pop up on a line of merchandise soon.
DJ PANDA & OFF WORLD CREATURE
mindstyle.com Chinese cartoonist Michael Lau's comic strips first popped up in Hong Kong fashion and street culture magazines and were later turned into best-selling artist figures. The latest release is destined to become one of the most sought after series ever. Lau continues his work with U.S. company MINDstyle to release a new Gardener (his name for them). The black-on-black figures are designed with a mix of matte and gloss finishes and are limited to 200 pieces. Pictured here are Off World Creature and DJ Panda. They're probably selling out everywhere while you're reading this.
<p moved="true">PAYDAY</p> <p moved="true">EAST 3 MUGSY</p> <p moved="true">TOKI CATS</p> <p moved="true">DJ PANDA & OFF WORLD CREATURE</p> —<p moved="true">Mike Supermodel</p>
This natural moisturizing salve (tattoogoo.com) doesn’t contain petrolatum or lanolin, which some say can pull the color from your new tattoo.
BLACK CAT TATTOO CLEANSER
Mild and fragrance-free, this spray soap (tattooaftercare.net) takes the sting out of that all-important cleansing step.
This non-greasy foam (h2ocean.com) helps keep your tattoo moisturized, but won’t get your clothes all greasy.
NEXCARE ABRASION COVERS
Create a breathable waterproof seal with these abrasion covers (at drugstores) that are great for protecting small pieces in the shower.
“There are about 10,000 tattoo artists in this country, and 10,000 opinions on how to care for a tattoo," says Jeff Matera, president of Lakeview Laboratories, a company that makes tattoo aftercare products. He's right; care instructions for fresh ink vary from shop to shop.
One surefire way to start a fight: tell a gearhead that the newest generation of Chevrolet Corvette might challenge the sports car supremacy of the Porsche. It's the type of argument that will probably end with a tire iron to the head. It's also true.
Ten years ago, after suffering a heart attack and undergoing a bypass surgery, Richard Goodall woke up and realized he hated working in the family textile business. All stitched up, he decided to extricate himself to open up an art gallery.
Platform: PlayStation 3 While Forza Motorsport for the Xbox 360 is now in the pole position for realistic racing games, don't count out Sony's stylish racer yet. Gran Turismo 5: Prologue is just a taste of what gamers can expect when the company unleashes the complete GT5 sometime in the future. To tide you over, Sony released this preview that includes five tracks, 50 cars ranging from Alfa Romeo to Volkswagen Golf, and 16-player online races. Racing fans who don't know the difference between a transmission and a C-clamp are better off getting into the driver's seat of arcade racers like Burnout Paradise, but grease monkeys who get off by tweaking torque won't find a better option on the PS3.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 Forget Halo. The real video game kingpin is the badass mofo who isn't afraid to beat a hooker or steal a cop car. GTA IV follows Eastern European immigrant Niko Bellic as he rises through the ranks of the underworld to make Liberty City his bitch. The redesigned city takes all its cues from New York City and Jersey City, with graphics that are switchblade sharp. The new animation system looks incredible; no two characters move the same way, so hit-and-runs are better than ever. No doubt overzealous bible thumpers and parent groups are already up in arms over this satirical ode to America's underworld. Just wait until they hear about the new drunk driving mini-game.
Platform: PlayStation 3 In this shooter, you're a near-future super soldier who shoots up a performanceenhancing drug called Nectar that hones your killer instinct while fighting for your employer, a private military contractor that just happens to be your pusher. What could go wrong? The drug will come in handy when you're surrounded by soldiers gunning for your dog tags, but if you juice too much, the hallucinations may put you down. The brain-dead AI soldiers on your team aren't much help in an intense firefight, so call some friends to help you grease baddies via the four-player online co-op play. Drugs, guns, and a crew of friends? Sounds like the last Wu-Tang Clan tour.
NBA Ballers: Chosen One
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 These days, the focus of the NBA feels less about hoops and more about pampered athletes and their arrest records, fights with front-row fans, and illegitimate children. With NBA Bailers, it's your turn to experience the luxury of living an over-the-top life on and off the court. Build a character, face off in one-on-one or two-on-two hoops against 80 NBA players and legends, then blow your cash on cars, mansions, and bling. The first next-gen version of the game features a new dribbling system and graphics so realistic you can almost see the look of disgust in Vince Carter's eyes as he realizes he's still in a New Jersey Nets jersey.
Toronto is known for its welcoming attitude (49 percent of the city’s population was born outside of Canada), and that hospitality extends to the tattoo community when Northern Ink Xposure takes over the downtown Hilton June 13 through 15.
Five years ago, just before Estonian pop singer Kerli turned 16, she asked her conservative mother to let her get a tattoo of a “little Chinese hieroglyph" on the back of her neck for a birthday present and reward for her academic prowess. “She said, “No fucking way’" Kerli remembers.
The Lower East Side was once the exclusive domain of New York City's poorest immigrants and most brazen drug dealers. Over the years, the neighborhood has been co-opted by million dollar condos, but Dr. Dave Ores (or Dr. Dave as locals have known him for 13 years), isn't beating the anti-gentrification drum.
There's something different about San Francisco scarf designer Twinkie Chan. Several things actually. First, there's the way she talks. Twinkie doesn't say things like “Look at that" and “My parents said." Instead, she says, “Take a gander" and “The parental response was."
Landing an appointment with famed New York City tattooer Seth Wood is tough. Finding him is the really hard part. Although he works a booked-solid schedule at Daredevil Tattoo and his own home studio, Wood spends more time traveling to conventions and guest spots at shops around the world, such as Invictus Custom Tattooing in Oslo and LTW in Barcelona.
Acouple of years after moving from Albany, New York, to Los Angeles, In This Moment frontwoman Maria Brink almost gave up on her dream. It was mid-2004 and she was living alone, had no friends, hated her day job, and none of the groups she called to audition for would call her back.
A LOOK AT THE LEGENDS WHO BUILT NEW YORK CITY'S HARDCORE MUSIC SCENE.
VINNIE STIGMA » AGNOSTIC FRONT
JIMMY GESTAPO » MURPHY'S LAW
PETE KOLLER » SICK OF IT ALL
CIV » GORILLA BISCUITS
JOHN "BLOODCLOT" JOSEPH » CRO-MAGS
New York City hardcore could never have been born anywhere else. The music was built in the city, for the city. It came stripped-down, muscled-up, and overloaded with all of the frantic energy and violence of the streets. It was designed to intimidate.
Shot in the head and left to die, San Francisco artist Devon Blood lived to tattoo again.
She didn't want to sleep alone. It was July 2006 and almost midnight, closing time at Sacred Tattoo in downtown Oakland, and 26-yearold tattooist Devon Blood was working on a back piece for another artist at the shop when his cell phone rang.
The former soccer “Psycho” sounds off on Rambo, Paris Hilton, Hollywood, and playing a hammer-wielding maniac.
VINNIE JONES IS A PSYCHO. It’s the nickname he earned himself as a pro soccer player, and if you had to pick just one word to describe the roles he’s pursued in his second career as a Hollywood bad-ass, “psycho” would fit the bill quite snugly. The 43-year-old British expat first came to notoriety in the ’80s.
After three years away, Atlanta singer Tweet is heating up.
IT STARTED WITH A SONG THAT MIGHT BE ABOUT MASTURBATION. It was 2002 and R&B singer Tweet [born Charlene Keys] had spent time behind the scenes as a backing/guest vocalist on a few Missy Elliot tracks before pairing with Elliot producer Timbaland.
HAWAII Meet some of our favorite artists and tour the best shops in the city, then check out our picks of what to do and where to eat, drink, and spend. A TIKI TATTOO MIKE LEDGER TATTOO KEONE NUNES SOUTH PACIFIC TATTOO CO. TNT TATTOO
When owner Robert Hackney opened A Tiki Tattoo, it effortlessly blended right in with colorful Waikiki. Unlike many of the tattoo parlors on the island, A Tiki embraces island lifestyle with its laid-back, open atmosphere and friendly staff.
“No one knew who I was when I moved to Hawaii," says Mike Ledger. “I really had to work my way up from nothing again." Originally from Farmingdale, New York, Ledger went from having a three-year waiting list to starting from scratch. “I had to prove myself and get accepted by the locals in Hawaii," he remembers.
“We worked hard to get to where we're at," says tattooist Kevin Mokuahi. “It's the quality of our work that has given us our reputation." And it's true. Located off a major road between Waikiki and North Shore, the TNT shop is not in the most tourist-driven area, but its steady client base (primarily military and surfers) proves it's worth the drive.
You might get a little claustrophobic in the small space of South Pacific, but it's worth it. Owner Thomas “Wondo” Wondoloski, a Hawaii resident for 15 years, has been tattooing for 22 years and knows tattoos well. After all, his inspiration was the late tattoo legend Asa Lee Crow III. “He was like a carnival strolling down the road.
Don't even think about asking Keone Nunes to tattoo a dagger or dolphin on you. “All I do is Hawaiian tattoos, designs inked for various cultural reasons," says Nunes. These designs (bold, geometric shapes) have names, meanings, prayers and can reflect the genealogy of the individual.
TV darling Kat Von D hosted the Musink Tattoo and Music Festival at the Orange County Fair and Exposition Center on February 22-24. Along with Kat and the artists from High Voltage, more than 200 tattooers set up shop, including Ben Wahhh, Tim Kern, Horitaka, and Clay Decker.
Who says Utah can't be a party? The fifth annual Salt Lake City International Tattoo Convention, held February 15-17 at the Salt Palace Convention Center, showcased major tattoo talent including Seth Wood, Jack Rudy, and Keone Nunes, alongside international artists such as Lal Hardy and tattooers from InkRat Tattoo (Japan), Spring Tattoo (China), and more.
Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington owns a wall of platinum records and Club Tattoo, a string of shops in Arizona. Walter "Sausage" Frank works out of the Tempe location and counts Guy Aitchison, Chris Garver, Tom Renshaw, and Deano Cook among his influences.