We gave writer Liz Van Pay an extra week to turn in her photo for this month’s Contributors page to give her new chest tattoo time to heal. Among her numerous tattoos are one band tattoo (a black rose with a banner that reads “Outlaw Heart," in homage to Tiger Army) and two tattoos that will surely send her to hell.
I was in Honolulu loaded on rum when it really hit me what INKED is about. Earlier in the day, I had soaked up a history lesson by wandering through the city’s Chinatown area, where WWII soldiers once cruised for a tattoo, a drink, and a quick lay before shipping off to war.
TICKLED PINK Your January issue was the best you've ever done. Pink, Lemmy, Janeane Garofalo—amazing! I don't know how you do it every month, but I love it. Skyler Christensen Oakland, CA Pink is so fucking hot! Thank you for putting this girl on the cover.
NAME: Jordan OCCUPATION: guitar tech/builder HOMETOWN: Sacramento, CA My first tattoo was a grouping of music notes on my hip. Later, I had Steve’O, an artist at Something Wicked Tattoo in Roseville, CA, surround it with a betta fish, so the notes are now in the tail on the fish.
We pledge to drink more bourbon, the only liquor native to the U.S.
KNOB CREEK BOURBON
One of the best-selling small-batch bourbons, Knob Creek is aged for nine years in the centers of rack houses on a Kentucky hillside. Its sweetness helps balance its alcohol level, which is slightly higher than normal—100 proof.
Using a recipe that was formed in 1830, this rye-heavy “frontier whiskey" kicks off with a spiciness other bourbons don't have. It then rides a wave of smokiness and smoothes out the heat in a long, honeysoaked finish.
WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON
Big, toasted oak and vanilla flavors make this one of the smoother bourbons on the market. Aged for at least six years and boasting a respectable 90.4 proof, it's the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby.
JIM BEAM BLACK
The mature and refined sister to the more popular white label Jim Beam is well worth the few extra dollars. Rich, dark and fruity flavors make this one of the better bourbons for your buck.
The next time you're standing at the bar, trying to decide what to order, do your patriotic duty and order a few fingers of bourbon—the only spirit native to America. Bourbon, which must be made with at least 51 percent corn and aged a minimum of two years in charred oak barrels, is the only liquor to be recognized by the U.S.
[Liberty & Lament] Lucero frontman Ben Nichols benched his alt-country outfit for this, his first stripped-down solo release. The collection of seven tracks, based on Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, finds Nichols and his guitar strumming songs about the book's characters, including Toadvine, the misguided kid, and the ex-priest, Ben Tobin. Nichols channels each of the historic characters with lines such as, “There must be a place/Where this world and grace/ Are made to meet." The fingerpicked melody and piano rumble of “Toadvine" might be Nichols's best moment, wrestling with a character looking back at a life of violence. It's Nichols's shot at hitting somewhere between Townes Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, and he does a damn good job.
NEW FOUND GLORY Not Without a Fight
[Epitaph] New Found Glory toughed out the tsunami that swallowed Blink-182, Sum 41, and countless others, becoming one of the most beloved bands of the pop-punk wave. How did they do it? Part of the answer is NFG's hardcore roots, which add a dose of metal chug to their sugary melodies. On their seventh album (this time produced by Blink-182 alum Mark Hoppus), they stretch that sound best on “47," a pogo anthem to a missed connection with a girl who answers on the 47th call, and “I'll Never Love Again," which has an East Coast hardcore gang chorus that toughens the sentiment. The melodic “Listen to Your Friends" could have been a huge hit 10 years ago—and still might be today.
JUSTICE A Cross the Universe
[Atlantic Records] The term “French electronica" doesn't call to mind fist-pumping rock, but somehow Justice pull it off. The grinding bass lines, jacked-up kick drum, and overblown synths give the Parisian duo’s tracks a doomed overtone that even a Black Sabbath fan could appreciate. On this live album, the two musicians expand on the rumbling riffs of their debut album, Cross. Cuts such as “Genesis" and “One Minute to Midnight" thump and buzz with frantic live energy, while hits “Phantom" and “D.A.N.C.E." are expanded into multisection jams like a killer metal band taking an extended guitar solo.
THE VON BONDIES Love, Hate, And Then There’s You
[Majordomo Records] Scrappy punkers The Von Bondies literally fought their way out of Detroit's rock scene years ago. Although the group received a helping hand out of the Motor City from Jack White, the relationship ended in fisticuffs even as critics cranked the group's album Pawn Shoppe Heart and their song “C'Mon C'Mon" became the theme to Rescue Me. Four years later, the revamped Bondies are a different band. The gritty thump has been smoothed over in a sheen that recalls The Cars and even The Strokes. Jason Stollsteimer's baritone is pumped on the stop-start “Pale Bride," but it's the thundering “Earthquake," on which he deadpans, “Better not fuck with us/Who’s sorry?" that signals the Motor City boys aren't playing nice just yet.
TWO TONGUES Two Tounges
[Vagrant Records] Most songwriter collaborations wind up a mess of label bullshit and halfbaked ideas. That's why we're betting the members of Two Tongues are shocked at how perfect these songs turned out. Featuring Max Bemis and Coby Linder of Say Anything and Chris Conley and David Soloway of Saves the Day, Two Tongues is built around two of emo’s best songwriters. Bemis and Conley sound perfectly paired as they swap lines about wrecked relationships and insecurities—especially when they up the anxiety on the hook-heavy “Tremors." The biggest surprise isn't how well they work together, but just how damn danceable the tracks are. Check “Wowee Zowee," in which they sing, “I don't want to go home unless I'm not alone." Stellar.
LILY ALLEN It’s Not Me, It’s You
[Capitol Records] Call it bigmouth strikes again: It takes only three tracks of Lily Allen's second album for the bratty Brit singer to declare her boredom with drugs and dis a boyfriend who can't deliver in the sack. Allen's charm is that she sounds like she's seen it all. On opening track “Everyone's At It," a thumping look at drug culture, she deadpans, “When will we tire of putting shit up our noses? ... It's meant to be fun and this just doesn't feel right." Elsewhere, she cheerfully shuts down racism and homophobia on the sunny, piano-tinged “Fuck You.” We warned you about that mouth.
“My skin's sensitive so I wash it with warm water, no soap. I try to cover my face with a bandanna, but I've also been using this lotion."
SCHICK QUATTRO TITANIUM TRIMMER RAZOR
“I use this to stay clean-shaven. It works great, but you gotta switch the blade up pretty often to make sure you get a close shave."
VERTRA SUN RESISTANCE CREAM SPF 45
“I try to wear at least SPF 45 because the sun can be strong. This is made for surfers but it also works great when it's snowing."
SPEED STICK 24/7
“I'm not that smelly of a guy, so I don't usually wear cologne or deodorant. But when I'm going out I'll throw on some of this, just in case."
As pro snowboarder Scotty Lago's rib cage tattoo attests, whatever happens on the mountain is “In God's Hands." But that doesn't mean he leaves everything to chance. “The half-pipe is my main focus, but I love the backcountry of New Zealand and the interior of British Columbia—and the conditions are harsh," he says.
Our late night ritual revolves around beef jerky and the brilliant cartoon Metalocalypse. The second season found Dethklok, the world's biggest metal band, designing their own fashion line and battling with rival band the Revengencers, all with guest appearances from members of Dimmu Borgir and Cannibal Corpse. The two-disc DVD set ($30, adultswim. com), Includes all 18 episodes and special features that the creators have hidden on each disc. Like we needed another reason to not get off the couch.
Italian designer Simone Legno's Tokidoki line of products feature limited-edition Items that send collectors and celebs into fits. Many of his marquee characters, including a dog in a cactus costume and a teddy bear with fangs, pop up on sneakers, toys, bags, and other products that blow out of stores. This 8-inch Tokidoki plush toy ($20, strangeco. com) is Adios, a character who spent 500 years in hell before the devil cast him out for being too good. Now he wanders the earth waiting for you to collect him.
Buried among the refrigerator magnets and coffee mugs at your local art museum are typically a few killer T-shirts featuring work from famous artists. T-shirt company 2K was founded with the intent to distribute the best of these shirts from museums around the world, and the company now sells shirts featuring the work of artists such as Yoko Ono, Experimental Jetset, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The New Uwabami T-shirt ($35, 2ktshirts.com) was designed by MUSTONE, an upcoming Tokyo-based artist. We just saved you a trip downtown.
Our taste in jewelry doesn't differ that much from our taste in tattoos. Little King Ltd., a jewelry company based in New York City, makes well-crafted pieces steeped in tattoo imagery such as skulls, crowns, daggers, and spiders. This skull and signet ring ($225, littlekingjewelry.com) is made from sterling silver and coated with black rhodium. Need more glimmer? It can be customized with stones by request to match your four-finger ring. You know, the one that says “Biz Markie."
Even your mother knows everything about Kat Von D, thanks to the LA Ink star's ever-growing empire, including a TV show, concert tour, and makeup line. To get the real story, pick up High Voltage Tattoo ($28, harperdesigninternational.com), Kat's first book. The hefty tome is heavy with photos and includes an autobiography, an annotated map of her tattoos, and sections on her work, her influences, and her celebrity friends, including Bam Margera, Kerry King, and a foreword by boyfriend Nikki Sixx.
As we descend into the Great Depression 2.0, the country's financial situation is enough to make anyone nostalgic for a time before we knew—or cared—about things like the gross domestic product. That might be one of the reasons Amy Crehore's art is so welcome right about now.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 When a creepy kid named Alma sets out for revenge against a company that stole her life and forced her to deliver super-psychic babies before tossing her aside to die, It's up to you to sort out the mess. That dismembered soldier lying In pieces on the floor? Her gift to you. As a Delta Force soldier sent to arrest the president of the wayward corporation, you must gun down scores of the corporation's mercs while surviving the nightmarish onslaught of Alma's psychic outbursts. F.E.A.R. 2 replaces the stuffy office settings of the original with more open environments, which gives the super-smart foes more opportunities to take you out. Keep the lights on and use your skills to slow down time during tough encounters. And If you see a little girl, run like hell!
Warner Brothers Interactive
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 While your leg recovers from that last handrail bail, you can still find a gnarly line to shred. Skate 2 allows players to hop off their decks and move objects in the world to create dream skating scenarios. When you finally build the most deadly river-clearing jump this side of Jackass, upload it online to share with friends. The game that knocked Tony Hawk off his throne returns with double the amount of tricks—including new rail slides, foot plants, and lip tricks— securing its place as the best in hard-core skateboarding. Biting the dust on a rough rail may cost you broken bones and bloody limbs, but there is art in failure. Epic bails earn you a spot in the Thrasher Hall of Meat.
Warner Brothers Interactive
Platform: Xbox 360 No Master Chief? No problem. For Halo Wars, developers ditched the hero of the best-selling Halo series for a prequel that starts 20 years before the Mountain Dew poster boy donned his metallic green armor. Created from the ground up with console gamers in mind, Halo Wars hopes to do for real-time strategy games what Halo did for console shooters—namely, blow your mind. With an entire army featuring space marines, Warthog humvees, and Scorpion tanks at your disposal, you must smoke the Covenant off the planet and secure an alien artifact the enemy doesn't want you to have. In online fights, Arbiter fans can turn the table and control the alien technology to teach the humans a lesson in diplomacy.
Warner Brothers Interactive
Street Fighter IV
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 After dozens of spin-offs and a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie that made American Ninja seem like Casablanca, Street Fighter finally returns to prominence. Instead of going full 3-D In the style of Mortal Kombat and Tekken, Street Fighter IV stays true to the formula that bankrupted teenagers in early '90s arcades. The fighters and environments are rendered in 3-D, but the gameplay takes place on a traditional 2-D plane. All 12 of the original fighters return, including fan favorites Ryu, Chun-LI, and Guile. The game's developers also added a few select characters from other sequels, four new fighters, and a new boss named—wait for it—Seth. Sounds dangerous!
Of all the motorized toys modern man has, few incite as much reckless enthusiasm as all-terrain vehicles. For pure fun there is little to match the experience of tearing ass through wilderness trails and across desert landscapes. The latest ATVs focus on power, capability, safety, and, yes, even comfort.
Many of the world's historical treasures have been sanitized and Starbucksified until there's little personality left: Moscow’s Red Square has tchotchkehawking souvenir carts, the leaning tower of Pisa has more handrails than a nursing home, and the Great Pyramids have a freakin' laser light show.
Pro skateboarder Erik Ellington's first-ever tattoo was nearly a casualty of his INKED photo shoot. “I went bombing down a hill and slammed," the 31year-old skater recounts. “I rolled down the hill like a rag doll, scraping up my whole right side."
Chances are you're already friends with Metal Sanaz. Since launching her MySpace page In 2003, Sanaz has become a fixture on the friend lists of over 700,000 fans around the world who have helped her rack up more than two million video views for her online metal show.
The Bronx have a new album out—but you might not realize it. That's because the Los Angeles band's third album, like the two that came before it, is titled simply The Bronx. It's part of the band's plan to keep things simple—a plan that also includes recording at the group's own studio and releasing The Bronx on their own label, White Drugs.
“I've gotten to play a lot of drug addicts and hookers this year," muses actress Shirly Brener. The Bardot-esque blonde, who possesses a paradoxical mix of girl-next-door charm and femme fatale-worthy dark sensuality, revels in her distinctiveness.
Jaime king regrets her tattoos only in the middle of the night. "There have been times where I had to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning because I had to be on set two hours extra so they could cover them," she explains with a laugh. "But that's the only downside."
Hip-hop? Punk? R&B? No one can categorize this group of outcasts from upstate New York-and that's just the way they like it.
WHEN YOU’RE ONLY ONE INCH SHORTER THAN MICHAEL JORDAN AND NEARLY COVERED IN TATTOOS and piercings, it's difficult not to be an intimidating figure, but right now Gym Class Heroes' frontman Travis McCoy looks even more imposing than usual.
Against Me! frontman Tom Gabel may be happy that Barack Obama won the election, but he still thinks the world is against him.
By the time Tom Gabel created the band Against Me! at 17, the singer had already been arrested twice and inked more than once. He started the band alone with an acoustic guitar, playing on the streets of Naples, FL, before grouping with bassist Andrew Seward, guitarist James Bowman, and drummer Warren Oakes.
Graffiti legend Saber is changing the look of modern art-and your neighborhood.
THERE ISN'T A HELL OF A LOT SEPARATING THE REALMS OF TATTOOING AND GRAFFITI. BOTH methods of expression have traditionally been shrouded in secrecy, with an unavoidable stigma of taboo from the general public. And as good as you might be, to many your work will never will be anything but desecration.
INKED: What’s the current state of your shop, Last Rites? PAUL BOOTH: November 22 being my 20-year anniversary, I feel pretty good saying that, although I feel old, I'm feeling really solid. And with my new crew, it's exciting because I have the creative environment I really wanted.
Make a list of cities in the United States with a high ink-to-people ratio and you can bet that Austin, TX, will make a respectable appearance. "You can go to a lot of other big cities, but you'll still find more people with visible tattoos and sleeves in Austin," says Rock of Ages owner Jason Brooks.
NAME: Jude SHOP ASSISTANT AT: Chicago Tattoo Company, Chicago I’m definitely the newest person here. I'm the low woman on the totem pole, and holy shit do they let me know. You know how tattoo shops are. I’m the official Jamba Juice runner. I also greet and help clients, make stencils for artists, answer phones, and take payments.
The Foundation for Open Creation hosted Soul on Skin: Breast Cancer Recovery Through Tattoo Art in New York City on November 8. The event featured a breast cancer survivor fashion show, a performance by Semi Precious Weapons, and art auctions from Chris O'Donnell, Stephanie Tamez, and others.
Chicago Tattoo Co. celebrated its 35th anniversary with a blowout bash at the Old Oak Tap during the Chicago Tattoo Convention in November. Artists such as Chad Koeplinger and Steve Boltz and local tattoo nuts came out to suck down free drinks and toast the shop.
One of the most talent-packed tattoo conventions is the San Jose Convention of Tattoo Arts, hosted by Horitaka's State of Grace. Tattooers such as Jack Rudy, Oliver Peck, Shige, and others packed the floor this year, along with an art show by Horiyoshi III and live painting by Grime and Horitomo.
Element celebrated the release of the Kat Von D Collector's Series decks with an appearance by Kat Von D, Bam Margera, and Mike Vallely at the Active Ride Shop in Los Angeles. Later, Vallely's band, Revolution Mother, blew eardrums and minds with an in-store performance.
The Rock the Ink Tattoo convention in Rhode Island in October packed 50 bands, 100 tattoo artists, and thousands of sweaty fans together for a wild weekend. Killswitch Engage, Madball, Sevendust, and others rocked the crowd and a party at Red Room left them hungover.
“Something about tattooing beside the sea is great," James “Woody” Woodford says about working out of Into You Tattoo in Brighton, England, where he was born and raised. Woodford bought his first tattoo kit at 19. “I locked myself in my room and tattooed myself until some very loyal friends let me tattoo them."