Top row: Photographer Travis Shinn originally planned to be a tattoo artist. These days, he gets tattooed by Jeff Rassier at Black Heart Tattoo in San Francisco. “I have too many tattoos to name,” he explains. “But over the weekend my wife and I got black hearts put on our ring fingers for Valentine's Day.” For this month’s issue, Shinn shot Viper Room owner Harry Morton (“It's a Hard Rock Life,” page 70).
Los Angeles is a hideous monster, but only if you stare it in the face. You have to be smart to avoid its teeth and get out of there with your soul intact. Meet the city’s gaze and you're going down. To get by, you can’t get caught up. Check out the paparazzi from the corner of your eye.
MUSIC NOTES Thank you for the Mastodon piece in the new issue [March 2009]. For someone who is a die-hard fan, that was great to see! The music that’s out there today is mostly emo bullshit, and Mastodon is the hidden little gem that keeps me going!
NAME: Elizabeth Holloway OCCUPATION: Graphic designer HOMETOWN: Los Angeles The day I turned 18 I hit Ancient Tattoo Studio in Blacksburg, VA, where I went to college, with the drawing of what I wanted in my hand. They kind of stared at me, wide-eyed, when I told them I wanted it on both sides of my ribs.
When it comes to blending in, nothing beats vodka.
Vox has been distilling vodka for over 400 years, so they know what they’re doing. Distilled five times and made with wheat grain, which provides some subtle earthy undertones, this ultra-premium spirit is smooth enough to drink with just a little ice.
Made in Schiedam, Holland, Ketel One gets its name from the “Distilleerketel #1 ” copper pot that is used to make this small-batch spirit. Afterward, the vodka is filtered through charcoal to give it a crisp, clean quality.
Distilled six times, made from 100 percent corn, and filtered through active carbon, Tito’s Handmade has won the World Spirits Competition by using old-fashioned pot stills— wh ich are normally used for single malt scotches and cognacs.
CRYSTAL HEAD This vodka comes in a skull-shaped bottle and is touted by Dan Aykroyd. It’s distilled four times using pure Newfoundland water and filtered through 500-million-year-old Herkimer diamonds, which inexplicably gives it a smooth finish.
Vodka, that crisp, clear liquid that goes well with almost anything, is an anomaly in the spirits world. While beer brewers brag about “flavorful hops,” scotch makers flaunt notes of “rich oak,” and rum distillers mention the word “spicy,” vodka’s only goal is to have as little flavor as possible (unless, of course, it's flavored—which is an entirely different discussion).
LEFT ALONE Left Alone [Hellcat Records] Toss a quarter in California and you're likely to hit a street-punk band that loves The Clash and denim vests. So what makes Left Alone stand out? Maybe It’s the way the L.A. trio’s ragtag tunes swerve between frantic punk, jittery ska, and even twangy roots rock that helps them avoid creating the three-chord bore of their peers. The best example on their latest album Is “Bottles of Wine,” a drunken heartbreaker with sincere vocals (not a hint of a sneer!) that sounds more like straight rock ‘n’ roll than anything else they’ve done. Elsewhere, they skank within the boundaries of West Coast punk, like on “Branded,” a snarling blast of Rancid-style rock, and “Low Fidelity,” a ska-infused ode to reggae.
CHILDREN Hard Times Hanging at the End of the World
CHILDREN Hard Times Hanging at the End of the World [Kemado Records] It takes roughly seven minutes of the debut album by New York City prog-trash headbangers Children before the riffs (and the hair!) truly fly. The moment happens halfway through the first songyes, seven minutes gets you only halfway through “Advance Mind Control”— when the guitar chugs, the drums gallop, and a lead that sounds lifted right out of Kirk Hammett’s songbook (circa ’83) comes gliding over the top. While most modern metal gets multltracked Into tedium, Children play fast and loose, which aids their throwback sound. Put on “Time Is the Living,” a nlne-mlnute rlfffest, while you sew another Overkill patch on your denim jacket.
EARTH CRISIS To the Death
EARTH CRISIS To the Death [Century Media] Straight-edge vegan militants Earth Crisis were once mighty riff monsters and their early albums, Destroy the Machines and Gomorrah’s Season Ends, are hardcore classics. Then they put out a glossy disappointment (Slither) and an odd covers album before breaking up. Now re-formed, Earth Crisis sound more energized and pissed off than ever before. On “To Ashes,” singer Karl Buechner barks, “Until every meth lab Is burned to ashes” over the chugging riff. “Security Threat” uses a brutal riff and a clever sample to make the point that drug dealers kill more than terrorists before the track dissolves Into an Insane breakdown that will destroy dance floors. It’s a surprising comeback.
PEACHES I Feel Cream [XL Recordings] Peaches’s 2000 album, The Teaches of Peaches, was a perverted romp that sat on your face and refused to move. It started like a trip to the corner porn store, sexy and fun—but four albums later Peaches runs the risk of having us ask, Can we go now? So how does the former schoolteacher avoid It? She switches up her beats and smooths out her sound just a bit, as evidenced on the dlsco-tlnged title track, “1 Feel Cream,” and the Goldfrapp-lsh “Lose You." That’s not to say she Isn't flexing her sexual appetite. On “Trick or Treat,” with Its grinding beats and groans, she boasts that she never goes to bed “without a piece of raw meat,” while the raucous guitar of “Show Stopper” and the lascivious “Mommy Complex” are classic Peaches.
LADY SOVEREIGN Jigsaw
LADY SOVEREIGN Jigsaw [Midget/EMI] Pint-sized British MC Lady Sovereign Is barely taller than a boombox, but she’s still one of the U.K.’s mouthlest exports. On her latest, Sovereign still spits about boozing, getting high, and being a street urchin from Chalk Hill. Beyond that, the album Is a huge leap for Sovereign, showing her more melodic and Introspective then ever. The title track, a Uly Allen-esque song about a boy, gets the Sovereign treatment—a stolen car and too much booze—while “So Human" builds around a brilliant sample from The Cure. The fresh garage beats and lines like “I'm talking slow like a turtle/l’ve had too much herbal” show that British hiphop Is breaking new ground that U.S. hip-hop hasn’t discovered yet.
KING KHAN AND THE SHRINES
KING KHAN AND THE SHRINES What Is?! [Vice Records] Wild goofball King Khan plays sweaty souled-out rock ‘n’ roll that has won him fans In the Black Lips and at least one punch In the mouth from a member of Mastodon. His 2007 album, What Is?!, has long been considered the crown jewel of his Klnks-meets-Stooges psychedelic racket, and Is available In the U.S. for the first time courtesy of the Vice empire. Guitars blaze, horns pulse, and Khan steers the tightly wound tracks, most of which center on women. “Take a Little Bit" hip-shakes like San Francisco circa '69 with a tambourine, organ, and blown-out guitars, while “Land of the Freak” Is a horn-filled foot-stomper that flatout rocks. The tender ballad “Welfare Bread” Is still Khan’s finest moment.
($20, drugstores) These high-tech-looking vials (hers is purple, his is blue) hold lubricants that create extra excitement when combined.
Good ol' fashion foreplay is getting help this spring with a slew of new personal lubricants featuring benefits like “tingling,” “warming,” and even “melting.” Our interest piqued, we asked sex expert Joanna Angel of BurningAngel.com to weigh in.
WWE: Legends of Wrestlemania [THQ] Platforms: Xbox 360, P53 With WWE television ratings getting body-slammed by mixed martial arts, Vince McMahon’s sweaty male soap opera heads for the shelter of the glory years. Legends of Wrestlemania steeps itself in the ring of retro wrestling, delivering authentic wrestler introductions and videos chronicling classic bouts to jar your nostalgia. Players can relive classic steel cage matches, rewrite wrestling history by reversing memorable victories, and redefine the pantheon of hall of famers by creating their own menacing man-child to take on the likes of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Junkyard Dog. The simplified arcade controls and occasional aid from your wrestling manager guarantee that even if you can't tell Ravishing Rick Rude from Ric Flair, you can still suplex your way to victory.
Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena [Atari] Platforms: Xbox 360, P53, PC When you sully your action hero reputation with a dud like The Pacifier, you need a comeback. Vin Diesel finds his in this remake of Escape From Butcher Bay, one of the few licensed games that surpasses the quality of its film counterpart. Relive Riddick’s thrilling prison break with improved graphics, sharper enemy Al, and a new campaign that finds our muscle-bound hero fighting for his life on a pirate space vessel. Armed with only a hairpin and his “eyeshine” night vision, Riddick must sneak through the ship, steal weapons, and take out his captors. Think you’re a badass after escaping? Assume the role of the escaped convict Riddick in the new Pitch Black multiplayer mode. Armed with only your night vision and Ulak Blades, you must take out the 11 armed soldiers gunning for your blood.
Guitar Hero: Metallica
Guitar Hero: Metallica [Neversoft] Platforms: Xbox 360, Wii, P53, PSE Long before the group therapy sessions, Metallica melted faces with scorching riffs. Guitar Hero further immortalizes the quartet with this comprehensive collection of killer songs accompanied by photos and videos that chronicle the band’s rise to metal-god status. The set list digs deeper into Metallica’s career, featuring heavy shredders like “Orion,” “Seek and Destroy,” and “Creeping Death." Nodding to Lars Ulrich’s thundering drum style, the game supports double-pedal bass drums in the new Expert Plus difficulty and features motion-capture animations of the current band. (Sorry! No Cliff Burton or Jason Newsted.) Metallica also pays homage to bands they admire by including songs from Kyuss, Motörhead, The Sword, and others. It gave us whiplash!
MadWorld [SEGA] Platform: Wii Think the Wii is just for kids? Tell that to MadWorld. Some games simply glorify violence; MadWorld creates a temple of gory worship filled with bloodletting, bone cracking, and dismemberment. This Itchy and Scratchy meets The Running Man comedic send-up of violence stars Jack, a contestant on an ultraviolent television show. Jack shows off his killer instinct by impaling punks with street signs, torching soldiers with jet engines, and decapitating ninjas with his chainsaw to earn a shot at the big boss. In this violent playground, the environment is Jack’s best weapon—neon signs, casino slot machines, and even trumpets become instruments of death as you dispatch goons. It’s a bloody good time. —Matt Bertz
Flipping through photos of gorgeous tattoos is one way to get inspired for your next piece—or jealous about the piece you don’t have yet. The Mammoth Book of Tattoos ($20, newwavetattoo. co.uk), edited by New Wave Tattoo’s Lai Hardy, includes over 500 photos of tattoos from nearly 80 artists around the planet. It’s an envy-inducing look at tattoos, from small pieces to bodysuits, by artists such as Bob Tyrrell, Paul Booth, Wido de Marval, Phil Kyle, and Thomas Hooper. We found our next four pieces in it—and three more after that.
The DB Pure SE shoe
Long before tattooer Darren Brass relocated to Florida to join the team on Miami Ink, he was hitting the New York streets to skate and bomb graffiti. For his collaboration with DC Shoes, Brass channeled those city streets for a line that includes two men’s and two women’s shoes, two hoodies, and a New Era cap. The DB Pure SE shoe ($80, dcshoes.com) features a graffiti-covered subway car and a cracked concrete pattern on the shoe’s leather, designed to simulate the city sidewalks. The DGT rubber sole keeps your board in control so you don’t tattoo your head with any road rash.
Designer Heyltje Rose is known for making amazing hand-tooled leather seats for award-winning motorcycles. Each design is sculpted to your seat pan and can be made out of materials like cowhide, stingray, or alligator hide, then dyed, distressed, and studded to your liking. Don't own a bike? The company also makes bags, wallets, and other accessories. Try this Charlatan Belt ($400, heyltjerose.com). The buckle is carved out of wax, then cast in bronze, and the belt is vegetable-tanned cowhide. It will hold up your jeans on a killer Harley or in an old Hyundai.
giant Kid Robot
The world of South African artist Kronk (a.k.a. Kris Hewitt) is bright and filled with weird bears, twisted birds, and, now and then, a robot. And who doesn't like an ice-cream-eating Yeti blasting big air on a snowboard? Kronk collaborated with toy giant Kid Robot for this limited-edition Dunny ($75, kidrobot.com), a chopslicking beastie with strange birds on his head that sums up Kronk perfectly. Think this is weird? Check out Kronk’s previous collaboration with Kid Robot—a gingerbread Dunny with a maniacal grin and a killer spatula.
Somehow, between writing about tattoos and getting tattooed, INKED editor Jason Buhrmester wrote his first novel. Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery ($14, randomhouse.com) follows four kids who rip off Led Zeppelin in 1973. (The band really was robbed of $203,000. The crime was never solved.) The book’s main knuckleheads plot the robbery and get tangled up with con artists from a Christian motorcycle gang to a funk band called the New York Giants. Think That '70s Show meets Ocean’s Eleven and you’re on the right track.
Brian Morris has just gotten his first haircut in two years, going from metalhead to skate punk in one shearing. He’s also contemplating the death of the leader of his art collective. “I’ve been in several collectives but they all failed,” he says.
The streets of any major metropolis are more clogged than your arteries (seriously, lay off the fried food!). So the smartest and bravest drivers In cities from New York City to Dubai have figured out that scooters are the best way to cut through the gridlock.
How does this sound for a perfect summer weekend? Get tattooed, see a burlesque show, watch garage rock godfathers The Sonics perform, and go ghost hunting on an ocean liner. Get to Long Beach, CA, June 5-7 and you could live that weekend at the Ink-N-Iron Tattoo and Kustom Culture Festival, hosted on the Queen Mary, a retired ship from the 1930s.
When Orange County hardcore band Eighteen Visions ended their 11-year run in 2007, frontman James Hart had mixed feelings. He was disappointed but excited by the prospect of starting anew. Since the 2004 album Obsession, Hart had been pushing the band in a more hard rock direction, and some members had pushed back.
“The thing about fads is that they'll come and go,” says L.A.-via-Brooklyn jewelry maker Rich Sandomeno. “But I'm into shit that’s gonna last forever. Even the work boots I own have lasted me 15 years.” Whether it’s footwear, the engines he rebuilt during his former career as an industrial diesel mechanic, his handmade Spragwerks jewelry line, or his extensive tattoo collection, Sandomeno knows a thing or two about what’s built to last—a sensibility that was forged early on by his blue-collar upbringing.
Music producer Shondrae Crawford, a.k.a. Bangladesh, is known for creating beats so original that they sometimes cause a problem—no one can rhyme to them. “I never thought of my sound as that unique,” admits the 30-year-old music producer.
Imagine you’re a Hollywood hairstylist working on a movie with Colin Farrell, whose hair you’ve been shampooing, blow-drying, and keeping reasonably coiffed for weeks. When the time comes that Farrell needs a cut, would you go near the boozy bigmouth with a pair of scissors?
The spiked hair and eyeliner are gone, but former Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle’s attitude is still front and center with her new band, Spinnerette.
In the heart of New York City, Brody Dalle wails into the microphone. Her kohl-rimmed eyes squeeze shut, her black hair, coated with sweat, sticks to her face, and her ruby red lips open to let out a wrenching scream: “They say this is the city/The city of angels/All I see is dead wings.
A LOOK AT THE FACES-AND TATTOOED BODIES-THAT ARE RESHAPING THE LOOK OF HOLLYWOOD.
After parts in The Big Lebowski and Just My Luck, Bree Turner is about to break out—as Katherine Heigl’s wingwoman in this summer’s The Ugly Truth. INKED: Tell us about your first tattoo. BREE TURNER: I got my first one—an abstract figure of a dancer on my ankle—when I was 16.
The self-proclaimed “most known unknown person in Hollywood” has appeared in everything from ER and CSI to He’s Just Not That Into You and Gran Torino. With five movies on the horizon, he won’t be unknown for long. INKED: How did you land such a plum role in Gran Torino?
Thanks to roles on The L Word, Gossip Girl, and the forthcoming gross-out horror film Sutures, Kate French is about to blow up. INKED: Your parents were both models who met on a modeling job-and you began your career as a model. Was it inevitable?
The blood-sucking vampire from Twilight on wanting more tattoos, causing trouble in boarding school, and dealing with rabid groupies. INKED: How many tattoos do you have? JACKSON RATHBONE: I only have one right now, but I definitely plan on getting more.
From Terminator 3 and The L Word to steamy PDAs with rock star Pink and actress Michelle Rodriguez, Kristanna Loken, the gorgeous star of the upcoming National Lampoon's The Legend of Awesomest Maximus and Janjaweed, proves she is, and always will be, a woman on top.
As the crystal meth-cooking, bad-decision-making derelict Matt on Nip/Tuck, John Hensley has given a fresh face to family dysfunction. He checks in from the Mondrian Hotel to tell us about his ink. INKED: Your Nip/Tuck character, Matt, does some questionable things.
We’ll be lining up with everyone else this summer to see the long-awaited bigscreen version of Land of the Lost. But it’s not because of Will Ferrell—it’s to see Eve Mauro, who’s about to play the hottest Pakuni Woman in cinematic history.
Millionaire playboy Harry Morton doesn’t want to be called another Hollywood heir. He turned the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino into our favorite bender destination and did it while avoiding the paparazzi lifestyle. (Well, except for that one relationship with Lindsay Lohan.) Now he plans to reshape L.A. nightlife, starting with the Viper Room. We look forward to stumbling out.
Here’s the problem: There are four shots of tequila on the table in front of me and I need to choose one. Not just any one, but the right one. It’s a rare rainy Friday night in Los Angeles and I’m three beers deep into dinner with millionaire playboy Harry Morton at his Century City Pink Taco Mexican restaurant, one of three he’s opened in the U.S. The first, of course, is the flagship Pink Taco that sits just inside the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the Las Vegas hotel that Morton and his father built up and then sold in 2006 for $770 million, the success coming in no small part from Harry’s ability to shape the perfect party.
From Lord of the Rings to Lost to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Dominic Monaghan knows how to score some serious geek cred. Just don’t mention Dr. Who.
Remember your first tattoo? Maybe you took a few tentative trips to the local shop before you committed. Or maybe you woke up in a tub of ice with no memory of who or what it is that you now have scrawled across your chest. Regardless of your story, odds are Dominic Monaghan has you beat.
INKED: How did tattooing become a part of your life? MARK MAHONEY: I used to hang around with a greaser gang in my neighborhood. We were in Massachusetts so tattooing was illegal, and the guys would go to Rhode Island to get tattooed. I was maybe 14 and going down there with the older guys.
In downtown Nashville, a clean, customer-friendly tattoo parlor doing quality work seems about as likely as tattooists writing a business proposal to open up shop next to accountants and architects. But that's exactly what Black 13 Tattoo artist and owner Josh Woods and his business partner, Doy Gardner, did.
NAME: Kristin Gunn SHOP ASSISTANT AT: Southside Tattoo, Austin, TX Hell yes, I get free tattoos. Although, being married to an artist I get free tattoos anyway. Sometimes he tells me no, like when I wanted the inside of my lip tattooed. The Continental Club, an Austin landmark, is right next door.
The Saints and Sinners Lounge in Santa Monica, CA, is one of our favorite West Coast watering holes. Somehow through all of the wild bashes, the club has survived three years. The locals and regulars recently celebrated the anniversary with a killer party that we're sorry we missed.
The Glamour Garage salon and tattoo shop opened their newest location in Brooklyn. To celebrate, the Glamour Garage folks, INKED, Layrite Pomade, and Pabst Blue Ribbon threw a party deejayed by Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes, featuring a performance by the Suicide Girls and a fashion show.
Tattoo artists from around the globe got down in the Down Under for the Sydney Tattoo and Body Art Expo. Over 12,000 ink fans hit the Sydney Showground to check out eight bands, a burlesque show, and 130plus artists from around the world, including a large showing by some of Australia's top artists.
When we connected with tattoo artist Nikki Balls, she was in the process of relocating her life from Washington D.C. back to New York City, where she got her start. “I worked as a counter girl at Sacred Tattoo in Manhattan for a couple of years,” the Queens native explains.