Just outside of Penn Station, I saw a man and a woman chatting in the sun. The guy had a bright red tattoo on his forearm. I couldn’t tell if the woman had ink, as her back was to me when I approached.
In introduced myself to Steve, who has six tattoos in all. He offered up the arm piece first, as it was the most meaningful of all his work:
Steve plays bass for a band out of Long Island called The Devilles. Check them out here. He described them as "punk rock n roll". Their MySpace profile categorizes them as "punk/blues/soul". Here's Steve at a gig:
To break the tattoo down a little, the quote in the banner is “When I got the music/I got a place to go,” which are lyrics from the song "Radio" by Rancid, from their 1994 album, Let’s Go. A little research proved that “Radio” was originally released on the Radio Radio Radio EP a year earlier, with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong as a second guitarist in a brief stint with the band. Armstrong is even shares writing credit on the track. The album version, post-Bille Joe, has a significantly different arrangement.
Here's a little video of Rancid performing "Radio":
The guitar in Steve’s tattoo is modeled after his own instrument, a Gretsch.
He explained that the tattoo exemplifies the role of music in Steve's life. He finds it very therapeutic and acknowledges that, without music, "I would not be the same person I am today, or even be here at all." It's the biggest, most important thing in his life.
This is a direct quote from the Clash song of the same name from the London Calling album. Pepe at The Tattoo Shop did this piece and it represents Steve's belief that he'll be able to make an impression on this world before he dies.
In the course of talking to Steve, the young lady with him was an active participant in the discussion. Her name is Krista and she works as an apprentice at The Tattoo Shop where Steve's work was done. She said she had about six or seven tattoos in all. After talking with Steve, I asked her if she would like to show off her ink for Tattoosday as well.
She tried to downplay her body art, saying that, compared to Steve, her stories weren’t that interesting. I begged to differ but, to be perfectly honest, she could have been right. I only saw one of her tattoos, but it is truly spectacular:
Krista was born in upstate New York but she grew up in North Carolina. She remembers always being fascinated by the "Western motif" and when she drew up the rudimentary sketch of this tattoo, this was in the forefront of the vision. She took the basic premise to a tattooist named Zam at Visionary (a custom shop). She told him "this is [basically] what I want. Go nuts with it." Like I said, the end result is breath-taking. I believe this is Tattoosday's first chest piece.
Krista wanted me to plug her shop's show on April 26th at Club Bianco in Hauppauge. Check out The Tattoo Shop's page here to get all the details.
Thanks again to Krista and Steve for sharing their awesome tattoos!