Monday, November 30, 2009

Saving Grace.

For those of you that don't know I enjoy hardcore that is melodic. Bands like Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, 88 Fingers Louie, Grey Area, and Mouthpiece were pretty much one of the main things that got me through high school. Actually the last show I stage dove at was probably 88 Fingers Louie's last show when I was 16, until I dove at Cro-Mags last month.

I saw this band, Shook Ones, in Tucson at The Living Room. Awesome band. Basically it sounds like Dan Yemin is in the band and they are playing a cross between older Lifetime 7"s and all the best parts of Kid Dynamite. I'm not posting their records but this video is pretty fun to watch.

I would love to play in a band like this, I think it'd be a different sort of thing for the Chicago scene right now and might be a breath of fresh air.

Just sayin'.

In the beginning.

This is a Painting by Jeff Rassier.

I recently came across some old tattoo magazines I had collected while still in high school. At the time a lot of my friends were getting tattooed, mostly the hardcore kids I hung with were getting tattooed by Mario Desa since he was in the scene back then. The stuff he was doing has always interested me and still does to this day. But when I got the November issue of International Tattoo Art Magazine I saw my first Jeff Rassier paintings in an article and I think that's really the point where I said to myself, "This is what I'm gonna do!".

I think Jeff is really a "tattooers tattooist", meaning his stuff is in a language that most tattooers understand immediately upon seeing it. It's not exactly crowd pleaser stuff but damn it's good. Sometimes I think that he gets overlooked because of this, but if you talk to most tattooers who do offbeat traditional work and asked who their favorite tattooers are his name would be on everyone's list, especially if they are from my generation of tattooers or a little earlier. I've actually talked to him about doing my chest but actually getting my ass to SF to get tattooed has been a problem.

Just his paintings lit a big fire under my ass to get out there and get tattooed as soon as I could and start trying to get more entrenched in the world of tattooing. I started trying to emulate his drawing style early on, with varying degrees of failure, but I think the value was found in that it taught me to think of traditional tattooing in a different sort of way. Mixing images and source references together in different ways was definitely something I took with me in those early days of learning how to draw.

In that same issue of ITA there's an article on Chris Treveno and being able to look at these old magazines really got me thinking about what I was initially exposed to that got me excited about tattooing before I had even gotten my first one. Now ITA is a joke as far as covering the real deal of what's happening in tattooing now. They'd rather cover lowbrow art people who paint toilet seats and bowling pins. Skin & Ink is more concerned with people who hand poke tattoos on their faces in the jungle somewhere than covering anything about the direction tattooing is going in today. I sometimes feel like there's a large void where ITA used to be. Showing the general public good tattooing and good art. Of course there's Tattoo Artist Magazine but that seems like more just for tattooers. It's more of an insider sort of thing, sure I'd love to read a 40 page interview with Scott Harrison, but the average casual customer could probably care less.

I hope sometime someone will get their shit together and make a decent magazine for good tattooers to show their work to the general public, but the way things are going it doesn't look like that's gonna happen anytime soon.

Jeff Rassier again

Saturday, November 28, 2009


In my small tattoo area. By Shannon Strickland.

More fARTs.

Tim Beck sent me this gem.
Filthy Rich Marafioti did this one for his convention banner and I asked him for it.
Old Dawn Cooke painting from when we met at a convention.
Wiley Ol' Alex Kass.

All these paintings I took home and have hanging in my place. I still gotta frame the Dawn Cooke painting.

Closing In

This is another Chicago band. Ebro from Punch in the Face, Charles Bronson, and MK Ultra is drumming in this shit. This is more mid-paced than a lot of Ebro's other bands. I only saw them once at a show at Beat Kitchen but I like them a lot. They gave a shout out to all the skaters at the show so they get love for that. This is their demo.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Chris Smith is selling machines through Workhorse Irons. Check 'em out!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This was on my buddy Ryan. I wanted to outline it with a 7 and do the face and other details with a 5 in the statue. I borrowed a unimax 7 or something like that from Rich because I wanted to try it out... Those needles are a bit too tight for my tastes. They turned out to be tighter than the 5 I was using! Gonna go back and thicken up that lettering I think.

Bo Diddley with a cookie head. Tried to put his signature pomped up hair but it just looked like a weird fry cook hat whenever I tried to do it. Was originally thinking about doing the face darker but it looked too blotchy in some of the color tests so I just went cookie colored through out the whole thing. Different sort of thing for me.
Black on this one healed alittle lighter than i would have liked.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Few New Tattoos.

Surprisingly I've been rather busy. For a few weeks there it was real dead and I thought I'd be hitting the soup line soon. Now I got work coming out my ears to do, and a lot of it is fun stuff.

Bill Palaster.

This past week Bill Palaster came to town to visit and hung out at the shop for two days or so. Bill worked at Bob Oslon's tattoo shop, Jade Dragon (back when that used to mean something), and Rhino's Quadcity Tattoo. He's been involved in tattooing a long long time. He got his first tattoo at Chicago Tattoo Company back in the 70's if I'm remembering right.

Bill retired from tattooing a bit back and became a fire fighter. He's a great guy with a lot of good stories about tattooing. I took some pictures of some of his tattoos and decided to post them here.

This swallow was done by Scott Harrison. Bill told me that Scott was new to tattooing but always said that he felt this piece was when he was "starting to get it".

I'm not sure who did this panther. I know he had a lot of different people do his background and he'd have it touched up through out the years by different people as well.
Bill is pretty proud of this Nurse. He said he got it after he got out of the service.
This fish was an early tattoo by my boss at Family Tattoo, Lee Leahy.
The shark off to the right over there is Bill's first tattoo. The eagle and flags behind it was done by Fat Joe of Jade Dragon. I'd love to shade and color that piece in someday.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Art blew a fart.

I wanted to post some of the paintings I've acquired through various trades. I just received a few new ones from my friend Hambone but I'll post those later. These are afew of the one's I have hanging in my area at the shop.
I painted a sheet of flash for Ricky Bird over at Bridgeport Tattoo Co. awhile back and he sent me this. It's redraws of some classic stuff. I like the Jensen girls alot. The sheet is actually stuck in the frame with a coat of bar resin so that's what the coin and key are stuck in. Pretty cool.
This one is from Kyle Morrison from when he was working at Bridgeport. He's over at Freedom Ink in Peoria now.
This one is from my friend Kenzo who tattoos at Staring Without Caring in Tucson where I used to work. He's Japanese so that explains the writing on the fire extinguisher.
This is a painting from Mario Desa from when he was working at Deluxe Tattoo. I actually bought this one for like $20 then had it framed years later. I wish i would have bought the other one that was sort of the same painting but slightly different so I'd have an even set.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thad Ritchey machine.

Another Jensen style machine. This one is from Thad Ritchey. It's a smoother, softer shader, it puts in black with a little more work but it puts it in solid and most of the stuff I've tattooed with it has healed up great.

Poison Planet- Demo

This is a straight edge band from Chicago. They rule. You should go to any shows they are playing.


(Poached from Fashionable Activism blog)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hardcore News Report.

Logan Square Skate Park.

The skatepark a few blocks from my house is kind of a shitty one. Somehow I still manage to have a good time there. When I found out they were building the skatepark under the expressway I thought it might be a Burnside sort of deal. But once I saw the prefab ramp framework all the dreams of becoming a burley bowl dog ripper went out the window.

The ledges are fun though.

Dinosaur Jr.

Lou Barlow

J Mascis

I saw Dinosaur Jr. tonight in Milwaukee with my friend Dana. I was supposed to see Rob Zombie with my brother but Dinosaur Jr. is one of my top five favorite bands of all time probably and who knows when they will break up again and then I might never see them. Especially with the original line up. They played all the jams except for Been There All The Time, which I really wanted to hear. They didn't do the Last Rights cover either. The sound was actually pretty crummy, the vocal mix was real low, the guitar was insanely loud. I mean that's three micd full stacks he's playing through so it better be loud. I video taped Feel The Pain on my cellphone but the volume of the band was so loud the mic didn't really pick it up too good. Not worth posting.

There was not much push mosh going on, which was a big let down for me. Lou Barlow opened the show and did some Sebadoh songs acoustically. I only got to see two of his songs. Then some band from Vermont played and it was just a dude and a girl and they looked like hippies. The dude took his shoes off before they played and did the whole set barefoot, totally hippie bullshit. The sound was really bad but even if it was good I don't think it would help. Their music basically made me want to punch every art school kid in the room.

Best thing about Milwaukee shows are the over weight dudes in football jerseys drinking PBR's and looking shitty. So many hillbillies, so little time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Criminal Damage- Self Titled LP

This record by this band sounds just like Blitz, early Blitz. They're from Portland, OR and have a dude from HHIG, Tragedy, and Deaththreat playing guitar. This album just reminds me of some soccer hooliganism and street fights, but the lyrics are political and kind of PC. My favorite song is probably "The World's Not Enough" it's just depressive at the beginning and then builds into a full on anthem, and the lyrics are about corporations or some other typical subject that crusties like to write about. This is a great record.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


So here's my Steve Turner liner. It's an Owen Jensen style frame, which is probably my favorite frame style. Chunky and simple. This is my main liner for most traditional stuff I tattoo. Had it made special for me.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I got a new liner from Tim Forbus, I had him set it up a little differently than what I'm used to using because I want to tattoo differently with this machine and wanted to see how he sets it up for how I told him I wanted it to run. I haven't gotten around to tattooing with it yet. It's a cool looking machine for sure. Stripped down and light, it's a mini so that might take some getting used to since I'm used to using chunky Jensen style machines with alot of extra metal crap on them. It seems to run good though after alittle tinkering with the point to get it how I think I want it. He sent me a T-shirt also. Super nice guy and a good tattooer. If you live in California you should look him up.

My Bloody Life.

This is a book written by a former Latin King from Chicago. The author's name (Raymundo Sanchez) is a pseudonym because he didn't want his real name to be used. This book is a great glimps into the world of street gangs from the perspective of a guy who fits the mold of a typical street soldier. Violence plays an important role in the book but so does the chaotic relationships between the cast of characters in this street theater. What I think I enjoyed most about the book is it's openness in describing how the violence and street lifestyle effected the author as he tries to make a life outside of the gang in the later chapters of the book. How he can't seem to chase those old ghosts away.
The book isn't a happy story. It goes through Ray's life from his memories of abuse as a child in Puerto Rico, to the racism he encountered as a young immigrant in Chicago, to his first killing of a rival gang member, to serving jailtime rather fluidly. The transition from kid to killer isn't as abrupt for Ray as alot of books of this kind often times try to make it seem. He describes the violence he dishes out very vividly but in the process of remembering his actions often times realizing the senselessness of them. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.
There is a follow up book to this one but this one is the more interesting of the two as the other book, "Once a King Always a King", is more of a personal memoir about life and challenges after gang life.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Direct Control- Nuclear Tomorrow EP.

Another newer band that's livin' in the 80's. When I first heard this 7" I didn't really like the guitar tone on it, but it grows on you. For some reason it sounds like it's being played at 45 rpm's while the vocals are normal. Kind of reminds me of Infest's guitar sound but musically they are more 80's hardcore a la Stalag 13 or Out Cold. The song "Wicked Sick to the Gills" is about skateboarding so they got me right there.


Saturday, November 14, 2009


I forgot about this cover up I did. Covering barcodes is a bitch, just don't get them in the first place and we'll all be happier.

Sick things.

Pickerd visited from Inidianapolis.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Soul Control- Cycles LP

I'm not a big fan of Bridge Nine Records, I think that label has way too much hype surrounding it considering they put out some of the worst records from some of the best bands in the 90's up to now. Example: that Holding On LP they put out is pretty crummy compared to the first LP on Havoc. I still enjoy Carry On and American Nightmare though and they did re-release the Project X 7" but none the less I think the kids these days are too quick to like bands that are on B9 just because they are SUPPOSED to be good, not that they ACTUALLY are good. So when I heard that Soul Control was playing at the Galaxie near my house in Chicago I was skeptical that I would like them. I mostly went to see Poison Planet which is a local edge band from here that I should post up sometime soon. My friend Ryan Wilson from Thought Crusade said that the guitarist from Soul Control was amazing so I decided to give them a chance. Once they started playing I was immediately sucked into a world of amazing riffage and intense musical power. HOLY SHIT! Soul Control delivers something that most bands from the 90's were trying for but very few could actually achieve. Taking alot from Burn, Quicksand, and Supertouch but still coming across new and fresh, doing it their own way they pretty much floored me. Musically they were tight as hell and Ryan was right their guitarist is amazing. How a four piece band with only one guitar can sound so full I'll never know but they sure produce one hell of a wall of sound. I picked up a 7" since I didn't have much money that day and hopefully I'll be able to post that as there is a cover of "Feel the Pain" by Dinosaur Jr. who happen to be one of my favorite bands of all time. If you ever get a chance to see Soul Control I would recommend that you do they were a big breath of fresh air for me being the old salt that I am.

That being said I present to you Soul Control- Cycles LP.
Here are pictures that Chris Z took from that show. See if you can spot me.