I have three tattoos. I first branded myself like cattle (my mom's words) at age 15, when I wrapped thread around a hot needle dipped in Indian ink, tipped a bottle of vodka and got to gouging. After an extensive amount of time and effort, I impressed my loser friends with a heart-dotted "Ricky" on my knee. In the Nineties, I got a tat of my favorite thing, weather. That was my first "real" tattoo, on my upper thigh. Everyone said it wouldn't hurt, but they lied. Not only did the little thing hurt, the needling caused an embarrassing spasm and I kept involuntarily kicking the tattooist. Once you know what to expect, though, I think one's tolerance gets higher.
Several years ago I got an ivy band on my arm. Oh, not a closed band, mind you - that traps spirits. Although it took a couple of hours, I reached the Zen level early on, where pain morphs into the bliss of accomplishment. This, probably my last tat, was to remember the adventure I had preparing for the 1997 cover of LMN. I was naked, painted like a statue and draped in ivy. Real fun. (A great cover shot it was, too. - Ed.)
I don't require any more tattoos right now, although most ink sporters will agree: needle art is addictive. That's why some people have so many of them. This group also shares a special bond. For example, occasionally I'll meet a new person whose salutation includes a directional nod of the head and the question, "who did your work?" It took me a while to catch on to the lingo. The first few times I heard this, I was like "whatta ya mean, I do my own work thank you!" Or, "where do I work?" I got it down, though, and now I just nod back and say "Zeke". Then that person nods again, as if he knows exactly who I'm referring to.
Last month I accompanied my friend Dana to Body Art Emporium. She was in desperate need of a particular tattoo. Dana's a major fan of Melissa Etheridge, whose new CD booklet displays her new tattoo, the word SKIN, on the nape of her neck. Dana had to have it, and she wanted me to get one too. Or at least a new piercing. I rain checked the tat, and explained I already have more holes than I can use. I did, however have the pleasure of waiting for several hours until it was Dana's turn. I stood outside the place, on Bardstown Road- looking cool, like I'm gettin' inked. I spoke with various customers, including one young girl who was really nervous about getting a little foot art honoring her newborn child. She went through childbirth, this girl, and was still terrified. There were several people just passing through town, casually stopping off in Louisville for a quick tattoo. I enjoyed talking with a piercer who works there, who filled me in on some interesting facts. I never thought about it, but not everyone can get their tongue pierced. There's a vein that can hemorrhage, or your frenulum might be out of whack. (I think he said `frenulum.') That's the thing under your tongue that moves it around. Nowadays, folks are always sticking out their studded tongues and playing with the ball. Apparently that causes tooth enamel erosion, something to note for the future.
As far as "down there" piercings go, it's the "hood", silly, not the other thing! And who are those women proudly posing in the photo book with legs spread, anyway? It seems like having a tattoo used to really mean something. Maybe you were on drunken leave from the military or had a girl you really loved. Maybe you were a biker or a really tough guy who loved his mom. As a woman, you certainly wouldn't mar your pretty skin - men don't like that! Ritualistic mutilations have gone on for centuries, of course. I'd like to believe the current tattoo/piercing scene is a grand display of philosophy, but not so. More often than not, it's just the ol' shock value finagle. Since it's so uncommon, though, maybe clear skin is becoming cool again. Musicians love tattoos. It's expected. We are a society full of holes.
Okay, who needs a band? I hear a lot of musicians are looking for each other this summer, and here's a couple of opportunities: Wyndell Williams, guitarist for Raising Einstein, is forming an original band and needs a rhythm section. He's got tunes. Pop/Rock. Also, the former drummer for Superface, Mike O'Connell, is open for business. If you want more info or would like to connect, email me. Muffy. I'm also in need of a band. So there it is.
Call or email me with your band/Mid-City info:
485-1989 / firstname.lastname@example.org