February 29th, 2012, 2:27 pm · · posted by KELLI SKYE FADROSKI, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Now in its fifth year, the Musink Tattoo Convention & Music Festival returns to the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa this weekend, March 2-4. With body art as deeply embedded into Californian culture as rock ’n’ roll, the annual fest, which began in 2008 with a big push from “L.A. Ink” star Kat Von D, has become wildly popular among music fans and musicians who are also tattoo and piercing enthusiasts.
This year’s three-day event boasts hundreds of artists who will be tattooing on-site as well as performances by Tiger Army, the Howlers and Guana Batz on Friday, New Found Glory with Yellowcard and Bayside on Saturday, and Alkaline Trio, Against Me!, Hell or Highwater and the Darlings on Sunday.
Nick 13, vocalist and guitarist for L.A. psychobilly trio Tiger Army (powered by bassist Geoff Kresge and Fullerton-based drummer James Meza), says that performing at Musink is a natural fit for his band, which also appeared at the inaugural fest.
“Everyone in the band is into tattoos and has been for some time, and our fans are as well,” he said during a recent phone interview. “There are hundreds if not possibly thousands of Tiger Army tattoos around the world that either feature lyrics or the ‘Tiger Bat’ logo, so I think it’s a very cool thing.”
The heavily tattooed musician’s most recent pieces are two cobras with animal heads located on his ribs, done by Scott Sylvia in San Francisco. As far as inspiration for more tattoos, Nick says it’s something you instinctively know when you see it.
“It happens almost on a subconscious level. It’s the difference between ‘this is something I connect with’ and ‘this is something that is cool, but don’t really need to have tattooed on my body.’”
He can relate to his fans’ passion for making logos and lyrics permanent, however, as Nick has a Meteors tattoo (inked by the late Eric Maaske from Classic Tattoo in Fullerton) as well as one for the Misfits and several other band-related pieces.
This Musink kickoff performance may be one of very few opportunities to see Tiger Army this year – though the group will likely continue its annual Octoberflame tradition in Anaheim. So far they have only two other dates booked, House of Blues San Diego on April 6 and House of Blues Las Vegas on April 7.
Nick 13 says that since returning from last year’s tour to promote his self-titled country/roots effort, he has been working on even more solo material. But being on the road, he says, inspired him to write new Tiger Army songs as well.
“I’m definitely toying with the idea of doing another Tiger Army album, which I’m absolutely going to do eventually. It’s just a question of if a new solo album happens first.
“It’s kind of strange, but I actually feel pretty inspired to do both right now. I’ve been listening to a lot of roots music and checking out some new psychobilly stuff. Practicing with Tiger Army for these shows that are coming up, that definitely kind of turns you back in that direction, and it’s a nice thing to experience after getting to do something else for a while.”
Local musician Franki Doll, leader of local rock outfit Franki Doll & the Broken Toys who also moonlights as DJ Rumor, says it took too long for a festival like Musink to emerge in O.C., since there are so many world-renowned tattoo artists and shops located here, not to mention numerous noteworthy musicians sporting those artists’ handiwork.
“Musink (being) in Orange County, that’s awesome because all of us that are in this scene, all of the musicians, it’s not like we’re going and getting tattoos like: ‘Hey, check this out, this is my tattoo for the week.’ It’s really a lifestyle,” she mentioned while showing off her body art for a photo shoot in our studio.
“I like walking around (and) seeing what other people are doing. It’s almost like their insides are colored onto their outsides and you can see what that person is made of. Tattoos are beautiful. Some people are scared of them (or) scared by the people with them. But just talk to someone with tattoos – instead of telling stories, we wear the stories.”
Doll, heavily tattooed down her right arm, across her chest and over most of her back, says she’s happy to see positive response for a tattoo expo in her home county, especially one that adds in rock music.
“When they came out with the ‘real O.C.’ (shows) and all of that, I was shocked that there were no tattoos,” she says of how the county is often represented on reality television. “The truth is, Orange County is tattoos – it’s not a subculture, it’s a straight-up culture. It’s very norm here.”
During her photo shoot, Doll revealed a brand new tattoo on her right hand: a brightly colored pink elephant done by Beto Redfeather at Huntington Beach Tattoo just four days earlier. The large work-in-progress on her back – a young girl with dark hair and a microphone, designed by Sterling Barck at Costa Mesa Tattoo – includes lyrics from a My Chemical Romance song, paying homage to a band Doll says she respects greatly.
“I have a lot of little My Chemical Romance splashes here and there, but the whole tattoo on my back … basically represents my muse. The words say ‘Sing it out for the ones that will hate your guts,’ which is a line from their song ‘Sing.’ You know, when you’re in the entertainment industry, a lot of people like to hate on you and when I heard that line, I was like, that’s it.”
She’s also a model, actress and occasional TV personality – as well as wife and mother of two – yet Doll admits there are times when her tattoos have shut her out of opportunities.
“It’s a lifestyle – it’s my hair and how I dress, and if it cuts me down from an opportunity or holds me back from one, then that wasn’t the right opportunity.
“Yeah, there are people who go: ‘If you didn’t have the piercings in your face and all the tattoos all over, gosh, we could really use you.’ No, you could really use a package – you couldn’t use me. The people who know me know that beyond the tattoos and piercings, there’s something amazing there.”
Who: Tiger Army, the Howlers and Guana Batz on Friday; New Found Glory, Yellowcard and Bayside on Saturday; Alkaline Trio, Against Me!, the Darlings and Hell or Highwater on Sunday. 2-11 p.m. March 2; noon-11 p.m. March 3; noon-10 p.m. March 4. $25 for a general admission one-day pass; $50 general admission three-day pass; $75 one-day VIP pass. 800-735-3000. Ticketmaster.com or Musink.org.
Nick 13 photo by Kelly A. Swift, for the Orange County Register. Photos of Franki Doll by Leonard Ortiz, the Orange County Register.
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