At the start of last week I got a call from Jimmy Perlman, a tattooer comrade of mine that some of you probably know as a tour manager for various rock bands.
It seemed they were coming into Atlanta on Nov. 9 and (as is Jimmy’s custom no matter what city he’s in) he invited a few tattooers to a fuckin’ awesome VIP experience with the bands.
So Jimmy asked if I wanted to come hang out. “Pfft- Fuck yeah!” He hooked me up with some backstage tickets and (holy shit) perhaps the chance to interview Mike Ness! It’s not usual for Ness to agree to do a tattoo magazine interview but I think Jimmy managed to convey to both Ness and his manager what Tattoo Artist Magazine was all about and he also made mention that we’ve never done an interview with a non-tattooer before… so it sort of evened out.
We received a tentative green light.
I’m not really a “fan-boy” but I have to admit that this was an amazing experience for me. Social Distortion was one of the first punk rock bands I took notice of, and they (along with a few others) really started me down this path I’ve been on since 1984.
The whole punk-rock, DIY and “Do it your own way” mentality really stuck with me, as it did so many kids of my generation and it’s astounding how many of us ended up being tattooers! But for all of us from that era, these punk ideals are rooted in us and it’s a big part of why we do what we do –why we could never settle for shirts and ties or a cubical existence. I’ve often said, “Punk rock saved me.”
Social Distortion has never wavered in their music, never sold out, or sold themselves (or their fans) short. And there aren’t many bands/performers from that period who can make this claim.
It was an honor for Jimmy and I to take Ness out for dinner and conduct a very candid interview in a nice, relaxed setting.
I think Mike had a good time as well because we were told to expect a half-hour interview. However, once we broke the ice and got it rolling we ended up with more than an hour.
We talked a bit about Mike’s knowledge of tattooing; his history with our craft, some of his views on the modern media driven popularity of the art form and what he thinks is missing today.
And Mike Ness knows his tattoo history ladies and gents. Ness has been around it since he was 17 years old and he’s probably more knowledgeable about tattooing and its history than 85 percent of current tattooers!
We also talked a lot about Social Distortion’s history, the current tour and the new album Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes set to release on Jan. 18, 2011.
Can’t wait that long?
The new single “Machine Gun Blues” comes out Nov 16 on iTunes.
Look for the Mike Ness interview in TAM issue #23 and be sure to go to the show when they come to your town. Social D Tour Dates.
Social Distortion was incredible, as always, but Lucero and Frank Turner were fantastic acts, both artists were handpicked by Ness for this tour.
Thanks to my man Jimmy, Lucero, Social Distortion, Mike Ness, Craig (Ness’ tour manager) Shane (Ness’ manager) and all that helped make this happen.
And a big thanks to my pal Brook Hewitt for dropping everything in order to come shoot these awesome photos for us.
After the show I gave Mike an original Sailor Jerry portfolio picture… and he was stoked!
It’s a day I won’t soon forget.
P.S. Here are a few shots of Lucero too, and look for a Lucero interview with Jimmy here soon!