If you ever find yourself drunk in a tattoo parlor, just stop. Take a moment and stop what you're doing. Or if you ever find yourself at the mercy as a newbie tattoo artist with an at-home tattoo machine, walk away. Please. Just walk away.
These Dallas musicians know a thing or two about tattoo regret. Here are their best stories:
Kevin Adkins of Teenage Sexx: Face/teardrop
Some things go together, like wine and cheese. Some things don’t, like a covered-up attempt at a tattoo, along with its revision on a different part of the body. Kevin Adkins initially attempted to tattoo a tear drop that contained the number 13, but there were some complications.
“That face up there (top photo) was supposed to be the tear, but I accidentally put a 31 cause I was way too high," he says. "So I had to redo it on the inside of my leg.”
This is empirical evidence debunking the myth that weed makes you more creative. Don’t smoke and tattoo anything on your body.
Hunter Vaughan/DJ and producer: DJ buttons
Tattoos involve a real commitment. They're going to be there forever (probably) and are a part of your identity. So it's a real drag when the tattoo artist screws it up. Hunter Vaughan relates.
”I got this tattoo when I was 18," he says. "It's DJ buttons on a CDJ. The guy did it quick and fucked up the circles and outline.”
Maybe next time Vaughan will hit the pause button on the process to make sure it’s done right.
Jay Singleton of Monkeysphere: This for a bag of weed
Jay Singleton might be a glutton for punishment, and he's been willing to use his body as a sketch pad. As a wise Wu-Tang member once said, “It’s been taught that your worst enemy couldn’t harm you as much as your own bad tattoo ideas." Ideas like letting a co-worker practice his tattooing ambitions on your body.
“I got a Wu-Tang W on my back from a co-worker at a pizza shop who wanted practice," he says. "I think I traded a bag of weed for it. It was supposed to be red, orange and yellow camouflage with a dark blue-green border. Notice that the border and one patch of faint red is all that remains.. ... It was truly a bad tattoo.”
Britt Tucker of Draw Devils: Peaceful
Tattoos with deep mystical, spiritual or philosophical meanings are par for the course in the world of body art. Britt Tucker went for a mashup approach of a peaceful ankh.
“I got this belly tattoo around 1991," he says. "I suppose I was trying to to draw some attention to my chiseled abs while also showing how I value a peaceful life by combining a couple of symbols I barely understood.”
Maybe Tucker was harboring a hidden desire to bond with Egyptian hippies.
"My wife hates this thing and wishes I’d do something to cover it."
Jacob Moore of Podunk Parliament and Shooting Tsars: Business fish
During a more adventurous chapter of his life, Jacob Moore found himself in hotel room with an unnamed Australian man. “Found himself” is a little generous — he wasn’t even lucid at the time.
“I got just the one," he says about bad tattoos. "It’s a Facebook sticker [business fish] I got blackout drunk from an Australian guy in a hotel room in Vegas.”
Moore was attending a music festival called Punk Rock Bowling. True to the ethos of the event, the tattoo is one of his more chaotic decisions.
“I honestly try not to bring too much attention to it, unless other people are telling bad tattoo stories," he says. 'I sleeved out the rest of my arm so it didn’t stand out as much.”
It’s probably best that he wasn’t present for the ordeal.
Charlie DeBolt of Springtime and The Changes: Snare drum?
Owning a tattoo machine may save you some money in the long run, but it’s going to cost you some dignity. Charlie DeBolt has numerous lackluster tattoos, and his old tattoo machine has been his greatest enemy.
“I sold a tattoo machine that I used on a couple tattoos to a developing artist I knew and told her she could do her first tattoo on me, so she designed this cool drum patch tattoo," he says. "Needless to say, she didn’t transfer it well to my skin and needed a little more practice.”
Sometimes the vision is there and the execution just isn’t, but it remains a lesson in trust and also a dear memory.
Caleb Smith of Teenage Sexx: “J…S…”
It takes a lot of commitment to just sort of allow things to happen. The sort of serenity necessary to let go of an egregious misstep when getting a tattoo seems almost superhuman. Not so for Caleb Smith, who presented this photo with simply the comment, “This was gonna say Jesus Christ but the machine broke lmao.”
Forgiving at this magnitude is a Christ-like act. At the end of the day, though, it makes for an interesting story.
And we asked you about your bad tattoos. Here are some of our favorite stories:
Erica Rodriguez: Cold heart
"My first tattoo. Couldn't make up my mind on what I wanted. Just before going to the studio I was upset at my husband (can't remember why). We had already made up and were laughing about whatever it was I was mad at and he made a joke about having a cold heart. So we came up with the idea of a heart shaped ice "cube." Sounded cool in our heads, not so much on my arm."
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HJ Mahoney: Tattoo
"A youthful indiscretion from 20 years ago. Today I often forget it's there and wonder why someone in line at the grocery checkout behind me is snickering. Then I remember. It has since become the bane of my existence, a loud proclamation of my irreverence and naïveté. When I was getting this done I asked the tattoo artist what the stupidest tattoo he ever saw was. He said he knows a guy who has a tattoo of bacon and eggs. I laughed and asked him what kind of jackass gets a tattoo of bacon and eggs. He paused his work on me and showed me his tattoo of bacon and eggs. On a side note, I met Steve-O from Jackass in Miami years ago in some dive bar and he said my stupid tattoo was way better than any of his. I once considered getting a tattoo of Herve Villechaize (Tattoo from Fantasy Island) to really 'send it.'"
Erika Gonzalez: Google search
"Piled into a car on a random Tuesday with friends in college in Houston — daytime debauchery. Then headed to the tattoo shop with little-to-no intentions. Got that image off Google search on my phone and had it slapped on the back of my neck by a large 300-pound man. Best part of the story, one of my friends that came with me to watch passed out and an ambulance was called. She came to and everything was fine. The tattoo artist said that was the first person in their shop that ever passed out that wasn’t getting tattooed. Although I don’t remember the name of the shop, I have the crazy memories of college and this ugly scar of a tattoo forever on the back of my neck. Good times, bad tattoos."