Travis Barker Says Getting a Head Tattoo Really Isn't That Bad

Categories: MusInk

Erik Voake
It's a well known fact that Travis Barker's obsession with tattoos is more than skin deep. Since his teenage years growing up in Fontana, the Blink 182 drum god has spent countless hours under the needle. Even in the years since he survived a fatal 2008 plane crash, the layers of skin grafts on his back and legs haven't stopped him from taking another run at coloring them up again. The man is addicted to ink. It's no surprise then that he'd be the perfect guy to present the 7th annual MusInk tattoo and music festival in Costa Mesa, March 21-23. Aside from hand picking the lineup--including Descendents, Techn9ne, and Gorilla Biscuits--he'll also behind the kit on Day 2 with his all-star band the Transplants. We recently caught up with Barker to discuss his curation of the fest, his multitude of upcoming musical projects, and why getting a tattoo on your head is not as bad as you think.

OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): This year's lineup has its fair share of punk and hardcore bands with the Descendents, The Vandals, Gorilla Biscuits, and also incorporates hip-hop with Techn9ne in the mix. What were your guiding principles for choosing the talent on stage?

Travis Barker: I really wanted to be involved with the musical acts, and I'm a huge, huge Descendents fan. That band changed my life. I love that band, same with the Vandals. With the second night, I wanted to do something different. I feel like MusInk in the past and a lot of tattoo conventions always leave out hip-hop. And I always wondered why. I grew up loving hip-hop just as much as I loved Slayer or punk rock or whatever and a lot of my friends growing up and to this day who love hip-hop love getting tattoos as well. So I feel like making that a part of it, and not excluding it, is a big deal and it's really refreshing and it brings something new to the festival.

Of course, tattoos are just as much a part of hip-hop culture as they are in punk and rockabilly.

Without a doubt. And for the Transplants, we felt playing on that night with TechN9ne and RIITZ. In the past we've done stuff with Paul Wall, stuff with Bun B, all the guys from Cypress Hill. We've always done stuff to mix it up with other genres s I felt like that would be a good fit for us.

Are there any artists at the festival this year who you've gotten tattoos from over the years or are really excited to see come set up shop at the convention hall?

There's a lot of artists I've worked with before like Franco Vescovi, Chuey Quintanar, Mark Mahoney,and they're great friends of mine. Dan Smith who's a great friend, Jack Rudy, Bob Tyrell, Oliver Peck--people who I haven't been tattooed by but I'm a huge fan of. It's an honor to have such great artists be a part of it.

Do you remember being a fan of convention-style tattoo work? Did you go to a lot of them growing up?

Yeah, we used to go to this thing called Ink Slinger's Ball back in the day. Growing up we'd go to all those tattoo conventions, me and all the tattoo artists I grew up with--John Sanchez, who did a lot my work early on. As a kid I would always wanna go to those. So for me, being a part of MusInk, which the whole goal is to go a step further with the tattoo convention and add a great music element, a car show and skateboarding, it's just everything that I love and grew up with. It's awesome to be a part of it with Goldenvoice and Bill Hardie.

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