"She asked me if I loved her and I showed her the tattoo."
July 9, 2011 I got to tag along with tattoo artist Gifford Kasen (www. futuretellertattoo.com) at the Vans Warp Tour in Chicago to tattoo keyboardist Rick Steff of indy heart-throb southern-fried crooners Lucero.
You need to know that I'd met Lucero front man Ben Nichols on a previous trip into Chicago to see them open for Social Distortion. I didn't get tickets to see them perform (bummer!), but bumped into Nichols later over some guacamole at the joint down the street and I was in LOVE with his tattoos. Any man with HOLD FAST on his knuckles is A-OK in my book. I love Lucero and I become a jibbling mass of nervous melancholy rebellion whenever they play.
Rick Steff is a fantastic soul, and the most gracious host on the planet. The tattoo Gifford is working on is a fun textured tribute to the keys a jazzy textured pattern of ebonies and ivories and I'm excited to see it completed.
I was surprised to learn through the course of the blazing hot day 'round the tour bus that they regularly stop and get tattooed by some of the coolest folks and have a deep seated interest in the craft of tattoo. So much that they have a logo-styled 'L-Star' tattoo brand that graces the lucky few catching them in tattoo-mode.
Hanging out and getting to know big-bear Brian Venable (guitar), soaking up Roy Berry's (drums) sweet smile, seeing John C. Stubblefield (bass) pop in and out of the bus area as he checked out other band's sets , and seeing singer Ben Nichols (guitar and vocals) dog-eared copy of The Blood Meridian haphazardly laying about, was a good flipping time. HEARING THEM FROM BACK STAGE was icing on the cake. I'm pretty sure I died a little bit, because it all seems like a fantastic lo-fi memory now...
I must have picked up some Lucero merch on the way out of the venue, because my children were super-stoked about something.... But I watched a tour bus tattoo go down, and hung with some pretty neat folks.
Rick Steff took the time to share with me some of his music history (which is rich) and his take on tattoos and tattoo culture specifically as it relates to their home-cooked brand of southern folk punk. With hopes of meeting up with Lucero in their hometown of Memphis for print, I will leave the suspense of our next shoot for the newsstands.
Take a moment to check out their newest tattoo project with Marcus Kuhn
I will leave you with these images and plan on seeing me with a 'L-star' tattoo one of these days.