Since 2006, Fun Fun Fun Fest has been nothing short of fun x 3. Every year, the music/art/food festival seems to turn it up a notch, so much, that last year I actually decided enough is enough and headed to Austin, TX, to check it out. The result, minus Danzig acting like a little bitch, was a killer weekend with friends fueled by amazing bands. In other words, I had fun. A ton of fun.
The festival was well organized, and all three days of music was well worth the $200 or so bucks I dropped on a wristband. By the want of the fest last year, I told myself and my friends I wanted to return the following year.
This year, the good people at FFF Fest have outdone themselves. Not only did they get RUN-DMC to reform, but they also had put together almost a dream lineup for this music lover. Refused, De La Soul, Seaweed, The Promise Ring, Bob Mould, Lucero, Lagwagon, Braid, OFF!, Against Me!, F’d Up, Superchunk, Minus The Bear…I can keep going…P.I.L., Explosions In The Sky, X, Turbonegro…
Seriously, check out all who will be playing this year:
This does not even include the FFFEST Nites, the nightly free (with wristband) concerts around the city.
I am planning on returning to Auditorium Shores in November to take in this festival. Since I have moved, I have not seen one live band due to a lack of venues, but this festival will make up for it. Not to mention Austin is one of my favorite cities and I am now only a 6 hour drive away…
Do you remember your first time? Think about it for a moment. Did it hurt? I know mine did for a moment. It was not excruciating or anything, but it was a new pain that I slowly found comfort in. I have returned to that feeling many a time since. I really do believe everyone should experience it at least once.
I am talking about tattoos of course. Many of us have them and many more appreciate them.
Whether you have 1 or 100, tattoos these days are becoming a more common trend and seen on people of all ages. I am not going to get into the ethics of tattoos or anything of that nature, I am just merely pointing out what tattoos have become. Forget the eyebrow ring piercing…tattoos are one of the more popular forms of socially acceptable self-expression on the human body.
I’ve interviewed all sort of people over the years for this site and others including musicians, artists, authors and once even a roller derby team. Having my own site has opened doors to so many interesting stories and events. I feel honored to have talked to so many people from all over the states.
I, until now, had never for whatever reason interviewed a tattoo artist and I honestly do not know what took me so long. I’ve chatted with Cleveland’s Derek Hess in the past and his art is on the flesh of thousands of fans, but not once did I ever sit down with a tattoo artist and just shoot the breeze and find out a little more about them than many may know.
If any of you have ever met me, you are probably aware that I have a huge appreciation for tattoos and have quite a few all over my body. I certainly plan on getting many more with visions of a full torso piece getting started this year. With such a love of permanent art, I realized that a few months ago that I should really try to incorporate something into this site about tattooing.
As luck would have it, one of my favorite people in Austin heard wind of my idea and shared with me a name of someone I should check out: Evan Lovett.
It was not hard to track Lovett down, thanks to the ever popular social networking, and after I saw his online portfolio, I realized that not only did I want to interview him, but I wanted him to tattoo me. His drawings and tattoos were more detailed than I was expecting and I was immediately intrigued to learn more about this guy, let alone get something done by him on me.
With him in Austin and myself in Akron though, I was not sure if that was going to happen anytime soon…until I realized I was going to Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin. I was sure he was going to be busy that weekend but I was mistaken and on day two of Fun Fun Fun Fest, Lovett texted me and told me to stop by the studio.
After hanging out for a little bit and checking out Lovett’s portfolio, he told me that he had some fun pieces he wanted to tattoo. I took this as an invitation for him to use my skin as his canvas and was quick to pick out something that he had previously drawn up. So, not only did I get to interview Lovett, but I also got tattooed by him. The experience was amazing. I enjoyed not only chatting with him, but also watching him work. His shading technique was unlike anyone else’s I had seen before and he basically was painting on me. Mixing inks and blending sections together.
The result was a great afternoon full of good conversation as well as an amazing tattoo.
How did you get into the tattoo business? Was it something you wanted to do all along or were you kind of just introduced to it by chance?
Growing up the son of a biker, I was always around tattoos and tattoo art, but the way i got into it was kind of strange. I was an artist from a young age always drawing and my dad basically handed me over to a tattoo artist that he knew to keep me out of trouble and I spent about everyday of my life in that shop from 15 to 18 years old.
Did you ever think you would ever be tattooing?
Before i stepped foot into that shop, no. But after my second day there ,the boss made me pick up a machine and outline a skull on his leg just to see if i had the balls. Well I did and after that I couldn’t think of doing anything else.
You are not as much of a tattoo artist as you are an artist that tattoos correct?
Yes, I agree with that. Not disrespecting any tattoo artist out there, but I feel to call myself a tattoo artist would be disrespecting the tradition and culture of the tattoo arts. I wasn’t introduced to tattooing in the traditional sense. The first shop I worked at, and in fact every shop I’ve worked at, have all been custom shops. Since I started so young, I was fortunate to attend art school while and after I started tattooing. I try to look at everything from a fine art perspective. regardless if its skin or canvas, although I have to admit I wish sometimes i could just tattoo!
I feel I take my tattooing too seriously and envy those tattoo artists with a sense of humor. In fact, I think the tattoo I did on you was the most light hearted tattooing I’ve done in a long time. (laughs)
I will admit, it was a lot of fun. So, which do you prefer more then, tattooing or drawing?
Drawing for sure. There is a lot less pressure in drawing. When it comes to tattooing, I try very hard to not think about the result and focus on the process. That is why I do my best to work out the drawing as much as possible before hand. The fact that I draw most of my tattoos directly on the skin before i tattoo is a bit strange for people, until I’m done. I have to make the drawing as detailed as possible so I end up drawing on people for hours sometimes. Luckily for me no one complains because when I’m done, I feel they have a better understanding of what the tattoo will look like and are a lot more comfortable with wearing it. Plus it’s fun!
When did you start doing this process of drawing on the skin over doing a stencil?
A few years ago, but only after I had the process worked out on paper first. A good friend and somewhat of a mentor of mine, Sean Zee, made me do a red pencil sketch for every tattoo i did. After that, [he] started making me do full color sketches with pencils. I did this for about a year with every tattoo I did. After a while, the tonal study was all I needed and I could replace colors in my head. That’s when the Sharpies came into play. They allowed me to create a fully rendered monochromatic drawing with a strong enough contrast quickly.
If I feel I still need to better understand something, I will still do a color study. You can never be too prepared. The better the understanding, the better the final piece will be whether it be a tattoo or painting of whatever.
Why a Sharpie though?
I like the shape of the fine point and the fact that they’re alcohol based.
So is there a process when drawing with Sharpies? Are there certain techniques you use when drawing with Sharpies over other drawing instruments? How many colors do you generally use?
The technique is harder to explain, but I basically blend out lighter colors with darker ones. I do this in layers until i get the result I want. i can use any colors, but I prefer to use primary ones: red, yellow and blue.
How long have you been drawing with Sharpies?
I’ve been drawing with them for a few years now, and it kind of just snowballed into kind of a style. It really is my favorite thing to draw with. The techniques I use originally were just experiments in order to open up some creative doors in my head, but after a while, I had so much fun and found them so versatile that i just stuck with it. With every shop, convention or guest spot I do, I find others fascinated by how far I can take it which is cool because hopefully by the time I leave, they have took it upon themselves to experiment and open some doors themselves.
That is kind of awesome and makes me want to go out and buy a pack of Sharpies… So have you reached out to Sharpie yet for a possible sponsorship? I think it is safe to say they are going to be impressed.
Working on it…
Tell me about growing up outside of Philadelphia in New Jersey.
I love that I grew up in that area, surrounded by everything from tree-filled suburbs to vast farm lands and the beach also being 15 minutes away from the city. I feel it’s made me very adaptable and well-rounded. Artistically, the east coast can be a little segregated at least in our industry. No one really talks to other people in shops, it’s very territorial. Regardless, I always tried to break that stereotype and befriended everyone. I hope it worked. (laughs) I was also introduced to some great graffiti artists. Some of New Jerseys finest in fact! But that’s something I’m not about to get in to.
No doubt, talking graffiti with you would be awesome but let’s stick to the tattoos – at least for now. What made you move from the east coast to Austin?
I’ve been visiting Texas to see family for as long as I can remember and it always seemed like the place i wanted to be. I remember my first solo trip out here, I think i was about 13 and I definitely stood out (laughs), but everyone was so nice and friendly. I was in a store with my aunt and people started asking me questions. Being from the big dirty, I was suspicious, but when i looked at her she assured me that they were just nice. [It] took me a while to learn to let my guard down a bit. (laughs) When it came time for me to finally make that move, I was lucky enough to have a few friends who already lived or moved out here, so it made my decision a little easier.
I have to say, living in Austin is a bit of a comfort. This is the only city I’ve ever been in where people don’t just assume I tattoo. I’m mean everyone is covered out here, and sometimes it’s nice to not stand out.
You still travel to Philly though monthly right? Do you find a lot of appointments for work waiting for you when you visit?
Yeah, I work at Art Machine Production in Philly one week every month. It started out as just a guest spot, a chance for me to finish up some work on my clients that I left behind. I guess with almost 8 years of clients there though, I was still in demand. So I talked to my buddy Tim Pangburn and we made it a regular permanent thing. I’m usually booked solid there which is a good change of pace to my more casual Austin work habits.
Let’s talk about your art. You had an exhibit going on in Austin that lasted 2 weekends last Fall. Care to talk about that for a moment?
Yes. Me and my studio-mate Nick Baxter participated in what they call E.A.S.T. or east Austin studio tour. It’s a two-week-long open house free to the public that allows anyone to come into our private studio and see our work, checkout what we have to offer, see some cool art and meet us. There are over 300 individual artists and studios involved, so it was good to feel a part of a creative community. But I think the coolest part of it was just seeing our work cover the walls of our studio. They were pretty bare until E.A.S.T. gave us a reason to change that. (laughs)
How was the overall response?
Really good. [We] had a lot of positive feedback. had a lot of tattoo folk come threw artists from shops and studios around the city come check us out, it was cool. [It’s] good for people to know; just because we’re a private studio, we’re not some big secret. We just like to work in a smaller more comfortable atmosphere and make cool art work.
This is the first time you sold prints of your work correct? How did that work out for you?
Not bad, it was a bit weird for me, but had a good response and [I] was encouraged to make more. My drawings seem to reproduce beautifully.
I’ll say. Do you think you will make some of these prints available to others maybe via the net?
Never thought about it before, but I don’t see why not. If someone likes my art enough to want it, the least I could do is get it to them.
[I] still don’t feel like I have a style that’s mine yet, but standing back and looking at everything I’ve done at the same time, I guess you can see something there. But either way, I don’t think I’ll ever perfect anything. [I] can only hope I die trying.
Your shading and detail is beyond amazing. How tough is it to take a piece you drew on paper and put it permanent on skin?
[It’s] way easier than taking something not perfected and putting it on skin. (laughs) But on a more serious note, there are limitations to both skin and paper and sometimes certain things can be pushed farther on one over the other. I always try to push further when someone is going to be wearing it. It’s only fair to them.
You’ve opted out the idea of owning a tattoo parlor and instead operate in a studio. When did you decided that you wanted to be more exclusive?
It’s something I’ve always wanted, once i started working on more of a serious clientele, but never pursued it till about a year ago. When asking the advice of my friend Nick on whether or not he thought I could do it, he told me he did and would be interested in collaborating on it with me. So, that sold me and here we are a year later.
The studio I work at in Philly is more open to the public, but has a private studio feel. We all work there by appointment only and do as we please working each in our own style on the things that interest us the most, so i have a good balance. Even if i did miss the atmosphere of a more street shop, I can and do often visit my friends at work all around the city, and it’s a honor to be welcomed in.
I am sure your work travels by word of mouth right? (In fact, when I was on South Congress the day before I flew home, a girl stopped me and asked me who did my piece.)
Well, since I’m am absolute shit at self-promotion, due to my shyness and anti-social behavior and anxieties, yea word of mouth has been the venue of chance for my carrier to spread. So, thank you to all of you out there who proudly wear my work and show it off.
Really, thank you! I am trying to have a working website this year! About time, I know…
Wrapping things up, what’s one important thing you learned in the past that you use daily when drawing or tattooing?
To slow my role! Make sure i know where I’m going with a piece before I start and that in a business that relies completely on the will of another person, that it never hurts to be nice.
What is your favorite thing to draw? How about favorite thing to draw on?
Well I don’t know why, but I really like drawing birds and nature in general with sharpies on skin. I like to paint with oil on board, and bic pen on diner place mats. (laughs)
You need to show me this place mat art one day. So, what’s next for Evan Lovett?
I think I’m gonna up my convention game in 2012 and try and hit as many as i can. Other than that, keep on making art as often as I can. I’d like also to simplify my life, although that’s what i say everyday, [it] never seems to happen.
Check out the following links for more information on Evan Lovett:
Well it would appear that 2011 is coming to an end. With that said, it’s time for a “Best Of…” Broken Headphones 2011 edition.
There were a ton of amazing releases throughout the year as well as live shows that I was able to attend. Below is just a various list of bands that caught my attention, be it a recording or live show, over the past 12 months.
I should add that some of my favorite releases were from local Akron/Cleveland acts. I am not just dropping their names because we are pals or anything, they all worked hard and put out some excellent releases. If you have not heard of any of them, you really should check them out.
I may have missed a band here or there, but the following were the ones that stood out over the rest.
*Hands down this is one of my favorite albums to drop this year. They just have this indie punk rock sound that is ever so likable – trust me on this. The first time I listened to it, I was hooked. I see big things happening with this band in the near future.
*This is another album I favored over the rest this year. Catchy lyrics layered over wholesome punk rock is what this album is all about. To make matters even better, they kick ass live. They are coming back to Cleveland next month and I can not wait to see them again. Listening to this band brings me band to the punk rock 90s I grew up on.
*So maybe the music was released in 2010, but the LP dropped this past Spring so I consider it a 2011 release. This Cleveland act is beyond fun to listen to plus they put on one of the best live shows ever. They are funny, quote 80s movies and are in it for the fun. It helps they are also all super cool dudes. If you are a Cleveland native, you should already know how amazing this band is.
*I was a little late checking this album out as it was released in early 2011, but am glad I did not pass it up. Hause (The Loved Ones) is an amazing musician and proves it in this killer solo release. With help from his friends, he put together one hell of a release. Do me a favor, if you like music, listen to this.
*The girls and Lynwood dropped a impressive follow-up to their debut this year and I adore it. Still kicking around the country-punk attitude, the foursome toyed with a more indie / garage rock sound and did a fine job doing so.
*Yeah yeah yeah… The former Akron, OH boys once again put out a release I admit I love. I do not love the fact that the next time they hit Cleveland, they will be playing an arena. It is safe to say they made it big time. Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.
*Folk / Punk / Rock awesomeness. I was caught off guard by this band. They rule. Sadly they had to cancel their Cleveland show after the band was involved in an accident in Chicago. Luckily no one was seriously injured. I can not wait for their full-length to drop.
*I remember the first time I saw these guys live. I was not into them during their first song, and once their second song started, I was blown away. Looking forward to seeing what this duo has up their sleeves next year.
-Going to SXSW and seeing bands such as The Dead Milkmen, Flatliners, Dead To Me, Eyehategod, and tons others at various venues in Austin, TX earlier this Spring. It was one hell of an experience to see so many bands cramped into such an amazing city. Sadly when you have that many bands, you tend to miss out on some great sets by amazing bands. Regardless, it was just awesome. Plus…I saw Dale Watson play at Ginny’s. That right there made my trip.
-Hanging out with Ninja Gun for a few days. These guys are some of the best dudes I know. They wanted to play shows on the East coast and I was able to lure them to Kent to play a show in September. We all enjoyed hanging out so much that they kicked it for a couple more days where I took them up to Melt for some cheesy deliciousness.
-Getting Dave Hause to play a house show in Akron. After seeing that Dave Hause was not playing a show in the Cleveland area just 2 weeks ago, I threw him the idea of a house show and he and tour mate Cory Branan were totally down with the idea. The result was a show to remember with Hause and Branan trading off songs all night long.
-Hanging out with friends, new and old, at the Inner Sanctum Pier show on the E. 9th pier. More people could have showed up, but regardless, I had a killer time that sunny day and got to watch Pat The Producer turn into a human tomato.
-Hanging out with Rise Against and doing some charity work them at the Malachi House in Cleveland. The guys were super cool to hang with and really did not have that “rock star” attitude built from success. Props to 92.3 for making that happen.
-Making the trip back to Austin, TX early November and attending Fun Fun Fun Fest. I got to see some of my favorite bands all in one weekend including Murder City Devils, Hot Snakes, Hum, Slayer, Eyehategod, The Damned, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, and Russian Circles. This was one of my favorite festivals of all time. It was a festival I had wanted to attend for a a few years now and I decided to go for it. I am so glad I did.
-It’s A Kling Thing House & Girley House. Both houses put on some amazing shows in 2011 with local acts as well as touring bands. Seeing Jeff Rowe over the summer as well as Mixtapes just a month or so ago in a basement is as good as live shows get for this guy.
-Daytrotter’s Barnstormer Tour. What a great evening of music that was. The show was in a freaking barn. Yes, I do not remember much as the beers were going down like water, but I know I had a blast with some pretty special people.
-Ben Weasel’s SXSW blowout. Sadly I was on the other side of town watching Cleveland’s very own Ringworm in a ghetto ass bar. Don’t ask me why I skipped out on seeing Screeching Weasel live, I was under the influence of many ice cold Lone Star beers. Honestly, I am kind of glad I missed Weasel acting like a little girl on stage.
-Danzig’s Fun Fun Fun hissy fit. One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Fun Fun Fun Fest was because the Danzig Legacy was playing it. I was stoked to finally see Danzig sing some Misfits songs with Doyle on stage. Instead I witnessed a diva take the stage late and get their set cut as they played past curfew. I only heard two Misfits songs and left with a bad taste in my mouth. People can think what they want about Danzig and that night. I was in the crowd watching heater being pulled on stage as well as the side of the stage tarped up so that little Glen would not get cold. It was over an hour until the stage met his needs and the dude was fully aware of the curfew. I will say that the two Mistfits songs had me feeling like a kid all over again. Shame I could not witness the entire set that he had planned. Lucky for me Ted Leo did a TV Casualty set the next day and made up for the Danzig drama.
-Seeing NOFX over Those Darlins. I regret that decision a lot. Two of my favorite bands played the same night and I had to choose one over the other. The good news was that I got to see and meet Old Man Markley. Sorry Darlins, I will not miss you next time you all hit up Cleveland. Please forgive me.
-Atari Teenage Riot’s Cleveland show getting cancelled. I was stoked to see these guys and was prepared to lose my hearing that night. Hours before the show, their promoter cancelled the show. Needless to say, I was pissed.
-92.3 and 107.3 changing formats. Cleveland is a lost cause with radio now that both those stations were yanked.
Wrapping it up…
2011 ended with a bang for this music lover. Thanks to all my friends from all over who made this year extra special for me. You all know who you are. From letting me crashing on couches to allowing bands to play in their basements you helped make this year what it was. Also to everyone who attended shows with me and shared the same passion I have for music, thanks.
Happy holidays everyone and thanks for taking a part out of your day to visit this site.
I am back. That’s right folks, I survived the mean streets of West Virginia once again. After a week-long escape from everything, I am back. I have a test already in the class I decided to take this summer so most of this weekend will be focused on studying for that. I am, however, in need of a break so I thought I would hammer out a quick review of a pretty sweet up and coming folk act.
I would imagine that most of my readers know I have a certain love for Austin, TX. I think everyone needs to check out that amazing city at least once in their lifetime. I know I am itching to get back there one day soon. Anyways, I speak of Austin because that is where Brandon Kinder who goes under the moniker The Wealthy West resides.
Many may know Kinder from The Rocketboys, an indie rock group that he supplies lead vocals to. Kinder decided to try something on his own, a more personal folky project he calls The Wealthy West. Fans of soft-spoken indie / folk music (Americana) will really get a kick out of his five song EP entitled Volume 1 – An EP. It is powerful in the heartfelt department and can easily be compared to Ray LaMontange, Joe Purdy, Frightened Rabbit, and even that of the Avett Brothers.
“Love Is Not Enough” starts off the EP with a nice acoustic riff accompanied by piano playing making for a fun track that just seemed to end way too soon. “Another Bad Idea” followed in a more gentle indie rock sound that included background vocals and even chimes.
Once I heard “Give Me Resurrection”, I could not help but think of Purdy and LaMontange as Kinder sings slowly over a faint playing acoustic guitar accompanied by whispering background vocals. The song was really a beautiful piece to check out and had powerful lyrics focusing around the strength of love. “Home” picked things up in the EP with harmonica joining Kinder’s signing. “Not A Pretty Pair” ended the quick EP with a more driven sound throughout although singing of remaining stationary due to lack of time.
It’s no mystery anymore, Americana is where it’s at these days and Kinder has no problem writing his own songs to accompany the latest and greatest of a very solid genre of music. Volume 1 – An EP was a nice and quick listen leaving me, the listener, wanting much more to hear. With only five songs, I am curious to see what else Kinder has to offer in the near future.
Well, the streets are empty and SXSW is officially done for the year. All I can say about this famous Austin music festival is this: insanity at its finest.
Nothing went to plan for me. I didn’t get to see all the bands I wanted to see, but instead chose to take in bands I had never heard of. The choice worked out to my benefit as I got to see some really kick ass bands.
Friday night’s Screeching Weasel meltdown was the one thing I wish I could have seen. It was the talk of the town. I am going to be posting some more about that later as I have a few eye witnesses who are going to share their stories. It was just too messed to to not talk about.
Saturday was fun as I headed downtown after a gluten free breakfast. (I am seriously going to look into a gluten free diet of sorts) I caught some killer bands including a metal/classical/instrumental act from San Francisco that blew me away.
Bands and beers. It was a good time for sure.
The Lone Star beer was pretty damn delicious too. Way better than my beloved PBR. I opted to chill out as Friday I may or may not have drank myself stupid.
Saturday night though was pretty insane as well and I am sure that gigantic moon in the sky had something to do with it.
I was at the Eastside Drive-In to see The Dead Milkmen at the Mess With Texas party. It was packed as hell and thanks to some fine maneuvering, my friend and I were able to get up to a good spot to see them do their thing. It was awesome and I am happy to say I can finally scratch them off my list of bands I want to see before I die.
Immediately after their set we tried to head out but everyone started bum rushing the grounds. Kids were climbing over fences and porta-potties and there was an instant sea of people. We just wanted to get the hell out.
After pushing through easily a thousand people we finally got to the exit where there was a situation going on and security, who could not control the thousand of other people getting in, would not let us out. Words were exchanged, patience was lost, and we finally said screw it and rushed through them and got out of that cluster eff.
The night was far from over though. I think it was only 9pm by the time we peaced out of that mess and hoofed it to the Scoot Inn (the same venue that Ben Weasel had his incident at the night before).
I ran in to two friends who I had not seen in forever and chilled with them on a log, yes, a log. The place was like a campground atmosphere with picnic tables and a decent sized stage and standing area. It was fenced in and really to me looked mobile.
So the night seemed to be going well and Eyehategod finally took the stage. The were tearing things up when suddenly the moon came out and provided for another mess to the night.
Apparently my friend’s boyfriend was front and center and having a good ol’ time. Not sure what all transpired but the lead singer told the crowd to kick my friend’s boyfriend’s ass. Nothing really happened immediately but the guitar player said he was going to kid the guy in the head and it was just an ugly vibe. Soon some douche tried picking a fight and that was enough, my friend grabbed him and got him out of the area.
Apparently no one can just have a good time.
That was enough. We went home and skipped Pentagram. I really wanted to see them too. Oh well.
Yesterday was chill for me. I saw a few cool bands at Lovejoys and then headed to a place I have been wanting to go to for years now…
Dale Watson was awesome. The place was packed and was just so much fun to be a part of. I wish I would have stayed longer but I was exhausted and starving. At least I can say I finally made it to Ginny’s. I’ll scratch that off my list too.
I missed out on a few acts I really wanted to see thanks to the flight screw-up. I missed Wagons who I really wanted to see as they came all the way from Australia. I’m also a huge fan of them and would loved to have seen them again. Oh well, next time.
Austin is an amazing city and I adore it. The people I have met this round were kick ass folk who welcomed me into their great city. I met at least seven people who used to live in Ohio (I may be one of those people one day…). The Lone Star beer was pretty damn delicious too.
SXSW was a bonus if you ask me.
My adventure in Austin us coming to a close, but I will be back soon. I love it here too much.