The Evanescence drummer tell us about his passion for tattoo art: «Now I know that a tattoo needs time to heal. I don’t want to repeat that Static-X incident…»
Will Hunt awaits us in the dressing room of a nice Milan venue. It’s Saturday night and tonight the famous drummer of – among others – Evanescence, Vasco Rossi, Black Label Society, Methods of Mayhem and Staind, is here to play with some very good Italian cover bands specializing in grunge music like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
His kindness and enthusiasm go hand in hand with his predisposition to be branded on skin with natural symbols very popular among those who, table under the armpit and hair in the wind, choose the sea as another constant passion after cymbals, drums and sticks. Listen to him.
You do not have many tattoos on you, but you know ink very well. How exactly did the story go?
The love between me and tattoo art broke out about ten years ago when I started collaborating with Mötley Crüe during the ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’ tour (Will replaced Tommy Lee on drums for some dates due to a injury reported by the same Lee, ed). I looked closely at Nikki Sixx’s tattoos every evening and said to myself: «Of course they’re really fine: I should try it too!». And so it was.
It was just emulation then?
No, what I like about this art is that – once realized on you – it really lasts forever. A photograph risks becoming ruined or even disappearing after several decades of ‘existence’. A tattoo not. That is a creation that accompanies you throughout your life. That’s its charm.
You’re tattooed only along your arms, right?
Yes, in the last ten years I’ve done so few because I live in Florida and my free time is always so tight and short…
Sorry but I do not understand.
The fact is that I like surfing! (laughs) And when you have that mania, do not go into the water with an arm or a leg packed with cellophane waiting for your tattoo to fix completely. A nice dilemma, of course.
Do not you fear that your trustworthy tattoo artist will be a little sick to hear you talking like that?
Well, he’s the great Mike Parsons, one who started out as a young man tattooing in Atlanta and now owns Mike Parsons Ink in Tampa. I owe everything to him as far as my relationship with tattoo art is concerned. Starting with the first tattoo that made me …
Do you speak of the Aztec sun that you wear on your left arm?
Exactly: that piece is matched with the moon I have on the right deltoid. A lot of people exchange it for a tattoo inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers or the sun that appeared on the artwork of an old album by Henry Rollins (‘The End Of Silence’ by Rollins Band released in 1992, ed), but things are very different from that. I just wanted a brilliant subject: a surfer’s stuff.
Like the starfish you have on your right arm?
Yeah, that made me a tattoo artist on the road many years ago during an American leg of the Warped Tour. It was almost dawn, that festival was long over and I – half drunk – I won the embarrassment by asking him a tattoo. Then Mike (Parsons, ed) added the moon and other decorations later to complete the scene.
Despite all the bands you’ve played in, it seems to me you do not have any musical tattoos. Weird thing…
I told you: I never have time to do everything! (chuckles) Do you see the tattoo of this beautiful woman inside my left forearm? It represents my wife and dominates the oriental ideograms dedicated to the names – Laila and Moon – of my two daughters.
Why do you illustrate just that piece of ink?
Because after that I did that tattoo, five minutes later I went on stage with Static-X. That evening, while I was playing like a fool, the sweat infected it and a big mess happened: blood that bleeds, bandages, infections to be cured, etc. From that experience I learned so many things. That is, a tattoo session is not only about the first and the during, but also the post.
Have you ever noticed tattoos dedicated to Will Hunt on the body of your admirers?
No real portraits, but autographs I would say quite a lot. Most of it are located on the bodies of Vasco Rossi fans because those who listen to Evanescence are not people who usually go crazy for ink. Or at least not as crazy as those metalheads that doted for the Black Label Society! (laughs) The absurd thing is that these guys give me their arm, I make a quick signature and they keep that scrawl for a lifetime: it’s so weird …