“It’s bearable as long as you go in with a mindset of ‘you’re not going to die’.” – An Interview with Tanner Wood

Conducting and writing up your first interview can be a nervous time, but it was lucky that I was joined by Tanner Wood, a student and friend studying Journalism alongside me. It was with him I discussed something that caught my attention the first time I met him and hopefully understand a bit more behind its meaning.

What is the tattoo of?  Are there any messages behind it?

It’s based on the band Motörhead, all of the members are dead now but the lead singer, “Lemmy” Kilmister, was a family friend. He was my nan’s sister’s boyfriend for a while before he got really famous. In 1969, when he was in Hawkwind.” (The name of the band he was in before he joined Motörhead.) Tanner explains that “He was quite close to the family, he even, as a kid, came to family birthday parties and stuff. I got the tattoo because I never appreciated him for who he was when I was younger. I didn’t know he was, I just thought he was an ugly man who came to some things!”

Tanner rolls up his sleeve and explains the different parts of the tattoo. “The tattoo is basically two album covers, or inspired by two album covers, one of them is ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ which you can see from the skull and the smoke coming from his mouth. One is the ‘Ace of Spades’ which is what the cards are and the other is ‘Overkill’ which is another album which uses the main logo which is the war pig. It’s going to be turned into a full sleeve eventually”

Oh wow! It looks like a very talented artist who’s done that, is that a local artist or?

It’s Will Templeman down on the Barbican. He works at a place called Whiteroom Tattoos who did work for ‘Tattoo Fixers’. He’s an apprentice at the moment so this is like the first time he’s done something like this so I’m sort of helping him build his portfolio and he’s given me a discount so its all going well. We’re planning the back panel of my forearm and eventually its going to be a portariat of the lead singer on my arm and then something around the back of the top of my arm. But at the moment that is just that and yeah, it’s someone local, lived here [in Plymouth] all his life.”

Did it hurt to get?

“The way we did it is in section so the bottom half, where the skull is, we did that first. It didn’t hurt very much at all, they said it would hurt a lot along the wrist and the bottom of the wrist. It only hurt a lot when he went back over it because the first time we did the tattoo, the tattoo gun was faulty so I had some bad scabbing but it didn’t hurt, it only hurt when he went back over it. When we started the second part which is the Snaggertooth, the war pig, it did hurt along the crease [of my arm] quite a bit, especially when went back over with the white [ink] because the white bit is a really tiny needle and it feels like he’s just like grinding [the needle] into you.”

“When we finished it off and did the last horn on the left side, it hurt a lot going down there because of the vibrations of the skin. Then on the free touch up session, we went over all the bits that went a bit wrong and that hurt quite a lot because its going back over old scars. Other than that, it hurt quite a bit but hurt a lot less than I thought a first would do.” Jokingly, Tanner said “It’s bearable as long as you go in with a mindset of ‘you’re not going to die’.”

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