While rock ‘n’ roll and tattoos have always gone hand-in-hand, there’s been surprisingly little crossover when it comes to professional musicians who double as tattoo artists, and vice versa.
Notable exceptions to the rule include Frank Carter, formerly of Gallows and Pure Love, as well as Dan Smith of The Dear & Departed (who you might recognise from T.V. show, L.A. Ink). However, New Found Glory frontman Jordan Pundik has also recently embarked on a brand new tattooing career, and the results so far have been both distinctive and impressive. Team Rock caught up with the singer in New York to find out more about his new passion.
How and when did your tattooing start?
“Oh, you know, I’m dabbling. I like to dabble! (Laughs) I started tattooing probably… It’s coming along to three years, on and off. It started because my friend Ian White is a tattoo artist in Nashville and he was on tour with Bayside when they were opening up for us on one of our [U.S.] tours, and he tattooed some of us on the tour. We got to talking and became friends and I said ‘Man, I’ve always done art and tattooing is something I’ve always wanted to learn how to do.’ And he was like, ‘Well, if you move to Nashville, you can apprentice with me. I’m opening my own shop.’ And I was like, ‘Okay!’”
So this isn’t just something you do in your kitchen – you’re in an actual shop?
“Now I am, yeah. I moved to Nashville a couple of years ago and lived there for around a year. I helped him open the shop, helped him build it out and everything, and I apprenticed. I moved back to San Diego two years ago and I’m working in a shop there now. Just a couple of days a week. I go whenever I can.”
And how is that going? How much fun stuff are you getting to do?
“I kind of get to do whatever I want because a lot of the people I have been tattooing are fans, which is cool. They’re not creepy or anything, most of the time, so that’s a plus! I think it’s really cool because it allows me to keep it going – the fans do.”
How would you describe your tattoo style?
“I like to call them doodles – tattoodles (Laughs). I’m really into old medieval woodcut art. I try to recreate that in some way with the crosshatching and shading. I like simple shading.”
Prior to tattooing, what were your artistic outlets?
“Illustrations – drawing in pencil and ink. Comic book style stuff, T-shirt designs for bands, covers and artwork for records, stuff like that.”
What was the very first piece you did on a human?
“Ha. Well, the very first one was on Ian, actually. The first couple of times he was teaching me, he flew out to San Diego to stay with me and I remember, he was showing me some stuff – how to set up the machines and everything - and then he was like ‘Okay, you’re gonna tattoo me now!’ And I was like ‘Uh…’, just shaking in my kitchen. So I set it all up, made sure everything was sanitary and then I tattooed a really shitty self-portrait of myself on him – wonky eyes and bushy eyebrows. It’s pretty funny.”
Is there more pressure on you when you’re tattooing than when you’re on stage?
“Yeah! Because I’m doing something permanent to somebody. There is a lot of pressure for me in that. I get sweaty and stuff! I’m not as bad as I was because I’ve been doing it a lot more.”
Have you made a mistake on a tattoo yet?
“Yeah, but nothing too major. There was one guy that I tattooed – and I still feel guilty about it – with this robot that I drew up. And he was stoked on it and I took a picture and sent him on his way, then I was looking at it and realised ‘One leg looks different to the other…’ And I’d forgotten to fill in some spaces on one of the legs. So I just texted him, like ‘Hey man, I feel really bad. I forgot to fill in these spots.’ And he was like ‘Oh, dude! I didn’t even realise!’”
Have you tattooed any fellow musicians yet?
“Not yet on this tour, but yes, I have. I tattooed a couple of the Fireworks guys when I first, first started. Really bad. Just scratching them in there!”
What are your next steps with tattooing, once you get off this tour?
“I’ll be still doing a couple of days a week, but I’m in the process of opening my own place in San Diego. We’re still dealing with all of the ordinance stuff and all that, so it’s still going to be a while. We want to call it The Commonwealth.”