the story behind tattoos


We had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with outlaw country rocker Boo Ray. At V+V, we are always seeking out interesting ways people tell their story. We got lucky enough to sit down with Boo, and talk to him about his own creative adventure and how his tattoos help tell his story as an artist. Check out the interview below!

IMG_7243VV. Tell us a little bit about who you are as a musician. As an artist, what have you done to define yourself?

BR. As a musician, i reckon I’mpretty song oriented and driven. I consider it a privilege to have someone’s ear and attention for a few minutes and feel obligated to make the best of that time; melodically, rhythmically, lyrically and sonically….  As a recording artist I’ve released 3 albums since 2010 that’re all geting radio play. As a live act I’ve been doing shows coast to coast for 10 years. I’ve had a coupe of good bands in that time and right now I’ve got a smokin’ hot band that I’m crazy about.

VV.  Tell us a little bit about your music. What has lead you to pursue the type of music you have?
BR. Guitars, pedal steel, backbeat trap set drums, flat-wound Muscle Shoals type bass, electric Wurlitzer/Hammond B-3 and Levon Helm/Tom Petty type vocals… I suppose that’s my pallet. I’m glad the kind of music I make and the kind of songs I write are popular and gaining momentum.     
VV. How have tattoos tied into your definition of yourself as an artist? What kind of statement are you making with them? 
BR. Tattoos are definitely tied to the music for me. Not sure I’m trying to make a statement though. But the artists and images I relate to and identify with are kinda rockabilly and trucker… Slap-back echo on vocals & guitars says tattoos to me. Cash’s “Ring Of Fire”, Waylon’s ’66 “Mental Revenge”, and Willie Nelson’s ’62 “Funny How Time Slips Away”, those are all tattoos to me, figuratively and literally. When I wrote “Bad News Travels Fast” with Colin Linden I realized that those moments in songwriting when the right phrase is coined and paired with the right melody that an emotional situation is catalyzed and expressed in a permanent way like a tattoo. 
VV. What are some of the wildest stories behind your tattoos? 
BR. I got one of my 1st tattoos at 3am in a cow field at a motorcycle rally in Franklin NC. While I was sitting in a chair getting tattooed my buddies were up on the hillside setting off quarter sticks of dynamite trying to scare the tattooist so he’d screw up my tattoo.
VV. When did you get your first tattoo done? Was it nerve-wracking or exciting? 
BR. I honestly can’t quite figure out which was my 1st tattoo but i definitely didn’t have any hesitations and was way into it.
VV. Do you have a specific style of tattoo you get doneor is it more random? 
BR. I’ve only been collecting black & gray work for last 10 years or so. I do have a few color pieces but mostly black & gray.
VV. At velvet + vinyl, we believe that the most amazing stories are told through creative means. As a song writer and tattoo-connoisseur, what kind of stories are you telling? 
BR. That’s a great question. I think they’re stories of transformation, moments of grace, accounts of tragedies, confessions of sins, testimonies of triumph, affectionate homage payed to guardian angels, admissions of struggles and diaries of searching journey.
VV. Would you consider yourself a “bad boy” because you have a lot of tattoos? Would you say other people classify you as such?
BR. How’s that line go? “If you wanna have a hard head, you better have a tough ass”… I think that’s kinda been my experience anytime i got to thinking I’m some kinda of badass. I got tired of learning that lesson you know.
VV. Any tattoo artist recommendations?
BR. Absolutely. My friend Cole Seigel is great and has an excellent shop “The Order” in downtown LA and Space Ghost is an excellent tattooist there. Also Freddy Negrete’s son, Isaiah Negrete is doing excellent work at Mark Mahoney’s Shamrock Social Club. I’ve seen some great work in Nashville from Chris Saint Clark at Kustom Thrills.
VV. Do you believe that all tattoos should have significant meaning behind them? Why or why not?
BR.You mean as opposed to randomly waking up one day and deciding to get an ear of corn tattooed on your thigh or something like that?… No person can dictate tattoo criteria for someone else. It’s just too personal of an experience. I aint saying I’ll never do it, but I haven’t done that yet and doubt that I will ever wake up one day and get that ear of corn tattoo though. 

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