VAN HALEN frontman David Lee Roth spoke to Vogue in a recent interview about his venture Ink The Original. The brand new skin-care line vows to ‘preserve, protect, and highlight tattoos and keep them from fading.’
Roth revealed just how he managed to get tangled in the world of tattoo upkeep, “Simple: The product that we’re dealing with now goes hand in hand with what I think is the true Esperanto: It’s a language — ink — that everybody shares, especially if you don’t speak the same language. With ink, we read each other’s signs and icons. In that way, it’s much like music.”
Roth explained the lowly beginnings of his niche enterprise, “I started this project with three of us sitting around an upended plastic bucket for a table at my house in L.A. Now, there’s 34 of us and we have offices in New York as well as L.A. It’s taken three years and close to $7 million, and I’m involved in every single element of every part of it.”
The eternal gigolo said they had little in competitors, “Surprisingly, there’s almost no competition. And what we have built is absolutely specialized to our community. My business partner, Ami James, is the curator and one of the three owners of Tattoodo, which has more than 500,000 artists curated on their site. They get 2 billion views a month and have 20 million social media followers.”
Roth discussed how he got addicted to the Ink, “I got my first tattoo 40 years ago, a little seahorse on my ankle, at a place called Cliff Raven Studio on Sunset Boulevard in ’77, ’78. That was very outré then — the only people who got tattoos then were bikers, rock ‘n’ rollers to a small degree; the gay community was into it.
Eventually, though, I took a much more gentrified approach: I waited until I was 60 and got the whole Japanese tuxedo. It took me 300 hours of sitting over two years. But I planned it for the 30 years prior, and it’s my design: kabuki faces, the original showbiz, rendered Edo style — it looks like a woodblock print.”
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) September 15, 2016