I think it’s more just, you know, things that I like and things that inspire me, more than historic things, I think. That’s interesting about your son, man.  That, even having a father who was so heavily tattooed, he would still approach his first tattoo in that sort of environment. Growing up in Southern California, you’re inundated by Latino and gang-style tattooing on people that you see everyday.
Living where you live, man, you’ve got some of the best, fine-line, Latino, black & gray—you’ve got some of the best of that style of tattooing in the world.
I have friends that never got a tat, and I can’t help but just go, “God…that’s so cool dude—you don’t have any tats. I was going to say, you know, if Social Distortion hadn’t worked out, you might have become a tattoo artist—because that’s what happened to a whole lot of us from that era.
So I wanted to rap with you, if I could, about the length of time you took between the last record and this new record.
We did some shows overseas with you guys in Europe, which was my first time seeing you guys overseas at a couple of festivals, and in Italy, in Milan in particular, at that festival inside that hangar that we did last year—I couldn’t believe the way that fans were so ravenous for you guys over there as well.
We have great hopes, thanks to Oliver Peck and Shane Trulin, to eventually put together a nice article on Eric’s life and work.


For me personally, it’s been more like things that are reflections of me, or things that are in my life. And I think you hit on something interesting — how in the eighties and nineties, tattooing was an anti-social statement, and now, it’s almost just a fashion statement. Growing up in Southern California, you saw it on cholos, you saw it on sailors at the Pike. Did you think, you know, I’d like to get some tattoos like that; I’d like to get some black and gray imagery, some Latino imagery? From then until now, what were the changes in the writing, recording and producing process, or were you just taking the right amount of time for the songs, and for the record that you wanted to record? But I’d just gotten back together with my oldest son’s mom, and started raising a family, and started restoring a house to move into—just a lot of normal, everyday life things. I was 17, you know, and I drank five beers before I went in [laughs]…and I got this heart right here, and this banner—which I designed myself—and like a typical teenager, I wrote Heartbreaker across it. You have a lot of tattoos that are in that style—was that your intention, when you knew you wanted to get tattooed?
All these pro athletes are getting tats, going right to the neck…it takes a little bit of the fun out of it.


But I told myself that I would never let eight years go by again without a record, but before you know it, there were six. And back then it was kind of like, I’m 17, I’m looking at a Stray Cats album, and I’m going, “Okay, I just want four”, here, and here, [Mike gestures to both forearms and both biceps] But you can’t just get four, you know?
And correct me if I’m wrong, but back then, and throughout history, it seems to that tattooing was for anti-social reasons, an anti-social statement.
It’s like, “You mean, because you’re sleeved, you and I have something in common?” To me, that’s the same as just living in the same city as me. I was like, “Trust me, son.” Because there is some amount of preparation that I wish I would have done with my tats, of course. So you know, there’s a certain aspect to going and getting fresh flash tattoos, and having it all be uniform—like I didn’t know that you were supposed to get big pieces first, and all that.




Images of thug tattoos
Aztec tribal arm tattoo


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