For many, the idea of having ink permanently etched on your skin is a daunting one. For the remaining who can brave the needle, their choice of ever-lasting design is limitless.
For the past five years, one man has put himself in charge of maintaining a collection of Dave Matthews Band related tattoos, through a photo gallery of user-submitted photos on his website devoted to the cause. He runs the site, DMBTattoo.com, as a source of inspiration for people looking to get new tattoos, and for the curious ones around the world to just browse all the great designs people have come up with.
Since starting the site, it has expanded to include custom DMB license plates, and with visitors from all over the world, his collection will only get bigger.
We were lucky enough to get a chance to interview the legend, Kurt, and to spread the word about the site itself, DMBTattoo.com.
So Kurt, to start us off tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a DMB fan?
I am from a suburb of Chicago and have hit nearly every show in the area (and beyond) since 2002. (All Chicago venues, Alpine, Deer Creek, Saint Louis…you get the idea). I got into the band right around the Everyday era; I used to buy CDs on a website called CDNOW (which I believe is long gone) and I had the Everyday CD on my “wish list” (I know I know). I ended up getting Live in Chicago for Christmas that year. I remember listening to Rapunzel pulling out of my neighborhood one day – it wasn’t the first time I had heard [the song], but it hit me right then and there that I had to see this band live. I managed to get tickets for a show in Chicago in late April of 2002 – this was back when you had to get a number at Ticketmaster outlets (do they still do that?). I went to the show and was blown away. 67 shows, countless friends and a fiancé later, I haven’t looked back.
Before we continue, the question we have to ask: do you yourself have a tattoo?
I have 3 actually, all DMB related. A green Firedancer on my ankle, a custom sketch of Dave by Lynda of LJMSArt.com, and I also have some artwork from the Big Whiskey Album (this one isn’t even on my own site!).
How did the idea of an online DMB Tattoo collection come to you?
After getting my first tattoo (the green Firedancer on my ankle), I went searching. There was a small collection of band-related tattoos on a photo sharing website and some threads on various message boards about DMB Tattoos, but a site solely dedicated to tattoos didn’t exist.
It all started from there. I built the site using a website-building website and started posting on boards asking for people to send me their tattoo pictures. I would hand out fliers to people at shows, leave them on my car, etc. just trying to get the word out and collect tattoo pictures. I still do that today but I now hand out stickers instead. It kind of blew up from there…I still get about 5-6 tattoos per week from people all over the world.
How many tattoos does your site have?
DMB Tattoo is approaching 1500 tattoos from people all over the world. I think we have all 50 states and 14 different countries covered.
Other than tattoos, what else does your site feature?
About 300 DMB related license plates. They used to be featured on a website called dmbrr.com but it was not maintained and the owner of that site allowed me to take over the responsibility.
I have a few features that I have tried throughout the years, such as Tattoo of the Month, online polls, a variety of merchandise etc.
Back to DMB, what’s your current favourite DMB song / album, and why?
Before These Crowded Streets will always be my favorite album – I think many fans would agree with that. As for my current favorite song… that’s always a tough one. I would have to say Rhyme and Reason. I’ve been listening to the 7/10/11 (Chicago N3) tape a ton and heading into that weekend was hoping for it, especially after it was hardly played in 2010.
So what would be your dream opener, closer, and encore at a show?
Dream Opener: I’ll take One Sweet World all day – to me it always signifies the start to summer. So even with a choice I’d pick that… or Bartender.
Closer: Again, I would go with the predictable… Two Step.
Encore: Spoon, 40 Partial into Dreaming Tree, Tripping Billies.
Put all that in one show – the middle could be anything – and I would still love it.
What are your plans for the site’s future? Any new upcoming features?
I would love to revamp the entire thing and make it more professional. I don’t have the time, money, or knowledge though.
There are some features I would add like user submissions etc.. Someone suggested I make an album for “new” or recently uploaded tattoos and I think I might do that. [Since the interview, a Recently Uploaded album exists] I have made ticket holders in the past to sell and help maintain the site. Those sold out so I made posters. The limited edition hand-silk-screened posters are still available; they were custom designed by Kenny Smith (kenny-smith.com) and the image is a day of the dead tattoo style skull. [Note: One of these posters will be part of an upcoming joint-contest between DMBFanSite & DMBTattoo - stay tuned!] They were printed using Metallic Inks and are limited to 41. Once those sell out I will likely add something else. Other than that not much, I just continue to get the word out and try to collect every single DMB Tattoo out there! However I am always open to suggestions!
And how can people reach you for idea suggestions? Submit photos to the site?
My email is the best way: DMBTattoo41@gmail.com But also be sure to folllow me on Twitter and Facebook as I often do contests/giveaways, as well as post the latest DMB News as it comes out
Well thank you very much Kurt for giving up some of your time for the interview, I’m sure our readers and your visitors will be quite glad to hear that you’re as crazy of a fan as the rest of us. All the best for the site, and in your future endeavours!