During a recent interview with Vogue, Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth gave an information about his $7 million worth tattoo business.
“And what’s the through-line that takes you from fronting one of the biggest bands in the history of the world to launching a business in the tattoo-maintenance space?”
David Lee Roth responded:
“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. 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. 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.”
“Van Halen’s first record came out in 1978. In 2007, you were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. How do you consider Van Halen’s legacy?”
“Our music is timeless and can be played by Filipino bar bands at Hasidic weddings flawlessly. As soon as you hear [he singsongs the opening riff of “Dance the Night Away”], every female wrist grabs every male wrist and goes, “Get up—you’re dancing.” Our music transcends genre. The hard rock guys think we’re pussies for playing pop, and the pop stars say we’re too rough.”