Wednesday, December 12, 2018

David Lee Roth launches tattoo skin care line Ink The Original

David Lee Roth is sharing details about his latest business venture, Ink The Original, a skin-care line which preserves, protects and highlights tattoos while keeping them from fading.

The rocker began work on the concept after Van Halen wrapped up a North American tour in 2015, following which they haven’t been heard from since.

“I started this project with three of us sitting around an upended plastic bucket for a table at my house in L.A,” Roth tells Vogue. “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.”

Roth has been interested in body ink for decades … way before Van Halen recorded “Tattoo” as the lead single for 2012’s “A Different Kind Of Truth.”

“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,” he says. “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.”

After Roth became a resident of Tokyo in 2012, he had his design inked by legendary Yokohama-based horishi tattoo artist Horiyoshi III, who specializes in Japanese traditional full-body tattoos; the pair cane be seen in a Roth Show video while the singer performs an acoustic version of John Brim’s “Ice Cream Man” in the artist’s studio with some new lyrics for the occasion.

In the Vogue interview, Roth also revealed news that he launched an outdoor gear company, Laugh To Win, in recent years.

“My idea for a line of outdoor gear started eight or nine years ago, and at the moment, we’re working on some 60 products,” says the singer. “I’m not going after just the tattoo world – we’re going after Procter & Gamble. I took most of what I made off the last couple of Van Halen tours – I didn’t actually touch the check, [and] I just watched it walk by – and that’s how I financed this.

“And I’ll tell you something else,”
he adds, “Up until 18 months ago, I was making pennies in royalty on a $20 Van Halen record. It means I got butchered 40 years ago. I made over a billion dollars for Warner Bros. I watched my whole fortune walk off into another man’s pocket.

“However far we get with Laugh To Win, I did it as a free man. I spent my own money. I built the team. This is my shot. This is the second half of the Super Bowl. And whatever happens? I’m a free mother***ker!

See also:

VIDEO: Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth performs at private benefit show
David Lee Roth: 1985 Crazy From The Heat film script surfaces online
Wolfgang Van Halen completes debut solo album
VIDEO: Foo Fighters perform John Lennon and Van Halen mashup
Search Van Halen at hennemusic