Several months ago, I had the pleasure of conducting my first in-person interview with Jet from Love Hate Tattoo here in Rochester, NY. During that time, I was able to meet Aidan Monahan, and afterwards, he and I discussed doing an interview at the Roc City Tattoo Expo. Flash forward a few months and I’m shooting the shit with him while he’s tattooing a buddy of his. This interview was a ton of fun to conduct, and I’m pretty stoked I got to meet such a nice dude and quality tattooer.
For those of you unfamiliar with Aidan and his work, he currently tattoos out of FTW Tattoo Parlour in San Francisco, CA, alongside Jason Phillips. I’m not going to go into too much detail about his style, since he does talk about it during the interview, but he definitely does some pretty great Americana and Japanese inspired tattoos. He also does some cool funky, traditional american style tattoos a la Deno, Destory Troy, etc. that I dig. Whether it’s a clipper shipper, a fu dog, or a yeti being beamed up into a space ship, Aidan is well versed and able to put out some quality tattoos. Here’s some of his work:
Let’s get to it. Here’s my interview with Aidan:
OED: Where are you originally from?
Aidan Monahan: I am from Bray County Wicklow, which is in Ireland; it’s about thirteen miles from Dublin City, and it’s a lovely little seaside town. That’s where I’m from.
OED: Word on the street is that you came to America because you wanted to play in a Hardcore band. Is this true?
AM: This is true. I came to the States in ’95, because I wanted to be involved, in some shape or form, in New York Hardcore. Yeah, I came here and I was obsessed. I have obsessive patterns that I do. When I get into something, I get into something balls deep. I was younger, and I came here, and I wanted to be in a hardcore band, and I had been in a few over the years. It was fun.
OED: What instrument do you play?
AM: I sing. I have no talent. The only talent that I have is managing to fool people into thinking that I’m something more than I am, at least when it comes to music, anyhow.
OED: Who are some of your favorite hardcore bands?
AM: Well, it’s changed a lot. I mean, God…Okay, I’ll give you a top ten, and obviously I like a lot more. You know, Cro-Mags, Sick of it All, Breakdown, Infest, Poison Idea…ah shit.
OED: Pretty much the classic stuff?
AM: Yeah, I mean all the old New York Hardcore, but a lot of other stuff. I like old Boston stuff, old California stuff; I like a lot of Powerviolence stuff, and a lot of old Punk Rock. You know, bands like Poison Idea is what I really like, you know, like Sheer Terror and stuff like that. But I also listen to a lot of wussy music. I’m older now and I love that shit and I think it was a really important part of my life, and I love hardcore, but I listen to Gram Parsons a lot too. I like to be mellow a lot too. But, when I do listen to hardcore, that’s the kind of shit that I like. Yeah.
OED: Are there any bands or albums currently that you’re excited about?
AM: Um…shit. Oh, fuck me, now you’ve put me on the spot. Oh, Rotting in hell. Is that the band from England? I think so. There’s this band that sounds like Integrity. I really like Integrity a lot. I like some of the evil shit too. There’s Rotting in hell..they’re called Rotting in hell. I think, I don’t know. I can’t remember, but they’re great. Fucked Up’s great too. I like those guys a lot. Social Circle. Is that a band that I heard recently?
OED: I don’t know, man.
AM: I don’t know, I don’t know. I can’t fucking keep up. I listen to Hardcore. I have a lot of young, Hardcore dudes that I tattoo that turn me onto this shit. I’m not one of those dudes that hates younger bands. I think there’s as many relevant, awesome bands now as there ever was, and, obviously, people feel that… they always hate on kids. Well, no fucking shit. You got old and you’re cranky and you’re pissed. You’re sad because you got fat and you can’t dance, you know? But I don’t hate on younger bands. I think they’re great. There’s a bunch of bullshit that I hate, but there’s a lot of good shit as well. And there’s a lot of guys from older bands that are doing good shit. And I like a lot of stuff they do after hardcore. I like, you know, what’s Walter’s band from Quicksand? Rival Schools. That band’s great. I love that stuff. There’s a lot of stuff that I still really, really like. There’s a lot of stuff in general that I’ll check out. Oh…and Urban Blight is really good.
OED: So, now where do you currently tattoo out of?
AM: I tattoo out of FTW in Oakland, CA. Before that, I tattooed out of Love Hate in Rochester, NY. So, yeah, they’re my home.
OED: How would you describe your style to someone who’s never seen your tattoos before?
AM: Juvenile, childish, everything that I like about being a kid. No, honestly, my tattooing is based on traditional style and values. I try to at least. My subject matter I tend to lean towards stuff that is from my childhood, or, I hate to say this word because it annoys the fuck out of me when people say it, but cartoony stuff. But, to me that’s the best shit. I like to do that and I like to do stuff that’s dynamic, sometimes but mostly not. I also like to do simple, Japanese stuff.
OED: How old were you when you first got into tattooing?
AM: Probably when I was about 17. Yeah…probably about 17. I got tattooed in Dublin when I was young at a place called The Mint, which was fucking awesome. It was so scary. It was in an alley and there were trash cans and neon lights. You got on line, and you waited, and they were like, “NEXT!” It was fucking great, and I loved it, and it terrified me, and it made me love tattooing. Yeah, that was my earliest memory of tattooing. And my uncle had tattoos when I was little. Everyone says that, but that’s actually true. I’m not just saying it. That was my beginning.
(Aidan is getting ready to tattoo a customer)
OED: Do you remember what your first tattoo was of?
AM: Yes! It was a modified Jef Whitehead tattoo from the early 90’s that I redrew, with my immense talent at the time, and pretended that it was my own design. I went in, and was like, “Hey, what do you think?” It’s a devil and it looks like a fucking alien. It’s awesome, and I still love it. Yeah, it’s very 90’s; it’s very, very 90’s. It might as well have been lined with a mag. It was like fucking ridiculous.
OED: When did you start thinking about tattooing professionally?
AM: This sounds so stupid, but the person that motivated me, and made me want to tattoo, was Civ. I met these guys from this band called The Enkindle in NYC, when I was a kid. The dude had just got tattooed by Civ. Man, it was beautiful. It blew my fucking mind. I had toyed with the idea earlier, but never as much. I had never been moved by a tattoo as much with what I saw on that dude. And that was it. That was where I wanted to be. That’s when I wanted to tattoo. That was my point where I was like, “All right, that’s what I’m doing. That’s what I want to do. ” You know, I guess that I was of course romanticizing everything. I’m like, here’s this dude, that sings in this band that I worship, and then I’m like, “He’s tattooing!” And then all the shit that old, cranky tattooers get pissed about nowadays, I was exactly that, because that’s what youth is-naive, happiness, and fucking blind ambition, so that’s what I saw.
OED: How old were you when you first became a tattooer?
AM: I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve been tattooing for like fourteen years. So, I’m thirty-seven years now, so do the math. I don’t know. I can’t remember. It’s hazy.
(to his customer) Ready? This shit’s gonna hurt.
OED: When you got into tattooing, did you apprentice first?
AM: I did. I did an apprenticeship in Boston, MA. It was still illegal at the time there, which was, you know, kinda cool. I worked at an underground studio, with a certain individual; I’m not gonna get into the names. Yeah, he took me on, and of course I jumped at it, because I thought, “Oh, yeah. Great. Awesome!” There was another guy that worked there who taught me a lot. And then the whole situation got kinda fucked up for me, and I was on my own. And that was pretty rough, and that sucked pretty bad. You know, I scratched for a while. And, by the grace of God, I found some awesome people. I moved to Rochester, NY, and I ended up working with Ben Wight and everyone up at Angelina’s, which I’m sure you remember the name from Jet. Angelina is a legend of Rochester tattooing, and she was gracious enough to let me into her shop. She fired me, but, you know, I think everyone got fired by Angelina. I think Jet got fired from there too. But, yeah, I ended up there and that was kind of like my first real shop, to tell you the truth.
OED: What was your apprenticeship like-what was the process like for you-and how long was it?
AM: Um…it seemed to be like a legitimate one-at the time-but I mean I didn’t know any better. I had read some stuff about what a real apprenticeship does, what is involved with, you know, and honestly it was short and sweet, like really bad sex . It was like really exciting, and then it was over. It wasn’t great. You know? But you think it’s great at the time. We’ve all done that. Right? We’ve had sex with people we’ve thought were amazing, and then you’re like, “Oh my God. What have I just done.”
OED: Haha of course. Early on, who were some tattooers that inspired your work?
AM: Ed Hardy, Mike Malone, everything that was in Tattoo Times. Eddy Deutsche, you know, just really awesome tattooing. Dan Higgs…Dan Higgs was a really huge influence. You know, a lot of that period of tattooing…Oh shit, Dave Lum. How can I forget Dave Lum? Dave Lum was amazing. They were the things I was into. You know, but mostly Hardy. Hardy was everything to me. You know, he still is. I just love him.
OED: I mean, how can you not like Ed Hardy?
AM: I know. It’s just the best. You know, obviously, the 222 crew. I got tattooed at 222, and that was really awesome. You know, that kind of tattooing was just so fucking bad ass; it blew my brain away. It was just so good. I loved it. I loved it. So they were a huge influence on me. San Francisco tattooing in the 90’s. A lot of cool tattooer back then, and obviously now, but that’s what influenced me and made me want to tattoo.
OED: Do you remember what the first tattoo that you did was of?
AM: I got a picture of it. I don’t have it here with me. I can send it to you.
OED: Yeah, that’d be great.
AM: I did, I think it was a moon, and a star, and God I don’t know. It was a bunch of shit. It was a bunch of little things put together, with some nice 70’s pixie dust. It looked great. (We start laughing) It was great. If I could’ve just kept that style, it would’ve been great. No, it was all right. My second one was awful. I worked with this guy (referring to his friend). He saw the heyday of Aidan Monahan tattooing
Aidan’s friend: No more Celtic pieces for you?
AM: No more Celtic pieces. I worked with this guy when I first came to Rochester, and he saw the heyday of Aidan Monahan tattooing. Yeah, so, that was my first tattoo.
OED: What attracted you to guys like Ed Hardy, and the style of tattooing that you’ve come…
AM: What attracted me to Ed Hardy? He’s gorgeous (We start laughing).
OED: To his tattoos?! (laughing as I say this)
AM: Look, I live in San Francisco, and I have a mustache, but I’m not gay. What attracted me to Ed Hardy?
OED: His tattoos and that style?
AM: Hardy is the essence of everything that is cool, man. He’s like…you know…his tattoos, obviously, are like a fucking Johnny Thunders songs, you know what I mean? They’re just so fucking tough. Even when he does beautiful things, like pretty things, and girly things, it’s still tough. He just created everything for us. And we’re lucky to have…I mean, I’m not trying to fucking, I mean I guess I am. I sound like I’m sucking Ed Hardy’s dick. But, I mean…yeah, so what? Yeah, I am. I mean, Mike Malone is the same. Mike Malone, in my opinion, he blew my fucking mind too. So, mad props to (Mike Malone) Rolo. And that’s how their tattooing was-just honest; and it was creative and different, but it was definitely…like I feel like sometimes people were very ego driven with their tattooing-as I do a tattoo of a owl with one foot on a guy. But, yeah, Hardy’s tattoos looked like tattoos. No matter what. Even if they were finessed and they were beautiful, they still looked like tattoos. They were awesome. They were just awesome.
OED: At what point, after you started tattooing, did you feel confident with your abilities and the tattoos that you were putting out?
AM: I’ll tell you when I get there. I’m dead serious. No, when I started working with Jet and Ben. When Jet took me and fucking molded me, that’s when I started feeling a little bit-a little bit-more confident. In general, I know big name tattooers, that people are fucking sweating, that are insecure. And, I know…everyone feels a little insecure, man. I still feel very insecure about myself. But, being said, I know what I do, so I don’t beat myself up too bad. I used to do that a lot. I’ve given that up. So, I guess if I were to say, probably about 7 or 8 years in, maybe.
OED: At what point did you start working/tattooing with Jet?
AM: Well, I worked at some shops here, in Rochester, NY, and I worked with some really good people. I worked for a guy Shawn Conn, who I really love and have the utmost respect, but ever since I got to Rochester, NY all I wanted to do was work with Jet. When I first met Jet, he was a complete fucking gentleman to me. He ruled. He ruled. He’s one of my best friends, and I love him. When I got the opportunity to work with him, I was working with Shawn, and I heard through the grapevine that he had mentioned to a friend of mine that if he ever had any interest in any other tattooers in the city it was going to be me. So, I left my job that day-I didn’t quit, but I went on a lunch break-and I went straight to Love Hate and talked to him. And then, the next day, I came up, and talked to Shawn, and told him that the tattooing that I wanted to do was what Jet was doing. So, he was really cool, and we’re still all cool. So, yeah, I can’t remember what year. I’m the worst with dates.
Aidan’s friend: I actually remember that.
AM: It’s been a while. It’s been a long time. It’s been at least fucking 8 years ago, but probably more. I can’t remember. It was a really long time ago.
OED: How did you end up at FTW?
AM: How did I ended up at FTW? Well, I have known those guys for a long time, and when I left the shop I was working at in SF we connected and made it happen.
OED: What are some of your favorite tattoo designs-whether it’s something that you’ve created, or some sort of classic image?
AM: I mean, yeah, I love everything, you know. I love all of the old picture machine stuff. That stuff’s great. A lot of people are making a lot of money off those designs, and that’s great. I love animals, so if I get an opportunity to tattoo an animal, I’m stoked. I love to tattoo super fucking cube shit. Honestly, when I do a traditional American style tattoo, I like to do it like a flash-whether that be an Owen Jensen design or whoever-I do it exactly like it is. But, when I do my own stuff, I look at a lot of other art. I’m into a lot of different art outside of tattooing, and I want to do stuff that’s gonna maybe be a little bit different than what everyone else is doing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that sort of stuff, but I wanna be a little different I guess…just a little. So, I look at a lot of Kawaii style art and a lot of Kaiju-like monster stuff. My happiest day is if someone goes, “Hey, I want a monster tattoo from you, and I don’t care what it looks like, and use whatever colors you want in it,” and I’d make it look like a toy. That’s what I really like. That’s what I really like. I love pharaoh’s horses and I love panther’s; panther’s are my favorite style. People are gonna think I’m doing speed, but I’m actually straight edge and I just talk a lot. But, yeah, a panther.
OED: You can’t go wrong with a panther tattoo.
AM: You can’t motherfucking go wrong with a panther tattoo.
OED: How often do you paint flash?
AM: Whenever I’m not extremely exhausted. I’d like to say that I paint everyday, but I don’t. My co-worker does, and he makes me feel like a piece of shit. And, might I add that he’s amazing and you guys should check out his work. His name’s Jason Phillips and he’s a great tattooer. He’s become a really, really good friend of mine. So, yeah, I do paint a lot. I try to paint at least one thing a week, and sometimes I’ll have a dry spell, but I’ll try to doodle something or paint as much as I can; not as much as I’d like to, because I get tired from work, but I try to paint as much as I can.
OED: Is there any piece of flash of yours that you’d like to tattoo that you’ve never gotten the chance to?
AM: Oh shit…fuck.
Aidan’s friend: What about the Yeti?
AM: No, I’ve done that. . Yeah, there’s some things. I did a set from a few years ago like I’d like to do some stuff. I did a set with Jet that we never finished, and there’s some stuff on that sheet that I’d love to do. But we’ve gotta finish that set and then maybe we can get to do some of that stuff. But, nah, nothing.
OED: What kind of stuff is on that sheet?
AM: Oh, that’s top secret. I can’t tell you that stuff. It’s good. It’s really different for both of us. We totally consciously did something really different. It’s very dark. It’s very dark and spooky.
OED: Do you have a favorite sheet of flash that you’ve painted?
AM: Shit, I don’t know. I don’t know. I have this one with a bear being abducted by aliens that I kind of like, and he has these big bollocks hanging off the bottom of him, which I kind of like. He’s good. That’s a good one. I guess that one, I suppose.
OED: This is kind of a rehash, but which old-time tattooer or tattooers would you consider your favorite?
AM: Bert Grimm, Owen Jensen, Percy Walters, Stoney-I love Stoney.
OED: Stoney St. Clair?
AM: Yeah, I love it. You know, there’s a lot of them. Grimshaw-Grimsaw was great. I said Percy Walters. Oh, what’s that guys name? There was some Chinese guys name. Fuck, um, Pinky Yun. Ah…There’s a ton.
OED: Any current favorite tattooers of yours?
AM: Oh, God, you want the top 10. Jesus Christ. Where do I start? Fuck, ok: Jet, Jason Phillips, everybody I work with, Sean Perkinson, I think Robert Ryan is amazing, fuck, there’s so many…Deno, Josh Mason. There’s so many people here-Tony DeRigo. I’m just naming friends at this point. There’s seriously so many amazing tattooers out there. There’s so much good stuff. There’s this guy called xPiranhax that I really like, he’s from South America. He’s a young tattooer; I don’t think he’s been tattooing all that long. Some of the guys from Spain, I’m really digging what they’re doing. Tomas Garcia, I’d love to get tattooed by him, he’s a really good guy. Brian Bruno, fuck, he’s amazing. There’s so many. The guys from Smith St. are great. My buddy, Eric Saner, he does really nice tattoos. Watch out for that motherfucker he’s coming up. Nigga’s coming up! (I couldn’t help but laugh from this comment, even after listening to the recording) Yeah, there’s a ton. I can never think of people right off the top of my head. Hold on, there is one, there’s this dude from Rochester-Adam Francey. He’s great. He’s really good. His style’s really awesome. He paints great, and I really like what he does. Yeah, so, there’s so many tattooers that I like.
OED: Career wise, was there something else that you considered doing before you got into tattooing?
AM: My dad wanted me to be a cop. That wasn’t gonna work.
Aidan’s friend: you’ve got the mustache.
AM: It could work now. I mean, I wanted to be a barber, because I didn’t know what the fuck I wanted to do. I spent a lot of years fucking off. Before I stopped drinking and partying, I was kind of a fuck up, dude, to tell you the truth. I didn’t really have any ambitions, besides playing punk rock and being fucked up, or being hardcore, whatever the fuck you want to call it-it’s all the same to me. There’s things I want to do now, besides from tattooing. I love toys. I’m trying, my pathetic effort, to sculpt toys, which is kind of fun. I mean, I don’t want to insult the dudes that do that for a living, but I’d like to do something like that, as well as tattooing.
OED: When I asked this question to Jet, your response was, “that’s a loaded question,” so I figured I’ve gotta ask you this: any crazy tattoo stories or any crazy customer stories that you’d be willing to share?
AM: Yeah, I’ve got tons. Fuck.
Aidan’s friend: I’ve got a good one…
AM: Which one?
Aidan’s friend: When you were tattooing the bulldog with strength on the kid’s neck…
AM: Oh, yeah. I ain’t gonna hit that kid. Yeah, it was funny. All I’ll say is if you’re gonna get a power animal tattooed on you with strength written on it, it’s usually better if you sit well and not cry, but whatever. Tattoos hurt. Yeah, I’ve had some really fucking weird ones, man. The thing about that question is, and people always ask me that, and Jason (Phillips) and I were talking, I don’t want to make fun of people that I tattoo, because that’s the most important thing that a lot of tattooers forget: if we didn’t have customers, we wouldn’t be fucking do this, so we should appreciate them. So, I don’t ever think tattoos are weird. But situations? Yeah. I had a guy that I tattooed a few years ago-this is one story-and he was pretty fucking freaky. He was a very big man. He did a very manual job-he worked with bricks-so he was fucking huge. He worked with bricks. So, yeah, I was tattooing him and he was just a weird cat, and he had a weird energy. Oh, I sound so California right now. “Oh, he had a weird energy.” As tattooers, we try to be friendly, but none of us want to know. None of us really want to know. We might pretend that we want to know, but we just want to get through the tattoo. We just want to make you happy and then we want to go home. So, this guy, I ask him, “Is it painful?” and he’s like, “No, real pain is when your dad makes you suck his dick, or when your dad makes you swallow on the fucking end of a shotgun. That’s real pain.” And I was like, “Um, OK. Well, I’m glad it’s not hurting you.” I mean what the hell are you gonna say? So, that was a pretty brutal one. That’s what you want. That’s the guts right there.
OED: Holy shit. Seriously, man. So, what are your thoughts on the rise of popularity in tattooing?
AM: This is what I wanted to get out. Give me a mic. I’ll be like Chuck D. for this shit. What do I think of the rise in popularity of tattooing? I think it’s fantastic, as long as we’re (tattooers) the ones making money from it. No, I think it’s great in a way, but I also see it being watered down into this awful, generic bullshit that is just painful to watch. There’s nothing scary or shocking about tattooing anymore, you know? At least from my point of view, anyhow. All right, what do I think of tattooing now? I feel that it is great. There is amazing talent, there is some awesome people out there doing some really cutting edge stuff, as the learning curve is really high. People are creating beautiful tattoos, the standard is really high. But, with that, I feel like it’s lost a lot of soul, through the internet. I feel that some of the respect is gone. I feel that anybody feels that they can do it. It’s just been watered down. And I’m not jaded. I’m really not. As I said, there’s people doing amazing tattoo work out there, and it’s great. From my point of view, it’s great. But as a tattooer, it’s harder to tattoo nowadays. The standards are great and high, and that’s fantastic, but it’s been watered down by the media and the customers are different.
Honestly, if you’re a good tattooer, you should be able to adapt and get through that, and hopefully, if it declines in popularity, everyone that came in will still be able to make a living, and everyone will still be working. The media, the TV stuff, everyone is like, “what do you think about that stuff?” I mean, what do you think I think about this stuff? What do you think anyone that does this for a living really thinks about that stuff? It’s nonsense, it’s ridiculous. But, it’s there and it’s not going away, so we better deal with it. Unfortunately, it’s made a lot of young people think that this shit’s easy, and it’s fucking not easy. This shit’s really hard. It’s a shame when I see people come into our shop, week after week, day after day, asking for apprenticeships with a sense of entitlement. That’s what’s a pity. And when I started out, and I’m not saying, “When I started out!” But, you know, there was a sense of, you didn’t just walk into a tattoo shop, and if you did you were told to go fuck yourself. I’m not saying you should be negative and harsh to people wanting to get in, and I think there are plenty of people that want to get in that are great, but I feel that people need to earn it and they need to learn a good work ethic. And people, young or old or whoever, feel that they’re entitled to it. And the media has made this image that we’re fucking coke sniffing rock stars, that are fucking everything on two legs. I mean, fucking please.
You know what tattooing is? It’s like fucking Dungeons and Dragons. It’s a bunch of fucking nerds drawing silly things on people. We’re convincing people to give us money so that we can draw on them and hurt them. We’re a bunch of nerds, and we work really hard at being nerdy. You think people just bust out those huge Japanese back pieces? No, they fucking study hard and they earn that shit. they don’t just get it. You know what I mean? I hate it. I fucking hate that shit. I hate the entitlement sentiment. Some people are naturally talented and it comes to them easy, some people have to work harder at it. But, in my opinion, if you don’t work hard and you don’t stay humble and you have a sense of entitlement, than fuck you. I don’t care. Fuck you. But if you’re an honest person and you work hard…I’m not one of these guys that’s like, “Fuck all these new, young tattooers with they’re fucking bad hair cuts!” Hey, asshole, you were that too to the older guys. Get over it. But, in the same sense, it’s a shame. I’ve seen a lot of disrespect towards people.
Honestly, man, wherever you tattoo, you should look at your hometown wherever it is, and you should look at the history about where you tattoo. You should show respect to the people that tattooed in those areas. You should show respect to your elders, if they deserve it. Sometimes they’re assholes. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you deserve respect. But, there are a lot of people that were tattooing and were working hard. I mean, all I’m saying is, bottom line…I’m babbling on, but it’s hard work. Don’t feel like you’re entitled to it. And that’s the sad thing about tattooing. The upswing is the standard is awesome and the work is great, and I’m really stoked when I go on Facebook or Instagram. And I don’t hate that shit. I know people that are like, “Oh my God, I fucking hate Facebook.” Well, than get the fuck off Facebook. Shut up, you fucking cry baby. Stop whining about everything. If you don’t like it, don’t look. “I hate using Facebook, but you have to.” Oh, I’m sorry you don’t have to pay for advertising. Get over it. I mean, I love it. I love seeing what people are doing in Japan and Europe and all over the States. It’s great, and I think tattooing is great right now. Oh, and I forgot to mention another great tattooer that people should get tattooed by is Krooked Ken. You can add that to the list.
OED: Will do. So, do you ever wish that tattooing went back to or still had that roughen, outcast connotation to it where it was more of sailors, hoodlums, things like that?
AM: No, because we’d all be broke. We’d have no money, not that we have a lot of money. That’s another myth. We don’t have a lot of money. People think, “ahhhhh I’m gonna be rolling in it.” Man, I work hard. My back hurts, and I make little money, but I don’t make a lot of money. But, no. I mean, that’s the old timey thing. It’s a romantic idea. That reminds me when old-school Hardcore guys are like, “Back in the day shit was real.” Yeah and there were a bunch of assholes back then too. No, I don’t want things to go back to that. No, I don’t. I think it is what it is, right? I’m of the opinion you should just surround yourself with good people and like minded people, and that’s why I work at FTW and that’s why I worked at Love Hate, because I wanted to work around like minded people. There’s no going back. So many people have a romantic idea about what it was like 30, 40, 50 years ago. The romance of it is that those guys had to work so hard. That’s the romance of it. I’m sure it sucked. It was what it was. There’s no going back, there’s only going forward. Just keep on keepin’ on, as Joe Dirt says.
OED: So, last album you listened to?
AM: Probably, I think I listened to The Smiths-Meat is Murder.
OED: Excellent. Any last comments before we end this?
AM: Are you gonna kill me? I know I say that all the time. I said that in the last interview. Get tattooed, paint, have fun, support real tattooers-no matter what their style is. Stay positive if you’re a new guy and trying to get into tattooing, and stay humble. And if you’re an old guy still in tattooing, I hope your back isn’t hurting and don’t get jaded.
Thanks to Aidan for taking his time and allowing me to bug him for nearly an hour. I’d also like to thank Jet for 1) putting on Roc City and 2) agreeing to do an interview with me, which allowed me to meet Aidan. So, thanks to both of those guys. Anyone in California and from the surrounding areas, stop in at FTW and get a badass tattoo from Aidan. Maybe you can get a bear with big bollocks. Who knows? Follow Aidan on Tumblr and check out his website. Thanks for reading.