Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 95 - CHRIS 51
TATTOO ARTIST - CHRIS 51
"You don't have to be the smartest, the biggest, the fastest, the richest. You don't. You just have to outwork everyone else out there." Chris 51, Tattoo artist, founder of Headbangers Con
ABOUT CHRIS 51:
Legendary tattoo artist Chris 51 joins the podcast this week to talk about his career and a brand new convention. Chris has revolutionized the geek and pop culture tattoo industry, which led to his show Epic Ink on A&E. Since then, he has put together the largest tattoo tour in the world, GeesterInk Legends, and they appear at many comic cons and pop culture conventions around the world. In fact, Chris likes conventions so much he is starting his own, Headbangers Con, the inaugural event goes down in November in Oregon. Born out of his love for metal music, he has banded together some of the top musicians in the genre to give fans a chance to come and meet them, take a picture and get an autograph, and hear some amazing panels and performances.
ON THIS WEEK'S COMPANION TV SHOW:
D-Man gets to talk about one of his favorite subjects on Science this week as new evidence from NASA suggests we might be closer than ever before to discover the elusive Planet Nine. A distant dwarf planet could be a moon of a larger planet directly outside our own Solar System. Then, on The Roast, Jeff breaks down the origins of pumpkins and Jack O' Lantern's in relation to Halloween, and a very chocolatey reveal is discussed on The Update from the World's Strongest Coffee.
DEATH STAR OF THE WEEK:
Meet Corina Revette Werner this week, and check out the rest of the show right here:
Jeff: All right. So let's start off with the elephant in the room. If you guys are watching or listening to this, you probably hear the den of craziness behind us, and it's because we're at a pretty kick-ass convention, Heroes and Villains. Chris, you do this on the regular. How many conventions do you do a year?
Chris51: Oh, boy.
Jeff: Do you even count them?
Chris51: Yeah, I'd say in the last probably five years, I've done 200.
Chris51: Yeah, you know give or take but ...
Jeff: That's crazy.
Chris51: Yeah, I do a lot. I love it. Honestly, this is what keeps me going.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Jeff: Now as a tattoo artist, do you have a hometown shop or are you just specifically tattooing at conventions?
Chris51: No I do in Springfield, Oregon is my hometown. Yep.
Jeff: Awesome. Awesome. Can we shout out the shop?
Chris51: Shout it out, man.
Jeff: What is it?
Chris51: Area 51 Tattoo.
Jeff: There it is.
Chris51: Yeah, yeah.
Jeff: But what got you into traveling around, following the circus from town to town?
Dustin: It is just like a circus, right?
Chris51: Can I cuss on this?
Dustin: Yeah, yeah.
Jeff: It's fucking Death Wish Coffee.
Chris51: It's a fucking circus. Yeah. Dude, so I always went to Comic Cons and Star Trek conventions. I mean you name it, I'm a fucking nerd.
Chris51: That's why I do what I do. I love it. I would do this shit for free. I mean, don't tell anybody that. But if I had to, I would.
Jeff: It's on record.
Chris51: Dammit. But no, I always went to Comic Cons, and I tattooed once at a Comic Con in a booth and I saw the awe in people's faces. And I'm like, "Whoa. No one really knows that there's geeky, nerdy tattoos out there."
Chris51: Because they weren't prevalent at that time. You know what I mean? Miami Ink I think had just hit the air or something like that. So it wasn't out there. So I was like, "Man, people are digging this. They've never seen tattoos and they've never seen geeky tattoos," because it was kind of like a tattoos weren't really a taboo thing as much any more. But getting pop culture stuff was. You had to get something like a skull or a demon.
Jeff: Of course.
Chris51: Or flowers. So I kind of saw the need, and that's why I kind of created the whole Epic Ink Show for A&E because I was like, "Man, so many people are digging this." The fans especially and I saw a need and I wanted to make a product for that need. And I was fortunate that they let me do the show the way I had envisioned it and they didn't try and change it and corrupt it and make it full of drama and shit.
Dustin: Yeah, that's always weird, and it seems so contrived. You can tell right away.
Chris51: It's so contrived, dude. Yeah. It was really funny. I'll tell you a quick story.
Chris51: It was cool. The very first day of filming, there was three cameras around. There's a crew of 26 people. Sound guys, I mean everything, right? They're like, okay. I'm at Area 51 Tattoo and we have a little island we gather around and we draw on. The show runner comes out. She's like, "Okay. So I want you to talk about this and then maybe lead into this, and then your favorite movie." We're all looking at each other like, "Okay. Sure." We started it off with that for 10 seconds. And within five minutes, we're talking about space, time travel, continuum and aliens, fucking dinosaurs and how that happened. They let us talk for three hours dude. They came in and they're like, "Okay," they got a breath. They're like, "All right." The show runner's like, "Okay. From now on, I am never going to fucking tell you about what to talk about because that was awesome."
Jeff: That's awesome.
Dustin: That's so cool.
Chris51: Yeah. So the whole rest of the season, we got to do and talk about whatever we wanted to. The only thing ... I'm so proud to say that it was like real.
Chris51: Like any TV, the only thing is like the audio might not have caught something so you got to repeat it. Then you repeat it 10 times. So it's not as ... It's still genuine because we said that.
Chris51: But after a while you're like, "Whoa, reaction." It gets a little ... I would say that would be the fake part. But at least it was still real. So that was cool. Anyways, I'm proud of that and that TV show then kind of I honestly think helped popularize geeky, pop culture tattoos.
Chris51: It made a lot of like closet nerds and guys see that, "Oh my god. There's these guys on TV tattooing Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, everything you could think of. That's what I love. So maybe since they're doing it and there's fans doing it, maybe it's okay for me to do it."
Chris51: And it really helped popularize that. I'm proud to say that. That might sound a little arrogant, but I honestly believe that that's true that it helped.
Jeff: I honestly believe it too.
Dustin: I think that helps the tattoo community as a whole because that whole taboo thing is like it's gangster, it's criminal, it's for people in jail.
Jeff: Or military.
Dustin: It's for biker gangs and military.
Jeff: That's it.
Dustin: Now we're seeing it hit across everywhere. You get this whole corner.
Chris51: Soccer moms, dude.
Dustin: Soccer moms getting mandalas on their chest.
Chris51: Yeah. Soccer moms getting Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch Kids and cool shit that they had when they were little girls.
Chris51: I love it, dude.
Dustin: And we're starting to see a whole transition of the tattoo community. Even down to like we're seeing tattoo shops even change their whole outlook. It's no longer these crusty shops. It's these really cool places to go. Some of them are even like spas almost for these moms to go to to get tattooed.
Chris51: Exactly. When I first opened my shop, I refused to hang all the biker flash on the walls and stuff, and I got ridiculed in my community for it.
Dustin: That's crazy.
Chris51: The older timers were like, "What do you think this is? It's named after a space ships and sci-fi. It needs to be panthers or roses or this or that. What you have no flash on the walls? What do you just draw everything?" I'm like, "Yeah. I'm a fucking artist. That's what I want to ..." I don't want to do shit someone else drew, which is now pretty much all I do because it's cartoons. But that's my choice.
Dustin: Yeah, yeah.
Chris51: But yeah, the fact that I look back and I got ridiculed and I got threatened for that by some old timers and stuff, dude. I just gave them the big middle finger, and I'm like, "We'll see who outlasts who. Your way is the old way. I'm going to try it this way." I got a lot of buddies and a lot of peers that are supporting me, and luckily, it's got me to where I am now, which is talking to you guys.
Dustin: Hell yeah, brother.
Jeff: Not only that, I mean, don't sell yourself short. You aren't just doing other people's work now like cartoons and video games and stuff like that. I love seeing the work that you do when you're taking crazy ideas and Simpson-sizing them. Or like just like a superhero idea but it's definitely your idea. So that creativity's still there. It's still this industry that's growing and re-imagining and reinventing itself, and it's so much fun to watch.
Chris51: For sure, and I appreciate that. Thank you, man.
Jeff: Honest to god. So you do a lot ... We've seen you. We've met you at Heroes and Villains and Walker Stalker Conventions and Comic Cons and that kind of stuff. Do you do any of the straight tattoo conventions at all?
Chris51: Fuck no. A bunch of assholes at those things. I don't like them. I did that for a decade. Traveled around the world. Maybe in 15 years, I did that because there were no such thing as tattooing at Comic Cons. I mean, really you had San Diego Comic Con, you had a couple little ones, but it wasn't really a thing.
Chris51: So I started out like everyone else, and I'm glad I did. And it showed me, honestly, tattooing at tattoo conventions showed me that I don't want to fucking do this anymore because I'm surrounded by a bunch of clicky groups of assholes. And this guy next to this booth hates this guy and he's talking shit and they're fighting in the parking lot afterwards. I'm like, I'm not like that. My friends drawing comics. You don't go fight in the back parking lot. We go to the comic book shop and grab a burger and a beer and we go geek out over the new Spiderman issue.
Dustin: That's so cool.
Chris51: I'm like there's got to be another way.
Chris51: That actually helped propel me and motivate me to show people that there's another way. And I think subconsciously that's kind of what eventually lead to me coming up with my own TV show and that whole sort of thing.
Dustin: So how did you get caught up in this convention circuit then?
Chris51: After Epic Ink aired, my business partner, who owned like a tattoo geeky app, called the Geekster Inc. App.
Jeff: Geekster Inc., yeah.
Chris51: Okay. He owned the Geekster Inc. App and he invited me to be a part of it and a part owner of it because at this point I had a name. And he kind of wanted me to be the fact of the ... And I've got a face for radio. So the social media face ... So he kind of wanted me to do that. And that kind of grew, and these Comic Cons started hearing about it. And they're like "Hey, he's got this. He was on TV, he was a reality star. You wanna come appear at our convention? You wanna come appear at our convention?"
Chris51: So I started by appearing at a couple conventions, you know doing the pictures and photo ops and stuff.
Dustin: Was there anybody doing this at that time?
Chris51: Not really.
Dustin: Or were you like a first tattooer at these conventions?
Chris51: I don't know if I'd dare to say I was the first but you know, I mean there were some other tattoo shops and another little tour that was doing some Cons and stuff, but it was real small scale, real small penis. And I don't do anything fucking small man. Hell no. You know what I mean? So I started, I did a couple appearances and I did a couple panels about mixing the entertainment industry with the art culture industry of tattooing and that sort of thing. And then that led to coming up with an idea of lets make this into a tour.
Chris51: Because I got all these guys are like "Well you're doing these Comic Cons, I wanna come do em' and that's what I'm into." So the Geekster Inc. app became the Geekster Inc. Legends because I personally recruited these legends of Geeky tattooing from all over the World.
Jeff: Yes, yes.
Chris51: And I got about 80 to 100 guys. I have a group. I have a European team, and Australian team.
Chris51: Yeah I got East Coast, West Coast, you know. So I got all these guys that are really prominent in the pop culture tattoo community. You know this guy's known for doing Star Wars, this guy's known for doing Anime. You know whatever the case may be.
Dustin: That's so cool.
Chris51: So I kind of recruited these guys and hand picked em. And my whole thing was to make sure two things, one that their art was amazing. But they had to be good people. Because I wasn't about to have my brand and my reputation be at stake in front of this massive platform of a lot of children and a lot of younger, more naïve people, when it comes to tattooing. And I wasn't about to have that at stake with having a bunch of assholes that are used to tattoo conventions coming around and "Fuck this" and get in fights and demanding money.
Chris51: So my main thing was you gotta be a good artist at geeky stuff, and passionate about geeky stuff. Not just "Oh you did a Star Wars tattoo five years ago." No I wanna see that shit posted every other day. But you also have to be a good person. You know and you gotta have social skills, know how to talk to customers, get along with people. So that was the other key element. And that's what I did differently than other places was they just took whoever. But I was a picky little bitch. And I'm glad I was because now I'm like the last man standing. I got the biggest tour in the world. It's the biggest tattoo tour in the world. And it tattoos in all these Comic Cons and stuff. And I'm super proud of it man.
Chris51: And everyone who works at the booth is proud of it. And they are so passionate about it that it's like, it's all a part of us, we're a family. So we all watch out for each other, we all promote each other. It's just the best community ever. I love it.
Dustin: It makes [inaudible 00:11:28] sense while you're here with Fan Fest, because they've got the same thing going on with that family atmosphere.
Chris51: Oh I love em'.
Dustin: I mean that's why we're here every chance we get, because we're now part of this giant awesome family that is Fan Fest. And it's all about that atmosphere. And it creates such an amazing event like this, because even the celebrities are happy. Because everybody's just so stoked. And now you have even your side of even the tattooers are stoked. It's so cool.
Chris51: It's awesome dude. And honestly like ... So Jackie from Fan Fest, she flew me out to San Jose. Because they were experimenting with some other little tattoo companies and stuff, and they weren't happy, because they weren't getting the side we talked about, the customer service side.
Chris51: Because I think it was more of what we discussed. So the photo ops, my friends at the photo ops, people here that take all their photos. They recommended "Hey you gotta get a hold of Chris51, not only are they the best artists, but they're the best people." And that was the key to them, you guys know, they're the best fucking people there are in this industry.
Jeff: Hands down.
Chris51: I've done so many Comic Cons, and shady promoters, and slime balls.
Jeff: Same here man.
Chris51: And I hooked up with them, and I pretty much exclusively do Walkers Stalkers and Heroes and Villains now. I've got no need to go anywhere else. I could go make more money, I could go do this or that. I could be greedy. I don't care. I am happy, and these people treat me like I'm family.
Jeff: That's awesome.
Chris51: And Jackie flew me out to that first one and kind of courted me, you know. And she said "This is what we got, what do you think?" And I swear to god, every employee, it was like a family of brothers and sisters. Hugging me and high fiving me.
Dustin: Everybody's hugs man, it's so great.
Chris51: It's so awesome. And half the reason you look forward to doing these events is coming back and seeing your family.
Dustin: I feel the same way. Like I'm so stoked to see all these people. And then Josh is such an awesome dude.
Jeff: Josh is so cool.
Chris51: I love it. Yeah so I mean I can't speak highly enough about the Heroes and Villains and Walker Stalker family. And I'm not ass kissing, like I'm genuinely would probably kiss their ass. Because I love em', I mean I love those guys.
Jeff: Is it fun keeping up with the absolute insurmountable pop culture juggernaut that pop culture is now? Because Geekster, and you guys have like you said, you have your Star Wars guys, you Anime guys, and stuff like that. But we're constantly getting new fandoms. And in fact, I was laughing because one of the newest things, people of this show know I'm a huge Simpson's fan.
Chris51: Oh yeah.
Jeff: One of the newest things that just came out is Disenchanted on Netflix, which is Matt Groening's new property.
Dustin: That's what I'm talking about.
Jeff: Immediately when it hit on Netflix, I'm seeing this motherfucker start posting tattoos.
Chris51: First one to do Elfo, first one to do Elfo right here.
Jeff: So is that fun? Like new properties that come up and like "Oh I get to tattoo this now."
Chris51: That's what excites us. You know a new show comes out, or like a new character on Rick and Morty. And it's like "Who's the first one to do it?" Some of us like those, the Disenchanted, I'll do those like I'll hook people up. I love it, I'm such a fan of it that I'll put a post out and I'll be like "I wanna be the first one to tattoo Lucy or Elfo, I'll do that shit for free." I don't even care, just because I love to do it.
Dustin: That's so cool.
Chris51: And that's how you know the passion of somebody and that they're in it for the right reason. And I honestly think like my Geekster Inc. Legends, like Josh for example, best Star Wars artist in the world. He does the most Star Wars tattoos. And the reason is because he's such a fan, and he loves it so much that that shows in the work. And if you're doing it just for the money, you're gonna cut corners, you're gonna rush. But when you're doing it first for passion and love, and then the money pays the bills when you're done.
Jeff: Of course.
Chris51: That shows. And that's how all of my guys are. And if they're not like that, they're fucking gone. You know like I'm a stickler for that for sure.
Dustin: Is there a skilled artist in something in particular that you haven't found yet that you would like to find?
Chris51: Not really.
Jeff: I was gonna say like 80-100 guys couple different countries, I think you got em' all right?
Chris51: I got guys that can do everything. Now there's guys ... My wife, god bless her, she runs the whole ... She runs my career, she's my manager.
Jeff: Oh my goodness.
Chris51: She runs the whole Geekster Inc. thing. Like I'll find tattoos and post them on there. She answers every message. So someone will say "Okay, we're coming to New Jersey." And we'll get 100 messages of people wanting tattoos. And my wife will go through every one and of course pick out the Simpsons ones for me.
Jeff: Of course, of course.
Chris51: But no she'll go through every one and if it's like a black and gray portrait, she knows the three of four guys that are the best at it and she'll see which one's gonna be there. And she'll purposely send it to that guy. If it's like American Traditional, you know whatever the style may be, she'll match it with those guys.
Jeff: That's so rad.
Chris51: And my guys love her because of it, because they're getting exactly what they wanna do.
Dustin: Yeah because it's tough when you get a customer being like ... I mean if you're a realistic artist and a customer comes to you and you're like "Oh I want line work." It's like oh God that's so annoying.
Dustin: So that kind of sorts out all that madness.
Chris51: It does. And you stay energized about it an Enchanted about it.
Jeff: That's so rad. So doing all these conventions over the the last handful of years, and traveling the world and all this stuff, now you're getting into the game yourself.
Chris51: I am dude yeah.
Jeff: This Winter, you're heading the inaugural, don't mind if I said that word terribly.
Chris51: Yeah. We'll just glaze over the Jeff.
Jeff: Headbangers convention.
Jeff: Holy crap, where did this ... Okay so where did the idea come from and what is this all about?
Chris51: Okay so I'm really excited about this you guys. So this has never been done. You know. I've taken my love for the Comic Con atmosphere and the platform, if you will. And it's never been done for Rock and Roll, Heavy Metal, Punk, it's never been done for music. So basically how it started was, I was tattooing at Walker Stalker Philly last year. And we filmed a show about the Geekster Inc, like a traveling road show about the Geekster Inc legends. Okay so were filming and episode, and one of my guys is like "Hey I tattoo Morgan Rose, the drummer for Seven Dust."
Chris51: And I have a Seven Dust tattoo, I love Seven Dust. And "Should I bring him in and tattoo him on the show?" Because we're always looking to pull in celebrities. You know you want the show to be popular. And I'm like "Fuck yeah, I'll get tattooed by him." So I ended up, my boy Brett tattooed Morgan. And then Morgan autographed my ankle under my tattoo.
Jeff: Oh rad.
Chris51: R2D2 needs to shut up out there.
Jeff: I know R2 is just being so loud.
Chris51: Move along R2, move along.
Dustin: That's the loudest R2 ever, by the way.
Chris51: He's like 300 feet away, he's still so loud. Son of a bitch. So anyways Brett is tattooing me, and Morgan is sitting right there autographing it, and I just like go into interview mode, fanboy mode. And I just start asking Morgan all these questions about Seven Dust and Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. You know what I mean? And I'm just in awe.
Chris51: And my wife's noticing something else though. We get on the plane and fly home and my wife's like "You've tattooed Charlie." So I've tattooed Charlie, the drummer for Anthrax too. And Charlie's a huge geek. And I tattoo him at Cons. He comes to Comic Cons to get tattooed because he loves Comic Cons.
Dustin: That's cool.
Chris51: And so she kind of, that was in the back of her mind. And the Morgan thing happened. We're on the plane and she's like "Did you see how in Awe Morgan was at the Con? Like how much he loved it. And how he even talked about his band mates would love it. And he needs to bring more people to these." And I'm like "Yeah, duh." You know my wife's way smarter than me. So she's like "Well honey with all the celebrity clientele that you actually tattoo and are friends with from all these Cons, and then Morgan having that presence in the industry and that respect in the music industry. You have the entertainment industry, he has the music industry, why don't you do a Comic Con for heavy metal?"
Chris51: And a light bulb went off. I was like "That's never been done." And I started going on the internet, researching, it's never been done. I was like "How has this never been done?" And I told my wife, I was like "Are you sure?" Because she knows like I'm a fucking pit bull dude. If you tell me to do something, I got blinders on, I'm gonna go for it. And she knew she wasn't getting any attention for the next year of her life. She was like "I know, just do it. You got passion for metal and music like you do for pop culture and the Simpsons and that kind of stuff." So she's like "Do it."
Jeff: Man that has to be such a huge undertaking.
Chris51: I've been working on it for probably about ten months now, by my self dude. Like I became lawyer. I started writing contracts. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. I'm just copying, like taking bits and pieces of these other one's online that I'm finding. Sample templates you know? So all of the administrative end. And then figuring out how to scout locations. And then figuring out talent, how to deal with talent. Luckily for me, I tattoo a lot of these guys. I see you guys in the green room, I network and I have been, and I'm friends with them. So I called JDF, my boy Jason David Frank. I called Butch Patrick, who's Eddie Munster. I call him Uncle Butch.
Chris51: He helped me out through a lot of stuff when I was filming. And I started asking these guys advice. Like how do I approach these guys. Because you're in the green room and you hear starts either bitch about the way things are, or they love the way things are. Luckily at Fan Fest, they love the way things are. So I've seen firsthand, behind the scenes, how to do things right. I've also been at Cons where I've seen how not to do things. So first thing I did was I called James, the owner of Fan Fast.
Chris51: And I told James my idea. I was like "Listen, I don't wanna ruin anything I got with you guys, I love you guys. This is what I'm gonna do, this is what I wanna do. I want your blessing. I will not do this without your blessing. I respect what you're doing too much. And I wanna model it like how you guys do. That family atmosphere, fans first." And it's [inaudible 00:22:11]. It's music, it's an entirely different thing. So I'm not gonna step on toes. I'm not gonna do it during shows where I'm obligated to you, to appear at your shows. And he's like "What do you need help with?"
Chris51: And he's like "My families at your disposal, you need anything, you call."
Chris51: You know who to call, you know everybody. You know, "You need to order lanyards, you know to call this person. You know you need this, you call that person." You know?
Jeff: That's so rad.
Chris51: So that was awesome. So I leaned on his staff a little bit. And it kind of all started falling into place you know? Morgan called a couple people. And "Hey call my boy Chris, we're doing this thing together." And I called Morgan that day I got home. A lot of people don't know this, that plane flight after Walker Stalker Philly, I got home and I called Morgan the next day after my wife told me to do this. And I was like "Buddy you helped inspire this, I'm gonna make you a minority owner. You don't have to do shit, I want you to be the music face of what we're doing, maybe make some phone calls to you peers so they know it's legit when I reach out to them. And that's it."
Chris51: "And I just want you to be involved man. Because I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for meeting you and all that." And he's like "Fuck yeah" And that's what I've been doing the last ten months of my life. I literally I work on Headbangers Con 14-16 hours a day. I do maybe a little two or three hour tattoo to pay the bills. And I try and sleep somewhere in between. You know so-
Jeff: It's so rad. And it looks like it's gonna be a ton of fun already. I mean you guys have an incredible name attached to it already. Friends of the show actually, Wayne [00:23:46], [00:23:49]-
Chris51: Oh hell yeah dude.
Dustin: Erin Patrick.
Chris51: Hell yeah. [crosstalk 00:23:54]
Dustin: So cool.
Chris51: Dude that guy ... So I was explaining this to him. And honestly what I did was I got on Instagram, because I didn't know who the fuck to contact. How do you know? How does a guy in my position on the other side of the fence know where to even find talent agencies?
Dustin: Right. We deal with the same thing.
Chris51: Where do you look? Like I don't know what to do. So I got on Instagram and I messaged 500 fucking rock stars dude. I just message em'. And I was like "This is what I'm doing, Morgan's involved, this is my resume. This is who I am." You know try to add a little legitimacy to it. And some guys started answering back. And Erin was one of those first guys that answered back. And he's like "I don't really understand this. Can you call me?" And I was like sure. So I called him and we talked for an hour about Comic Con. The next day we talked for another hour just we became besties dude. That guy is awesome. So now I just call these guys. I'm like "Let me just call you and explain it." I do the Erin Patrick method, you know.
Jeff: So the idea of this Con is the same as any convention you go to. So you're gonna be able to do obviously meet these incredible rock stars. You guys will be there obviously. But is there gonna be like photo ops, panels, like the whole nine?
Chris51: Everything. Literally I've taken the Comic Con platform, especially the Walker Stalkers/Heroes and Villains platform at James's blessing. And I've taken that proven method, and I wanna bring into the metal community, especially a lot of the younger metal community. Because my thoughts are this, millennials and younger people, they don't go out to music festivals anymore. It's guys our age and older. They don't go out.
Jeff: It's true.
Chris51: They sit inside, they play video games. And when they go out, it's to a Con. It's a safe environment. It's temperate. There's interactive stuff. You know people need interactive stuff today. They need instant gratification on their phones, they need all that shit. And that's what a Con is. It's built for a younger generation. So my thoughts are, if they're not coming out to our events anymore, you know us being the metal community enthusiasts, I'm gonna take my love and passion and I'm gonna put it on a platform that they understand. And that would be like a Comic Con type of platform. Photo ops, panels, Q and A's, the whole deal. Interactive booths.
Jeff: Any jamming?
Chris51: Yeah I cannot think of-
Jeff: Is there gonna be a supergroup created?
Dustin: That's all I can think about.
Chris51: I hope so, I really do hope so. Because that at the end would be awesome.
Jeff: It would be crazy.
Chris51: No but honestly like I have a panel stage. And it'll be in the autograph area. So while you're waiting in line, you know you hear the live panels. You know so you don't miss anything. And I'll do a few panels. And I've reached out to a couple guys like Nathan Hunt from Shaman's Harvest. I was like bro, I listened to him on Octane right. And I heard him do this cover of teen spirit, and then it went into losing my religion.
Jeff: So cool.
Chris51: I got chills. I'm like "Holy fuck I got that guy coming to my Con. Like that was amazing." I was like "Bro, I just heard this unplugged thing you did on Octane, I need you to do that on the panel stage." Because it's not rigged for a heavy metal show.
Chris51: But you stand up there with a solo acoustic guitar, I'm like "Bro I'll pay you, just give me three songs." He was like "You don't have to pay me, I'll do it."
Jeff: That's so rad.
Chris51: I'm like oh my god. So then I was like lighbulb, you know? So I talked to a couple more guys. I got the School of Rock involved.
Jeff: Oh they're the best.
Chris51: The kids are coming, and they're gonna learn maybe like a [inaudible 00:27:51] song. They're gonna learn some metal songs to play right in front of the guys that wrote the song.
Jeff: Yeah and it's so rad. We saw them perform at Riot Fest.
Chris51: They're so awesome. So yeah so I am doing stuff like that. But then I have after the Con, instead of an after party, I have an after concert.
Jeff: Oh perfect.
Chris51: And that's where you go to the venue a mile down the street, which is like a concert venue, holds a thousand people. And that's where I have my mosh pits and live band and all that stuff. So that way I can kind of combine both. The people don't have to go to the concern. They can buy separate individual tickets or they can get the cheaper package to do everything. So I wanted there to be options for people like that.
Jeff: That's so cool. And tickets are available now, I'm gonna put the link right here in the show, and in the liner notes of the show. But just for our listeners out there, what are the dates and where is it?
Chris51: So It's November 10th and 11th in Portland, Oregon.
Jeff: There it is.
Dustin: I love Portland.
Chris51: Portland's awesome.
Dustin: It's so cool there, it's so chill.
Chris51: People are asking me like "Why are you doing it in Portland?" I go "Well first of all, I'm self funding this." So I'm broke as fuck. So I gotta do it close to home because I gotta literally drive the equipment a couple hours. And that's the first thing. But Portland also, you guys have been to Portland you know, Portland is very accepting of new things. Portland is accepting of fucking anything, it doesn't matter.
Jeff: For sure.
Chris51: That's why they invented "Keep Portland Weird" like that whole thing started in Portland you know? It's my home, I love it. And what a better place to do something that is risky and edgy and new. And if anyone's gonna accept it, it's Portland. If it doesn't work in Portland, it's not gonna fucking work. You know what I mean? So I'm starting it in Portland. Like I said, I'm self funding this. And the only way I'm doing it is because I've got sponsors on board, you know. Jack Daniels and Fireball, the liquor companies, they jumped on board. Because they've been looking for a way to reach this new platform. Of course they can't advertise at a Comic Con to kids, but they're like "This is metal, this is perfect. We want this."
Chris51: So I got sponsors on board. That's how I'm able to do this with that sponsorship money. I'm making it stretch real thin, go a long way. But the nice thing about that is, since I'm self funding it, I got no one to answer to dude. I can do whatever the fuck I wanna do man. I got no bosses, I got no corporate investors that I got to run shit by. I'm pulling my own liquor license. So the hotels not, where we're doing it, isn't even in charge. I'm in charge of my own alcohol sales. Everything dude. So it's gonna be a fucking party. Yeah man, it's gonna be fun man.
Chris51: And that's how I'm selling it to a lot of the musicians that are coming. I'm like "Listen guys, I can't afford to pay you a lot. Morgan and I are asking you to believe in what we're doing. I'm not asking you for a favor, I'll pay your way. It won't cost you nothing. And just believe in this and see the bigger picture of what this could mean, not only for you, but for the music industry as a whole." This could change ... Like Comic Con's changed the way comic books and all these Marvel Movies we have, these blockbuster movies, that's because of Comic Cons dude.
Chris51: So this could have that impact. And I'm not arrogant enough to sit here and say it's gonna change the way ... But it can.
Dustin: You got a shot.
Chris51: It has the potential. You know what I mean?
Jeff: We wish you nothing but the best because we really believe that this could be something that could change that. And I'm glad you brought that up because that is the story of Comic Con. New York Comic Con started out in the basement of the New York Library in the seventies and forty people went. And now it's one of the biggest things in the world, because it changed the game. And this could do the exact same.
Chris51: It brought it to the mainstream. If there's anything Rock and Roll needs, it's to be mainstream again. There's so much shit music that's out there.
Dustin: It's suffering a little bit right now.
Chris51: Dude you know what helped inspire me, just a side note here. All my kids were in the car, and my kids have been going to rock concerts since they were like four years old. I shove it down their throats, "You're gonna appreciate this" And what got me was I brought something up about "Oh hey they're offering music class, who wants to play the guitar? Who wants to play the drums." And they look at me like "No", like I was weird to say it. I'm like wait what? How many of your guys friends play electric guitar or play drums?
Chris51: And they're like "No dad, that's not cool." I'm like what? So I have a son in elementary, a son in middle, and a daughter in high school. So all schools are covered. So I was like wait a minute, I gotta research this. So I asked all of them, do you have any friends that play in bands? Like in their garage, rock and roll. "No that's weird, what are you talking about?" I'm like I've gotta do something about this dude. I gotta do something about this. So that in conjunction with the Morgan thing and my wife's idea, that helped really fuel the fire for this, as a way to try and reach.
Chris51: Because they don't know what they're missing man. They spend all goddamn day on Fortnight. It's cool, but there's music you can hear in the back of these video games too that's pretty bad ass sometimes. Like you could be playing that music if you don't have the intellect to build a video game. You know there's other things. And they just don't know what they're missing. And I want the youth to see what we saw when we were kids, when we bought tapes and CD's and albums and stuff. And to feel that rush of seeing a mosh pit in front of em' or feel that heavy guitar or a drum solo. Like they don't know what they're missing man.
Chris51: I wanna bring this back to them and give it a shot. Just kids just give it a chance and I guarantee you you're gonna like it. So that's what, I'm trying to do that also.
Jeff: That's rad.
Dustin: So let's say Headbangers Con, first year, smashing fucking success. Everything that you want to happen happens and then more, where do you take it?
Chris51: I've already got three planned for 2019.
Jeff: Yes, yes. Thank you. Never not go big.
Chris51: I don't sleep man. I did location scouting in Orlando before we did the Walker Stalker Orlando. I flew in a day early so I could see some venues and stuff like that. I've done location scouting in Sacramento/San Jose area. So I'm doing three in 2019 and I hope to double in size the year after. So yeah I'm not stopping man. I don't care if I gotta take out loans, put a third mortgage on my house, whatever. Like if you don't follow your passion, then what happens? Nothing. And nothings the worst thing that could happen.
Jeff: It's the truth. And that brings us to the question that we always ask our guests on this show, and I think you kind of just answered it. But I wanna little bit more. Through it all, through tattooing, through now you're a Con promoter. And you're a lawyer and you're everything. And even through just your love of Nerd-dom, what fuels you to keep going? What fuels you to keep getting up everyday and kicking ass and doing all this shit?
Chris51: The passion, honestly. My kids and the passion, I would say that. You know I wanna leave a legacy for my kids.
Chris51: I was my kids to see that ... And however cheesy this sounds, I want my kids to see that you can accomplish whatever the fuck you wanna accomplish. You don't have to be the smartest, the biggest, the fastest, the richest. You don't. You just have to outwork everyone else out there. And if you can prove that you can outwork them and outlast them, then you'll be on top. You know? And I've always preached that to my kids. So that's one thing that drives me is to show them, to leave them this legacy and show them that "Kids if I can do this-"
Chris51: Like I dropped out of college. I fucked around a lot. If I can do this then you can do this. So that really fuels me. And then honestly just the love of, the Headbangers Con, the love of metal. The love of music. I can't tattoo if I'm not listening to Rock and Roll. I cannot physically do it. I can't take a shower if I'm not listening to music, or get dressed in the morning. I can't be on my computer, I'm like what's wrong? Like oh it's [inaudible 00:36:21]. And same goes for pop culture. I cannot draw and do art if it's not pop culture art. I can't do it anymore, I just can't.
Chris51: Everything, it's just a natural attraction I think. And that's what fuels you. Because that attraction never stops, it only grows. It only grows more and more and more. And you just feed the need. And then you become a collector and you get the toys. And then there's new toys out. And it's just like it never ends. And I love that it never ends. Because it keeps you motivated you know?
Jeff: Excellent. One more time, for Headbangers Con we're gonna put that link in the show. But for our listeners and viewers, what is the best way to follow you specifically? Social media wise, do you have a website or is it better for social media?
Chris51: Social media, you know what? I love social media because I love being social. And that's what it's all about. So if you message me, I will message you back. Ask my any question. No I will, I do. And I enjoy it. You know people comment on my stuff, I fucking comment right back, "Thank you, it means a lot, I appreciate it." Every single comment, you go look at my pages dude. And I enjoy it. And if someone's gonna take the time to comment or message me, I will take the time to comment and message them back.
Dustin: That's great [inaudible 00:37:42].
Jeff: So all you out there make sure you go comment on all of Chris's stuff right now.
Chris51: Please do. Ask my anything, it could be about tattooing, it could be about the Simpsons, I am pretty much a Simpson's expert.
Dustin: You need to have a Simpson's song.
Chris51: Oh we will have a Simpson's song, that sounds fun. Sounds very kinky but fun. [crosstalk 00:38:00]
Dustin: I don't even wanna be there.
Chris51: So yeah, Chris51. Instagram it's spelt out, Chrisfiftyone spelt out. Everything else is Chris51.
Dustin: And I know Headbangers Con has it's own Instagram.
Chris51: Headbangers Con has it's own, yeah Headbangers Con, that's it.
Jeff: I'll put that in there too. Man I can't thank you enough for taking time out of your day to talk to us.
Chris51: Yeah this was awesome guys.
Jeff: It was a lot of fun, excellent.
Chris51: I appreciate it you guys. Thank you. Stay metal everybody, cheers.