The Hottest Tattooed Women of Rock
Maja Ivarsson: The Sounds
The queen of air kicks, a professional crowd surfer, and a natural charmer, blond bombshell Maja Ivarsson has stage presence (and tattoos) in spades. “I never work out,” says Ivarsson. “I think doing 200 shows per year, and all the energy I have onstage, I guess that’s an hour workout every night. But I still smoke cigarettes and drink beer while I do it.” Now that’s rock—and, believe it or not, Ivarsson and the Sounds have been going 13 years strong. “Fans come up and show [me] pictures from eight years ago and I think, Oh, God, I look so different—but at the same time, I’m still wearing the same jacket,” she says.
And when the Swede whips off that jacket onstage, we are treated to some great ink. “My favorite tattoo must be the Modesty Blaise I have on my forearm,” she says. “I did it in Los Angeles at Shamrock Tattoo on my birthday when I turned 24. I’ve always been a big fan of that comic book figure. She’s not really well-known here in America.”
As for future tattoos, Ivarsson is thinking about inking a female music icon on her own body. “I was talking to Kat Von D … she came to one of our shows in Santa Barbara,” Ivarsson says. “We were talking about maybe doing a tattoo sometime when I get back to L.A. I found this really good picture of Stevie Nicks, and I think she’s so rad and so cool, and you know how good Kat is at portraits. So we were just talking about that and she wants to do it, so maybe I will have that done sometime in the near future.” Two more beautiful women wrapped up on one.
Chibi: The Birthday Massacre
Don’t let her looks fool you. Chibi and her bandmates from The Birthday Massacre are no disposable, cookie-cutter Hot Topic–esque goth band. Underneath the surface, there’s a truly talented group of musicians with shockingly good writing skills, haunting vocals, and an amazing sense of melody that gives their layered songs a catchy, almost pop-like melody. And on the surface, there’s smoking-hot Chibi. With a slight playfulness and happiness to her vocals, lyrics, and stage persona, she’s refreshing and unique. “I think having tattoos defines how I’ll be perceived by some people, rightly or wrongly,” she says. “Honestly, I don’t even think about my tattoos most of the time. It’s almost like I forget that I have them. I’ll go out and be polite to an older or straight-laced person or something, and they’ll give me a dirty look, and I’ll think, Oh, right, I have tattoos. That must mean I’m crazy!”
When asked if she has a favorite tattoo, Chibi confesses: “All of them do have a significance … they are all of something I find interesting or inspiring. I like thinking about tattoo ideas. I have a lot more I’d like to get done. But these images, as important as they are to me, don’t intrinsically define who I am.” Her choices in adornment are mostly fictional female characters who have personality traits she admires. “I’ve been planning one of Mileena from Mortal Kombat for a long time,” Chibi declares. “I like the character because she’s pretty insane and vicious and seems like she’d be very attractive, but then has this mouth full of heinous sharp teeth.” Then there are the heavy and real subjects she wants to document. “There was also a racehorse that died a few years ago after a race,” Chibi explains. “Her name was Eight Belles, and she was the only female horse in that particular race. … That story got to me for some reason, and I’ve often thought about getting a tattoo relating to her. It’s sort of weird explaining tattoo ideas—I guess there’s a pretty high chance that they’ll sound kind of silly to anyone other than the person who wants the tattoo.”
Brooklyn Allman: Picture Me Broken
For someone who grew up a little bit country, with the DNA of her father, well-known rock ‘n’ blues singer Gregg Allman, Brooklyn Allman has soul—and her own shoes to fill. “I only feel blessed and fortunate to carry his genes … I feel no pressure at all in the music industry,” she says.
The youthful frontwoman of the hard-rock band Picture Me Broken grew up fast in the limelight, and was lucky to have such a cool dad. “I was 16 years old the first time I got a tattoo,” she says. “In California it [was] illegal to get one even with parental consent, so I flew to Georgia to visit my dad and persuaded him to take me to his artist. It didn’t take much, as he sees tattoos as a family tradition,” she says. “I remember the split second before the needle touched the skin on my forearm as one of the most tense and anxious moments of my life. Fortunately, the nerves melted away when the needle made contact and I realized it wasn’t at all painful—enjoyable, if anything. I had my trademark Brooklyn stamped on my forearm in a large, flowing font; I haven’t regretted it once to this day.” Allman, whose first name is actually Layla on her birth certificate, prefers to go by her middle name, Brooklyn. And she’s content making a name for herself in other ways, too, with statement-making music. “My career and passion for music are the only things in my life that hold as much permanence as a tattoo,” she says.
Otep Shamaya: Otep
Aggressive, poetic, fearless, and intense—those are just some words that describe Otep Shamaya, lead singer of the hardcore metal band Otep. When playing live, the band is just as no-holds-barred as its lead woman. Ear-crushing guitars, head-pounding percussion, and pure intensity radiate from the stage, complete with Otep’s chilling wails and guttural growls. Being a tattooed lead singer for a genre of music that tends not to be taken seriously—and is often frowned upon by the mainstream—Otep is no stranger to preconceived, and often wrong, judgments about her character. “Though the rise in popularity of tattoos has made it somewhat easier to dispose of those who prejudge, it still happens,” she says. “I think it’s part of our nature as a species to do so, as I find myself judging those same people on the silliness of their conservative costumes.”
Otep says her ink-paved body has designs that are still relevant, and she still has her favorites, but she also has some tattoos she feels have lost their meaning. “I have two favorites: the grenade on my neck and the Kali [the Hindu goddess of eternal energy] on my forearm. Both are powerful symbols for the spiritual wedding of art and emotion,” she says. But, she adds, “I have many that no longer hold the same meaning for me, like an ex-girlfriend’s name. So I am waiting to find an expert cover artist to help design a swell bit of body art for me that looks intentional, beautiful, and not cluttered.”On the brighter side, Otep reveals something about herself that might come as a surprise to the mainstream rubes who don’t know her: “I’m not angry all the time; I actually have a pretty intense sense of humor.”
Ana Matronic: Scissor Sisters
You know you’ve made it big when you come full circle and musicians you grew up idolizing praise you and ask you to work for them. That happened to Ana Matronic, the vibrant female vocalist of the theatrical, glam-rock spectacle known as the Scissor Sisters. Not only has she worked with New Order, but she recently lent her voice to a new Duran Duran track. “For me, it can’t even be called a dream come true,” Matronic says. “I never dreamed in a million years that I would be working with people that I idolized and listened to growing up. I had a real moment when I was in the studio with Simon and Nick. I had to excuse myself and go to the bathroom because the 10 year old inside me was freaking out. It’s been really amazing as a performer to be validated by the people who really influenced you.” Having a name like Ana Matronic, it’s a no-brainer the singer has a thing for robots—and she wears it on her sleeve. “The tattoo on my arm was inspired by my love for The Bionic Woman and robots in general,” she says. “To me, it was a symbol of strength. It started out as just an armband, and I slowly added to it over time. The armband just didn’t seem quite bionic enough.” So she added more details and stretched the piece up toward her shoulder, adding little tributes to some of her other favorite robots. “There’s a hydraulic-looking piston for R2-D2, some exposed wires for C-3PO, and some big screws on the top that are a nod to Maria from Metropolis,” she explains. “I also got the golden mean in there, which is a mathematical proportion that I am very inspired by. I like geometry—I’m sort of a nerd.”
Carah Faye: Shiny Toy Guns, Versant
Shiny Toy Guns fans received some killer news earlier this year when it was announced that the original female vocalist, Carah Faye, would return for the band’s upcoming third album, III. After stepping away for the band’s second album, Faye moved on to work on her own side project, a band named Versant. But now the tattooed electro-rock vixen has been welcomed back with open and illustrated arms.
Damn, Shiny Toy Guns make beautiful music together, and the wickedly good tattoo sleeve on Faye’s right arm complements her crisp vocals and onstage energy perfectly. When asked if she feels her tattoos represent who she is, Faye affirms: “Absolutely. In a way, the tattoos are a part of a culture I was a part of that defined a very important moment of my youth. From the music I listened to, to the crowd I hung out with, I know that no matter how much I mature and grow up my tattoos say a lot about who I am.” Though she doesn’t yet have a chest piece, her work is near and dear to her heart. “I love to get meaningful tattoos—something with a story behind it,” she says. “There are tons of ideas that I’ve been planning for a while now, but there are two tattoos I will probably get this year.” The first is a family thing; she and her sisters have been planning to get matching tattoos to bond them through blood and ink. The other? “I’ve been sober since birth and claiming straight edge since early high school,” she says. “Straight edge has not only been a positive influence on my life, but a huge strength for me, and I plan on getting something to represent that as well.” The only thing she puts in her heavenly body is ink, and that is commendable—nay, applaudable.
Maria Brink: In This Moment
It’s the Mayhem Festival. In This Moment is onstage, but their gorgeous singer, Maria Brink, just jumped into the throng. She makes her way into the middle of the sea of thousands and they snap their necks as she bangs her head. Like subjects bowing before their queen, the men point their noses to the ground and start walking counter-clockwise. It’s a circle pit both exalting and protecting the queen of metal. Since INKED last caught up with Brink and her band, they have been beasts on the tour circuit. They opened up for Korn, and their single “The Gun Show” has been featured in advertising for TNA Wrestling’s Against All Odds event. Yet save for a few new tattoos, including the script on Brink’s arm, the band members have all stayed the same, stayed true.
Brink has always strutted to the tune of her own bassist. In the world of metal there are few natural blondes, and there are fewer still who wear “cute skirts” and have sparkling blue eyes and perfect teeth. But watch out, because Brink still has bite. “I am completely myself,” she says. “There is a mold in the metal world, but I wasn’t pressed from that. I love the scene because you can’t be fake—and I’m not. I’m a little bit girly, I’m a lot a bit sexy. … I express myself through my music and the way that I look in revealing outfits. I may be more sexual than the next act, but that’s me, and that’s who I am. I’m true to myself, and that’s more metal than anything.”