I had been thinking about just how, and who I was going to approach for my next tattoo. Al has always been friendly and receptive to me, and Jon and I have been friends for a while, so they were easy, and convenient, to approach. However, I don't know Jim and Steve as well. At the time, I had talked to Steve once after a show, but I doubt he remembers me. And at the time, I didn't think I had talked with Jim before, at least not anything memorable. Then a big break came along.
Jim had come out with a new CD called "Coconut Hat," which is a beautiful collection of original Hawaiian slack key guitar music. I sent in my order and happened ask a few questions of Jim in the note I sent along with the order. Apparently something caught his eye because he responded to my questions and patiently put up with another round of questions. I asked Jim what he felt about me getting a tattoo of him, and he was fine with it and said I could use any picture that I want for it. I felt really honored by that. I was worried that Jim might think I'm some kind of psycho and blow me off.
Now I had a commitment, so I decided that after the Green Bay concert on July 19, 1999 was when I'd do the tattoo. I was a bit worried that I might not see Jim, or something would go wrong on my flight back and I'd miss the appointment, but everything went smoothly. Jim signed my ankle after the show. It took two tries before we were happy, one on each side. We liked the inside ankle one the best, so that's where the tattoo is.
My friend Kate picked me up at the airport on Tuesday evening and only two hours after my flight landed, I went to the tattoo studio, and Scotty, who had done my Al portrait tattoo and Jon portrait tattoo, inked the signature. It was a very quick tattoo, over before I even expected it. Jim has a short name and a fairly simple signature, so everything worked out nicely. After sitting through the two band members with the longest names already, it was nice to be in and out for a change.
After searching exhaustively, I just couldn't find what I wanted for Jim's portrait tattoo. I looked through all my personal photos and had Jon looking through his photos as well, but I could not find what I was looking for. What I done a while before I started seriously searching, I found a nice portrait shot of Jim on a web site I had visited. I downloaded but forgot about it until I pulled it up one day. It was perfect.
On March 14, 2000, I had Jim inked on my ankle. It gave me a great thrill and pride to finally have the complete band. The tattoo looks absolutely wonderful and I'm thrilled with it.
It was nice to finally come to closure on a project that started with a Sharpie marker in a mall in Long Island way back in fall of 1996. I enjoyed the search for pictures and the looks on everyone's faces and reactions as they saw "themselves" for the first time. But I know I'll have forever to enjoy these tattoos. And I intend to.
Special thanks to Jim and Scotty for making this special occasion possible.