I had not planned on getting another tattoo so soon. Less than a week earlier, on July 19, 1999, I had attended a concert in Green Bay, WI. I had talked to Jim West about getting a tattoo and the following day, July 20, 1999, I had his signature inked on. Jim's tattoo was still healing when I attended the Red Bank, NJ concert on July 26, 1999. This was the show that was taped for a video special for VH1, so after the show, Al was pretty busy finishing up with last minute stuff for the special.
After the show, everyone was rushed into this small room under the stage for autographs and pictures and then Al was whisked away. Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz stayed around to chat with fans, but even he was busy preparing for the 800 miles or so they had to travel for the next show. Things were winding down, and as I was getting ready to leave, Steve Jay shows up. He signed autographs and posed for pictures with some fans, and I went over and introduced myself.
When I introduced myself, he recognized my name. He thanked me for buying his new CD and asked me how I liked it. I was a bit surprised that he remembered my name just from the one or two notes I had sent him over the years. We talked a little bit about the new album, and I told him how "Sea Never Dry" was one of my most favorite albums ever. I think he was very happy to hear that. After that, I showed him my Al and Jon tattoos.
He was very shocked. He asked me how I did that. I thought he was kidding so I sarcastically answered something along the lines of using a tattoo machine. Then he said, "Those are real?" I guess he wasn't kidding me. I'm surprised, but he never saw them before. I assured him that they were real, and I think it took him a while until he realized that they really were. I told him how I had Jim sign my ankle in Green Bay and then I think it clicked, because he got this huge grin on his face.
I asked him if he would sign my ankle and he said he would. Since I wasn't really planning on it and sprung it on him so unexpectedly, I asked him if he wanted to think about it or wait until the next show and he said he was ready now. I put my ankle up on the table and gave him a marker and we picked out the place for it and he signed. The whole time, Steve had the biggest grin on his face that you can ever imagine. After that, he really warmed up to me and introduced me to his son Ian, gave me some free CDs, and treated me to an evening on the bus chatting and hanging out with him. It was great! Steve is such a nice guy.
The next day, at work, I made a call to the tattoo studio to see if they could take me anytime that day. I was up half the night worrying that they would be booked solid and I'd miss out on the tattoo. But after I told them who I was, they worked with me to make some arrangements and Gary said he'd take me at 7:00. I was so happy.
Gary is a really nice guy. He was the gentleman who did my "Weird Al" signature tattoo, and I knew I was going to get a good accurate tattoo from him. And he didn't disappoint. Within 20 minutes after I arrived, Gary was finished and I was now inked with the whole band. I feel this certain closeness to everyone in the band now.
I showed Steve the signature tattoo a few days later in Stanhope, NJ. When he saw me, he got that huge smile again. I think he still must be in awe. In fact, every time that I've seen him since then, he's gotten that huge smile. Even though the band was mobbed from the gold record award ceremony and the meet and greet with all the record label V.I.P.'s, he made a point of tracking me down in Westbury, NY to say, "Hi Dave, how are you doing?" I know I sound like a broken record, but Steve Jay is one classy guy. I'm proud to have his signature on my leg.
After searching for months, I finally settled on two pictures of Steve I really liked. I eventually decided on a picture I had found on a web site. I printed the picture out and on December 21, 1999, I went back to the tattoo studio and got the portrait of Steve inked. I was getting over a cold, but I managed to leave my bed long enough to get the tattoo inked. I had made an appointment for 6:00 and Scotty did the portrait and touched up a little bit of my Bermuda tattoo, which I had waited to get touched up. Scotty did a great job as usual.
Steve finally saw the tattoo on February 5, 2000 after the second Easton, PA show. I saw him packing up on stage and called him over. I showed him the tattoo and he said "Awesome!" Steve hung around and chatted with me for a little bit afterwards.
Special thanks to Steve, Scotty, and Gary for making this special occasion possible. Top photo courtesy of Sue Kelleher.