If anyone has seen Demon Hunter live, or checked out their promo photos, they will noticed a bearded bald man covered in tattoos. That inked man is none other than vocalist Ryan Clark and he is covered like it’s nobody’s business. I recently got the chance to ask him some questions about the meaning of his tattoos.
When and what was your first tattoo?
Ryan: I got my first tattoo right after I turned 18. It might have even been on my 18th birthday. I was on tour with my first (real) band, Focal Point, and we were in Pennsylvania. Our buddies in Zao turned me onto a good shop and I got a sacred heart on my calf. I knew I wanted something fairly traditional with old-school religious leanings.
Any of your tattoos have any special meaning behind it? If so what?
Ryan: A lot of them have special meaning to me. I have 2 sparrows with “mom” and “dad” banners around them. I have my grandfather’s initials and his birth and death dates- my grandfather is a huge inspiration for my design/illustration work. I have a few tattoos that speak to my spiritual beliefs- including a set of praying hands, and a few crosses.
I have a set of old Christian symbols on my upper knuckles- An “A” for Alpha, a cross, “ihc” which is an abbreviation for Jesus, “PX” (a symbol called Chi-Rho) which stands for “Christ,” an “IX” symbol which is the 2 previous symbols combined (Jesus Christ), a roman numeral 7 (VII)- the holy number of completion, “3” for the trinity, which also falls on my wedding ring finger, symbolizing my wife and I, and our commitment to Christ, and finally, an omega symbol “Ω” on my pinkie.
I also have “hope” and “fear” on my lower knuckles, which sound a little cliché, but there’s more to it than just the words- they exist on 2 Metallica shirts that Pushead illustrated. Both shirts display hands with these words written on the lower knuckles- the “hammer of justice” shirt, and the “damaged justice” shirt- both from my favourite Metallica record. Pushead is my favourite illustrator and, to my knowledge, these are the only finger tattoos he’s ever illustrated.
I also have Bart Simpson saying “eat my shorts, man” on my leg.
Who does your tattoos?
Ryan: Lots of people. I like to get tattooed while we’re on tour or just traveling. I have work from Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, Lodi, Los Angeles, Memphis, Little Rock, Albuquerque, Pittsburgh, Dallas, New Orleans… and a few other places.
Do you plan on getting any more in the near future?
Ryan: I always have plans for more. I have one spot left on my right arm which I’m planning to put a grim reaper on. I’m also planning on a large Demon Hunter back piece and the rose from Depeche Mode’s Violator album cover.
Have you seen any fans with Demon Hunter tattoos?
Ryan: We have probably about 400+ fans with Demon Hunter tattoos. If you look at our Facebook or Myspace profile, you can see a lot of them.
If you had to get someone’s face tattooed on you, whose would it be and why?
Ryan: Before I got his initials, I considered getting a portrait of my grandfather. Like I said, his artwork has always been a big influence. Other than that, I’d consider my mother.