Hard rock five-piece Savage After Midnight are flying high with the upcoming release of their debut EP, 11:59, due out March 8th, via RED Music/The Century Family. It may seem odd for a group that formed in 2009 to just be releasing their debut ten years later, but Savage After Midnight aren’t just any band.
Although every rock group faces adversity, especially when just starting, SAM had their fare share, including a necessary name change, an in-studio fire, thrown away recordings from assorted producers that didn’t work, a lawsuit they had nothing to do with, and a last-minute label change. The list goes on but, obviously, that’s already a real handful when trying to get a band to gel as recording artists and tour ten months per year.
Under the wing of producer John Falls (Egypt Central), the band recorded 11:59 (pre-order a copy here) and recently toured with Pop Evil. We connected with keyboardist James “JT” Thomas for a new edition of Tattoo Talk to learn more about his ink, the connection to their native Memphis, Tennessee, and some other fun tattoo-related stuff.
You’ll feel “10 Feet Tall” listening and watching this latest video from Savage After Midnight.
With the changing of the calendar to 2019, Savage After Midnight are celebrating a decade together now. The last ten years, though, have been filled with many trials and tribulations, including an obligatory name change. Did you or do you still have any tattoos related to the band’s former name?
James “JT” Thomas: Oh man, of course the band does! But the weird part is when fans walk up to the merch booth after the show to show off their old tattoos they got off our band back in the day.
Among the band’s challenges was a recording studio fire. First, when did this fire take place and secondly, do you have any tattoos related to symbolizing or remembering that difficult experience?
Thomas: This was several years ago by now, and I don’t think we’ve really been able to fully process the struggle it took to get to where we are; but who knows maybe one day we’ll get some ink about it (smiles).
You grew up in Memphis where, of course, Savage After Midnight formed. I’m assuming you must have some tattoos to represent your experience growing up there? Please tell us.
Thomas: I think (bassist) Landon (Fox) might have some Memphis stuff on his severely tattooed body, and maybe even singer Shi (Eubank) now that I think about it. We should totally have more Memphis-related ink though!
Peep our little gallery of exclusive shots of some of the band member’s ink.
The release of 11:59 is certainly a grand achievement with all that this band has been through. Do you have any ink related to remembering this process, or is any in the cards?
Thomas: We haven’t really gotten any new ink since we’ve been so busy getting ready to put this record out! I would say it’s definitely in the cards though! You might have to check in with us after this first record cycle!
When, where and what was your first tattoo?
Thomas: My first tattoo was when I was 16, in the back of dry cleaners… of the Pringles guy on my ass. I seriously wish I was kidding.
Do any of your tattoos have a particularly special meaning behind them? If so, do share man!
Thomas: The Pringles guy is pretty special. (laughs) Yeah, all our tattoos have meaning, some are just silly. I think tattoos are made to represent pieces of the human experience, sometimes things are serious and carry a ton of deep personal meaning, and sometimes it’s just meant to be fun.
Do you have a specific shop or artist that you frequent (insert shameless plug time!)?
Thomas: Man, there’s so many good ones, especially in the Memphis/Nashville area! For traditional work, we really love this up and coming artist Zack Deaton over at Gold Club Electric Tattoo in Nashville. We also really love Mike Stoll. He’s out there killing the game!!
The album Forgotten Paths dropped on February 15th, 2019, and was self-released.
Do you have any new tattoos planned or underway? Give us the dirt, dude!
Thomas: I know Shi does, he’s always working on something new! I plan on finishing my right arm in the next year or two, so far all I’ve got is my quarter sleeve, and I want to go full-sleeve.
Do you have any tattoos that you now hate, want to replace, or have covered up, and why?
Thomas: Never! They’ve all got meaning, even if some of that meaning has evolved into regret. I mean, dude, I have the MySpace logo on my leg! #NoRegrets.
If you HAD to get someone’s face tattooed on you, whose would it be and why?
Thomas: I think all of us have every intention of getting Bill Murray on us at some point. Just for the simple fact that he completely embodies the art of spontaneity. Plus, we all really love Bill Murray!
Here’s a live, in-studio music video shot last year of the band covering Zayn’s “Pillow Talk.”