Tattoo Talk: BLXPLTN’s TaSzlin and Jeremy Wolfe Kivett Discuss Everything They Love About Tattoos



They don’t come more ferocious than BLXPLTN. This duo is dedicated to standing upright in firm opposition to the negative societal powers that be and are fueled by their righteous rage. They’ve chosen to turn the negative into the positive, though, and use their distaste to create their bold statements against those they view with disdain in their examinations of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Theirs is a music meant to say something and meant to make a difference.

Leading the charge are TaSzlin Rico Muerte and Jeremy Wolfe Kivett, two men on a mission to kill convention. They bring with them the enthusiasm and motivation of their influences, because without the Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, Ministry, and Big Black there would be no BLXPLTN. This is abundantly clear on their new album, PhlegmTV, a collection of songs that are a full-on sonic assault against all those that lie within their path. The album is at times chaotic, but always on point with its intention to shake up things. With PhlegmTV, TaSzlin and Kivett will show you a thing or two about what it means to push synths and drum machines to their absolute limit.

With that said, you’d be correct if you had the feeling that BLXPLTN are not only enthusiasts of their music, but also of their own power of self-expression. For our latest edition of Tattoo Talk, we spoke with both men about the love of their “art” and their passion for tattoos.

When, where and what was your first tattoo?

TaSzlin Muerte: “My first tattoo was one I did myself on my left bicep with a homemade machine, made from a Walkman, that was barely legible. It said ‘IMS,’ which was my rap group when I was 15, Ill-Minded Sons. I also gave other people horrible tattoos with this abomination of a machine. The tattoo has since been covered.”

Jeremy Kivett: “When I was 15 I had the opportunity to get a tattoo from a guy who was crashing at a homie’s punk house in Greenville North Carolina. I had to get it somewhere I could hide it so my parents hopefully wouldn’t see it. I chose my lower back (this was before the term tramp stamp). I didn’t have much time to decide on something so I went with the word ‘FREEDOM’ I guess because at the time it was the thing I wanted the most. There was no table so I got it while laying on the hardwood floor. It hurt a fucking lot and the house didn’t have air conditioning so the guy doing the tattoo kept getting pissed at me for sweating so much. People have made fun of it and picked on me about it a lot but I probably won’t get it covered up because of the memories attached to it.”

Do any of your tattoos have a particularly special meaning behind them? If so, do share man!

TaSzlin: “I have a Polynesian half-sleeve on my left arm I got on three different trips to Hawaii. They were done by at Lady Luck Tattoo in Kona on the Big Island by my o’hana Anthony. I didn’t choose the patterns, they were gifted to me. Some patterns are for protection, some tell a story. They’ve been a source of guidance for me. There are small waves moving forward that remind me of the direction that I need to go.”

Kivett: “All of them do because of the memories attached. That’s the whole thing is they’re reminders of times, places and situations I would have most definitely forgotten.”

Do you have a specific shop or artist that you frequent (insert shameless plug time!)?

TaSzlin:Honest Josh did my traditional tiger and wolf on my forearm at Black Cat Tattoo (RIP). They are full colour which a lot of artists don’t want to do on brown skin, but he actually insisted and he nailed it. Paul Smith at Bijou did the black rose on my fist. I’d say he’s one of the best traditional guys in Austin, and he builds his own machines.”

Jeremy:James Montgomery in Austin Texas specializes in anime/comic/cartoon and @axis_matthew who designed and tattooed my Conehead Babe.”

Do you have any new tattoos planned or underway? Give us the dirt, dude!

TaSzlin: “I need to finish the grim reaper that covers my entire torso. Saving up for a medusa on my back and Caesar laurels on my head.”

Jeremy: “I’ve always wanted a Fuchicoma from Ghost in the Shell. I’ve always loved the Arachnid Mech style.”

Have you seen any fans with a band tattoo, anything crazy memorable?

TaSzlin: “I haven’t seen anyone with a band tattoo, but my manager and I both have the band name tattooed on our wrists, mostly so we can show people the spelling.”

We know you have one… tell us about that stoned/drunken joke-tattoo you once got….

TaSzlin: “I got ‘Who’s Next’ tattooed on my knuckles when I was really into bar fighting. It was done by a one-percenter at a tattoo shop in New Braunfels. When I thought he was done, he said ‘I need to add the apostrophe on who’s’ and I said ‘it’s ok man,’ and he said ‘sit the fuck down.’ That apostrophe in the web of my fingers hurt more than the whole rest of the tattoo.”

Jeremy: “I got home late one night and decided to stick n’ poke a smiling lion cartoon face on my thumb which I liked so much I ended up tattooing cartoon animals on all five fingers of my right hand. I did it to cheer me up and it still works when I look at it.”

Do you have any tattoos that you now hate, want to replace, or have covered up, and why?

Jeremy: “No, because like I said even the ones that look like crap or are maybe cheesy or embarrassing still at least remind me of the time when I got it, where, and who I was with.”

Artwork for ‘PhlegmTV’ by Blxpltn

Have any tattoos that were painful. Like made you cry, see white light, and regret being born?

TaSzlin: “I have my throat done, and that still didn’t hurt half as bad as my grim reaper on the torso. The artist, Anthony Ibarra (great artist), has the heaviest hand in the business and he’s proud of it. I went into shock when he started shading on my ribs. I had to have my girl bring me a snickers bar before I turned into Danny Trejo like on the commercials.”

Have any tattoos that were painful. Like made you cry, see white light, and regret being born?

Jeremy: “Have the words ‘searching for the open frontier’ in big smoke letters coming out of the barrel of a smoking gun on my ribs. I made two mistakes that I didn’t know at the time. I woke up and went straight to the appointment and I didn’t eat anything so it hurt so bad I kept blacking out. It was horrible.”

If you HAD to get someone’s face tattooed on you, whose would it be and why?

TaSzlin: “Probably Bruce Lee. Since I was a kid, whenever I was bullied, I’d think of Bruce Lee and it gave me the strength to fight back. To this day I’m inspired by his philosophy and his dedication to physical and spiritual growth. Went to his grave in Seattle with my partner and finally got to bow and pay my respects like I’ve always wanted to do since I saw No Surrender, No Retreat when I was a kid.”

Jeremy: “I have lots of faces on me, I have a Conehead babe, Tom from Tom and Jerry, Nausicaa on my chest, Shenron, a stick n’ poke I did of a Junko Mizuno evil nurse character from her comic Pure Trance, etc.”

When do you get work done? Is it something planned and more regimented, or whenever the mood strikes?

TaSzlin: “Whenever I have money and can leave a decent tip. Tip your tattoo artists!”

Do you have a crazy, weird or super-memorable tattoo experience you’d care to share?

TaSzlin: “Before I was sober, whenever I was traveling and trying to score, all I’d have to do is show them my grim reaper to let them know I wasn’t a cop.”

Tattoo artists are similar to bartenders in the sense that people confide in them. What’s the most personal story you’ve shared (or been told) while getting work done.

TaSzlin: “I explained while getting my grim reaper that since high school until now I’ve had a lot of friends and family pass away. Some from car accidents, some from ODs, some from murder. It gave me the feeling that death is just around the corner, and I need to make sure I leave my mark before it’s my time. Coincidentally, Jeremy (our drummer), told me this is the same reason Brendan Fraser had a grim reaper tattoo in the movie Airheads.”


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