Who said Craigslist was only good for buying used cars and finding ads for questionable paid studies? The members of Diamond Weapon have both Craigslist and Kijiji to thank for the formation of their band when in late 2016 they came upon each other and quickly found a lot of common musical ground. All four musicians found similar tastes in punk and post-hardcore, which led to some jamming sessions and eventually, songwriting.
Now, the group is preparing to release their brand new, six-song EP, Eyes, this summer, an aggressive, chaotic-sounding batch of bangers that are a little left of center. The songs are straightforward and adventurous, exploring the darker side of life, like guns, violence, heartbreak, and justice, or the lack thereof. Among Diamond Weapon’s career highlights thus far include an opening set they delivered for Danko Jones at Toronto’s Bovine Sex Club in 2017, and Eyes Set To Kill on their 2018 Canadian tour.
What goes great with punk and hardcore? Nose rings? Dyed mullets? Tattoos? If you answered all of the above, you’d be correct, but today we’re going to focus on the latter, with our latest edition of Tattoo Talk. We spoke with singer and guitarist Louis Tentsos, and drummer Jason Bradfield about their first tattoos, their favourites, and the terrible physical pain that can come from getting a tattoo.
When, where and what was your first tattoo?
Louis Tentsos: “I was actually a late in life tattoo-er. I got my first one at 32 years old. It’s a tattoo of Grimlock from the Transformers, and I got it from Tania Zhang, who was at Imperial Tattoo at the time.”
Jason Bradfield: “I believe I got my first one when I was 25, by Christina Colour at Puedmag Ink. It’s a mashup of two different Protest the Hero albums right on my left calf. It’s definitely my largest tattoo and to this day the most painful thing I have endured.”
Do any of your tattoos have a particularly special meaning behind them? If so, do share!
Tentsos: “Most of my half-sleeve are things that are related to my childhood. The Spartan shield and spear is a nod to my time spent at Greek school. The Zelda Hylian shield my love of video games, and the three Zelda hearts only partially filled, since I’ve ‘taken damage.’ Grimlock and Captain Power were ‘leaders’ who I looked up to, so I got them to remind me of what leadership can look like.”
Bradfield: “All of my tattoos have some kind of significance, I don’t feel any of them were throw away ideas, most of them are favorites of things. I have the chains from my favourite video game Bioshock, I have a heart skull and my protest tattoo for favourite music and I have a Calvin and Hobbes/Where the Wild Things Are mashup for my favourite books. I would have to say my most sentimental tattoo is a copy of the only tattoo my grandfather had, that I got after he passed.”
Do you have a specific shop or artist that you frequent (insert shameless plug time!)?
Tentsos: “All but one tattoo on my body were done either by Tania Zhang (Yonge Street Tattoos) or Luke Colavecchia (Sugoi Tattoo). They’re the two people I trust the most with anything I put on my body!”
Bradfield: “I have tried to have every tattoo from a different artist. I want a specific artist to do my idea justice and be more in their pocket then forcing the same artist to do work that was outside of their range or comfort zone. That being said, I have two pieces done by sleestak, who was a childhood friend that I was reintroduced to 15 or so years later to do first my grandfather’s tattoo then my AOF tattoo.”
Do you have any new tattoos planned or underway? Give us the dirt, dudes!
Tentsos: “I have several ideas in my head, but it may be a while after COVID where everything is up and running again before I get one. But I was inspired by one of the members of the Bullet Club (a pro wrestling faction in Japan), who got the outlines/shadows of four samurais tattooed on him, each one representing one of his best friends. I would love to do something like that with the Dungeons and Dragons characters that me and my friends use.”
Bradfield: “Considering money and artist availability is so scarce because of COVID, I have really forced myself to not even entertain the idea. Ideas have still started sprouting, but if I say something here, it becomes a thing, then it’s just downhill from there for my poor wallet.”
Have you seen any fans with a band tattoo, anything crazy memorable?
Tentsos: “Our band? I wish. I feel like the cover of our first record would make an excellent tattoo, though.”
Bradfield: “I would be stunned if a stranger came up to us and showed off a Diamond Weapon tattoo that was directly related to us and our music. That being said, I could almost guarantee I could talk my flatmate into getting one.”
We know you have one… tell us about that stoned/drunken joke-tattoo you once got….
Tentsos: “Never a drunk one. I did get my Toronto Maple Leafs tattoo on a whim at a tattoo studio around the corner of where I lived at the time, but I was stone cold sober for that one!”
Bradfield: “I have two on my foot and proud of them, as stupid as they are. On the inside of my foot says ‘choin,’ which was a made up word from a bar I worked at. It started as a mix of change and coin, but later meant anything from coffee to the weight of something to the attitude in someone’s voice, which was equal parts confusing and handy. The other side of my foot says ‘Bro,’ for the simple fact that my best friend and I wanted bro tats and are clearly gnar to the bar and matching tattoos frankly is the only way to show that.”
Do you have any tattoos that you now hate, want to replace, or have covered up, and why?
Tentsos: “I think I’m lucky because I waited so long before getting my first one that I’m very comfortable with all the tattoos I have right now. I’m hoping it stays that way… hopefully it doesn’t come out that Grimlock was a racist or something.”
Bradfield: “I think on all my tattoos for at least six months before I go through with them, so I am happy to say I love all my tattoos. I’m hoping it stays that way, hopefully it doesn’t come out that Calvin grew up to be a racist or something.”
Have any tattoos that were painful. Like made you cry, see white light, and regret being born?
Tentsos: “The Spartan shield on my inner bicep actually hurt a lot more than I thought it would. All the first tattoos I got were on the outside and were relatively easy, so I figured the inside would be the same, it was not.”
Bradfield: “My first tattoo blew my damn mind. I knew getting a tattoo would hurt and I was mostly braced for it, but this one really decided to rock me. Christina Colour was so lovely, she nailed the idea I wanted and was really cool while she tattooed me, but I’m still going to call her out! She happened to be a visiting artist to Toronto, coming from I think Norway, and she had friends in the city. Those friends decided to visit three quarters of the way through my tattoo, so she stopped working and took a break, which was cool with me. The totally not cool thing with me was that it was two hours of needles so my leg was swelling up pretty bad, so when we finally got back to it, it felt like the hornets of Hades were working on my leg.”
If you HAD to get someone’s face tattooed on you, who would it be and why?
Tentsos: “In general, I find both text and faces of real people to be quite tacky, but if I had to pick, John Stamos. I feel having him tattooed on my body would make me more attractive by association.”
Bradfield: “My brother used to joke that he wanted to get a full back tattoo of my grandfather’s face, similar to what Steve-O has, and I thought that was hilarious, so I’m going to have to see that vision through.”
When do you get work done? Is it something planned and more regimented, or whenever the mood strikes?
Tentsos: I’m very meticulous with all of my tattoos, so I definitely think them through and plan them out in advance. Even the Maple Leafs one, I had thought about for a while, but it was a spur of the moment thing to just go in and get one from an apprentice at a studio.”
Do you have a crazy, weird or super-memorable tattoo experience you’d care to share?
Tentsos: “Mostly because it was funny, but when I was getting my Spartan shield from Luke, he asked me ‘Do you have a cat at home?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I do. How do you know?’ He said, ‘People who generally get weapons tattooed on them usually have cats.’ I said, ‘Really? That’s insane!’ And he said, ‘Just kidding, I just knew because you have cat hair on your hoodie.’
It’s really memorable for me because a. it was really funny, and b. it’s an illustration of how gullible I am.”
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.
Tentsos: “I’m actually the opposite. I’m not someone who can really carry a conversation while I’m being tattooed; it’s like when your dentist is trying to talk to you while they’re cleaning your teeth. If anything, I much prefer to ask questions and listen to their answers, but more than anything else, I’m just trying not to be a distraction while they’re working!”
Bradfield: “I just try to buckle down and keep my mouth shut for all my tattoos, I don’t want to distract the artist and honestly I’m just not in a talkative mood during a session. I do however have a stupid habit of always saying, ‘oh this isn’t that bad’ like ten minutes into the session, like it’s totally not going to get worse an hour in.”