It’s been like rapid fire ever since the inception of Lift The Curse. While it takes most artists at least a year to even get a song released, the Austin hard rockers have been lighting it up since they got together last year, releasing a series of singles, with the most recent being “Believe,” which dropped in December. The song carries a positive message, a reminder not to lose hope and to believe in yourself no matter how much the chips are down. Composed of Jon Yadon Jr. and Ryan Hegefeld, the duo quickly released tunes over the summer and the fall, including “Take Me Under” and “The Color Brave.” The tracks offered a good look inside this still-emerging project, shining a light on the importance Yadon Jr. and Hegefeld place on songwriting.
Yadon Jr. and Hegefeld are long-time friends, having previously played as two-thirds of TrineATX, a band that saw some solid success across Texas, having the opportunity to open for Fuel, Hinder, and Powerman 5000 along the way. As Lift The Curse, they have forged a sound that combines heavy metal, rock, and pop, defined by pounding riffs, slick melodies, and ruthless breakdowns.
We recently caught up with Yadon Jr. and Hegefeld to talk tattoos in our latest edition of Tattoo Talk. We discussed some of their more memorable tattoos, some of their favourite local artists, future tattoo plans, and of course, that memorable (or unmemorable) drunken tattoo…
When, where and what was your first tattoo?
Jon Yadon Jr.: “My dad took me to San Francisco on my 18th birthday to get my first tattoo which is my last name, ‘Yadon,’ on my upper back with wings and a lightning bolt.”
Ryan Hegefeld: “On my left wrist is a padlock of sorts. I got the tattoo when I was 18, and at the time, it was meant to be a very cheesy symbol of waiting for the right person to unlock it. Yeah, I’m a bit of a hopeful romantic.”
Do any of your tattoos have a particularly special meaning behind them? If so, do share!
Yadon Jr.: “Absolutely! A lot of mine do, but my left inner forearm tattoo is one of my favourites because it’s for my immediate family, my mom, dad, and sister. A song that means a lot to us is Van Halen’s ‘Dreams,’ and this tattoo has my favourite Sammy Hagar line at the end of the song, ‘And in the end, on dreams we will depend.’ On the body of the guitar are their initials J (Jon), C (Cristy), and D (Denise). Shoutout to amazing Austin, Texas artist Jason Jones for this tattoo!”
“Jason Jones also did this tribute to the Metallica S&M symphony album (one of my favourites of all time) and my love for the Bay Area in California, where I was born and raised. I have three of my best friends’ initials on the Golden Gate Bridge in this tattoo.”
“I can’t not mention my ‘Grams’ rose tattoo on my right forearm that I got for both of my incredible grandmothers, Jackie and Sally.”
Do you have a specific shop or artist that you frequent (insert shameless plug time!)?
Yadon Jr.: “Yes! Jason Jones and Ben DiPietro are both amazing here in Austin! I’m getting my next one from Shelby Lozano at King Cobra Tattoo in Oakley, California, when I visit back home for Christmas.”
Do you have any new tattoos planned or underway? Give us the dirt!
Yadon Jr.: “At this moment, I’m not 100 percent sure what I’m going to get from Shelby, but I’m recording a guitar solo for his new country rock album in exchange for a tattoo. I’m very excited because his music and tattoo work are killer! I’m currently leaning towards something from one of my favourite movies, like the Steel Dragon band logo from the movie Rock Star, but we’ll see.”
Hegefeld: “Some future tattoos that will happen: I’ve always wanted a tattoo of a handheld microphone on my right forearm with a cable made of some of my lyrics running up my arm. The cable would run into a chest piece. I think for a chest piece, I want a leafless tree to represent the persistent growth we all endure throughout life. Even when we have no fruit to bear, we all have the potential and hope. I also want some sort of tattoo to show my respect and love for my family ranch. A piece of property that took a boy and a dreamer and made him a man.”
We know you have one… tell us about that stoned/drunken joke tattoo you once got…
Hegefeld: “I was 18 years old, so it was back in 2007 at a house party. We were killing beers left and right. Somewhere during the night, we were talking about if we had all the money in the world and what tattoos we’d get. I just said, ‘I’d get a line tattoo.’ Then a girl that used to hang out with the band said, ‘no you won’t.’ I said out loud, ‘yes, I will.’ Then I went and got the line tattoo the following day sober.”
Have any tattoos that were painful? Like made you cry, see white light, and regret being born?
Yadon Jr.: “My most painful tattoo is my smallest and quickest tattoo. My sister and I got matching ‘Y’ tattoos for our last name, ‘Yadon,’ on our ribs. It was definitely the most painful 20-minute tattoo (laughs).”
If you HAD to get someone’s face tattooed on you, whose would it be and why?
Hegefeld: “Jamie Benn from the Dallas Stars hockey team. I’m a huge hockey fan, and I love my Stars! Even if that guy doesn’t win a Stanley Cup, he is my favourite hockey player. He is a pure leader.”
Yadon Jr.: “I’d probably get Ryan’s face (laughs)! I technically have Zakk Wylde and Freddie Mercury’s faces on my left leg (silhouettes of both). Zakk is one of my biggest guitar influences. I love everything he’s written and recorded. Ozzy’s No More Tears album is one of my all-time favourites because of Zakk’s incredible guitar work. I have a ticket to see Zakk play with Pantera (tribute) opening for Metallica in August! So excited for that.
Freddie Mercury is also one of my favourite singers of all time. My parents used to play Queen’s Greatest Hits album a ton when I was growing up. ‘I Want It All’ is one of my faves, but all of their songs are amazing!”
When do you get work done? Is it something planned and more regimented, or whenever the mood strikes?
Yadon Jr.: “Mine are usually planned out since my go-to tattoo artists are typically booked out a ways and I love a ton of colour and takes multiple hours/sessions.”
Do you have a crazy, weird or super-memorable tattoo experience you’d care to share?
Yadon Jr.: “My group of best friends would joke that my Zakk Wylde silhouette tattoo looks like Chewbacca playing guitar… so my best friend Chase surprised me when he got his first (and only) tattoo of literally Chewbacca playing guitar in the same spot on his leg as my Zakk tattoo is (laughs).”