Van Halen Frontman David Lee Roth Launches New Venture
(hennemusic) David Lee Roth is sharing details about his latest business venture, Ink The Original, a skin-care line which preserves, protects and highlights tattoos while keeping them from fading.
The rocker began work on the concept after Van Halen wrapped up a North American tour in 2015, following which they haven't been heard from since.
"I started this project with three of us sitting around an upended plastic bucket for a table at my house in L.A," Roth tells Vogue. "Now, there's 34 of us and we have offices in New York as well as L.A. It's taken three years and close to $7 million, and I'm involved in every single element of every part of it. Surprisingly, there's almost no competition. And what we have built is absolutely specialized to our community. My business partner, Ami James, is the curator and one of the three owners of Tattoodo, which has more than 500,000 artists curated on their site. They get 2 billion views a month and have 20 million social media followers."
Roth has been interested in body ink for decades ... way before Van Halen recorded "Tattoo" as the lead single for 2012's "A Different Kind Of Truth."
"I got my first tattoo 40 years ago, a little seahorse on my ankle, at a place called Cliff Raven Studio on Sunset Boulevard in '77, '78," he says. "That was very outré then - the only people who got tattoos then were bikers, rock 'n' rollers to a small degree; the gay community was into it.
"Eventually, though, I took a much more gentrified approach: I waited until I was 60 and got the whole Japanese tuxedo. It took me 300 hours of sitting over two years. But I planned it for the 30 years prior, and it's my design: kabuki faces, the original showbiz, rendered Edo style - it looks like a woodblock print."
After Roth became a resident of Tokyo in 2012, he had his design inked by legendary Yokohama-based horishi tattoo artist Horiyoshi III, who specializes in Japanese traditional full-body tattoos; the pair cane be seen in a Roth Show video while the singer performs an acoustic version of John Brim's "Ice Cream Man" in the artist's studio with some new lyrics for the occasion.
In the Vogue interview, Roth also revealed news that he launched an outdoor gear company, Laugh To Win, in recent years. Read more and watch the videos here.
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