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Caravan of Pain: The True Story of the Tattoo the Earth Tour


by Kevin Wierzbicki

"Caravan of Pain: The True Story of the Tattoo the Earth Tour" by Scott Alderman

Twenty-two years ago before everybody and their brother was tatted down, author Alderman had an idea. What about a tour that combined music with tattooing, or at least the artistry of tattoo, and that treated the participating tattoo artists like rock stars, just like the bands? From the moment Alderman had the idea for what became Tattoo the Earth he became obsessed with making it happen, and his long-ago excitement (and misery) remains palpable here. The first half of the book finds Alderman grinding away at the mechanics of making such an event happen as he seeks to get various big names on board with the project. On the music side he talks to moguls like Irving Azoff and Don Kirshner about getting involved, and vaunted hip-hop band Cypress Hill shows an interest too. Big name tattoo artists expressed interest too but Alderman just couldn't get anyone to commit. The stress and frustration wore on Alderman and his health deteriorated; many of his health problems lessened when he had his gall bladder removed. But like a marriage he was going to be faithful to, he stuck his plan. The second half of the book is about the firming up of the bands (Slipknot, Slayer, Sevendust, Sepultura, Hed PE, Mudvayne, Hatebreed and 16 others, including special one-time appearances by Metallica and Stone Temple Pilots) and big time tattoo artists like Paul Booth. Of course not all went well. The tour hit 18 cities where the show sometimes took place in a less than ideal venue. Some localities did not allow on-site tattooing and there was lots of infighting, with Booth being particularly problematic. The tour endured a massive haboob (dust storm) in Phoenix and tour buses were searched by Border Patrol agents in Mercedes, Texas, due to the city's proximity to the Mexican border. Drugs were found on Slayer's bus, causing their bus to be impounded. Clown of Slipknot got maced by security at a Wisconsin stop; it turned out to be retribution for something that happened the previous year. The story is told in such a way that the reader will have a ton of fun as Alderman reminisces and many of course will wish they had been there through it all. Lots of photographs are included. The Tattoo the Earth Tour took place in 2000.

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