Sully Erna’s Tattoos: Muppets, Stripper Name Cover-Ups + More
'The Needle and the Damage' done is a tattoo series produced by Loudwire and presented by the Inkcarceration Music and Tattoo Festival. Each episode was shot on site at the festival's location in Mansfield, Ohio, at the Ohio State Reformatory, which is also where scenes from the 'Shawshank Redemption' were filmed. Here, artists reflect on the artwork scrawled into their flesh, recollecting their first tattoos, the most painful ones, deeper meanings and, of course, the stories behind them all. Enjoy while you anxiously await the announcement of next year's lineup. Keep an eye out because tickets go on sale in December!
Godsmack's Sully Erna is covered in tattoos. Back when his body was more of a blank canvas and before Godsmack's career skyrocketed, he saw tattoos as an opportunity to mold a rock star image, covering his right arm in free pieces from a friend. "I just built my sleeve and things like that off images that didn't really have a lot of sentimental meaning," he bemoaned, "but now I've kind of come full circle and they represent a time in my life."
During that time in his life, he didn't have the money to pay for his own tattoos, so he found ways to get them for free, not just from friends, but girlfriends, too. "I used to date strippers back then," recollected Erna, "and they'd be like, 'Hey, if you put my name on your arm, I'll pay for some of your tattoos.'"
He had a code worked out with his friend though, and some light colored ink (carnation pink) was easy to cover up with something else a little more on-brand.
Even if he still had those names embedded in his flesh today, it's not likely he'd get it all removed with a laser. The singer can sleep through getting a tattoo, but the pain from laser removal is, well... here's how he described it:
"Imagine the world's largest elastic band slapping the most sensitive parts of your skin at 1,000 beats a second."
Elsewhere in the video, he combs his body, showing off one of his earliest musical inspirations (a Muppets character) and a thigh piece of Pinhead from Hellraiser.
Another one we got a look at was a portrait on his chest of his daughter at age seven. Erna affirmed it's the most important tattoo he has — it's also the source of a little prank. "I know she's proud of it but whenever she starts to act up — she's 17 now — I'll literally let the hair on my chest grow in," he laughed. "I'll shave everything, but I'll leave her with a goatee and a fu manchu and then she gets really pissed off at me."
WATCH MORE — Ivan Moody's Tattoos: Boxcutter Fights, Sobriety + a Coma
40 Worst Rock Tattoos of All Time