Baxter's Blog


Posted in Road Trip Stuff by misterroadtripper on July 28, 2010


The current, August 2010 issue of Skin&Ink magazine was the last one that I edited. As usual, I selected the content and made all the editorial decisions. Among those decisions was to delete the usual Editor’s Comment and replace it with a few appropriate words of farewell. Just for the record, the new regime pulled my good-bye speech and substituted with their own. Many people called to tell me how nicely the magazine had acknowledged my contribution over the years. I agree. Whoever it was who wrote the August Editor’s Comment wrote nice things about me and I appreciate it. But, just for the record, here is the full text of the original, which I wrote just a few days before receiving the news that my days with the magazine were over. Following that is the farewell speech I assumed would appear on the newsstand.

—Bob Baxter

EDITOR’S COMMENT (My Original Version)

Always evolving, always taking chances—something to aspire to. On the wrong end of some pretty barbed comments through the years (including threats of physical harm), I remember back when Uncle Tim Heitkotter gave me my official tattoo nickname: “Target.” Well, we’re at it again, boys and girls.

Case in point, this month’s Bits&Snatches story featuring a genuine balls-to-the-wall rocker and lead guitarist, Nicki Perri. You may or may not think that’s a big deal. But it is. Every week I get letters from rock ’n’ roll band members, managers, A&R men, girlfriends and assorted roadies asking that their favorite tattooed musicians grace the pages of Skin&Ink. I always say no. The last time we honored a rocker was our July 2002 cover photo commemorating the untimely passing (a car crash in New Orleans) of lead singer and bassist Bianca Butthole (Halstead) from the hard rock girl band Betty Blowtorch.

So, why the moratorium on rockers? Heaven knows that tattooers the world over love ’em and dig that brand of background music while they pound ink. But a lot of bands, except the top tier groups, are usually regional, so, for example, a Seattle-based group (unless they have a mega-hit CD on the charts) won’t have a lot of appeal to a reader in Ontario, Canada. Or San Antonio, Texas or London, England.

Publishing a tattooed-based feature about a rock band with universal appeal like the Rolling Stones or Lady Gaga is the exception, of course, but, since we’re not TIME magazine or Vanity Fair, bands of that stature are impossibly difficult to corral for an interview/photo session featuring their tattoos. Too bad.

Now, if the story were about a well-known tattoo artist, like one of the Leu Family Iron or portrait artist/guitarist Bob Tyrrell, for example, we would love to write about their other life as a rocker. The main focus, because we are a tattoo rag, not fanzine or music mag, would be on the tattooing and the fact that the hero of the piece plays music would be secondary.

Well, scrap all that. We’re breaking the mold. This time (here come the cards and letters), we’re featuring Philadelphia rocker Nick Perri, a mainstay in the Los Angeles music scene and lead guitarist for Shinedown, Perry Farrell (Satellite Party) and Silvertide, among others—groups generating, over the last decade, over ten million in CD sales. Who knows? Maybe this is the start of something big.

Rock on, Garth.

—Bob Baxter, Editor in Chief

Box 69, 2149 Cascade Ave., 106A

Hood River, Oregon 97031

EDITOR’S COMMENT (My Final Version)

This is the last issue that I will edit for Skin&Ink. After a decade and a half, it is time to move on. I want to thank everyone who has ever been associated with the magazine. The list of contributors is a veritable who’s who of the tattoo world. It’s a big family and every member played a significant role.

Together we have put out one hundred and one issues. The sheer number of artists, collectors and faithful readers is simply overwhelming, but I do want to single out a few people: Larry Flynt, for one. He hired me to run his tattoo magazine back in 1996, and it changed my life. Lyle Tuttle, Henk Schiffmacher, Zeke Owen, Horiyoshi III, Felix Leu: who could be more inspirational mentors and friends? And to all the artists, photographers and writers—Bernard Clark, Bob Tyrrell, David Nestler and Travelin’ Mick especially come to mind—you have no idea how proud I am to have created a venue for readers in every corner of the earth to experience your remarkable gifts.

All said and done, the art of tattoo has allowed us all to protest a little and, above all, show who we really are under the skin.

I love you. I thank you. I wish you well.

—Bob Baxter, Editor in Chief

You are what made Skin&Ink such a great magazine and the best in the industry for so many reasons. I shudder to think of what will become of it now without you at the helm. You were the one to call and offer me my first feature article, and, if I could have hand picked the magazine for my first, it would have been Skin&Ink. You have become a great friend and I have endless respect for you and the things you have done for the tattoo industry. I wish you and Mary much success with, as well as all future endeavors. Thank you for all the help and support you have given me through the years. Much love, my friend.

—Larry Brogan (Tattoo City, Lockport, Illinois)

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