Tattooed Rock Bands of the Moto-ing Generation X

You can’t deny that music has taken its place amongst the riding population as a necessity for a good riding day. We pinch in our ear buds, start the bike and take off, often times with no destination. But freeway miles could be interminable without the aid of good tunes. The other day, on my way home from work, I switched my Pandora to Limp Bizkit, and it took me back to my high school and college days when my youth was fraught with opportunity, drama and a lot of motorcycling memories with friends who have either moved on, passed away or quit riding all together.

It amazes me how music has the power to pull you backward in time to one particular moment so you can recall every detail as long as you hear the lyrics on the radio. And then, just like magic, it stops as the song drops off the playlist comes back again. Here are some of the bands that got my blood pumping then and whose music still has the power to make me chant along at the top of my lungs like no one is listening.

Limp Bizkit


Limp Bizkit is not just a band, but a family of tattoo lovers and artists. Tattoos are a staple to this band’s style. Formerly a tattoo artist, charismatic Fred Durst has always known how to get a crowd riled up with his appearance and outlandish style. He has multiple tattoos that have gained him recognition over the years. Guitarist, Wes Borland, is also an artist who designed many tattoos for Limp Bizkit’s drummer, John Otto.



The rock band, Korn, has played at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on more than one occasion in 2009 and 2013, showing their true dedication to the biker culture. Johnathan Davis’s tattoos are controversial and have had people talking for years. Reginald Arvizu, who plays bass for Korn, is also fully tattooed. But judging on their following and the powerful nature of their music, they can say what they like, whether through ink or verse.



I’ve always admired this band for being down to earth. If you’ve ever seen MTV’s cribs back in the day, they walked through the house of P.O.D., which was a modest pad in San Diego. You’d think they were just the boys next door who played music once in a while. Whoda thunk they were grammy award nominees? Band members Sonny Sandoval, Marcos Curiel, Traa Daniels and Wuv Bernardo are all tattooed, humble and true to faith, which explains they’re so incredibly likable. They’re still going strong too. Their new album, Awakening, drops on August 21, 2015.

Papa Roach


Papa Roach recently released a music video for the song “Face Everything and Rise” for their new album “F.E.A.R.” This video featured some fully tattooed motocross riders doing some pretty cool stuff. On the band’s website, their homepage features one of these MadMax-clad riders on their homepage. The band is also fully tattooed, but it’s their style and sound that’s addictive.

LinKin Park


Linkin Park has always been one of my favorite bands. Pretty much any song they’ve ever made is worthy of a replay. I especially like how band member, Mike Shinoda, a.k.a. Fort Minor, hand painted and signed a custom Honda Fury, to promote his Glorious Excess (Dies) art show at the Japanese American Art Museum in 2009.


Inspiration is Everywhere, says Sara Ray

Sara Ray (left) with a friend.

As soon as I met Sara Ray I knew she was a “no nonsense” type of woman. The kind you can’t get much bull shit past. And if you try, she’s likely to call you on it. I’ve always admired strong women like her and I knew I liked her immediately.

From the moment she said she believed women should ride, just not in their underwear, Sara made it obvious she has something to say. It seems the old school values of the rip roaring ride ‘or’ die ladies of past might be clashing with the selfie-obsessed, instantly gratifying Instagrammers of late. The ironic thing is, when it comes to tattoos and promoting art, you really can’t have one without the other.

Is she juggling? Or reaching?

Is she juggling? Or reaching?

Sara Ray has managed to find a balance between the two through her art. Her work reminds me of what would happen if zombies, vampires and Elvira clashed with the 70’s tide of easy rider culture. Throw in some guitars and paint brushes and that about sums up Sara’s style. Mind you, she will probably disagree with me, but that’s the beauty of art. The onlooker can draw the conclusion after the artist has drawn the picture. In fact, Sara’s work has made such a statement, it was featured in 2014 at the exclusive Art of the Motorcycle exhibition at the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale, where the history of motorcycle and the cultures it inspired was on display.

Sara showcased many of her paintings at the Ink and Iron show in Long Beach this year. One in particular got my attention. The painting depicted a woman in an old-school bomber-type helmet with arms fluttering around her, as if she were reaching for or possibly tossing aside motorcycle parts while balancing on a fender in black, spiked boots. Ironically, this painting almost seems a perfect portrayal how a woman who rides struggles between beauty and badassery, a battle that is challenging but fun.

Motorcycle gas tank painted by Sara Ray, also featured in the Art of the Motorcycle display in Glendale.

Motorcycle gas tank painted by Sara Ray, also featured in the Art of the Motorcycle display in Glendale.

After meeting Sara and catching a glimpse of her art, I began perusing the inter webs for her work. I found she does much more than just paint. She’s been tattooing for at least 18 years and doing art for even longer. She also paints motorcycles, the likes of which, have seen the glossy pages of magazines.

She told me she finds “inspiration everywhere,” as she has been coast to coast promoting tattooed motorcycling culture. Originally from Hermosa Beach, CA, she’s now set up roots in Chicago, IL where she tattoos at Maximum Tattoo studio.

What I love most about Sara, however, is she is not just an artist, but a rider. She owns a Honda CB350 that she doesn’t get to ride much anymore but by the tone of her voice, this is regrettable.

If you’re ever in Chicago, stop by and see Sara Ray. She might beat you to the punch (possibly literally if you’re not polite) by participating in a tattoo convention near you, but if you’re in the windy city, her wit and talent are well worth the visit.

You can also find Sara on Instagram and Facebook. Buy her art on Etsy or visit her website here.

Tattoo Inspired Moto Gear

From sprockets to skulls to filigree etched on jacket sleeves, it’s clear tattooed culture has finally inked is relevance in permanent fashion on this year’s moto gear.

You can find hints of the inked lifestyle just about everywhere now, but it can no longer be denied that tattooed culture has influenced the folks in those big marketing offices to the point where their ideas have been stenciled into the manufacturing presses and distributed like wild fire to the moto population. Take a look to see how tattoos and gear have finally made each other’s acquaintance while protecting the real tattoos underneath.

Speed and Strength
With their Wicked Garden and Moto Mercenary lines, SS Gear has figured out that just because some riders have tattoos, it doesn’t mean they have to risk their skin to show off ink.


Bell Artist Series Helmets

These three-quarter helmets boast pin striping and graphic art designs based on original old school concepts. These designs were inspired by the industry’s best custom painters and artists, including Roland Sands Design.


Ride Rich Clothing

You’ll love the shirts, sweaters, hoodies and bandanas from Ride Rich. Their swag encourages individualism just like tattoos encourage expression. Ride Rich clothing inspires people to ride for the love of it. It’s about riding apart from the crowd, being independent and displaying a passion for what you do no matter what the haters say. Ride because you love it. Be inked because you crave it. Be rich with what you have. Ride Rich.

Shoei Helmets

Check out the new Brigand TC-5 from Shoei. Just like the Phantasm design from the previous year, this design boasts a pirate skull with the detail and shading worthy of a tattoo artist’s applause. With this helmet, there’s a little Captain Jack in all of us.


Icon Airmada

Probably the most iconic of tattoo-inspired helmets, Icon is still the most creative when it comes to one-off helmet graphics. If you’re looking for a helmet that people will want to stare at, the Airmada has you covered, literally!


5th Gear Sprockets

Just like you can walk into a tattoo shop and request a specific tattoo design, so can you submit your design to 5th Gear and they will create a rear sprocket design that only you will have! Just ask Tony Carbajal!

Scorpion USA

Perhaps one of my favorite designs is the one used on the all new EXO410 Departed full-face street helmet. Complete with filigree and a full-size, intricately drawn monster girl, this is the epitome of tattoo inspired helmet art work.


Factory Effex Graphics

Who says your bike can’t be inked too? Factory Effex makes a full graphics kit from scratch resistant Ultracurve vinyl that features skulls with glowing eyes. There’s even ink bleeding back to the swingarm for a complete, finished look.


Biker’s Choice

Even the folks at the distributors know if you want people to order parts from you, you gotta have a killer ad campaign that is hard to look away from. So they enlisted alt models like Alloy Ash and others to put tattoos and pretty faces on the cover of every catalog nationwide.

Our Good Friend Candy Garza.

Candy chillin’ in Daytona. You lucky girl!

Candy is a pretty cool chick. She’s one of those laid back, cool friends you can confide anything to. But she also likes surprises. We work together and on my 30th birthday, I came in a little late, thinking no one would notice. Low and behold my cubicle was stuffed with birthday goodies and decor so thick, I couldn’t even to my chair. But that’s Candy. Go big or go home, especially when it comes to celebrations.

Candy and Veronika at the MSF class

I just want to congrats to my girl for taking the MSF class and getting her motorcycle license. Up until now, she’s spent most of her time riding in the dirt or tearing up the dunes in her family’s Kawasaki Teryx. So maybe when she’s not spending time ‘The Bob’ as she affectionately calls her one-year-old son, we can finally go for a ride sometime?

Candy’s ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ Skull tattoo by Dan McNab.

Candy also has a pretty cool Dia de los Muertos skull on her upper arm. It’s a pretty awesome rendition of the classic old school style of tattoo mixed with brilliant new school color. The tattoo is by Dan McNab of Tattoo Gallery in Huntington Beach, CA. Why this tattoo? “I love sugar skulls!” she says. She’s got a full sleeve planned out and Dan is waiting with sketches. So if and when she decides to go back for more ink, we’re hoping to have a glimpse of the final work here.