Bullet For My Valentine released their fourth studio album, Temper Temper, in February, and the guys are getting ready to kick off the HardDrive Live Tour April 12 in Denver, Colorado. BFMV has the headlining spot on the tour, which will also feature Halestorm, Young Guns and Stars in Stereo.
Matt, Padge, Moose and Jay stopped by iHeartRadio HQ recently, where they let us check out all of their tattoos and let us in on the stories behind them.
Matt (Lead vocals, rhythm guitar):
"It's been a work in progress for about a year and a half and I just finished it," frontman Matthew Tuck says of his recently completed sleeve. "We did most of it in large sessions, and the last 3 or 4 of them being like 2 or 3 hour stints, so it's taken about 60 or 70 hours."
His main inspiration? The artist Laurie Lipton, who works mostly in charcoal and pencil. "I took all my favorite pieces (about 5) from her and put them together in a sleeve. We had to adapt it a little bit for the background with some personal touches," Matt says. The 'personal touches' include his son's name and date of birth as well as well as baby books.
Enduring so much time under the needle didn't necessarily hurt, he says, but there were definitely some awkward moments around the elbow. "It's not painful, it's just odd because it's right on the bone, so it vibrates in the back of your head."
Padge (Lead guitar, vocals):
The tattoo on lead guitarist Michael Paget's - a.k.a. Padge's - left arm represents a very significant moment in his life: when he quit working in order to devote all of his time to the band. "It was a very nice moment in my life," he tells iHeartRadio, adding, "I went straight to the tattoo shop and just said, give me something big."
The tattoo occupies most of his upper arm, and was inspired by combining the work of Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger (who Padge calls "the aliens guy") and American tattoo artist Paul Booth, who has done work for bands such as Slipknot, Slayer, and Pantera.
"Obviously finishing work and moving on to doing this as a living was a magical moment in my life," he says, which is why the tattoo is so special to him.
"I love The Muppets," drummer Michael Thomas, a.k.a "Moose" says of his latest tattoo. "They call me Gonzo because I've got a big nose. So they did Gonzo and when I got home [from tour] we started doing the rest. It's a work in progress."
Moose's plan is to continue to add Muppets until his whole lower leg is covered, with Animal slated to be most prominent just below his knee.
"I'm going to get Animal right up on top because I play drums... If I weren’t human I'd definitely be a Muppet."
Jay (Bass, vocals):
"I started these tattoos maybe 8 years ago," Bassist Jason James (a.k.a. Jay) tells iHeartRadio. "Basically what it is, is a collage of all the bands and influences that made me get to where I am today."
The collage features all the Iron Maiden albums, other bands like Metallica and Pantera, and then other items that have influenced him along the way. "I have the comedy and drama theater masks... I made them evil," he says, adding, "Because I went to college to study music."
Bullet For My Valentine is represented as well. "All the roses represent us, and that's what brought me to be here. So that's all the bands that inspired me to do what I do... and there's a microphone there because I sing as well."
Jay finished off the tattoo with the title of a Stuck Mojo song: 'The Ward Is My Shepherd,' because he counts founding member Rich Ward as one of his biggest influences.
While they all have unique and individual tattoos, Matt, Padge, Moose and Jay do share one tattoo in common: the band tattoo they got while on tour with Avenged Sevenfold (A7X). Each member has the BFMV/A7X tattoo in a different place on his body. Hint: that's Jay's upper thigh.
Photos by Shelby Case