Enlarge Photo Credit: Jennifer Stratton

Atala’s Ten Favorite Tattoo Shops in the U.S.


The three members of California stoner metallers Atala are as well-versed in tattoos as they are in metal. Guitarist and vocalist Kyle “Caveman Kyle” Stratton is an award-winning tattoo artist and owner of Twentynine Palms, CA’s American Art Studio and American Made Tattoo. His work has been featured in Tattoo Magazine, Ink Magazine, Rebel Ink Magazine and other publications and on TV shows such as How I Met Your Mother and CSI New York. Both bassist Dave Horn and drummer Jeff Tedtaotao are tattoo artists themselves, too, and all three share an intense passion for body art. As if you couldn’t already tell from their promo photo above: these are people that take body artwork very seriously.

Atala’s new album Labyrinth of Ashmedai comes out on January 26th (pre-order), and rather than write yet another standard new band discovery piece with cliche adjectives about how heavy the music is we figured we’d make it a little more interesting by asking Kyle, Dave and Jeff to tell us about their ten favorite tattoo shops in the U.S. Take a look at their picks while you stream the band’s latest single “Death’s Dark Tomb” below.

Kyle “Caveman Kyle” Stratton, guitar and vocals for Atala, owner of Twentynine Palms, CA’s American Art Studio and American Made Tattoo

Night Gallery: Detroit, MI/ Los Angeles, CA

While in Detroit or in Los Angeles, you must stop by the Night Gallery and get a tattoo from Bob Tyrell. He is one of the best artists in the United States — who am I fooling, in the world! I have always looked up to his work and would like to collect a piece from him. He specializes in macabre done in black and grey and some of the world’s most dead-on portraits. Chances are, if you are metal as fuck, you already know his work. Not only do I know his work, but I worship at the alter of it. Bob Tyrell has earned every bit of respect he gets.

Last Rites Tattoo Theatre: New York City, NY

When you are jamming your tour van through New York City while bumping Slayer through crackling speakers, you have got to stop into Last Rites Tattoo Theatre and collect a piece from the king of darkness himself, Paul Booth, or any of the world class artists he employs. This is probably one of the greatest art galleries on the planet so be sure to make your appointments when you start booking your tour. You will be amazed at the art from the moment you enter the building, and the tattoos are in a class of their own. Paul Booth is a master of the dark arts and claims to get his inspiration from the Devil himself. This man is the Ozzy Osbourne of black and grey tattooing.

Stinky Monkey Tattoo: Kingston, MA

While you are listening to some stoner metal while smoking a fatty and you need to air out the van in Kingston, be sure to stop by and say hello to Mr. Tony Ciavarro. I am a huge fan of this guy’s work and have collected a piece from him myself. He draws some of the best color tattoo flash on earth and has also published several books, many of which I have. Some of the works he is known for are “101 Half Sleeves”, “Dropping the Deuce” and “Size Doesn’t Matter.” He is also an excellent merchandiser, so if you need a shirt because you slacked on laundry day and you ran out of clean shirts, you’re in luck. Stop by and collect a bright tattoo or just grab a shirt.

All or Nothing Tattoo: Atlanta GA

While trudging along, trying to get through the south on a hot day with some Eyehategod blasting on the boom box, you have to make a pit stop at All or Nothing Tattoo, Atlanta’s finest. Get blasted by Brandon Bond or any of his associates and you are sure to get a great quality tattoo. Brandon has used his amazing marketing techniques to bring so many world class artists to the attention of the tattoo industry. Every artist that gets an opportunity to sling with these cats put out their best efforts and reaches higher and higher levels of success. Known for some of the cleanest work in all styles, this is about as well rounded as any shop can get, so get either your black and grey or color tattoo here. They will definitely give you some classy work while talking massive shit! Don’t miss out on great jokes and even better tattoos.

Dave Horn, bassist of Atala, tattoo artist:

Unkindness Art: Richmond, VA

Been on the road for months at a time and need to find a good release for all the stress that comes with it? Maybe you just want a minute away? Well, if you find yourself around Richmond, VA then look no further than Unkindness Art. The shop is stacked to the brim with capable and talented artists. Their styles are crisp and refreshing, and the work that comes out of this shop is nothing short of beautiful. Helmed by renowned artists, work from Tereasa Sharpe or Erin Chance and the rest of their crew will leave you wanting more.

Ink and Dagger Tattoo: Roswell, GA

If you find yourself gigging in the Southeast and needing to get a little ink therapy in, next we have Russ Abbot’s shop, Ink and Dagger Tattoo. It’s located in Roswell, GA and I can’t even begin to describe the quality of tattoo that comes out of this shop. From geometric work, to chaotic blackwork, to color realism, they do it all, and with such a penchant for detail. I’m often left dumbfounded by the art they churn out on a daily basis. These guys never disappoint, and receiving a piece from any of their artists is a must for any body art collector.

Big Trouble Tattoo: San Diego, CA

Finally, should you ever saunter to the West Coast, weary from the road, you can walk into Big Trouble Tattoo Shop located in the North Park area of San Diego. If you’re in search of a clean traditional style, perhaps to commemorate the night before when your drummer decided to strip down to his tighty whities during the set, this is your shop. The artists here are brilliant and can lay ink with the best of them. From American traditional to their own unique styles, you won’t leave this shop unhappy.

Jeff Tedtaotao, drums for Atala, tattoo shop apprentice:

American Art Studio and American Made Tattoo: Twentynine Palms, CA

I have to support our own! If you end up driving through the middle of nowhere, a.k.a. Twentynine Palms, CA, stop in to American Art Studio or American Made Tattoo. The shops have been a staple of Twentynine Palms for as long as I can recall. I actually remember standing outside of American Made in 2007,  but I wasn’t allowed in because I was only 17. The shops have seven artists between both of them, with everyone being well trained and crafted by our vocalist/guitarist, Kyle Stratton, himself. As far as “styles” go, Kyle and his crew can do it all: anything from traditional to black and grey to color realism. When you enter you will see walls filled with graffiti, fine arts and awards Kyle has won all around the world. If you happen to be coming from either Nevada or Arizona en route to any of the bigger southern California cities or vice-versa, be sure to come by to get tattooed! Or come say hi, the vibe is always good, loud and filled with tons of art and jokes.

Outer Limits Tattoo: Newport Beach, CA/Long Beach, CA

If the coastal cities of California are on your itinerary, hit up Outer Limits Tattoo. Outer Limits has two locations: one in Long Beach and one in Newport Beach. Both shops are owned by Kari Barba, who is a big staple in southern California’s collective of tattooers. My mentor looks up to her as an artist, letting me know how respected she is. I had the opportunity to accompany my girlfriend to the Newport Beach location: the shop was very professional with a very welcoming environment, and Andrew Baysinger did a very bright and very traditional cactus on her leg, which turned out super rad. Outer Limits has a strong collective of artists that specialize in a different array of styles. Definitely worth checking out while enjoying the 70 degree year-round weather.

Depiction Tattoo Gallery: Arlington, TX

If the middle of Texas happens to be your point of destination for some reason, head on over to Depiction Tattoo. Located in the outer Dallas metropolitan area in Arlington, Depiction Tattoo is stacked with a roster of great artists. One of those is Jason Mims, who specializes in neo-traditional. Not only is he a great artist, but he’s really solid dude as well. Apprenticed and flourished under the supervision of (you guessed it) American Art Studio, Jason started out at American Made Tattoo. I actually got a chance to work with the guy for a few months before he left for Texas. If he was putting out solid work out in Twentynine Palms, I can only imagine how much further he has progressed as an artist since then. If you like getting really rad tattoos and have an interest in video games, go get tattooed at Depiction Tattoo and ask for Jason. Your tattoo family in 29 misses you, Jason!



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