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metal talk
3rd May 2017

sara harding
Words: Sara Harding, Pictures: Kim Husher

electric six

It's always amazing when a new rocking tattoo parlour opens up in your hood and the people of West London were ecstatic when Plan 9 opened their doors in South Ealing.

Headed up by Dominic Walters, this place has already become a Mecca for rock stars and their fans to get inked and in the chair today is Electric Six guitarist Da Ve, fresh off their sold out UK tour.

As Da Ve gets ready for his new tattoo I ask him why tattoos and rock'n'roll go together?

Laughing, he says "because rock'n'roll is cool and tattoos are cool".

electric six

So how does a legendary guitarist from Detroit, Michigan end up in West London getting inked? Da Ve replies:

"I've known Dom for a long time - in fact since the first Electric Six album and he is a great friend of the band. I have tattoos so when I found out that Dom was opening this awesome new business I had to come along and support it.

"I sent him some American licence plates and Dom said 'come check them out now that they are hanging all over the parlour and come get a tattoo too'. We just finished the UK tour so I decided to visit."

electric six

So what tattoo are you getting I enquire?

"This little guy is called Pierre from a story book that was read to me in the 60s as a kid and now I read to my little niece. It's a cautionary tale and Pierre is the protagonist."

As the needle purrs, I ask about the band:

"Electric Six is still going strong. We have so much more to offer than 'Gay Bar' and 'Danger High Voltage'. Night after night we tour and we come back to the UK at least twice a year. This tour we recorded a live album in Oxford, 'You're Welcome', which we will release in the next couple of months.

"It's been great, people have been responsive to the tunes. I think Electric Six get a little bit more respect in the UK than in the States so it's great to be over here and see the response to these shows."

electric six

Why Oxford?:

"The crowd was cool and so was the venue - it was set up just right for filming. We could see from the stage and could record the sound of the crowd. It was a great controlled environment to record in.

"Our main man, Bill Kozy, who does FOH for Cheap Trick - him and Tim are going to take care of the mixing in the studio. Those guys were responsible for when Cheap Trick recorded 'Sgt Pepper' live so if they can handle them, they can handle us."

I ask what is on this live setlist? Da Ve replies:

"This was a bold departure from our standard setlist! I didn't think they would let us into the UK if we didn't play 'Gay Bar' or 'High Voltage' but we didn't play them and no-one yelled at us so that was nice.

"We played a lot of deep cuts that we hadn't played for a while from a few albums back which got lost in the shuffle as new albums came out, plus some new songs.

"We record an album every year and we have fourteen albums so it's hard to cover everything but we did three hours and requests. We kicked off with 'Rock And Roll Evacuation' which used to be a standard in our set from a few years ago but we hadn't been playing it much, plus some newer stuff and some songs we knew the fans were into and I cant wait to hear the recording."

electric six

For us at MetalTalk, one of the funniest social media shorts was Electric Six frontman, Dick Valentine, explaining why they have had to postpone their annual Christmas tour.

In this short video, Valentine reveals he is due to be a father again but if anyone in the UK has a problem with them postponing, he will challenge them to a fight in Primark, or even Nandos, so that they can fight then get a bite to eat.

Talk quickly turns to food and Da Ve informs us that Nandos will soon be opening in the USA and we discuss when Taco Bell will open a store here in the UK, and Da Ve laughs telling us he used to work there when he was fifteen.

"Back to the fight talk and Da Ve, in the great humour he has kept us entertained with all afternoon, says:

"Yeah, Dick really means it. He will have that fight and I will back my boy up.

"It's been a tradition right around Christmas for Electric Six to come to town so it's tough to break a tradition like that but we'll be back in 2018 doing a similar tour and we can still pretend its Christmas."

electric six

It must be bloody great being in Electric Six I muse...

"I love it. I would not like to play side show to anyone else than Dick Valentine - he is one of the smartest, funniest and talented songwriters and musicians I've ever played with."

My final question, as Da Ve doesn't even flinch when the tattoo nears his ribs, is have you ever been tattooed during an interview before? He replies:

"No, but my wife tried to ask me questions once and all I could answer was 'owwwwwwww' and 'errrrrrrrrrr', but I'm very relaxed."

Tattoo finished and little Pierre looks fantastic. So what to do after an hour's inking? We all head off to our local pub, The Pie, to talk more tattoos.


philip welford
Philip Welford

This brand new, shiny tattoo parlour opened earlier this year and as Sara got to quiz Da Ve in the inking chair I took the time to chat with main man of the funky shop, Dom Walters.

I ask him what Plan 9 is all about and Dom tells me about his time spent living in America and falling for the whole vibe. The shop is outfitted in a very sharp, clean style with numerous nods to this Americana influence from the many licence plates adorning the walls to the jukebox to some amazing one off pieces by an extremely talented fella that goes by the moniker Harry's Hotrod Shop, humorous and jaw breakingly stylish.

Breaking away from what can be a dark and intimidating atmosphere that seems to permeate some shops, Dom says, Plan 9 wants to be "user friendly, the friendly face of tattooing. We want people to enjoy their time here. I'm a West Londoner and currently live locally, I noticed this shop which had been empty for a while and thought 'this is perfect for my project'."

This is definitely something special designed from the ground up; this really is a Plan 9 From Outer Space. Dom says:

"It's all about being individual, creativity, it's why rock'n'roll and tattoos go together so well."

electric six

The vibe of this shop is intoxicating and as we head off for a sneaky pint at our favourite real ale boozer, The Magpie And Crown, I ask about what the future holds for this vibrant enterprise?

"We've got artists that I have absolute faith in. It's all very cool and laid back. I want Plan 9, Ealing, to be known as a place where people can get a great tattoo."

You can drop by the shop or check it out on Facebook. But for me, I'm already sold on this guy's amazing ethos and vision, I'm booked in for a piece next month, as are more rock stars. Get some ink!

Plan 9 Tattoos
South Ealing Road
London W5
Tel: 0208 567 0222


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