Tattoo Stories: Lightworker’s Ryan Johnson on First, Worst, Most Painful Ink

San Fran melodic metal outfit Lightworker wear their hearts on their sleeves. On their forthcoming debut full-length record, Fury By Failure — which is the follow-up to their Resilience EP and due out via Solid State later this spring the scene veterans aim to bring “a quiet sense of hope in a blisteringly broken world, proving heavy music can carry a lightness all its own.” The band’s Ryan Johnson wears his heart on his sleeve in another way, too: via his striking black-and-gray tattoos. We recently caught up with the musician to discuss his ink.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST PAINFUL TATTOO?
RYAN JOHNSON The last one I got. Specifically the line work over my collar bone area. It stung a bit.

HOW ABOUT YOUR FIRST TATTOO?
Right after I turned 18, my buddy and I went in for our first tattoos at an overpriced parlor called Zebra. For $150, I got a solid black “forte” symbol on the inside of my wrist. I still love it how it looks.

DO YOU HAVE ANY EMBARRASSING INK?
None yet. I only have three pieces, but I look forward to getting a nice embarrassing tattoo in the future.

HOW ABOUT ANY BAND TATTOOS? IF NOT, WHAT MIGHT YOU GET IN THE FUTURE?
Nope. I thought about getting one when I was younger. Really glad I didn’t. But if I had to get a band/music tattoo right now, I’d probably get something Stevie Wonder related.

WHAT’S GOING TO BE YOUR NEXT TATTOO?
I haven’t thought much about it. I’m happy with the work I currently have, but when I feel like getting another,  I’ll start throwing some ideas around.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE TATTOO ARTIST?
An artist named Kelly Violet is my favorite right now. I just love the style and unique vision for her work. It’s dark, detailed and, in my opinion, a bridge between traditional/vintage and modern black work. Her instagram is @kellyviolence.