Fall Out Boy bassist and tattoo lover Pete Wentz hosts season two of Best Ink that shows the cutthroat and wildly unpredictable world of tattoo artistry.
Although Pete Wentz is busy with new Fall Out Boy music and upcoming live gigs, Wentz steps into the tattoo world Best Ink as host of the second season on Wednesday, April 3 on Oxygen.
When Best Ink returns, twelve of the best tattoo artists from around the country will compete for $100,000 and a cover story in Tattoo magazine. World-renowned tattoo artist Joe Capobianco returns as the head judge and mentor alongside international pinup model and tattoo removal shop owner Sabina Kelley and new judge, pinup and portrait tattoo specialist Hannah Aitchison.
Ahead of the premiere of Best Ink, The Deadbolt spent a few minutes with Pete Wentz to get the scoop on why he joined the show, his love of tattoos, the relevance of tattoos as art, and how he views ink as a father.
THE DEADBOLT: Since you haven’t done reality TV until now, what did you want to get out of the experience so it meant something to you?
PETE WENTZ: That’s a good question. Every once in a while I get hit up to do whatever kind of reality show, or whatever, and they don’t really make a whole lot of sense for me. This one did because I felt like it was authentic to my brand. I’ve been into tattoos for a while, I wanted to learn more, and obviously I’ve been an enthusiast. I felt like after meeting with Joe and realizing that I’d get to learn a lot about the inner workings of a tattoo shop and more about tattoo culture, that was really important to me.
I think the other thing was to really present this as pop culture and pop art. Going into it, it was really important for me to be able to be involved from the ground up in the Flash Challenges, which are like the non-tattoo challenges. So, we got to do some pretty crazy stuff. I’m really into street art so we got to hang these guys from the side of a billboard six stories up and let them spray paint. Just fun stuff. It was kind of just wacky. I guess they kind of let us just do what we wanted to do as far as those wacky ideas.
THE DEADBOLT: In what ways have your own tattoos evolved, as compared to the evolution of Fall Out Boy? What type of connection is there?
WENTZ: I think to me, tattoos serve as snapshots of moments in my life. I got one at my buddy John Mayer’s house from a Japanese tattoo artist who didn’t speak any English. It’s this portrait, good luck. I got it before my son was born. It’s good luck for boys in Japan. It’s this giant face with bushy eyebrows of a little boy.
I remember getting it. When I get crazy waves on one side and calm waves on the other side to represent a transition in my life, the Japanese artist was like “there’s no calm waves in Japan.” So it’s all crazy waves. But you know, they serve as different moments in my life to remind me of things.
THE DEADBOLT: How do you see tattoos today as pop-culture, as compared to the perception of tattoos as counter-culture?
WENTZ: Good question. I think that it’s interesting because it’s probably comparable to punk rock music or hip-hop. Eventually, if the counter culture becomes embraced by enough people, it kind of permeates pop culture. So I think it just depends.
There are definitely moments where you realize that tattoos are part of everyday life and everyday conversation. I feel like I come from playing tennis in the valley, in Studio City in California, and it’s not that odd that me and my brother have tattoos. No one’s looking at us a strangely. I think the only time that can become a negative is if you take something further into pop-culture without understanding what held up the culture, the adherence to the culture, and the people like Joe who are strong supporters of tattoos.
Joe would be tattooing whether it was big or not big, whether everyone loved it or not. It’s something that he lives and dies. As well as Hannah and Sabina. So, I think that it’s really important that while we’re embracing the pop-culture aspect of it and having fun with these gags, it’s really important to have a guy like Joe or someone like Hannah there who really knows the history of it, who were there when tattoos weren’t really a part of pop-culture when you got dirty looks for having tattoos, or you had to wear long sleeve shirts.
I think it’s really important to remember those kinds of things just as it is in hip-hop music, a counter culture film, or any of that stuff. It’s just very important to know what brought you there and not forget that.
THE DEADBOLT: How has your own perception of tattoos changed now that you’re a father?
WENTZ: I think that probably falls into the aspect of kids getting involved with tattoos. There’s a part of me that’s like, well, wait a little bit to get tattoos in general. Maybe that’s probably the dad in me coming out. When I go to take my kid to preschool, all the kids ask about the tattoos and think they’re cool and stuff. I guess the notion of just being a son, you rebel against whatever you got. So, I’m guessing [as a father] tattoos may not be what you have to worry about.
Best Ink premieres Wednesday, April 3 on Oxygen at 10 PM ET/PT.