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07 Jun 2018

The Lucky 13: Jay'e Jones, Owner of Strata Tattoo Lab

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Jay'e Jones. Jay'e Jones. Brian Blueskye

Up in the high desert, one tattoo shop stands out: Yucca Valley’s Strata Tattoo Lab. Its owner, Jay’e Jones, has been tattooing in the high desert since 2001, and purchased Strata Tattoo Lab from its previous owner in 2008. She’s also a music-lover, and has posted videos of herself jamming with her boyfriend, former Voodoo Glow Skulls drummer Jerry O’Neill. For more information, visit www.stratatattoolab.com. Jay’e was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are her answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Carlos Santana, with Los Lobos. I was 12 or 13 years old, and beyond excited for my first concert experience with my dad. The show was in Corpus Christi, so Carlos made a point to recognize (the late) Selena and her husband, Chris Pérez, for their vast contributions to Latino music—asking Chris to join them for a few songs onstage. It may have been the contact high, but I was pretty blown away. I specifically remember my dad telling me something like, “This is real music, none of that silly kid mosh pit business (blah blah blah … something about adults and respect).” Just then, I looked up and saw these “respectable fans of music” tossing around a blown-up condom as if it were a beach ball. I was sold.

What was the first album you owned?

The Bangles’ Manic Monday. Previously, I had been snagging my parents’ record collection to play on my Fisher-Price record player, but this was my first tape—$2 per week allowance well spent!

What bands are you listening to right now?

The usual daily mix that Spotify has created for me—Descendents, NOFX, Bad Religion, Murder City Devils and Mariachi el Bronx. I’ve been stuck on the new Morrissey album for bit. Of course, Prince and Bowie are always a staple in my shop.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Trap! Definitely trap! Like, what are they trapping, exactly? Actual garbage, that’s what.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Tom Waits, 100 percent. I would stop mid-tattoo and run through traffic to experience seeing him live.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Die Antwoord. Zero guilt. ZERO!

What’s your favorite music venue?

Asbury Lanes, N.J. Nothing beats an afternoon at The Shore, followed by some bowling, all-day PBRs and trying mightily to hold up Jello Biafra’s soft, sweaty crowd-surfing body with your BFF.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“Eh fatty boom boom, hit me with the ching-ching, not fokken thinking, dolla eye twinkling, just a bit of junkie, let’s not get too funky, Oh oh oo oh,” Die Antwoord, “Fatty Boom Boom.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Booty People, self-titled, 1977 release. It was the first record I ever pulled out of my parents’ collection, spawning a lifelong obsession not only with funk, but collecting records and music in general. I think I was around 4 years old, and definitely not grasping the adult concept of the band. I loved it, despite that. Years later as a teenager, I picked up my first Emerson, Lake and Palmer album, Brain Salad Surgery. That record was a defining time period for me, and life-changing, to say the least. I love them to this day.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I suppose I could ask Dr. Greg Graffin why he hasn’t married me yet. Then again, he’s already married and doesn’t know me, so …

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I don’t care how cliché it is, but I would demand that “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo be played on repeat, until everyone systematically threw themselves into my grave, and beat my lifeless corpse in retribution for the infinite loop of Elfman.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

I suppose I’ll figuratively be getting shot then. There can be only one Highlander, but one favorite album? No way. Here’s my Top 13 (in no particular order), since it’s lucky and all: Squirrel Nut Zippers, Hot; Dio, Holy Diver; Muse, Absolution; Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables; The Cure, Disintegration; Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Whipped Cream and Other Delights; Smashing Pumpkins, Gish; Tom Waits, Swordfishtrombones; AFI, Black Sails in the Sunset; Aesop Rock, Bazooka Tooth; Depeche Mode, Violator; Bad Religion, The Process of Belief; and Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kaleidoscope.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

One song is not enough. Just do yourself a favor, and play the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. It’s timeless, versatile and quite possibly one of the best compilations of all time. (Scroll down to hear it.)

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