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EdwardJ Freak intoMy friends know that my heart belongs to Italy, so I am very happy when we have guests from this country. Today is one of these days since our guest is Edward J. Freak, the frontman of SUPERHORROR, the undead Rock band. I found the story and concept of the band very, very interesting so I can only advice you to visit their Facebook page. On 10 April 2020, the band has released a new album, ‘Italians Die Better’. The guys have also thought about the vinyl lovers, so you can get a standard and limited vinyl edition for your collection. But now is the time to talk about favourite topic: tattoos. I also want to thank Sabrina Macabre for taking amazing pictures for our project.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? Did it take much time until you decided to get it done?
: I had my first tattoo done when I turned eighteen, so I was legally allowed to get one without my parents’ written permission. It was a portrait of Frankenstein’s monster on my right arm, a character I felt strongly related with, at the time... The decision wasn’t hard at all, I had ideas for both my sleeves ready since years, I was just waiting to turn eighteen and get enough money to have them done!

RoD: How many tattoos do you have? Could you please tell us their story?
Edward: I must confess I stopped counting them since a long time! (laughs) First parts I wanted to cover were my arms, and horror movies characters were the subjects I wanted to have on my skin, since I’ve been an horror lover for all my life... I divided them: on the right arm all the classic Universal Monsters (Dracula, Wolfman...), on the left one the “modern legacy” (Freddy, Jason...), with a special part (the whole forearm) dedicated to my favourite horror saga, the “Evil Dead” one. In 2018 I had my Ash tattoo autographed by Bruce Campbell himself, I ran to the nearest tattoo parlour and had the very same marker’s ink “inked” in my skin!

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On the front of the body I have three tattoos with different themes, which are linked by a common meaning: on the groin, the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” iconic lips, in burning red. On the centre of my chest, the “Blaue Blume”, from Novalis’ novel ‘Heinrich Von Ofterdingen’. On the top of the chest a black and white “Eye of Providence”. These three together represent the three dimensions of life, physical, intellectual and spiritual; I think that these three dimensions are strictly connected one to each other, and finding a balanced way to live and fulfil all of them is the key to a well-spent life. On the right hip I have my band’s logo; after fifteen years of activity, SUPERHORROR have become one of the most important things in my life, and I want to bring them with me everywhere on my skin.

On the left hip, a quite odd one: a deadite mockingbird with the taped neck and two numbers, 1987 and 1994. I had this one with my brother, after we discovered that the same nursery rhyme, ‘Mockingbird’, is “sung” in two movies, ‘Evil Dead II’ - 1987 (deadite Henrietta sings it to her daughter), and ‘Dumb and Dumber’ - 1994 (Lloyd and Henry sing it to Mentalino in their “dog van”). My brother and I are very close, we both love cinema, and those two movies left a mark on our lives, as children and then as young adults... It happens that 1987 is my birth year, and 1994 is his, so... Perfect tattoo to share! Oh yeah... the taped neck... If you watched “Dumb and Dumber” you may remember about the little parrot Petra and its cruel destiny... (laughs)

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On the back of the shoulders, two animals, representing the two opposite sides living in me: on the left a snake and a black star, associated to the “monster” I become when I get on stage, on the right, an albatross, from Charles Baudelaire’s famous poem. Last but not least (I had to select them!) the small stylized star on my right hand... A very simple one carrying a great memory, my first tour outside of Italy, in Germany, back in 2011. A girl who hosted us for one night had a tattoo studio in her bathroom, my bass player and I traded this small “souvenir” with a cd and a t-shirt...

RoD: Have you already got all the tattoos that you wanted or will you get some new ones in the future?
Edward: I think I will never get all the tattoos I want, because each one is related to different experiences, and I think I still have some experiences to live that may deserve to be fixed on my skin... For example, right now I am having the whole upper part of my back covered with a big tattoo that I’ve been planning for over ten years, which includes my three favourite arts, literature, music and cinema, and the “imprinting” I had with each one of them...

RoD: Have all your tattoos been done by one tattoo artist or by different ones? How do you choose the tattoo artist? In addition, who draws your sketches?
Edward: Most of the biggest portraits and “realistic” tattoos have been done by two great Italian artists: first ones by Bob Rose Tattoo, literally an “ink veteran” from Vicenza, and the last ones by Flavio Bordon, at Sick of Tattoo, another great tattooist and friend of mine, who’s the one still “stabbing” me with his needles (laughs). I chose these artists following some friends’ advice, it was very important for me to get the maximum accuracy for the portraits, which are the most difficult subjects... The other artists who did the smallest pieces were brought to me by chance, for example the girl I mentioned in the previous question, or the British tattooists of Ursa Major Studio who decided to get a stand at the same horror convention I met Bruce Campbell, and had then inked his autograph on my forearm... Sketches are made by the artists most of the times, after I literally obsess them with all the details! (laughs)

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RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Edward: Pain for me is a very important part of the tattooing process. I’m not one of those “pain addicted” people, but “feeling” the whole thing through skin and bones is something that helps me internalizing the subject, and gives more meaning and importance to the result. Luckily I can deal pretty good with pain, I got to the end of every session without fainting or asking for a break, exception made for my hips... Hips hurt like hell! It doesn’t matter if it was “low hip” or “ribs zone”, when hitting them I asked for many, many breaks, but I never used any anaesthetics product... The older you get, the more you feel pain, so, I’m very curious to see how I will deal with pain next years!

RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Edward: The only thing I regret is having too many ideas and few space to cover! (laughs). Sometimes I think about regret, but maybe my “tattoo philosophy” can protect me from this kind of feelings: when you’re a kid and you fall from your bike, you get a scar on your knee, your mum medicates it, and that scar will remain with you for the rest of your life, representing that special moment and bound... The same can happen with a car accident, after a fight, or an injury in the working place... Scars, tattoos are nothing but coloured scars, bringing memories of good or bad moments, also good or bad decisions, a bad tattoo can fix the state of mind you had when you decided to have it done, or it can work as a reprimand for the future, but it always represent something that you have been during your life.

RoD: What is your taboo in terms of tattoos? What kind of tattoo would you never get done and don’t like to see on other people?
Edward: Personally I don’t like very much face tattoos... I almost filled all the parts I wanted to have covered, so in the future I can’t exclude the possibility to get tattoos in parts I don’t like very much, legs for example... Taboos are made to be broken, so, who knows, a good subject in the right place may change my opinion...

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RoD: Some people say that the drive to acquire body art is addictive while others say it fails to meet the true definition of an addiction, simply calling it a passion. Is it really impossible to stop?
Edward: I think it’s very subjective, and it depends on each one’s personal “tattoo philosophy”... I must admit that, after a long time without “fresh ink”, if I hear a tattoo machine sound, something in my skin starts to shake, but I wouldn’t define it as an addiction... It’s more some kind of longing towards the “tattoo perfection”, all the right pieces in the right places, which for me is an utopia, because my tattoos represent my life, and life’s still “in the making”... I will reach perfection when this body I wear will be dead!

RoD: Currently, tattoos are a new trend; many people do not care about the meaning, they just want to have something coloured on the skin, to be in trend. Those people often just go into a tattoo salon and ask which drafts they have. Tattoo artists are not artists any more, they produce consumer goods. Not all of them, of course. How do you feel about this situation?
Edward: Well, it’s just a bit annoying being associated with that kind of people... But, in the end, I just can wish them that one day they’ll be able see their tattoos as scars reminding them of their “fashion victim” past, and to accept their mistakes peacefully... I mean, it’s not the first time, do you remember about the horrible 90s / early 2000s tribal tattoos?

RoD: I would like to talk about the social aspect of tattoos, too. Previously, many people believed that if you have a tattoo, you will be never be successful and will not find a “good” job. Have this state of mind and people’s perceptions changed or are these prejudices still alive?
Edward: I think nowadays opinions about tattoos changed a lot; since they’ve have become fashionable, some places (I call them “hipster” places), look specifically for tattooed people to hire... This is a good thing, because it’s helping a lot of old fashioned, conservative people to change their perspective, from seeing us as junkies or criminals, to “weird people who can be funny to look at while working with”... Some may feel offended by this vision too, but past generations’ opinions can’t be changed easily, I think we can deal with this fact and just wait for them to die (laughs)

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RoD: Which advice would you give to people who are going to get their first tattoo? How to choose a tattoo artist? Colour or black and white? Any practical advice?
Edward: Think about the fact that nothing lasts forever, but a tattoo is one thing that goes closer to the “forever” concept. Inform yourself about the tattooing process, the evolution it will have on your skin, think about its meaning and what will happen if you’ll remove or cover it... A tattoo tells a lot about you, so think about what message you want to give. THINK is the key word!

Title picture by Ilenia Arangiaro Photography (, other pictures by Sabrina Macabre (
Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa

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