The Best and Worst of Musink 2015

OC Fairgrounds
March 20-22, 2015

By: Alex Distefano, Josh Chesler and Candace Hansen

Every spring, OC's diehard tattoo enthusiasts gather for a weekend of music, moshing and ink-slinging better known as the MusInk Tattoo and Music Festival at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. This year's fest, once again presented by drummer Travis Barker, promised another buzz worthy installment featuring over 50 renowned tattoo artists, vintage car shows, a half-naked Miss MusInk contest and performances by Rancid, Bad Religion, Blink 182 with new singer Matt Skiba, OFF! and more. This year's fest definitely left a mark. Firmly embedded in the cavalcade of rockabilly tough guys, punks, hardcore straight edge types and beautiful women, we made our trek through the madness to report on the good, the band and the ugly. Here's a quick recap of the Best and Worst of MusInk 2015. (Nate Jackson)


The Best

Rancid's Mosh Pit in The Hanger
When Lars Fredrickson pointed at the gigantic …And Out Come The Wolves banner nostalgically thanking fans for 20 years of loyalty I realized I was old. When a giant pit opened up to “I Want a Riot” I realized I didn't care. When a band signs every record's liner notes with “See ya in the pit,” you meet them in the pit! The energy from the floor was electric. People got rough, but they picked each other up, hoisted up missing shoes, and even cleared the floor to help a woman find a missing ear ring. Nazis must have traded in their swazis for snapbacks, because not a single fight broke out during the entire set, a rare treat at an OC punk show (maybe they took note from the Gabriel San Roman's coverage of the Street Dogs show last week!). Rudies got down to ska jams, bros got wild with “Fall Back Down,” Punx lost it to Dead Bodies, and Rancid and the crowd closed out the night with a heartfelt Ruby Soho sing along. (Candace Hansen)

The Interrupters
The Interrupters may be one of the best young bands playing music today. They started Musink off with a bang, as the female-fronted ska/punk quartet kicked things off while the sun was still up and the grounds were still mostly empty on Friday. For those who haven't heard of them, just imagine a young Rancid fronted by Tim Armstrong's lovechild with Brody Dalle of the Distillers and Spinnerette. (Josh Chesler)

A Non-Tattoo Artist Named Noah
Known only by his first name, Noah hails from Orange County and was at Musink, with his own both of custom art, including paintings and drawings. His background in art began locally with creating signs and illustrations. He moved on to clothing, paintings, and all sorts of corporate art work including designs, logos. He eventually ended partnering with the Walt Disney Company to release his version of classic licensed characters. He was also on hand using a spray paint brush live to create several works on spot for fans and visitors. His work also includes custom made drawings, illustrations and he even works in animation and is the author of the book, '”Speed Bumps: My Journey of using Life's Challenges as Launching Pads.” For more information, check out (Alex Distefano)


Keith Morris' Funny Freudian Slip
On a lighter note, OFF's performance was a perfect mix of The Rolling Stones, heavy metal and classic 80s hardcore punk. Singer Keith Morris is not a Spring chicken anymore, but that doesn't stop his demented spirit from convulsing and lashing out with his lyrics and screams to OFF's in your face songs. Morris also has a very awkward way of ranting in between songs. “Anyone here suffer from Allergies?” He asked the crowd. “I've come to realize over the years, I'm allergic to the human race.” Just before the last portion of OFF's fast, 45 minute set, Morris let our a Freudian slip when he attempted to thank Bad Religion but almost called them Black Flag before catching himself. “You all know who I meant, Bad Religion of course! You can punch me right in the nose for that one!” (Alex Distefano)

All of the Tattoo Artists
In a world where everybody has a horrible tattoo, it was refreshing to see so many folks walking around with fresh work done by some of the best artists in the business. From local heavy hitting shops like Gold Rush Tattoo and Chapter X, to international sensations like Bob Tyrell, Nikko Hurtado, Big Sleeps, and the Ink Master himself Jason Clay Dunn; there was an artist for everyone. Women held it down in the trenches too; Emma James from Speakeasy Tattoo in Toronto and Christina Platis from Original Tattoo in San Pedro put out some solid work over the weekend. Instagram, eat your heart out! (Candace Hansen)

Raising Awareness for a Good Cause
Many tattoo booths and artists were at the event, which was full of revelers, ink junkies and punks. But amidst the mayhem and buzzing sounds, Golden State Tattoo in Garden Grove was one (among others) who were helping bring awareness to Autism by supporting We Are the Spark Project, an up and coming non profit organization based in Capistrano Beach, dedicated to helping children and families of children with Autism. The ink slingers on hand at the festival from Golden State Tattoo, which was funded 2011, were Craig Adams, Christa Ritchie and Adam 'Chef.'  (Alex Distefano)

Matt Skiba
Tom who? Blink-182's catalog might not be the toughest to nail down, but how many 23-year-old power trios can replace a vocalist/guitarist and not lose a step? Well, it helps when you can pull a vocalist/guitarist from another power trio that's been playing shows for almost two decades. Honestly, it was the best they've sounded in over a decade, even if Skiba doesn't engage Mark Hoppus in on-stage banter and shenanigans just yet. (Josh Chesler)

Next Page: The Worst of Musink

The Worst

The Attitudes, Bro
If your skin looks like leather from too many Natty Ice filled Glamis trips you probably need to find new ways to bolster your ego, but please don't punish the world for your own short comings- even if you do work for a really sick company, have a brother who is friends with that band, and are trying to impress a hot chick hanging out by the guest list line. Being a dick is not going to get you anything for free, regardless of how great you loudly tell strangers you are. Pro-tip: the girl working the counter doesn't give a shit about how cool you were in the '90s, that'll be $80 please. (Candace Hansen)

Bad Mosh Pit Etiquette During OFF!
During OFF's extremely energetic fast paced performance, some random douche bag had the audacity to have a small toddler on his shoulders in the exact center of the pit. Now, granted this wasn't a Slayer show, but there were still at least a hundred drunken, sweaty, tattooed, bearded shitless maniacs all slam pitting by running in around a circle and lightly beating the shit out of each other. It doesn't take much common sense to conclude that isn't a safe environment for any small child.  This is a free country and if you want to take the risk of getting in any mosh pit full of rabid slam dancers, be my guest. But, Jesus H. Christ, don't take a helpless small child into one! (Alex Distefano)

Wasting Your $13 Beer
For headliners, Bad Religion, the crowd definitely formed the biggest slam pits of the night, all circular in size and circumference. But, despite the punk band's excellent sounding hour long set, nothing could stop these drunk fools from chucking full cups of beers across the room or even onstage. Luckily none hit the band, but it was suffice to say that the pit was beer soaked at the end of the night. With large beers costing $13, and smaller ones $8, it's a shame that so much cash and alcohol went to waste in such a manner. (Alex Distefano)


Bad Religion's Receding Hairline
Some bands age more gracefully than others. In the case of Bad Religion, they still sound just as good as they ever did. Unfortunately, watching them perform the songs live is reminiscent of going to see your uncle's band that totally should've made it big in the '80s. Unlike guys like Tim Armstrong or Social Distortion's Mike Ness, Greg Graffin just doesn't look the part of a punk rock frontman anymore. (Josh Chesler)

Energy Drinks Everywhere
I love getting jacked on caffeine as much as the next guy, but how many energy drink options do we really need? How about some water? A little iced coffee perhaps? An Italian soda? C'mon Musink, help a sister out. (Candace Hansen)

Selfie Sticks
Holding up your giant phone to record a video of a concert is annoying enough. Having your giant phone held up on the top of a metal pole so you can record a video of a concert (or for any other reason) is absolutely moronic and completely ridiculous. It might not be worse than people who take photos with their iPads, but if you take a selfie stick to a punk rock show, just know that everyone else there probably hates you. (Josh Chesler)

See also
10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die
10 Goriest Album Covers
10 Most Satanic Metal Bands

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