If you never thought that a punk rock drummer covered with tattoos would be used to sell Cadillac cars, then you’ve never seen drummer Travis Barker. HIs drumming and music projects, business ventures and personal life is as mixed and varied as his skin art.
Drumming since the age of five, Barker came to public attention during his tenure with Blink-182. His main band now is +44, but he participates in a variety of side projects, ranging across many styles of music. His marriage to former Miss USA Shanna Moakler was documented in an MTV reality show before they divorced. He’s also founded companies to produce signature clothing, and works with several musical instrument companies in the creation of drum kits and accessories that also carry his brand.
Travis has said in interviews that he first got tattooed at the age of 17, choosing the word "Bones," his nickname at the time, for this first piece of ink. In the next two decades, he continued to get more tattoos and at the present time, just about the only part of his body not tattooed is his face. His body art extends down onto his hands and up onto his neck, two areas that often bring people with mainstream jobs a lot of trouble. When he shaves his head, you can also see tattoo on his scalp. Obviously tattooing is not a hindrance in the music industry. His tattoos are a mix of personal symbols, expressing his love of music, his family, good luck designs and tattoos which celebrate his love of Cadillac cars.
In addition to his reality tv show, Barker made an appearance in an episode of the tv drama CSI, playing a rapper whose street team resorted to unsavory tactics. He did a voice-over for an episode of the Simpson too. His Cadillac-themed body art earned him an endorsement contract, and he was featured in print and web ads that pitched the image of Cadillac as hip and luxurious to a demographic group that is traditionally a bit younger than those who usually buy such automobiles. The message seemed to be, if you're young and have so much money that you can cover yourself in ink but still hold a high-paying job, why not get a Cadillac?
Update: in September 2008, Barker was injured in a private plane crash. There has been no word yet on how damaged his tattoos might be from the burns he suffered in the wreck.
If you like rock star and celebrity tattoos, you might also like The Rock Star Tattoo Encyclopedia by Patricia Steur or Tattoo Nation: Portraits of Celebrity Body Art by Rolling Stone Press