DAVID LEE ROTH's skin-care line INK THE ORIGINAL stops
Ink The Original, David Lee Roth’s skin-care line specifically made to preserve, protect, and highlight tattoos and keep them from fading, has apparently closed its doors.
Visitors to Ink The Original‘s official web site are now being redirected to a page titled “INK the original – Closing” and are greeted by a graphic containing the message: “First, our favorite restaurant, the corner bookstore, now us.. What a long great trip it’s been..”
The phrase “What a long great trip it’s been..” is the same one Roth used when mourning the passing of VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen in October 2020.
The VAN HALEN singer first discussed his involvement in Ink The Original in a 2018 interview with Vogue. Regarding how he got involved in a business in the tattoo-maintenance space, Roth said: “Simple: The product that we’re dealing with now goes hand in hand with what I think is the true Esperanto: It’s a language — ink — that everybody shares, especially if you don’t speak the same language. With ink, we read each other’s signs and icons. In that way, it’s much like music.
“I started this project with three of us sitting around an upended plastic bucket for a table at my house in L.A. Now, there’s 34 of us and we have offices in New York as well as L.A. It’s taken three years and close to $7 million, and I’m involved in every single element of every part of it. Surprisingly, there’s almost no competition. And what we have built is absolutely specialized to our community. My business partner, Ami James, is the curator and one of the three owners of Tattoodo, which has more than 500,000 artists curated on their site. They get 2 billion views a month and have 20 million social media followers.”
Asked when he started becoming interested in tattoos, Roth said: “I got my first tattoo 40 years ago, a little seahorse on my ankle, at a place called Cliff Raven Studio on Sunset Boulevard in ’77, ’78. That was very outré then — the only people who got tattoos then were bikers, rock ‘n’ rollers to a small degree; the gay community was into it. Eventually, though, I took a much more gentrified approach: I waited until I was 60 and got the whole Japanese tuxedo. It took me 300 hours of sitting over two years. But I planned it for the 30 years prior, and it’s my design: kabuki faces, the original showbiz, rendered Edo style — it looks like a woodblock print.”
This past January, Roth canceled the remaining farewell concerts he was set to play at the House Of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In a statement, event organizers said the cancelations were made “due to unforeseen circumstances related to COVID and out of an abundance of caution for those working and attending the shows.”
In March 2020, Roth postponed the final six shows of his Las Vegas residency due to the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading across the globe.
Roth’s last Vegas residency kicked off on January 8, 2020 with a 15-song set that included 10 VAN HALEN classics and five songs from his solo career. Backing the singer were lead guitarist Al Estrada from the VAN HALEN tribute band ERUPTION, rhythm guitarist Frankie Lindri, bassist Ryan Wheeler, keyboardist Danny Wagner and drummer Mike Mussleman.
Roth explained that he chose Vegas as the place to debut his new band because “this is where you come to celebrate and do the victory dance, whatever that means to you.”
In a February 2020 interview with StarTribune, Roth openly wondered whether his first tour since VAN HALEN completed its 2015 run of shows would be the last time he would perform.
“I’m calling it ‘The Last Tour’,” he said at the time, “and then underneath it in parentheses: ‘Unless It Isn’t’. … At my age, everything is a possible farewell tour.”
“It’s been a long great trip, a long great run,” he continued. “But this kind of music requires the kind of energy that people in their 20s bring. You know what NFL stands for: Not For Long. It’s similar in rock. I remember the days when we would stand around and say, ‘Let’s go have a cigarette.’ And that’s what we did: Four guys having one cigarette. I remember those days. They go by fast, so enjoy them while you’re in them.”
In February/March 2020, Roth performed as the opening act for the North American leg of KISS‘s “End Of The Road” farewell tour.
Roth’s 2020 Vegas residency wasn’t the first time he had set up shop in Sin City. Back in 1995, Roth completed a Las Vegas engagement at Bally’s Hotel and Casino and another short run at MGM Grand.