Spanky's Ink Trail
Kevin "Spanky" Long
Professional skateboarder Kevin "Spanky" Long has spent the last 15 years circling the globe with a tight-knit crew of friends. During his time on the road, Long has collected a travel guide in tattoos that commemorate inside jokes and epic trips. Most of his ink has been "stick and poke" with a needle, string and India ink, having been given to him by his closest friends. Of his permanent mementos, Long says, "[If they were done] in the moment or signify something, really bro ... I don't care what it looks like, because it's just like a charm."
To all my friends
"I was probably 22 and I was in New York. Patrick O'Dell, Jerry [Hsu], Manute, Tino [Razo] and I wanted to get a bro tat, and obviously we wanted something to do with friendship. We were watching the movie 'Barfly' at the time and it was just like, 'To all my friends.' Since it was already a cheers between all of us, it just made perfect sense. That was my only tattoo for a long time."
Kevin "Spanky" Long spins a backside 360 over a gap into a loading-dock ramp somewhere in Texas.
Ten years ago, Long began messing around with guitars, playing what his teammate Dustin Dollin labeled "torture music." Now Long's shredding in a band called The Goat with skaters Andrew Reynolds and Shane Heyl, Baker filmer Ryan "Beagle" Ewing and photographer Atiba Jefferson. The Goat recently completed a sold-out West Coast tour with indie rock royalty Cat Power.
"The 'Goat' tattoo is a Neckface drawing. I know it's jacked to have your band logo tattooed on you, but everyone in the band made a pact that we were going to get that tattoo. It wasn't like our logo, because we weren't anything. It was just to represent our crew."
Inked by Chris Senn
"I was in China with Emerica, and Chris Senn gave Jetski [Jeff Henderson] his 'Stay Gold' tattoo. So it was Chris Senn with a [tattoo] gun in a Chinese hotel room. That one was really painful. I was skating a Hubba the next day and I slid on it -- like, stuck on the Hubba and then slid down on it."
The elusive darkslide by Kevin Long in New York City.
Long's never far from his portable cassette player and his collection of classics on tape. He explained, "That's one of my favorite Palace [Music] records, called 'Viva Las Blues,' with Will Oldham. ... It's like a leopard-man-guy. That's the whole record cover. It's one of my favorite albums of all time and one of my favorite album covers."
"Baker knees was on a Baker/Deathwish trip. It was the first trip I had been on where Nuge [Don Nguyen] brought his tattoo kit, and it was a free-for-all. I wanted to get a Baker tattoo, and I was like, 'I know what I want. I want the boss to do his handwriting.' So we had Andrew [Reynolds] write 'Baker' in his handwriting. I was like, 'OK, I'll get it on my knee.' I remember being finished and looking at the other knee and then I looked up at Nuge and we didn't have to say anything. It was like, 'We've got to do the other knee.' And it was 'Baker Baker.'"
Known for his unique style and smooth skating, Kevin Long finds the lines less traveled. Here he pole jams over a grass gap in Texas.
"That was from Turkey. The whole crew got 'TRUE.' It was the end of the trip and it was me, Jerry [Hsu], Todd Jordan, Stefan Janowski, Omar [Salazar], [Jonathan] Mehring and Fred Gall. It was such a sick trip and we kept trying to find tattoo supplies. Todd and Jerry did mine, switching off. We all got it and we'd take turns on the letters. This was on the last night of the trip."
Spanky iceplants at a makeshift tranny underneath a rolling train.
From left to right: Two-Headed Snake: Skate photographer Jonathan Mehring asked Long to give him a snake tattoo. Long liked it so much that he asked Mehring to give him the same one, recalling, "It was his first ever, and he did it really quick and way better than the one I did on him." Max Fish Broken Bottle: "When we found out that [iconic New York bar] Max Fish was closing, Tino [Razo, who bartended there for years], and I got that. We drew it up on a bar napkin. It's a broken bottle with a tear coming out." Black Hand: A crew tattoo motivated by a black-hand sculpture at a hotel that Long's New York friends would frequent. He explains, "Eventually Ako [Jefferson] or Atiba [Jefferson] stole the black hand from the hotel. Then, any time we're together, it's the black-hand crew. So it was like, 'We've got to get black-hand tattoos.'" Grey Area: "Jerry [Hsu] gave me 'grey area' -- obviously stick-and-poke. 'Grey area' was the time before we were both married, where there'd be nothing to do and we'd sit around and talk or do nothing and we'd call that period of the day 'grey area.' It's when you don't do anything but just hang. So he gave me that and he's still waiting for me to give him his, but sometimes these things take a long time." Bro Clasp: "That was from the 'Now I Remember' photo show in Japan. It's a bro-clasp. Me, Jerry [Hsu], Curtis [Buchanan], Tino [Razo] and Todd [Jordan] got it."