Orange Goblin

Bands - Musicians - Issue 7

Heavy guitars, authentic attitude and a strong live presence, Orange Goblin could not but have tattoos. HeartbeatInk had the chance to "interrogate" and take photos of them before their long awaited concert in November in Athens. 


Ben Ward: vocals
Joe Hoare: guitar
Martyn Millard: bass
Chris Turner: drums

How many times have you performed in Greece so far?

Ben: Tonight, it will be our sixth time and our fourth here at An Club. We always have a great time in Greece. The fans are very enthusiastic and as long as that continues we’ll keep coming back. 

Chris: The thing with Greece is that it is part of Europe, but quite far out the bay; so whenever American & European bands travel, not many of them make it this far. So when a band seems to play, everyone seems to give their support.

Ben: And great food.

Chris: Terrible driving (laughs).

Are you familiar perhaps with any Greek bands?

Ben: I actually did vocals on an album for a band called “Lord 13”; good friends of mine. I also know Nightstalker who are quite big everywhere. We’ve heard things from the bands that we’re playing with; Stonerbringer tonight and Lucky Funeral tomorrow. We’re aware that there is a descent scene and there are a lot of good bands.


How’s the scene currently in London?

Ben: The scene in London is great! There's a variety of shows every week. There’s always something on. Just this week Monster Magnet played last night and Alice in Chains and Ghost the night before. There are a lot of new good bands in London as well and many venues are doing a lot to support. Like the Black Heart in Camden; pretty much every night they put a young – new band to play live.

Martyn: The “Desert Fest” as well. It is every year the week before “Roadburn Festival” and it takes place in Camden Town for the whole week-end. It is actually quite big now.

Chris: It is basically like the British “Roadburn” but ten years ago; when it was less avant – garde and more just kind of riff based bands. 

Are you preparing a follow up to your latest album “A Eulogy of the Damned”?

The plan is next year to knuckle down and do a new record. We have got a bit of time because 
Martyn is getting married in May and that means that he’ll be away for his honeymoon. So if we can get stuff written, get in the studio before he gets married and goes away, we can get his parts done and the rest of us can finish it; hopefully we are looking at a midsummer release and so there is time to hit all the big summer festivals.

What about the sound?

Ben: It will be a continuation of what we do. I don’t think there’s any desire to change drastically. 

Joe: We never try, or make a plan. Just whatever we got at the time. As long as we are enjoying ourselves.

Martyn: Whatever sounds good to us. If it sounds good to us there’s no reason why we shouldn’t use it. It doesn’t matter where the influence comes from; there is no “pattern” of how we “should” sound.



How many of you have tattoos?

Ben: Three out of four.

Joe, how come you hang out with these “tattooed” guys?

I don’t know. I don’t like them (laughs)! I love tattoos and I got nothing against them; I’ve just never really been that “bothered” about them... They’ve never been high up on my priority list. I may still get one, I just want to make sure that it’s the right one. 

Ben: He is scared it might hurt!

Martyn: Joe is the original one, because everyone’s got tattoos now!

Joe: In the past everyone was going like “why haven't you got any tattoos”...

Martyn: You say that you never found anything you really wanted. That's fair enough. You shouldn't just get tattoos for the sake of it! Not like us (laughs)!

Chris: I've literally walked into a tattoo studio with space and said “put something in”.

Martyn: For that whole arm (he's showing one of his sleeves), I said “do what you want”.

Ben: This was done because we were drunk at a guy's house in Seattle and he was a tattooist and he had all his equipment out...



Guys, why do you think that so many rockers are heavily tattooed?

Ben: Rock music has always been associated with the “bad boy”, the “outlaw” and that goes hand in hand with tattoos. It used to be for sailors and bikers and they're two things that rock 'n' roll is closely associated with; so a lot of bands try to emulate all those sort of Sailor Jerry style tattoos or I would say the outlaw biker thing where you're part of a gang and it's your insignia of what gang you belong to. 

Chris: There's one thing that annoys me about it all; you get lots of new bands starting like eighteen – nineteen – twenty years old and  they've all got full neck pieces ands their hands tattooed and nothing else!

What do you think about that?

Chris: I am an old man. In the past, you wouldn't get your hands or your neck done until you were covered or you were over forty. I just think that as a kid, if you're in a band, it's great to look good, but things like your neck or your hands; you got to earn that sort of stuff. If this is the first tattoo you get, I think you made a mistake. You need to kind of loop with the tattoos for a long time before you realize that there is no point and you get covered. So Im just saying that if you're in a band and you're twenty years old, don't go and do your neck first thing. You might need to get a job one day.

Ben: Tattoo is like a universal sing of rebellion, isn't it? Your parents don't want you to get tattooed, so if you join a band and you want to go and get tattooed; you will do whatever they tell you not to do.

Martyn: That's about to change, because everyone who is a parent, has tattoos.

Joe: My kid would be covered, cause I don't have any.

Chris: My father in law got tattooed on his sixtieth birthday for the first time. 

Joe: Everyone has tattoos now!

Martyn: I have a fifteen year old son and I don't think that I would be that happy if he gets tattooed. I ll be like “you need to think about it”. He should “live” a little first before he makes that decision. That's how I feel about it.

Chris: For me a lot of tattoos appeared in time. If I could step back in time and come in with a blank canvas, I might have done things a bit differently. 



How old were you when you had our first tattoo done?

Ben: I was eighteen and it is the logo of my favorite football team (Liverpool). My mom was saying don't get tattoos and I said I was going to get just this one; but as soon as you get the first one, you want to get more. 

Martyn: I was nineteen and it is the logo of the band “Paradise Lost”. I am not like their biggest fan, but I do like them and I also like their logo; I thought that would do for my first tattoo. 

Ben, do you perhaps have a favourite tattoo style or artist?

I don't really know enough about it to have a favorite artist. I just see stuff that I like. I am keen on the old, retro – looking sailor kind of tattoos and I like to look up what they mean. All the Sailor Jerry stuff are intriguing to me. I got a lot of tattoos done when I was young, without thinking too much about it. I don't regret it; I just wish I gave it a little bit more thought.

Martyn: I am different to that. Because you see kids now with pristine sleeves and back-pieces and you think that it looks almost a bit too well. It's too good and it misses the “character”. 



Have you guys being tattooed by the same artist(s)?

Martyn: My left arm, Ben's left arm and Chris' chest piece are all from the same artist; Jon Longstaff. He used to tattoo in London at “Sacred Art Tatoos”, but now he lives in Norwich and works at “Black Dog Tattoos”.

Chris: I have to mention “Into You”. There's a studio in London and a studio in Brighton. I live in Brighton and I get tattooed there a lot by James “Woody” Woodford and Adam Sage. Adam does only hand – pocked tattoos, which I like a lot. 



Chris, when did you get your fist tattoo done?

My first tattoo was in 1990 and my last tattoo was two months ago. 

What tattoo style are you keen on?

There is a big thing at the moment for abstract tattoos; artistic tattoos that consists of shapes, designs and patterns. I prefer the Old School, the old tattooist who worked under the stairs; I like going to old studios. I like hand – poked tattoos. The whole thing with hand – pocking is like going back to the original tattooing; like Traditional Japanese, Polynesian, Maori, Samoan and Borneo stuff. I find Chris Higgins tribal tattoo work interesting. He used to work at “Into You” now he has his own studio in Eastbourne. I like simple designs, not much color or photorealism. I prefer someone to come in and “stick it” in me. That's how it was done, literally. I am currently interested in how Inuits used to do it; holding a bit of thread over a candle, until the candle gets sooting and you thread it through. I want to try that! 


HeartbeatInk would like kindly to thank CTS Productions ( for the help and the realisation and AN Club ( for the hospitality. 

Photos & interview by Ino Mei.







Live Photos by Ino Mei.