You’ve seen tattoo legend Paul Booth tell stories about inking rock and metal’s biggest musicians, but now we’ve got the scoop on how Booth became a metalhead himself.

Having grown up in a “suburban punk” environment, the transition band for Booth was Motorhead, bridging the gap between fast and aggressive music with something heavier.

“I discovered Motorhead and that brought me over to Venom and Metallica and Slayer,” Booth recalls. “Back then, [Slayer] was like a religion. I remember my first year of tattooing, the boss would leave and leave me in charge of the shop and the first thing I’d do was put Slayer on the radio.”

Booth remembers seeing a tattoo for the first time in high school, when his class’ resident “bad boy” showed up with a homemade scorpion on his arm. “We were like 14, I always would look at it. ‘Wow, that’s so cool and it’s permanent.’ I was always intrigued by that, but I was also like, ‘Even I could do better.’”

As for the first tattoo Booth got, he got it at age 19 right after his daughter was born. “The whole thing just blew me away. The pain, the permanence… the whole ritual process of it I fell in love with. I had to learn how to do it. It wasn’t even about a career, I was just like, ‘I have to do this. It’s calling me.’”

Check out Paul Booth’s recollection in the video above. To get a glimpse of Booth’s Last Rites tattoo studio, click here.

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