When through the magic of Facebook we recently learned that a twenty-five year-old aspiring solar panel technician and diehard thrash metal maniac from Calexico, California had tattooed the epic artwork from the poster of the inaugural Decibel tour onto his right forearm, it was pretty much inevitable we’d reach out. Turns out Papu Martinez is a hilarious, cool-ass, very enthusiastic all-metal motherfucker — add him on the aforementioned social network for further proof — who was as willing to spill the beans on the back story of the tattoo as he was to spill his own blood getting it.
So…tell me how you ended up deciding to brand this Decibel tour poster onto your body for life.
Well, I just saw it in the magazine and just thought it looked fucking sick. And I thought to myself, “I have to get that.”
Did you make it out to one of the tour dates?
No, but you know what? I’m not into any of those bands. [Laughs] I mean, I don’t think they’re bad, just not into them. I heard In Solitude a little bit. They’re alright.
So this was purely based on your love of the sick art.
Yes. And I’m a huge fan of the magazine. I think it’s the best metal magazine out there.
It’s a pretty intricate design. Was the process painful?
Not really. This was my eleventh tattoo, so I’m pretty used to the pain.
What are some of the other tattoos Decibel joins on your body canvas?
Well, I have three Iron Maiden tattoos — Killers, one off the Fear of the Dark album, and the devil from Number of the Beast.
I have Exodus Bonded By Blood. Slayer Show No Mercy. Testament The Legacy, Souls of Black. Razor Evil Invaders.
What you’re telling me is you’re basically 100 percent metal — a walking metal art billboard.
Ha! Yes. And my other tat is just family related.
Are you the only metal head in your family?
Yes. I’ve tried getting my nephews into it…and I fail.
What has been the reaction to the tattoo from your family and friends?
You know what? Nobody really know what it is. They’re like, “Huh?” And then I tell them what it is and they’re like, “Ohhhhh….okay.”
Now that you’ve put Decibel permanently on your body, I think we are obligated to take your opinion seriously. What are some records you’ve been jamming recently?
I’ve been listening to the new Municipal Waste album The Fatal Feast and I went back to some old Onslaught.
You seem like a big Testament guy from your Facebook page.
Testament has to be one of my fav thrash bands for sure. And I always get the “Hey dude, you look like Chuck!”
How did you first get into metal?
I basically got into it watching MTV back when it was still good.
Was there a specific video that hooked you?
“One” by Metallica. And “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses.
And from there you just followed the thread and got into heavier stuff?
Yeah, after that it was just crazier stuff. When I found out about Iron Maiden it was all over.
Who does Decibel need to put on the magazine’s next tour to make sure you actually show up?
Exodus!!! Amon Amarth would be nice. I’ve never seen them before.
If the poster art for the next tour kills it again, are you going to tattoo it on your other forearm?
If I like it, yes. But maybe on my leg, ‘cause I’m running out of room. [Laughs]
Any last message for your fellow Decibel readers?
Yeah. I live in a really super small town and in a non-metal family and I still found the best form of music. Keep thrash alive!