Tag Archives: Interview

‘Best Ink’ Contestant Guest Blog: Jessica Rotwein’s Tattoo Tips

Talk about a career transition! Before becoming a tattoo artist, Best Ink contestant Jessica Rotweinstudied piano at Juilliard and performed as a classical pianist for 29 years! Getting her first tattoo at 26, the New Jersey native was a lot older than most tattoo first-timers. Her tattoo artist boyfriend at the time encouraged her to pursue the art of ink, teaching her the ways of tattooing – and since then she’s never looked back! Jessica joins Buzznet this week as a guest blogger, giving Buzznet some handy tattoo tips.

Here’s what Jessica had to say:

Getting tattooed is the experience of a lifetime.  And it can be a very enjoyable one.  If you listen to these mistakes that I have described for you and avoid making them when getting your tattoo, you will have a great experience and will also make your artist’s job a little easier.

Hopefully these tips will help you all!

1. First and foremost, the most common mistake I feel that people make is not putting enough thought into what you are getting. Getting a tattoo shouldn’t just be for the sake of just having a design on your body. Don’t come into the shop and tell an artist that you have no idea what you want and that you want them to recommend something to put on your body.

2. A more serious mistake that people too often make is not choosing the right shop or the right artist.  I’ve seen some very scary results for this serious mistake.  You really need to take the time to also research shops, read reviews, make sure the shop is clean and safe, and especially to check your artist’s portfolio.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can get a serious infection, disease, or even have your skin scarred permanently if you are not careful.

3. Another mistake is haggling about the price of your tattoo.  Just don’t do it.  If you have found an artist you like to work with, complaining about the price is an insult to the time and dedication this artist is going to put into bringing your idea to life.

4. Not tipping after the work has been done for you is also a very common mistake.  It’s like you going out to dinner and not tipping your waitress. We are in the hospitality category of services.  We are doing a service for you to enjoy for the rest of your life.  It is also a nice thing to do because most shops take half the money of the cost of your tattoo. Giving them a tip is your way of saying thanks for the time and effort the artist took to making sure your tattoo was done the right way.

– Jessica Rotwein



Interview: Mike Shinoda Talks New Linkin Park Album And Ranks His Top 5 Rappers

Photo by James Minchin.

Photo by James Minchin.

When the Cali-based “rock meets rap” outfit Linkin Park released their first album, Hybrid Theory, it beat out Britney Spears to become the best selling record of 2001. That level of success freaked them out. After releasing their second album, Meteora in 2003, they regrouped and re-emerged four years later with a completely new sound that caused an uproar amongst loyal stans.

The albums Minutes to Midnight and A Thousand Suns bore the sonic signature of legendary producer Rick Rubin. Rubin was also behind the boards for the band’s latest studio effort, Living Things, which is set to drop June 26th.

Last Friday Complex got a chance to hear a few tracks and chat with Linkin Park co-founder and resident MC, Mike Shinoda. He’s a smart dude with an interesting take on the band’s place in music history.

The new songs have a big, modern polished sound, but with that warm, fuzzy, hard-hitting Rick Rubin feel to them. Linkin Park has evolved from MTV frat-house faves into a class act and MC Mike Shinoda makes that clear in the rap-heavy joint “Until It Breaks” off Living Things. Over a bed of big healthy drums, he confidently spits, “I’m a Banksy / You’re a Brainwash / Get the picture like that?” Yes, we get the picture.

Interview by Jeff Sanico

Do you keep abreast of rap current affairs?

I think I do. These days everything moves really fast. There’s all kinds of sub-genres so it all depends on what you’re talking about. For instance, just this morning I heard about this track. It’s a Foster The People remix for “Blue Jeans” (by Lana Del Rey) that Azealia Banks raps on. She’s dope. The guy that mixed our record was doing her record right after ours and I was like, “Dude, can I sneak in?” I’m excited to hear Azealia Banks’s stuff.

What excites you about the new Linkin Park album?

It doesn’t lose any of the creativity of the newer stuff and it brings in the energy of the older stuff. It’s kind of a comprehensive sound. I feel like we’ve been able to take all the stuff we’ve learned on the way and put it all together in each song and still keep it fresh and forward-thinking.

Whenever we get in the studio we react really badly to anything feeling like it’s a throwback or a repeat of what we’ve done—as long as it feels like we’re taking a step forward it feels good. This record echoes a lot of different random things from what we’ve learned along the way. I think every artist’s “new album” is their favorite one.

We’ve been immersed in this one for a year. It’s like we are currently in the eye of the storm. All of my focus is on getting this record perfect and presenting it to the fans in the way that I think is the perfect way. It’ll never be perfect, but we just do our best to make it the best it can be. I’m thrilled about the record, I couldn’t be more excited about people hearing it.



Q&A: Juliette Binoche on Filming a Masturbation Scene in Elles

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Hugh Grant: Yes, Fatherhood Is Life-Changing After All

Just last month, Hugh Grant didn’t seem entirely sure about whether fatherhood had changed him. Now, he’s willing to concede it has indeed.

“Everyone was right all these years, saying, ‘Hugh, why don’t you have some children? It changes your life,’ ” the actor, 51, and dad to 6-month-old daughter Tabitha, says in an interview Friday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“Now that I have [a child], it is life changing,” he says. “I recommend it. Get some!”

Warner Brothers

Warner Brothers

Tabitha’s mother is Grant’s ex Tinglan Hong, who is Chinese. In Friday’s interview, Grant reveals that one of Tabitha’s other names is Jīngxǐ, which, he explains, has something to do with how she was conceived.

“I can’t pretend it wasn’t a little bit of a surprise,” Grant, who stars in the new film Pirates! Band of Misfits, says. “But it’s a very nice surprise. In fact, the baby’s name in Chinese, because the mother is Chinese, means ‘Happy Surprise.’ “

– Tim Nudd


Interview: adidas Designer Robbie Fuller Breaks Down the adiZero Crazy Light 2

Yesterday in Los Angeles, adidas Basketball introduced the adiZero Crazy Light 2. Set to hit stores on May 24th, the $140 9.5 ounce shoe will be the lightest basketball shoe in the world — edging out its predecessor, the Crazy Light, by 3/10ths of an ounce. We sat down with designer Robbie Fuller to get some insight into the process, and find out what it takes to make a successful sequel.

So where did you guys start with this?

Not from scratch [laughs].

Right – because I know how long the leadouts are, you must have been working on this before the first adiZero Crazy Light came out.

Yes. For sure. There are bits and pieces of the shoe we can trace back for years. But generally when everyone was celebrating over the Crazy Light1, I was at my desk putting pen to paper for the Crazy Light 2.

Were elements from the D. Rose line — did those get incorporated into this, too?

I wouldn’t say directly, but I’m the same guy going after a similar benefit, which is light. So I think of it as a spectrum. If you pick up the Rose shoe, it’s light — sometimes freaky light — but it has the lifestyle a little more into it because the recipe for success for that , but here it’s just laser focus of the lightest basketball shoe of all time, so some of those same solutions like the SPRINTFRAME go across both, but over here we gotta turn up the knob on lightweight.

Was there a specific weight you wanted to hit with the 2, knowing where you were at with the 1?

Lighter than the 1. [Laughs] I mean literally, it was just like, all right we have the Crazy Light 1, we’ve had half a million people all around the world ballin’ in this shoe, D1, NBA, so we know it’s a great shoe, but any shoe can get refined. Any product can get refined. A house, a car, whatever. A [Porsche] 911, right? It doesn’t change over the years that much, just slight tweaks. So in the same vein, I was just looking at this shoe [the 1] like, “all right, did I take enough advantage of the SPRINTFRAME,” “did I take as much advantage of the forefoot support,” of the rubber, could I thin down the rubber? So I really just made a list — I call it a gameplan — marketing gives me a brief, but I’ve got my design gameplan and I just call out the pieces that I thought still had room to improve: who was the sixth man on the Crazy Light 1, you know? It was like, all right, SPRINTFRAME, here we go, you’re gonna step up. That’s definitely how I made it up for this particular shoe, because it’s so geared towards performance — it lives and dies on the performance of it. Trends come and go, winning is always cool. As long as we keep delivering like this, we’ll always be in the mind of anyone lacing up their sneakers.

Is that where you looked to first, the SPRINTFRAME, to lose weight?

Yeah, because it’s the material on the shoe that has the most strength for how much it weighs. So the more you can use it to stabilize the shoe, you’re taking off some of the other layers, the laminates and such that you’d like to reduce. And so, that was definitely the key thing. And the bigger thing was also just about, the first one was just focused on the ultimate court, the NBA court. This one we were like, hey, can this be outdoor? Can you get these things where you thicken up the rubber, you add more abrasion-resistant rubbers, in order to make sure it can play indoor and outdoor. So if you go around the shoe, whether it’s the high-abrasion rubber, how it’s different, we’ve got high abrasion on the toe, the stripes are reflective, little cues from outdoor, one of the materials, the embosses are ripstop from outdoor jackets. So that was another little piece of the pie. The first one was so great, but can you add a little more durability to it. Which is crazy, right? I’m the designer, I’m thinking “hold on, this brief is asking how can I add all these things to it and still make it lighter?” But luckily, with the right team, we came to the right product.

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Interview: Norah Jones Talks About Her New Album, Danger Mouse, and Murder Ballads

First two Norah Jones shots by Frank W. Ockenfels. Last, with Danger Mouse, by Noah Abrams.

First two Norah Jones shots by Frank W. Ockenfels. Last, with Danger Mouse, by Noah Abrams.

“Go out with me!” These are the kind of requests—or rather, orders—that came flying at Norah Jones as the sultry vocalist took the stage at South by Southwest to play her forthcoming album …Little Broken Hearts (out May 1) in its entirety. “I think I’m taken,” she responded, flattered.

“Is it weird hearing music you’ve never heard?” she asked while floating from the piano to the guitar. “No? Great!” Indeed, the packed-out crowd was obviously in love with Norah’s latest work, produced in collaboration with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, who’s worked on projects as diverse as the Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up The Grey Album and Gnarls Barkley. Working with him was a bold move for an artist who’s sold tens of millions of records and earned a slew of Grammys on her own. Though she still gets dismissed by some critics as a soft jazz act.

Broken Hearts more or less chronicles the stages of grief that occurred during Norah’s split with her boyfriend last year. It opens with “Good Morning,” in which she awakens realizing that she’ll be leaving her unfit man. She confronts him about the younger woman he’s seeing on “She’s 22,” then threatens to kill her on “Miriam.”

Her feathery vocals carry all these hefty subjects with ease, while writing partner and producer Danger Mouse provides a bounce that knock those “coffee shop singer” critiques on their ass.

The day before her SXSW show, Complex met up with Norah, 33, in a worn-down house just outside of Austin’s downtown area. She met us outside on the patio’s bench swing in a denim jacket over a long summery dress. Her publicist offered lemonade. Walking across the creaky wooden floor, Norah kicked off her shoes, curled up on the living room couch, and talked about everything: her critics, her breakups, working with Danger Mouse, and that song about killing off her man’s mistress.

Written by Brad Wete (@BradWete)

Some critics describe your music an “uneventful.” Others say it’s amazingly well built contemporary jazz. How would you describe it?

Some critics describe your music an “uneventful.” Others say it’s amazingly well built contemporary jazz. How would you describe it?

How do you feel when they say you’re a “coffee shop singer”?

That makes me cringe a little bit. I don’t think it’s really fair to lump somebody up like that. But also, who cares? [Laughs] Some people don’t mean things as an insult. Some people do.

I heard you say that you want to do a “real” jazz album or a “real” country album. What do you mean by that? Is your new album not “real”?

People always ask me, “What would you love to do?” I would like to do it some day. I mean to kind of go back to my roots and really do what I intended to do when I was young, even though I strayed from that path and I am really happy I did. My world has been a little bit more open. But that’s the kind of music I grew up loving and I really wanted to play it for so long. It would be fun to play it again. For my mom, for my teachers growing up, stuff like that. I think it would be sentimental and really nice.

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Interview: Travis Pastrana Talks NASCAR Nationwide Series Debut

On April 27 Travis Pastrana is headed to the Richmond International Speedway for his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut. After dominating motocross and rallying for years, Pastrana is now making the unbelievable transition into NASCAR. Travis has won numerous X Games Gold Medals and performed life-risking stunts on Nitro Circus, but presently the pressure is mounting as Travis revs up for his first prime time Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. The legendary motorsports competitor was the first to land a double backflip on a dirt bike, and even leapt from an airplane without a parachute. Now, the stakes for Travis are as high as they’ve ever been as he looks to command his spot amongst the best drivers in the world.

Complex recently spoke with Pastrana to discuss his upcoming Nationwide Series debut and transition into NASCAR. Here’s what the record-breaking athlete had to say.

Your transition from motocross to rallying was impressive, but now it’s NASCAR. Do you feel like your previous experiences have helped you prepare the new pressures that come with racing NASCAR?

Without a doubt, racing anything is beneficial. Knowing how everything works, being able to find lines. In motocross and rally, I had dirt to dirt. I knew how to read lines, I knew how to look for traction. But, I had to basically learn everything about cars. I’ve driven my whole life, raced Go-Carts, but this is something really new. I had to listen to the co-driver, and really trust him, and trust the team. I moved from just one mechanic (in motocross) to rally where we had three. With NASCAR, there’s probably like 40-50 guys that touch my car before I can even get in it. Just learning how to communicate and listen to the spotter and understand what he’s saying. We’re sort of starting from the bottom of the barrel, but I do think my other previous races are beneficial. Maybe not exactly comparable, but definitely beneficial.

You’ll be making your NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Richmond on April 27. After just a few K&N Pro Series starts, how are you feeling about your first Nationwide appearance?


We have our work cut out for us. It’s been exciting. By the end of the day, I can usually get up there and run lap times as fast as anybody. I know we can do this. It’s all about communication. We’ve got a great team with Michael Waltrip Racing working together with RAB Racing, my crew chief has been with us for the past year and a half, plus my cousin in the pit crew, so there’s been a lot of familiar faces. I’m in the Toyota #99 so my goal is to stay in the lead lap.

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