(Born Christopher Carter, 27 April 1984, England; vocalist of the Gallows). From the doorway of Smith Street Tattoos in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, Gallows frontman Frank Carter, looks like any other young tattoo artist as he sits at a desk and traces a drawing of a six-shooter and a rose onto a transparent yellow sheet of paper. His signature fiery red hair is tucked under a snug black baseball cap, which matches his jeans and sweatshirt. For the past few days, he's come to this shop, which is owned by local masters Bert Krak, Steve Boltz, and Eli Quinters, to tattoo a few friends and earn a few bucks.

Not that Carter necessarily needs the money. Gallows sell loads of tickets and T-shirts, and they were paid over $1.8 million to sign a four-album deal with Warner Bros., which will release their second record, Grey Britain. So, why is the wiry vocalist spending his vacation time designing tattoos on a sunny spring day while reggae music throbs from a back stereo?

"This is my idea of vacation," says Carter, revealing just a hint of contempt. "Tattooing is what I love to do, and the band is never gonna last for 10 or 15 years. So, I've been coming in here to learn from watching these guys, who are experts. Eventually, I'd like to open a shop in my small hometown, near London- because I may look okay onstage, but I'm not all punk rock and cocaine. I'm Diet Coke. I'm as simple as you get, man. I want a quiet life with a girlfriend and a puppy and I'll be a happy man."

It's hard to believe Carter isn't fucking with us, but after a long pause and a short stare down it's obvious that he's for real. There's a stark contrast between the plain-clothed Carter and the crazed and shirtless 5ยด7? Gallows vocalist who, during shows, has been known to hang upside down from light rigs, jump from 15-foot PA stacks, and get in punch-ups with hecklers. Those two sides of Carter make Gallows one of the most exciting bands in decades, while simultaneously threatening to put an abrupt end to the group.

"I'm a completely different personality on and off the stage, but the way I am during a show isn't an act," Carter insists while tracing an image of a prosthetic limb onto the yellow paper. "It's just a part of me that's sitting there ready when I need it, which is when we play shows. Then, I lose my mind a little bit." By "lose my mind," Carter really means that he goes wall-crawling mad. A Gallows concert is a demolition derby with no rules, created by Carter, his brother and guitarist Steph, guitarist Laurent "Lags" Barnard, bassist Stuart Gili-Ross, and drummer Lee Barratt. And while the musicians are clearly inspired by vintage punk and modern hardcore, they're equally fueled by the lack of excitement and sincerity they see all around them. Inked Magazine

Carter's most pronounced tattoo is of a large heraldic styled double headed eagle on his chest. Frank started by drawing tattoos on himself and his friends with colored Sharpies, and didn't get any real ink until he turned 18 and went to a local shop to get an image of three daggers, one for each of his brothers. Convinced he could do a better job than that artist, Frank built his own machine and started tattooing himself in his friend's kitchen. "It was about as ghetto as it gets, and those tattoos were really bad," he says, lifting his T-shirt to reveal a wavy-lined tattoo of a revolver that covers most of the left side of his lower abdomen. "That thing is fucking brutal," he groans. "It still hurts me thinking about it, but it's nice to look at that and then look at an okay tattoo that I do now. Tons of times, people have said, 'I'll touch it up for you; I'll fix it for you,' and it never felt right to do that."

Want to find out what just a few of FRANK CARTER's tattoo designs & symbols mean?
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