Ink and Music in Mallorca
Interview and photos by Laura June KirschW
hen your tarot card reader says, “There is somebody you need to meet,” you do it. It was my fourth night in Mallorca and the Pinxto happy hours were rapidly coming to an end. After a few minutes of brainstorming things to do in Palma, Caitlin (my friend and tarot reader aka @tarotgraph) knew where to go—to meet Jenny.
Jenny is like no other person I’ve met in my life. The Italian native has lived 20 lives in her short time on this planet. After bouncing around Europe for the last 15+ years she has finally settled in Palma (for now). Jenny wears many hats. She owns a bar / tattoo parlor called Kick ’em Drink Ink (she is a long time tattoo artist) and also sings for her band Kick ’em Jenny. In addition to that, she is a loving dog parent of the infamous Mr. Bowow, who is nicknamed “anti-business” due to his demeanor towards customers.
Jenny and Mr. Bowwow on Palma, punk rock, tattoos and when revenge is called for
Hi Jenny! How did your band Kick ’em Jenny get started?
Kick ’em Jenny formed in 2004, started as a “killing time thing” after I had the luck of meeting Paul Burlison lead guitarist of Johnny Burnette Trio—the original 1950s rockabilly recording artist, who also briefly, after hearing his stories, apparently jammed and played with Elvis a few times before he became famous. I met Paul when he was 73 on a Dutch tribute tour with the son of lead singer Johnny Burnette, Rocky Burnette. At the time I was living in Holland. He willingly missed his plane back to Memphis and spent three days in my house in Zaandam where he taught me my first three chords—E. A. b7. He said, “Come on Jenny. Everybody can do it. Rock and roll is three cords with an attitude while telling a story.” So I did it till my fingers bled.
How did The Untamed come to be a part of Kick ‘em Jenny?
I moved back to Italy for a lame worthless guy and stopped playing for three years. One day he said to me, “You’re not Kick ’em Jenny anymore. You’re nothing but dust now.” Since tattooing was going well, I had money stashed away. I said, “I’ll show you!!” I called the best friends and musicians I knew, and went to the best studio I knew—Villalobos Almeria in Spain. We recorded two new songs on a vinyl—the first recording after 13 years. We recorded the same night at 4 a.m. The songs are “Drive Me Wild” and “Just Once More.” So The Untamed are a one off project that got lucky, we stuck together for only a year and sold the self produced record which did well. Well that was the “date with fate”—just making a cake with the best ingredients I knew. Those guys are fantastic.
How long have you been doing tattoo work?
I’ve been tattooing full time for 15 years. I love and respect tattooing, the history, the people, the atmosphere and the smell of the now rarely used Dectol. I was lucky to have the chance to work in historic studios like Tattoo Peter in Amsterdam—it’s been open since 1955, a real mecca for tattoo history. Also, Diamond Jack’s London, Inkstitution Rotterdam. I got to work and learn from some amazing artists and friends like Bill Loika, in businesses since the sixties and still Tattooing, he is a legend and a great hearted person, I thank one of the best Errol Buwalda. former boss of Inkstitution Rotterdam, he also did my first tattoo.
I built it all by myself from recycled wood and bric-a-brac, trying to piece back my life in miniature.
How long have you lived in Mallorca?
I first lived here 5 years ago for 1 year. I moved to Palma after visiting my sister here looking for a break from my hectic life in London. Then I moved away for love to Trento, a horrible freezing cold mountain town in northern Italy. I woke up every single day missing and thinking of Palma. I traveled to lots of places over the years playing shows or tattooing and Palma kept on calling me back. As soon as my heart allowed me to break the chain from Trento I was on the first plane to Palma, gasping for air.
When did you open your bar / tattoo parlor in Palma?
February of this year. When I was running away from the Italian disaster I came back to “Paradise Island,” leaving the worthless lame man I was talking about before. He was the reason why I moved away from Palma and the reason to go back. After running out of money and luck by being with the wrong man who was leeching off of me, I found the strength overnight to leave that life behind after 4 years. It’s been super hard but where is a will is a way they say. So I opened Kick ’em Drink and Ink and left the luxury life behind. I slept on a sofa in the small shop for two months but now things are slowly picking up. I rented the studio flat upstairs from the bar to open a dedicated tattoo area. The first tattoo bar In Palma, my corner of paradise, finally just the way I want it! it is very personal and is my path back to happiness. I built it all by myself from recycled wood and bric-a-brac, trying to piece back my life in miniature while still waiting to get back all my stuff from the lame guy. But like a quote from one of my favorite song says, “I never measured my success on how far I had to crawl.”
What’s your favorite tattoo that you’ve ever given?
A Phoenix rising from the ashes, tattooed to a young guy in Holland with the ashes of his passed away father. It was really touching, he will really carry his father forever under his skin every day of his life.
When we went to pick him up he racked up a hotel bill of 70 euros a night at the pound.
How did you meet Mr. Bowwow?
Mr. Bowwow is 5 years old and looks 25—he’s had a rough life. I found Mr. Bowwow while guest tattooing in beautiful Seville at Los Santos Tattoo, in the town center. I was there for about 6 months and one day Mr. Bowwow walked in, and I adopted him. He’s small enough to travel with me and has five countries under his belt, his lil passport is full of stamps.
In June this year he disappeared for two days with his leash attached. My heart stopped, I looked all over Palma for him. I thought he died, he always come back after one hour.
While crying like an idiot in a bar, some woman overheard me. She said she found a small dog wrapped around a pole with his leash and called the animal rescue. Since it was Sunday I could not bail him out of “dog jail” until the following day. When we went to pick him up he racked up a hotel bill of 70 euros a night at the pound. The lady in reception smiled and showed me a photo of him for identification. I nearly peed myself for laughing, he had a proper mugshot. The only thing missing was a tear tattoo on his face. It’s great to have him back, he is now on close watch…
When we last spoke you had mentioned some interesting tactics to deal with badly behaved men. Do you have any dating tips for our readers?
Muahaha, make sure you always walk away with a laugh or a smile. Make sure to have tried all without letting your pride get in the way. Only after you really hit that floor and they give you the last kick… stand up with no regret. Make sure you put enough (not too many not too little) drops of laxative in their morning coffee, before kissing them goodbye with the sweetest smile. If you have the key to their apartment, unscrew wall masks of plug sockets and stuff them with pieces of boiled fish. They will be thinking of you and where the rotten smell comes from for many months to come. Use this method only in case of serious betrayal or cheating. In any other case, just walk away gloriously ignoring them.