Geoffro O'Leary - ''Heavy music and tattoos!!!! It will always just be.''
Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Geoffro O'Leary is a passionate musician and artist. Owner Operator at Brisbane body Art, his status in the Brisbane music scene is near legendary from his time as a drummer for D9 and now Guitar and Vocals for Piston Fist. Originally from Wellington NZ Geoffro has Called Brisbane home since the age of 5.
What came first for you, music, or art?
‘’ Music!!!! It’s always been about music and heavy music at that. Although I’ve always drawn, and always loved drawing. Music hit men in the face and was my first real passion. Dressing up and air or racket guttering and drumming was always an awesome way to pass the time from about 8-12. AC/DC, Whitesnake, Poison. Even Led Zep and Black Sabbath. And Aussie rock, The Angels, Rose Tattoo. All massive influences as young kid.’’
your time in D9?
‘’D-Nine was a shitonne of fun, Just over 15 years of awesome fun. Lots of touring and lots and lots of partying! I absolutely loved that part of my life and wouldn’t change it for the world. We once got coined “arguably, the most pissed off band in the country” and played some really rad shows, support to Strapping Young Lad, one of my faves. Metal for the Brain festival. And a heap of other festivals.’’
Your career as a tattoo artist?
‘’I actually started tattooing very late at about 36 years old, after bricklaying for nearly 20 years and a stint in the mines, I realised I could actually work a job I liked, if I put my mind to it. And bang, I worked on my 7 days off for free for a local studio until I could stand on my own 2 feet, bought a studio 6 years ago, and myself and my wife have built it into the tatty temple it has become today.’’
‘’I love tattooing biomech and black and grey realism/ horror. There isn’t a lot of styles I won’t do. But if there is an artist at our studio that does a particular style really well, I will point the client in that direction. I won’t do hands, feet, necks and faces unless you are a heavily tattooed person, a friend or have definite job security. I do have little issues with tattooing infinity symbols (white girl tattoos)’’
‘’Big shout outs to Don Johnson, Elliot Ross, Rah Temperley, my biggest influences and mentors in my short tattooing career.
And a big fan of Brad Bako, Jesse Levitt, and a heap of the real deal bio artists. From the late 90s early 2000s.’’
What inspires your art?
‘’Movies, Music, Books, Cartoons and Comics, I have a bunch of evil books and I’m always watching artists that I look up to.’’
the responsibilities of having your own shop?
‘’Working in the studio, Owning the studio, and running the studio has been a monster challenge. I am extremely lucky/happy to have my wife working and co-managing the studio. It has helped me out a massive amount and allowed me to keep working on doing good tattoos it’s been a real hard slog, but I’m super happy with the results. And all my staff have been amazing over the years. Super lucky and thankful to work in this industry with such cool people.’’
What is Piston Fist?
‘’So, Piston Fist was a side project from a band called OAF, (old and fat) with Waz, our bass player in oaf and guitarist/ song writer in PF. He is a great song writer and quite the dark horse, pulling out a guitar and shredding. Anyway, Waz wrote a song that he thought was a good match with my voice. Then Home our first release was born. From there I said fuck getting another member I’ll get a guitar and learn real quick., and boom Piston Fist was born. It was all a bit of a jag and some great riffs from Waz. Since then Waz has left unfortunately, but has been replaced with Jimmy who is quite the writing shredding legend himself.’’
‘’So, PF are a 4 piece from Brisbane that plays a Heavy rock/ metal style somewhere in the vain of Down, Corrosion of Conformity, Clutch, and some hints of late 80s early 90s Metallica. We have been labelled Petrol Rock and Motor Metal. I don’t think we have any issues with this.’’
The move from extreme metal?
“’Yeah mate changing styles was really a jag. While D9 was awesome fun, I think slowing down and trying to just get a solid heavy groove is just where I’ve gone musically. A little bit of getting old mixed with a little can’t be fucked writing stuff that hurts my brain. Let’s just enjoy it instead, kind of attitude. Mind you I still spend a lot of time in my shed jamming drums to machine head, killer be killed and plenty of others that keep my neck sore. ‘’’
Why are tattooing and music are so closely linked?
‘’Dude…. Heavy music and tattoos!!!! It will always just be. Yeah, a little rebellion and a little bit fuck you! But there is a family/ brother hood/ friends for life thing with both. Its better now than it ever has been, and we know mate we’ve been around for a long time. The scene here in Brissie at the mo is awesome, lots of support from other bands and people trying to promote everywhere.
Never stop growing as an artist.
‘’Absolutely learning all the time!! So much art talks at work, new inks, machines, styles, techniques. Always something new to learn. And I’ve just started doing some recording at home as well, lots of frustration but a lot of fun. So yeah at this very ripe old age, I’m still learning and growing every day. ‘’
The Influence of music on your art?
‘’Music definitely influences me and my art, I will actually listen to some more Disincarnate or maybe Slayer for an evil Biomechanical piece. I love doing heavy metal portraits, so listening to Pantera while tattooing a Dimebag is rad.’’
Your art in print form? Commissioned pieces?
‘’Yeah, I have made a few prints and will definitely do more, and a few paintings. I have a Couple of commissions on the run at the moment but I’m pretty time poor, so they all take a while.’’