Return to the Badlands

I really can’t speculate what Royboy’s motivation was with producing his videos; whether they were intended to document what was going on in Tattoo culture at the time or as an infomercial for his shops I’ll never really know. But you have to appreciate how many times in one video he can fit in his own name. In the flash, in the songs, on tshirts….  It’s all Royboy all the time.

This video, Return to the Badlands, is from 1987. Unlike his later films that feature the work of  other tattooists at conventions, Return to the Badlands was shot at Roy’s shop and features he and Debra tattooing. And working out. And playing guitar.

As with most Badlands videos there was a decent amount of random nudity that I had to cut out, but as a whole these are really amazing time capsules of 1980s tattooing.

Since this video features ‘no gloves’ content I’ll throw in my standard “it was a different time” disclaimer.

Speaking of- how long do you think it’ll be before the average tattooer doesn’t know what Speed Stick deodorant has to do with tattooing?


  1. Tattoing without gloves but with sunglases – Roy Boy was the man.

    Great blog, great vhs-archive. Greets from Germany.


  2. I just can’t help but watch these Roy Boy videos… Some parts make me giggle, while others make me cringe, but all of it has a place in tattoo history. For good or bad. Thanks for sharing as always sir!


  3. Oddly enough for years Tattooers used speed stick or deodorants like that to apply the stencil for the design. Not really sure why anyone still uses it but it can be purchased in bulk from some tattoo equipment distributers! Most folks these days use surgical lubricant, green soap or specially developed gels but speed stick is still out there in some places.


  4. When I first started getting tattooed, they used speed stick. The smell of that and green soap still brings me back.


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