Originally Published In The June 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source
Articles & Photos By: Chris Callen
Scott Alvarez is a tattoo artist from the home state of my brother Roadside Marty, Florida. He says he got into the tattoo world in the usual way, hanging with the wrong crowd, and doing what his mother told him not to. Funny, this sounds a lot like the same way I got into motorcycles. We shared a good laugh over that at the beginning of our interview as we discussed the basics.
In reality, Scott’s grandfather was probably the biggest influence in his admiration for skin art. He was a Navy Seabee in World War II and came back from his overseas’ adventures covered in tattoos on both arms and with a big eagle on his chest. Scott said tattoos never seemed strange to him; his grandfather had a story behind every tattoo he had,even if he didn’t remember getting them, he remembered why.
As Scott grew into a young man, everything that came with the tattoo scene, motorcycles and hot rods, and all the dangerous, bad, rock-n-roll stuff came along as well. Not too long after opening his own shop, Skin & Bones Tattoo Parlour, he remembers seeing guys he knew from Atlanta and other parts of the country who were going to Willie’s Tropical to work through bike week. Now at this point, Scott was already doing Sturgis but it was getting way too expensive and he thought the Daytona deal looked fun.
Scott and Roadside had known each other for quite a while, both before and after Marty had gone off to the service. Scott told me about his first run-in with our southern correspondent. He said back in the punk show days, Roadside would be the only cat who would ride up on an old Panhead, no one else did that. Anyway, Roadside got him his first gig at Willie’s and it was everything he thought it would be.
The Sporty you see here was the only real bike Alvarez ever owned. In 2000, he bought a brand new ‘01 XL883 Custom. He said that back then you had to buy now and wait to get the bike; it seems so funny today. He rode it in its stock form for awhile like most of the guys that hang around Roadside and his Pops. Pretty soon he was getting a Paughco frame and choppin’ the hell out of it. It’s been through a lot of changes over the years and as I wrote this, he was planning on the next few.
As for the motor, Scott and good friend Fred Myers, who had only been wrenching for like 5 years, went at it with a different approach than the standard stock hop-up kit. They would build this in the same way Fred did Buell hop-ups: Wiseco pistons, Thunderstorm heads; you know, the Full Monty. Fred was his guiding light and the motor runs like a bat outta hell.
For the rest, it was the old game of trading the tattoo artist. Scott says that you could almost not believe the stuff people show up with to trade for work. He has no idea, however, what i t is about him that says, “Yes, I’d like a pile of meth please,” but it can be useful in the line of motorcycle parts. With a Ford utility spot lamp, some killer paint from Bob Bourdeaux at French Kiss that Marty gave him as a birthday present, he had his scoot ready just in time for Daytona. A large part of that was due to the fab work of Tommy Leonard. Now overtime he’s had that thing back and forth to Sturgis, Daytona, the Smoke Out, and actually can’t even remember the number of miles that it has on it. One thing’s for sure, it runs like hell and is always ready for the next trip: one man, one bike, and a lifetime of stories.
An Illustrated Man’s tech sheet
Owner: Scott Alvarez
City: Pensacola, FL
Fabrication By: Tommy Leonard
Value: Tens Of Dollars
Time: Is On My Side
Builder: HD – Owner – Fred Myers
Ignition: Screamin’ Eagle
Heads: Buell Thuderstorm
Cam(s): Buell X1
Carb: Mikuni 42mm
Air Cleaner: Benchmark
Type: Narrow Glide
Triple Trees: H-D / Shaved By Owner
Front Wheel: HD
Rear Wheel: HD 13 Spoke
Painter: Bob Bourdeaux – French Kiss
Color: Blue & Silver
Hand Controls: HD
Gas Tank(s): Teardrop
front Fender: None
Rear Fender: Cheap Aluminum
Foot Controls: HD
Oil Tank: Led Sled/Tommy
Headlight: Ford Spot
Photographer: Chris Callen