heavy metal and a passion for tattoos
The Southland Times
June 24, 1998
The tattoos were real and he was not wearing a wig.
Ballantine, alias Braveheart in the City of Invercargill's
Pipin' Hot II Edinburgh show earlier this month, is far
from the sterotypical bagpiper.
26-year-old meat worker rejoined the pipe band this year
having quit eight years ago in favour of a heavy metal
guitar career - "hard rock" he calls it.
proficient solo piper since the age of 13, Ballantine
won virtually every B-grade event in the country but found
the pressure of competition too intense.
1990, he banished the pipes to under the bed, taught himself
the guitar and grew his hair long.
about four years ago he got the first of many tattoos.
was the first person in Invercargill to have both armpits
tattooed," Ballantine said.
fact most of his upper body is adorned.
January this year, he was approachd by band leaders to
take up piping again. There was no promises but if he
made the grade, a trip to the prestigious Edinburgh Military
Tattoo was in the offing.
put his electric guitar aside, practiced hard and ended
up playing in the team that won the national grade two
championship in March.
Braveheart role of the successful Pipin' Hot II was anothe
challenge that brought together his "two completely
different social scenes."
Tattoo Club members and workmates from the Lornville beef
boning unit were there to cheer him on, alongside proud
family members who openly prefer the skirl of the pipes
to distorted guitar chords.
than choosing one ahead of the other, Ballantine is now
looking at how he can marry his two lifestyles.
heading to Scotland at the end of next month, he intends
getting a large clan crest tattooed on his stomach.
if time allows, he reckons some type of celtic tattoo
would be the perfect souvenir to bring home.