Feel the Pain

Ryan Brink, lead singer of Individual, an all-original Tool/Mudvayne-like band, says it's hard to convince local clubs to allow him to be skewered and suspended by hooks.

"All they think about is insurance and blood and someone's going to die," says Brink. "They don't understand we use the highest standards of sterilization; this isn't a parlor trick done by drunken punks for kicks....

"The first time I saw this I said, 'Wow, this is nuts.' I wondered why you couldn't mix suspensions and metal shows. It means the difference between just seeing five bands play and going home after and saying, 'I just saw the sickest show in my whole life.' "

Brink did his last onstage suspension at Hollywood's Knitting Factory in February. The 950-capacity club sold out. After Individual's set, four hooks were put into Brink's back, and he was lifted two feet off the stage. Brink, who's hung from hooks five times, says it takes 30 to 60 days of healing before he can repeat the act.

Brink says getting hooked and hoisted in public is a natural fit for his lifestyle. He earns a living as a tattoo artist. His wife Melanie (who fronts her own hard-rock band named Superna) models and makes between $100 and $200 per hour. His tattoos on her body have become world famous.

"I'm on [a couple tattoo websites]," says Melanie. "I was on the cover of Pain magazine, which is for the tattoo industry. I won 'Number One Bad Ass' at the Body Art Expo at the Del Mar Fairgrounds last year. I [was] the mistress of ceremonies at the Ink and Iron Tattoo Convention at the Queen Mary [last weekend]."

The couple, who have done porn together, has two kids, aged nine and four.

"Most of the people who do what we do don't have kids," says Melanie. "Our kids don't know about our lifestyle. Whenever we're around our family, we are loving parents."

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