Ivan Moody Reflects On Addiction Through His Tattoos

By David Konow 10/23/19

The Five Finger Death Punch singer got candid about the connections between his tattoos and his sobriety journey.

Ivan Moody

Ivan Moody, the lead singer of Five Finger Death Punch, has had a very tough road out of addiction, and recently spoke to Loudwire for a series called Needle and The Damage Done.

It’s a show about tattoos, but the title, in reference to a Neil Young song about heroin, is also fitting considering Moody's dark past.

Moody shows a phoenix tattooed onto his head which represents his one-year sobriety milestone.

“I wanted to not only wake up everyday and remind myself of how far I’ve come, but how far I have to go,” he says. “I wanted to make sure that everybody knew that I wasn’t going anywhere. This is not only a symbol of my strength, but also, hopefully, a symbol that other people can look at, and know they’re not alone.”

Declared Legally Dead For 2 Minutes

Moody also has a snakeskin mohawk tattoo on his head, symbolizing his decision to shed his skin, so to speak, after coming out of a       coma,   Moody was declared legally dead for more than two minutes, and when he woke up, he needed help walking to the mirror. He took a hard glance and didn’t recognize the person staring back at him.

“I looked in the mirror and it was like [Lord of the Rings character] Gollum. I was green and ugly and pale and I was like, ‘What the fuck happened to me?’ And that’s when I decided I was going to shed skin and be the man that I’ve should've always been and I can be.”

Moody adds, “The biggest part for me, especially in sobriety, yes it’s the band, yes it was for my kids, yes it’s for my family, but at the beginning of the day, it starts with me.”

Under his eye, Moody has the Spear of Destiny, which is from the Bible, and above that, a teardrop tattoo that he later turned into a flame, “as a sign of the future. I wanted to do everything I could to not forget who I am, but move past it.”

This past March, Moody hit his one-year sober milestone, and as he said in an Instagram video, “I’m speechless man. A lot of people didn’t think I’d make it 24 hours. To be honest with you, there were times I didn’t either.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.