“The power is in the music, not the musician,” proclaims Las Vegas powerhouse entertainer, Frankie Moreno. And he should know. His fan base is as loyal as an army to a king. Dozens have tattooed his logo on their bodies. Music inspired tattoos are not uncommon. What makes this story compelling is the comradery behind it.
Lori Fuller was the first known Frankie Moreno fan to acquire his logo as a tattoo. Her piece measured approximately 6 by 5 inches initially. She has since added flames as you can see in the collage above.
As Lori shared the story of Frankie’s music with me, I had to suppress my own emotions. She explained that during her darkest hour, battling the depths of depression, she clung to Frankie’s music to help her hold on. She is not alone.
For her, there was a pivotal moment, a spiritual epiphany, if you will. She was listening to his song “Shadows” on the Gift album. (Frankie has released over twenty albums of original music over the course of his career.) During this particular song, Lori realized that she “didn’t love life and that wasn’t okay.”
She found in Frankie’s music the strength that she needed to love and accept herself. As I know Lori personally, I can testify to the incredible and audacious soul that she is. Our world wouldn’t be the same without her. This man’s music helped her see that.
The tattoo that started it all
Lori has been supporting Frankie’s music career for almost twenty years. Once Lori showed up at a Frankie show with her new piece on display, it became all the rage. People who didn’t have any tattoos decided to take the plunge.
Suddenly, Frankie began receiving pics on Facebook and Instagram from all over the world. He made a collage and posted it on his Facebook page of various people who had partaken of the FM Army ™ tattoo experience. More and more fans followed suit. Over the years, fans had tattooed his signature or the title of a song on their bodies. But this seemed to be taking on a new fervor.
Julie and Marcy
Julie and Marcy have been loving Frankie’s music for several years as well. Neither of these women had a tattoo ‘before Frankie’. They both happen to have their names drawn for a backstage party following one of his shows at the Golden Nugget in 2017.
Frankie jokingly teased Marcy, “so when are you getting yours?” She quickly replied, when you go with me! He responded, “name the time and place and I’ll be there.” And so he was. Frankie and his guitar player, Alec, both showed up at the Illuminati tattoo parlor in Las Vegas for a group event. They told the two ladies stories to distract them from the needle as they both received their first tattoos.
Each of these women feel that Frankie’s music has given them a new season in life. The joy and family that they have acquired as a result of the Frankie Moreno fan club has afforded their lives a sense of belonging. All three of these ladies are a part of what is referred to as the FM Army™. President of the Frankie Moreno Fan Club, Kathy Cornelius, spearheaded a group of fans who show up for all of Frankie’s shows, help sell his albums and memorabilia, as well as travel across the country for his performances.
They have created a tight knit community of music lovers and supporters that helped fuel Frankie’s last 6 albums to various Billboard charts. He’s released 8 original albums in the last year alone. Frankie consistently thanks his fans and the FM Army ™. “This couldn’t have happened without you,” he has said over and over.
The man behind the music and the ink
There really isn’t another entertainer like him. If you ever get the chance to see him perform, you’ll understand why. His charisma is off the charts and his musical ability is astounding. He plays too many musical instruments to count, has a beautiful baritone voice, and writes his own songs with his brother Tony Moreno, his bass player.
The late Vinnie Paul, (of Pantera and Hell Yeah), arguably the greatest heavy metal drummer of all time, adored him. I used to watch Vinnie Paul on his feet at Frankie’s shows, leading the audience in standing ovations. Vinnie used to encourage Frankie, challenging him not to be famous, but to be great at his craft. That’s how Vinnie lived his life. Likewise, there are many people with tattoos of Vinnie too, especially following his untimely death in 2018.
Paying tribute to those we respect and appreciate with a tattoo has become commonplace, particularly in the music community. We will take the pain of a needle and color of the ink, if it means something to us. Frankie Moreno’s fan base exemplifies this cultural shift. They come together to celebrate his immense gift for making music, uniting people and touching souls.
Lori said it best, “what his music did for me will be forever remembered in my tattoo.” It’s true, sometimes we need that visual reminder of what our souls have been through and overcome. It helps us to know our own strength when we might otherwise forget. Whereas music heals, tattoos reveal. Let’s toast to music and tattoos, a 21st century marriage of arts.