Monolith Of The Mesa: Rest In Peace Dan ‘Dano’ Sanchez

In what’s becoming an all-to-familiar occurrence the last few years, the stoner/doom community suffered yet another loss, when Monolith On The Mesa Festival co-founder, and world-renowned tattoo artist, Dan ‘Dano’ Sanchez died this past Sunday due to complications from COVID-19. Dano was an avid stoner/doom fan going all the way back to the genre’s infancy in the early 90s. He turned his love of the almighty riff towards promotion, co-founding the Monolith On The Mesa Festival with partner Roman Barham (Red Mesa, Black Maria).

Dan ‘Dano’ Sanchez

Monolith On The Mesa took place in enchanted Taos, New Mexico, in the shadow of the Sangre De Cristo (blood of Christ) Mountains, in northern New Mexico. It was in this jaw-dropping setting, Dano and Roman brought Om, The Obsessed, Dead Meadow, The Heavy Eyes, and a ton of other bands to the High Desert Southwest for a one-of-a-kind music and art festival. Monolith On The Mesa was very well-received and had another monster lineup booked including Brant Bjork, The Obsessed, Yawning Man, Nebula and many more prior to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic put the festival, and all live music, on hiatus.

He turned his love of the almighty riff towards promotion, co-founding the Monolith On The Mesa Festival…

Dano was also a world-renowned tattoo artist. His work was as diverse as it was stellar. A mostly self-taught artist, his work was instantly recognizable for its meticulous detail, clean, solid, line work, and packed color. The fact that he made it far as he had as a self-taught artist is of particular note. He also had business interests in tattoo pigment, and watercolor paint, for tattoo flash. Dano’s skills as a painter and graphic designer/illustrator were no less impressive. He owned Magical Tattoo in Taos, New Mexico, and had worked for years in both Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as Mesa, Arizona. Dano is survived by his wife, and his three children. We at The Sleeping Shaman offer our condolences to all his friends and family, and wish him luck on his journey through the cosmos.

Monolith On The Mesa 2020

On a personal note, I have known Dano for over 30 years, since High School. I worked for him for about six months, at his former shop, Stay Gold in Albuquerque, New Mexico, prior to me opening my studio, 71 Tattoo.  As a tattooist myself for over two decades, Dano’s influence was large. The tattoo scene in Albuquerque has always been notable. People in our weird high desert town took to tattoos unlike many other places. Back in the late 80s and early 90s it wasn’t uncommon to see heavily tattooed people in Albuquerque, where in other cities, such coverage usually elicited stares from the public. Socially, it seemed a lot more acceptable in Albuquerque back then, than say Phoenix.

His natural, god-given artistic talents were a marvel to behold…

His natural, god-given artistic talents were a marvel to behold. The guy could literally draw anything, for anyone, at any time. His art seemed to pour out of him. His art, whether tattooing, painting, or illustrating/graphic design work all seemed so effortless, and that effect on me personally, made me work harder. Dano’s influence on the New Mexico tattoo scene, was massive, and cannot be overstated.  He was a pillar of the southwest tattoo community, serving as one of the originals.

Dan ‘Dano’ Sanchez

He stylized himself as the ‘12-Volt Shaman’ an apt and appropriate nickname, touching on both his tattoo career and his love for all things stoner/doom. His death has been hard to process for multiple reasons, but one of them is because Dano had gone through an awful lot of personal turmoil earlier in life, and had come out the other side, finding himself in a very positive place.

He stylized himself as the ‘12-Volt Shaman’ an apt and appropriate nickname, touching on both his tattoo career and his love for all things stoner/doom…

He found a wife he deeply loved, they had a son, he had a loyal client base, a successful tattoo studio, and had started other tattoo-related business adventures such as developing his own tattoo pigments and his own watercolor paint for tattoo flash. His death has left a massive void in the New Mexico tattoo and stoner/doom communities, and we will all miss him profoundly.

Dano texted this quote to a mutual friend a few weeks before his death, ‘The universe takes you on a wild ride. Sometimes total destruction brings us to a point of total surrender, so we can start appreciating what we have and had. Accept it and work through it. Don’t dwell on it. Feelings are like a river; ever changing, so flow with it.’

Rest in Peace Dano and if you can help out, Roman Barham has set up a Go Fund Me fundraiser to help Dano‘s family with funeral costs.

Please get vaccinated.

Scribed by: Martin Williams