This interview was made in Clisson, France, the 24th of June 2006.
Pierre & O.S have met Vinnie & Mike.
Can you tell us a bit about how you started the New York Hardcore Tattoo? Why did you open the place?
Vinnie : Sure. I started tattooing in my kitchen, years ago. Then one day, I wanted to open up a real shop. Then it became legal in New York. I mean I did it anyway, I didnt give a fuck. I opened up a business with Jimmy from Murphys Law. We had a tattoo shop, New York Hardcore Tattoos! Its doing really good. A lot of kids from France, Belgium, all over, a lot of hardcore kids come to the shop. Thats cool.
Mike : They sell t-shirts, CDs blankets...
: Its a spot where the kids can come, and feel at home. I like
that. I travel on the road, and I travel with a lot of people. I can
imagine, like just two guys come to New York, go somewhere and hang
out, you know, its cool.
Mike : Its a good spot for kids to go, and hang out, and feel part of the hardcore scene, and get tattooed there, you know?
In Europe, its kind of a myth, when we talk about New York, people who love hardcore, always think about two places, NYHC Tattoos, and CBGBs.
Vinnie : Ha ha! Thats great! That is what I dreamed of. I believe in the music and the people. Im only on tour a couple of days, and I m having the greatest time of my life. Im really having the time of my life; I really enjoy it, a lot. The older I get the more I enjoy it. Im so grateful I can play guitar, and play good shows, and have my friends. Im a little older know so this is what I do, its my dream come true, really.
So at NYHC Tattoo, is there a special style of tattooing that makes you different?
Vinnie : Nah, we do everything, we do anything. We do flash, original, whatever. We tattoo.
So the special thing about this place is the people?
Vinnie : Yeah.
Mike : Its not a tattoo parlour.
Vinnie : Its a club. A tattoo club.
Mike : You hang out, you drink a beer. Its a comfortable environment to come and hang out and get a tattoo. Nobodys going to snub you. None of these artists are too cool to do certain type of tattoo. If somebody wants a tattoo, you put it on their fucking arm for them.
So, is it more common to have tattoos?
Mike : Its a lot more acceptable in society.
Vinnie : Yeah, everythings more common. Youve got the internet, and so forth. The worlds changed. Ive been tattooed 35 years, overnight, these kids have got more than me, and I own the shop!
Do you get the feeling people dont look at you so much?
Vinnie : Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now theres piercing and dreadlocks. Its all bullshit.
I saw that you have the Pittsburgh Steelers
Vinnie : Yeah, the Steelers, Theyre my football team. American football.
Its unusual to see American Football in Europe.
Vinnie : The European team I like is Berlin Thunder. Theyre the best in Europe.
Do you see new technical tattoos coming into tattooing?
Vinnie : Tattooing is Old School.
Old School tattoos are coming back?
Mike : Everything comes and goes. Clothing styles, everything
Vinnie : You cant beat the dragon, the sparrow, the spider web. You cant beat the old stuff.
We were talking about CBGBs having to move, problems with the rent, it was too high. Do you have similar problems with the rent in New York?
Vinnie : Yeah.
Mike : Its expensive to live in New York.
I heard it was $3500 per month.
Vinnie : No.
Mike : Thats maybe uptown, somewhere. Thats a lot of money. Youre maybe talking about two grand.
Vinnie : My rents $500 a month.
Mike : Yeah, you go rent control! Hes been living there all his life.
Vinnie : $499.
Mike : Its changed; you try to get an apartment in New York right now! You forget it.
New York, is it getting safer as the rents rise?
Vinnie : Ha! You still gotta live with me!
You said youve been tattooed for 35 years?
Vinnie : Yeah! 35 years... A lot of tattoos.
Have you been tattooed all over the world?
Vinnie : No, mainly in New York. A few in Germany, or whatever.
Vinnie : I got this one for my mother.
Which was your last one?
Vinnie : This one on my leg. I did it myself. It isnt finished yet; it really hurts, tattooing yourself. I could tattoo you, but myself, aah! Its hard.
Do you tattoo often?
Vinnie : No, I play guitar.
Is it something that you like to do?
Vinnie : No, I dont even like doing it. I do it, not that I dont like doing it, but I play guitar, thats what I love to do.
I saw that the guys who tattoo in NYHC Tattoo are doing a tour. Theres a programme about them on the internet.
Mike : Elvis!
Mike : Yeah! Elvis. Its exhilarating; hes done it all over the world. All over the States, or whatever. Its good promotion for the shop.
Is your shop known all over America?
Mike : Oh, yeah. Were in tattoo magazines, everywhere.
Vinnie : A lot of kids from Japan come to my shop, too. They love New York, the Japanese, They love my shop. They take pictures of everything. Let me get in the picture, wait!.
Are there tattoo artists that impress you?
Vinnie : A good person impresses me. Someone with a good work ethic impresses me. A good person. I dont care, nothing like that matters to me. A good guy, thats all that matters.
According to you, Is there a correlation between music and tattoos?
Vinnie : Yeah. You get band tattoos, I got a Madball tattoo. The music and the tattoos sometimes blend.
Mike : Agnostic Front was one of the first heavily tattooed bands.
Vinnie : Skinhead bands tattoos. Shave your head, get tattooed
Mike : Its an alternative lifestyle. It kind of goes together, you know, sex, drugs, and rock n roll!
: Yeah, all the good stuff.
Pierre & O.S