A review of Jim Ward’s book, “Running The Gauntlet”

At times, it is humbling to me that I am writing for Modblog on this site that, many years ago, introduced me to new aspects of body modification, and for that matter, a whole new world. Several years ago (no doing of mine, mind you) Jim Ward, the father of modern body piercing, shared some of his tales on BMEzine with a feature called “Running The Gauntlet“. These articles exposed many readers to the early days of (modern professional) body piercing. They were a must read for any piercing aficionado and chock full of interesting tidbits from our modern history……….and then a few years later Jim announces he is going to take these stories and dozens more like them, and write an entire full length book chronicling his life, his passion and the modern history of body piercing.

Needless to say, I was thrilled at the prospect to be able to read more of his stories. However, I must be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. His short stories on BME were awesome, but could he possibly fill an entire book with material of the same caliber? For that matter, could he even write a book that would so captivate my ADD having self, that I would even be able to finish it?


For the full review, keep on keeping on.

I can honestly say that Jim went well above and beyond my expectations and he most certainly kept my attention from the first page to the last. I was worried, that there would be a lot of stories I had heard time and time again and that the rest would be filler. Of course, there were several parts I was vaguely familiar with, but seeing them presented in this much detail and in chronological order shed new light upon them. As a body modification history buff, I have become pretty jaded when it comes to learning new bits of history. That is why it is such a true thrill for me when opportunities to continue my learning arise and this book was chock full of them.

The way Jim tells his story is so honest and heartfelt, I feel as though I now know him as only a close friend or lover normally would. He may not know me from Adam, but after reading this I almost feel as if I have known him forever. A lot of that feeling can be credited to the sharing of every intimate detail. When I every intimate detail I truly  mean “every”. The book starts off primarily focusing on his childhood and progresses to his current.  From humiliating tales of urinating himself to extremely personal tales of his first time masturbating or his sexual escapades with a priest, he truly tells all.


As the book progresses so does his life. He goes into great detail about his early piercing techniques, his business relationship with Doug Malloy and learning proper technique by trial and error. For instance, we all take for granted the fact that piercing guns are not acceptable for even a basic lobe piercing. However, this knowledge didn’t come without some experimentation, such as the piercing gun contraption he used to use for  piercing (like the nipple piercing pictured below).


He explains all about the founding, expansion and eventual demise of The Gauntlet. He doesn’t just tell his tale either, from Sailor Sid to Howie and dozens if not hundreds of piercers and mod artist in between, he truly does an outstanding job of documenting our modern history. As most of our readers should know, Jim’s contributions to the piercing world certainly were not limited to the work coming out of his shops. In fact, more people probably discovered piercing from his publication PFIQ then from any other source at the time.


The real shame in this book is that it is being marketed almost purely as a book for piercing aficionados, which is really a limited demographic. While piercing is a huge part of the book, there is so much more to it then just that. It is the story of a gay male coming out in  a time when that was a far bigger deal then it is today. It is the story of a man taking his fringe interest and turning it not just into a business, but an entire industry….and if that’s not the American dream, I don’t know what is.  This book has so much to offer to so many people, I’d like to see it far outreach our little community.


This book is now added to my “required reading” list for my current and any future apprentices. For who we are now as a community is a direct result of Jim’s passion, his work and his innovation, so anyone learning under me damn well better appreciate that. I encourage all of our readers to purchase this book and if you can’t afford it, perhaps get together with some friends and throw in for it. One way or the other, if you have even the most minimal interest and respect for body piercing, you NEED to read this book.

The book is for sale on Amazon.com and elsewhere. However, do me a favor if possible, and buy it directly from Jim rather than supporting some mega-corp. Also, if you are a piercer who orders from Anatometal, Barry is being generous enough to sell the book (which you can include in your regular orders) and give 100% of the proceeds back to Jim.


Ladies and gentlemen, tonight I bring you the very final installment of the Cadaver Chronicles.  It is a bitter sweet conclusion. Sad in the fact this is likely the last you will read of it on this humble blog. Yet happy, because from all the positive feedback he has received from these post, he has decided to carry it on further.

I’ve begun writing an expanded version of the memoirs for traditional publication in book form and this one will pull no punches, it’ll include every juicy story.  -Cliff Cadaver

Currently he owns the domain www.CliffCadaver.com, but the site is not live yet. I have spoken with him and suggested he get at least a placeholder up soon, and I believe that’s currently in progress. Keep your eyes peeled there as I am sure his website will be a wonder in and of itself. It will also contain updates about his upcoming book and information on how you could pick up your own copy of the hardcover book “A basic guide to body piercings” that was mentioned and shown in Episode 2.


On behalf of myself, BMEzine.com and all of the modblog readers who enjoyed these articles I would like to thank  Cliff, for taking the time to share all of these stories with us and I wish him the best in all of your future ventures.

If you have been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks, here are links to the previous episodes for you to play catch up with (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), otherwise keep on keeping on for the final chapter.

The Death Card

I can’t even see my largest tattoo, a backpiece that covers me shoulder to shoulder, stem to stern. I got it before I began piercing, about the time I realized construction would never cut it. The image is one you’ll recognize. It’s from the Rider-Waite tarot deck. It’s also in a lot of horror movies. Major Arcana, Roman numeral thirteen, skeleton. It’s the death card. It symbolizes change. The friggin’ Monkey on my back.


I should have quit piercing five years before I did. The writing was on the wall, in bold capitals, outlined three times, day-glo. I looked the other way, as usual. I was mired in the past, struggling to keep my head above water in a present with no future. Bad limbo. Everything had declined from the golden days when Mike was there. Tarnished. Jenny McCarthy included a night time shot of my shop on the opening of her talk show. Edgy. I started drinking.

I watched body piercing go from a very specialized niche industry I loved, to something I didn’t recognize. I didn’t know a single person with a pierced tongue in 1990, and navels were still a rarity. In 2005 I pierced so many kindergarten teachers I’d need one of those take-a-ticket systems. Starbucks. “Single file, ladies. Single file.” I’d stop at 7-11 on the way to work for a single-serving of chardonnay to back my morning coffee. Not enough to get looped, just enough to face the world. Not right.

Prices hit rock bottom all over town except in my shop. George Bush laid his great depression across my neck like a jack-boot. It seemed none of the competition were traditionally trained anymore; they’d take a quickie class at a “piercing school” and then open their own “pierceology academy.” Just shoot me. I never saw so much low-quality jewelry before in my life. Distributors would show me their wares, glow-in-the-dark trinkets made of plastic and Taiwanese pot metal. They’d shrug their shoulders when I asked about internal threading. I’d unscrew the ball from a zero gauge circular to show them what quality and proper design looks like. They’d inspect the Good Art or Anatometal product that cost ten times more than their cheapies. They’d leave the shop laughing. Crazy round eye.


I was the longest tenant on my block. I saw so many businesses come and go it wasn’t even funny. Rockwood and Studio City Tattoo had moved. Punk rock music store, gone. The antique store whose owner had traded me a light-up porcelain geisha head for a guiche piercing, gone. Even the Thai joint closed its doors. And then Tony Theodor, my Greek landlord, died. He had cataracts so bad he could barely see, he’d had a couple triple by-passes, he came up to about my belt-buckle. Once, he saw some customers getting pushy, he returned brandishing a shovel. He and my father had exchanged whispered words when Tony saw a Masonic ring on my dad’s finger. Since I lived in a triplex over my studio it was easy for him to pound on the door when I overslept or played hooky. Thanks a lot, Pops. He taught me dirty phrases in his native tongue. I’d yell “Ap-po-piso!” when I saw him. He’d blush. I loved him.

The new landlord was Persian. He never smiled or taught me squat. He raised my rent every year. He leased the unit next door to palm-readers. They lived there. With children screaming twenty-four-seven and fragrant gypsy cooking wafting into my shop all day. “May I help you,” I’d ask after welcoming a client. “Yeah, I was thinking about a Prince Albert?” They’d wrinkle their nose. “Do I smell goat?” Yes. There was no parking. The new hair salon contracted Nazi valets that commandeered our small lot. I worked seven day weeks. I worked a solid month without a day off. More than once. Still, I had trouble making ends meet.

One day I got a call from a guy looking for trepanning. I thought a second before asking, “You mean drilling holes in your skull to let the voices out?” I said it slow, gave the words added gravity. “I’m impressed,” he said. “You’re the first one to know the term.” Great. “Oh,” he continued, “it’s not to banish any voices. It’s for consciousness expansion.” He chuckled. I sighed. “Might I suggest meditation?” I was really dismayed that some kid into Egyptology was calling mod-shops for skull boring. What’s a little street shop elective surgery between enthusiasts? “If you call enough places you’ll find some idiot willing to sani-wipe a Black and Decker and just go for it. Call a brain surgeon if you’re serious,” I said. I was just about ready for a skull-fuck myself. I was thinking zero gauge, about nine millimeter.


I Paid Dearly for a Happy Ending

I know why the universe let me drag my feet for so long. Why I didn’t permanently close my doors earlier, when it could have saved my sanity. Why I never pulled a trigger.

It was January third, two-thousand and three. A cosmic reprieve. She wanted her eyebrow pierced, said she wanted something just for her. Her marriage was on the rocks, divorce proceedings underway. Today was the fourteenth anniversary of her bad wedding. “I don’t know what’s worse,” I told her. “Being lonely, or being chained to the wrong person.” She’d think of nothing else for the next week.

“You’re back!” I said. I was happy to see her. She was nice, pretty. “I think I need more,” she said. We wouldn’t know until later that we each had the same secret thought upon our first meeting. I could stay with that person forever.

Spread-eagle in my stirrups, she wouldn’t stop giggling. I figured it was nerves. The stress of a genital piercing can manifest itself in many ways. “What is so funny?” I asked. “Ticklish?” She wouldn’t say, but she had me laughing too. She paid, bought some aftercare solution, and asked me for a date. She’d been laughing because she had a plan. Thought wily female thoughts and nothing else for that entire week. She knew she’d take a chance, ask me out. Get her hood pierced and give me a preview of things to come. A reason to change, to live. I kissed her cheek. I married her.

The Cadaver Rises

My colorful plumage finally attracted a mate. Forty year old, confirmed bachelor Cliff Cadaver got hitched on April fourth, 2004. All of our wedding stuff says, “Four, four, four… Forever.” We took our vows in the highest wedding chapel on Earth, top of the Stratosphere hotel in Vegas. We bought seven acres in the Angeles National Forest. Named our spread, “Triple 4 Ranch.” No more sterilization chores or touching creepy strangers, now I muck horse stalls, groom miniature donkeys. I feel kind of like Syd Barret tending his garden after too much fame and LSD. I’m finally fulfilled. I want to live in the forest forever. I have no street-cred left to lose; I want to quote Winnie the Pooh for my wife, Carol.


“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” – A.A. Milne


I have tried to relate the facts of my fifteen year body piercing career as accurately as possible. I’m an old stoner, ’nuff said. It’s possible I transposed inconsequential names from this convention to that. I honestly can’t remember which combination of apprentices and gophers assisted me at the Palladium shows. But there isn’t a single instance in these memoirs where I lied. Except of course, that whole Tuinkhov thing. *Sigh* Only one petty larceny in all those years; I never pierced the professor from Gilligan’s Island. So crucify me. I was up front on what I couldn’t prove. Maybe someone discovered “Propping” over at the Gauntlet, independently, at the exact same time as me. It’s possible, who knows? I tried to stay positive when telling my story. I purposely avoided going into feuds and reliving cat fights. I saw that my personal sigil had indeed become the international symbol for body piercing. I learned the hard way that loose lips sink ships. My symbol can be found painted on most piercing shops in Europe. A bold, three ring circus, courtesy of Cliff Cadaver. I had the adventure of a lifetime, memories I’d never trade for anything. Even though some of them nearly killed me.

I never had my first tattoos fixed or removed. The ones I got at the Long Beach Pike in the winter of 1980. Before the wrecking ball made way for a respectable downtown expansion. Bert Grimm’s legendary shop razed for an Aquarium. I got a flaming death’s head with only three crossbones that set me back $35. And a reaper with black ribs and white shading for $80. I was eighteen; the artist was old, bifocaled, openly cocktailing. Knowing me, I probably tipped him. I never cut off the finger with Jill Jordan’s chop tatted on it, (right middle. Priceless). Every modification records a moment in time. A history of Cliff Cadaver. Personal trophies to prove I existed, and still live.  I never felt one second of shame, ever. Never will. I traded in my fangs eons ago (…One thing about living in Green Valley I never could stomach…all the damn vampires…) for a set of platinum teeth. Dreadlocks, tattooed body suit, piercings, grill. Bib overalls. Bibbers? I am one weird hillbilly.

Cliff Cadaver graduated with honors from the “UCLA Certificate Writer’s Program in Long and Short Fiction.” He’s currently preparing his novel “Silverfish Bugsuckers” for representation. He spends his days doing what he loves. It’s time for his motto: “Flow or Be Flowed Upon.”



Back-Off Magazine, Volume 1, Number 5

“Get the Point; Your Piercing Questions Answered by Cliff Cadaver –

The Thirteen Most Often Asked Body Piercing Questions”

In the Flesh, Number One – A Hole New Magazine

“Red Devil Studios, Cliff Cadaver”

In the Flesh, Number One – A Hole New Magazine

“The Pierced Penis; Sexual Supremacy, or Mutilation?”

Outlaw Biker Tattoo Review #31

“How to Make a Monster”

Hustler, October 1994

“Penile Love Beads; Ancient Japanese Secret No More”

Tattoo Savage, Number 7

“Cadaver’s Commandment #666; Apprentice to Perfection”

Penthouse, June 1996

Janine Lindmulder of “Blondage” gives tongue piercing credit

Body Art, Issue 23

“Sex, Drugs, and Love Beads”

In the Flesh, #5

“The Nasalang and Bobby Brady”

In the Flesh, #7

“Brave New Implant”

Tear, Premiere Issue

“Meet Me at Upgrade”



“Trash Culture”

KNAC Pure Rock 105.5

“Morning Show with Mike Stark”

Cadaver Chronicles: Episode 1

Sometime in the late nineties my casual interest in body piercing became my passion. I was desperate for knowledge, yet there was so little accessable. Nowadays, we take for granted how easy it is to learn about body piercing (or any subject for that matter) by using nothing more than a few keystrokes. However, in the nineties the internet wasn’t something I had access to. So I relied on printed media, which was fairly hard to come by in Columbia, SC ,where I grew up. Fortunately, I found a local Harley shop that carried bulk packs of  various  tattoo magazines  back issues and I bought them up. One magazine in particular, the long since defunct, “In The Flesh” magazine was a piercing magazine and what I read in those pages defined who I was to become.  The interviews with Jon Cobb, Blake of Nomad and many others changed my entire outlook, not just on body piercing but on life as a whole.


One of the inspirational piercers featured in those pages was Cliff Cadaver. Cliff was a cutting edge piercer of that era and unlike a lot of piercers at the time, he was willing to share his knowledge.  Through various interviews, features and his book “A Basic Guide To Body piercing” he put out the information that other piercers guarded as if they were top secret classified info. In fact, one feature in particular where he described the nasallang piercing (that he is credited as inventing) was so inspiring to me, I rushed out at got one myself (that I still have and wear daily).

So, when I was thinking of influential piercers whom have not been previously featured on a BME interview, Cliff was an obvious choice. I tracked him down on facebook easily,obviously there are not many people named Cliff Cadaver. At first, when I asked to interview him he seemed reluctant, but after a short while he had started writing his memoirs and totally alleviating me of any interviewing responsibilities. Since, I am an admittedly crappy interviewer, I was thrilled to have this piece written and edited with very little input by me. I helped check a few facts for him, but aside from that, this whole piece is written by him.

The memoirs he provided me with are  rather long, so rather than present it in one long feature with a few choice photos I decided to milk it, and use it as a weekly feature with several photos in each episode. Since this piece (beyond my intro) is purely his writing, I must preface it by saying the opinions stated in it are Cliff Cadaver’s and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of myself, BMEzine.com or the Catholic Church.


“Monster God: Memoirs of a Body Piercer”

By Cliff Cadaver

A Welcome Shake and a Wave Goodbye

I opened the message from Sean Philips. It said, “I’m documenting the history of body piercing.”

“I haven’t set foot in a mod-shop since I walked out of mine on New Year’s Eve …five years ago.” I hit Send.

His reply came immediately. “This is important.”

Well now, here’s a fella that likes to get down to business, I thought. This wasn’t the usual facebook message from a brand new friend. Hmm, tell me more. “People these days don’t even know the history of our trade,” he said. He used words like archives, innovations, techniques and dedication. He said legend. I’d just completed a UCLA certificate program with straight A’s, I’m an accomplished stroker. Sean Philips laid out his proposal, he was polite. Legend. I was dealing with a professional.

Timing is everything. I wrote the first segment to show how hard it is for Cliff Cadaver to change. Something discussed in spades later. I wanted Sean to know that only after five years was I ready to face my past. I’d spent fifteen years of my life in the p-biz. Enough time to leave a lot more than holes. Now I was getting hit up for memoirs. Sean Philips, a piercer/blogger from Virginia, would get more than he bargained for. And so would I.

I’ve read that for some writers, the process happens so easily that they compose as if they were reading. That’s not how it works for me. Whether it’s a novel or a short story, inspiration comes slowly. My muse must be as naturally stoned as her acolyte. I freewrite. I scribble shitty first drafts. I ponder, and edit, and rewrite. I polish. Pages and pages and pages. If I’m only half satisfied I start over again. Anal? It’s a blessing and a curse. These memoirs weren’t like penning the fiction I’m used to. They poured out of me. They wouldn’t stop. Projectile vomit. For the first time, I was writing like those brainiacs I’d read about. I spent two weeks in the zone, getting it where I wanted it. And I was drained.

Swear on Anton’s bible. I made the same promise to myself that I’m making to all of you right now. I will tell the tale to the best of my ability. The most accurate history that my aging stoner memory will allow. If there are any mistakes, they’re small. Nothing was stretched, or altered, and I feel really good about that. I even did some fact checking to supplement my memory. The good feeling fled when I contacted someone from my past. “Wait a minute,” I told him, couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “You want me to erase your history?” I wouldn’t have believed it in a million years. “Yes,” he said, “I don’t want to be another of your characters.” He’d changed. Now, he was ashamed of piercing. Upset I was writing memoirs. Embarrassed of me. He actually said, “What if they find out I’m tattooed?” A sledge hammer rang the bell of one of those carnival contraptions. Adrenalus Maximus.

I regained my composure after three days of fuming. Fuck it. If my first apprentice would be ruined by all the wonderful and complimentary things I say about him, I’ll spare his feelings, even if I don’t agree with his reasons. It’s so hard to eat a shit sandwich, but I’m not the cosmic chef. And I’m used to it. Now this isn’t Mike Leatherman we’re talking here, he’s way too solid a cat for that. It’s the other Mike, Mike T, the one who asked me to drop or misspell his name. I could be mean and say he’s found religion or Sarah Palin, but that wouldn’t be true.

Tuinstak? Tuinzaka? Tuistenopoulos? There are only two lies in this story. Mike Tuinkhov is the biggest one. You’ll have to read closely to find the other. A small fib with a B.A., a B.S., an M.A., and a Ph.D.


Ancient History

My first job was for the Los Angeles plumbing union, local 78. I slung their tools for fifteen years. I built condo and housing tracts, schools and restaurants, tilt-ups and skyscrapers. I was halfway to retirement and a full pension. That would never happen.

They had no concept of what I was into back in the eighties, unable to pigeon-hole me. They didn’t know how to take piercings and heavy ink. If it wasn’t my blue hair throwing them off, it was the permanent fangs I paid Doctor Fraga a couple grand to install. I’d dangle my legs off a helicopter pad at break time, thirty stories up. I’d toss a paratrooper toy off the side and fight the urge to go with it. I ate my lunch and my pride. I survived under a Harley-Davidson hat and ached for change.

I was very lucky to be accepted as a piercer’s apprentice by Crystal Cross at the now defunct Red Devil Studios, co-owned by Jill Jordan. Same shop that spawned artists Kevin Quinn and the Tuesday Brothers, Riley and Jesse. Hollywood, tattooing, piercing, non-stop excitement. Bliss.

I trained for two years under Crystal back when the only other place in town doing exotic piercing was the Gauntlet. I went from a high-paying Journeyman’s salary and a nice apartment in San Pedro, to a place on the ‘vard I shared with two roommates. I struggled and made chicken feed for wages. Both these things would change.

1993 saw the opening of Cliff Cadaver Body Piercing in Studio City, California. My business quickly flourished, life grew even more exciting, I was happy. For a time.

No Place Like Home

When Red Devil closed its doors, I accepted an offer I couldn’t refuse. Rockwood Rick, owner of Studio City Tattoo and long time friend, suggested I rent a suite above his shop. Business boomed, no one else offered full-range piercing in the San Fernando Valley so I easily cornered the market. In six month’s time a Ventura Boulevard storefront opened up three doors down from Rockwood’s place. I upgraded. I painted the interior with Hammerite metallic silver paint; it looked like someone took a ball peen hammer to the insides of a flying saucer. The exterior was gloss black, red neon, chains, diamond plate and acorn nuts. Giant, four-foot piercing needles skewered signs and fringed the roof. Over the years, I paid a custom metal specialist to fabricate steel and aluminum furniture, counters, walls. Every square inch was silver or metal. My shop was gleaming and bullet-proof. So bitchin’. I worked alone for the first year and thrived.

For further episodes from this series keep checking modblog every Friday until it’s completion. Same mod time, same mod channel.

From The Vault: Mark’s Rotisserie Suspension (Video updated: more footage!)

TSD was the original (modern) suspension crew and a lot of the amazing feats of engineering and artistry the members of TSD and there associates have come up still stand the test of time and many have not been duplicated or surpassed. I was thrilled to see another email from Ron Garza, with a picture, video and story about Mark’s rotisserie suspension circa 2003.


For a video of another one of Mark’s rotisserie suspensions, and to hear Ron tell the tale, keep on keeping on .

The story as told by Ron:

When I was  involved with  the old TSD group back in the mid 90′s most of us back then had our  own individual visions of what suspensions were to us back then. It was a much different  time and suspensions were still relatively a new thing and there wasn’t one way to do anything or  just one mindset as to what suspensions were back then. There wasn’t  really people  doing this everywhere or pictures online to give  people preconceived notions  as to what a suspension were or could be.
The few of us that were into this stuff all talked and  worked together and brought our own individual ideas, thoughts and visions to suspensions. We all differed in that  aspect as well as out reasoning for  being involved  in this.  You  really saw this when you look at we did individually when everyone moved away or did solo stuff and started  their own personal  groups.
Steve  Joyner (  of CoRE fame), with  his excellent use of make up ,costumes,  plots and  show themes really brought  more theatre to suspensions and took the emphasis off the act of suspenions, Allen with  his  intense  solo shows and large group projects, Oliver Gilson whose engineering take on everything has changed not only larger suspension projects and hook designs but also whose rigging style has influenced many and taken suspension rigging into  an artistic realm  that is easily  recognizable.
My whole deal with suspensions has always not only been multi-person suspension projects, but also  high tension kinetic suspensions.  This clip was one of my favorite things we  pulled off.  It was from an early MAYHEM  show in Austin Tx  back in 2003 I want to say.  Mark Rose at the time was one of our hardest  suspension models/hook monkeys  who thrived on being able to take a large amount of intense stuff. This one  threw  him into  shock and broke him. He  still did this 2 more times at least that i can think of. I’m just glad someone had a camera around this time!

This 360 frame was created by Tom Moore  from Steel Fetish.

From The Vault: The T-bar Piercing

The T-bar piercing was introduced to most of the piercing world by Tom Brazda,  a man who has always been on of the smartest and most innovative body piercers in the world. Since then several other piercers have experimented with and have had success with these as well. So how crazy is it that the most recent picture in the T-bar piercing gallery is from 2005? Sure for some piercings, you can get similar results with microdermals, like this one I posted not too long ago. However, it’s not the same, nor are the jewelry options.

The two most common body parts to get T-bar piercings have always been the nipple and the tongue. Yet, that type of jewelry and piercing could be used for so much more as well. Obviously, the T-bar tongue, could prove extremely detrimental to a persons teeth, but the nipple T-bar is still a cool, technical and different piercing that is just as viable today. There is also ear lobes, genitals and other body parts that could have a whole range of different variations on standard piercings using this type of jewelry.

So piercers of the world, get creative, I would love to see some new T-bar pictures added to this old gallery in 2010.


For a few more shots of T-bar piercings, keep on keeping on.

The T-bar tongue with  monofilament hoop as healing jewelry.


The tools used for the T-bar piercing. Keep in mind these pics are probably close to , if not over 10 years old.


Are these key rings implant grade metal?  Doubtful.

However it does show a different way to wear “jewelry” in a T-bar piercing.


Out of the pictures I posted this T-bar nipple seems to hold up the best by 2010 standards.


For a great interview with Tom shortly from back in the day that has a brief explanation of the tongue T-bar in this feature, go here.

From The Vault: Male Breast Implants

There is an age old debate on BME as to whether or not breast implants fall into the same category of body modification as the mods more frequently covered on BME. The point that is usually argued is that breast implants are done to fit into societies ideals, whereas tattoos and piercings are more or a rebellion to those same ideals. Of course, since those original arguments were made tattoos and piercings have become a major part of mainstream society. Whether it be the extremely common piercings or the tattoo imagery that is now printed on everything from t-shirts to high end purses, our subculture is quickly being integrated into mainstream culture.

Well these pictures certainly qualify as body modification, by any sense of the definition. A masculine appearing man getting breast implants, now that is going against societies norm! Well unless you do it for money.

These pictures were submitted in 2004 by IAM:manybodiedman (who no longer appears to be on IAM).

male breast implants 1

For 2 more shots of these implants, keep on keeping on.

male breast implants 2

male breast implants 3

From The Vault: You want to do what?

I went back to the very last page in the Other Suspensions gallery and I found a set of pictures that I took and submitted myself. I was going to wait and use these as a much later From The Vault entry, however, the recent discussions on modblog about BME’s role as media vs. our “endorsement” of certain things by posting them made this post seem perfectly timed for right now. Plus three years ago to the day, this suspension was mentioned in this post , but I feel these pics and this story are damn worthy of a post all their own!

For one day I stepped out of my usual role as a body piercer and suspension group member and played the role of journalist, taking on the job of documenting (not endorsing) this very unique suspension.


For more pictures and my version of the story, click through.

I first met D (full name withheld and face blurred to protect his privacy) about a year before this foot crucifixion suspension was done. He decided he wanted to suspend shortly after seeing Allen Falkner perform a two point chest suspension on one of his many television appearances. D decided this was something he NEEDED to attempt himself. At the time he was already a senior citizen and he was not a big internet user. The reason I mention this is because having only briefly seen a suspension on tv, he did not fully understand the techniques we commonly use. Instead, he devised his own system based on good old fashioned creativity.

He took two 8″ carbon steel rods (approximately 4 gauge in size) and sharpened one end of each. He used these rods both as the needle and the hook for his suspension. He pierced himself about 3″ deep on each side and then made a rig consisting of small rings which went over the ends of the rods and were connected together with a length of rope. When the rope was pulled tight, these rings became taught and did a fine job of holding the rods in place. To get up, he used the most logical means he could, he stepped off a chair, just the same way someone attempting to hang themselves would. After a good long while he reached up with his arms (which is quite the feat in itself from this sort of suspension) and cut himself down.

Shortly thereafter he got online and found BME. He decided he wanted to attempt a suicide suspension, but realized this was not something he could facilitate himself. He wrote into BME and Shannon referred him to me. When he came to me for the suspension he brought the carbon steel rods and his “rig”. I, of course, opted for the community standard mustad hooks and proper suspension rigging so I could put him up using the most modern techniques and standards of the time.

Some time later he got his first and only piercing, a 4 gauge PA. He also did a few more basic suspensions before coming to me and telling me he had attempted a foot suspension (what is now known as a foot crucifixion suspension, a name I dubbed to describe the fact the hooks went through the foot) but failed to get up.  He wanted me to facilitate the next attempt for him. I refused because I did not want to be responsible if something went wrong in a suspension I considered very dangerous for anyone, much less someone of his age.

Some time passed and D contacted me again. He told me flat out he was doing it and would like my help. I once again explained my objections and told him I, as a responsible body piercer and member of the suspension community, couldn’t participate in this. Finally, he asked if I would come by to record the suspension and to call for help in the event that things went bad. I thought about it a bit and as opposed as I was to the idea of the suspension attempt, I felt it would be a huge disservice to D as well as to the suspension community to not have this suspension documented. So I agreed to go and play the role of journalist. I told him I was going to be totally hands off, but I would record the event and be there to help if things did not go his way.


As I mentioned earlier, D was extremely creative with his methods, they were quite crude but also quite clever. He had taken an ice pick and ground the end down to fit inside of the needle, he used this as a needle pusher. On the hooks, which were the mustads I used on him for his suicide suspension, he ground down the ends to make them fit into the needle. If you are familiar with step down external threading or pin tapers, his hooks and needle pusher both worked in a similar fashion to those. He also used a stack of gauze as a stopper for the needle to go into, that combined with his makeshift needle pusher made the fact he was piercing through tough tissue on himself a doable task. This system made piercing and follow through with the hooks as smooth as possible. Like I said, crude but clever.


After the piercing process, he took a moment to gather himself and walked, well more like waddled, on to where he had the pulley set up. He laid down and rigged himself up, while I set up the camcorder and camera. He took a breath and in one continuous motion pulled himself up. With that he had achieved something that, to the best of my knowledge, no one before him nor no one after him had achieved, a true “crucifixion” style suspension. I saw him a few months later and his feet had healed with hardly any scarring. He said “walking was difficult for about a week, but after that everything went back to normal”.

He kept this, as well as his other suspension and piercings hidden from everyone in his life except me and I feel very fortunate to have had a small part in this momentous suspension. It is awe-inspiring to meet someone like D, someone who finds something they NEED to do, purely for themselves and then does it against all odds. I consider D’s story  the “Worlds Fastest Indian” for the modified community, and I hope it continues to inspire people to challenge what is deemed “impossible”. While I can’t recommend anyone attempt to recreate this suspension themselves, I also can’t help but respect D for pursuing his dream and doing “the impossible”.

Want to see more pictures from this suspension? Those pictures and countless other groundbreaking, historic pictures are just a BME membership away.

From The Vault: My first exposure to flesh removal scarification

Hello Modbloggers, Sean Philips here (IAM: LexTalonis). As one of the new guest contributors to Modblog, one thing I want to do is a regular “From The Vault” feature. Modblog has featured the latest and greatest in mods since it’s inception a few years ago, but there are tons of amazing, classic pictures just growing stagnant in the farthest back pages of BME that really show where we as a community came from, and in some cases, where we could still go.

For my first entry I want to go back to the early 21st century, a time when scarification as an art form was developing rapidly. On Modblog we feature AMAZING scarification pieces that rival tattoos for the amount of detail that they contain, but this super detailed scarification is a very recent addition to the body mod world.

In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that the concept of flesh removal to create an artistic scar wasn’t even common. This piece was my, and several other practitioner’s first exposure to flesh removal. The removal was done by Toro, one of the pioneers of flesh removal scarification. The branding was done by Blair, who is arguably the greatest strike brander in the world.

James Raimar got this huge and amazing piece while myself and others watched in awe over a live video feed. Myself and several others returned home and immediately started  trying out this new technique ourselves and look where scarification has gone! The techniques have improved and the aftercare has VASTLY improved, but it is important to remember where our art came from and this piece was a big part of the modern history of scarification.

Healed Toro/Blair Scarification Piece

Want  a few more pics and some full frontal male nudity?

Here it is one month after being done.


…and where there is nudity, Shawn Porter is sure to be near by!