Josh Rahn – Rest In Peace

It wasn’t until a few people posted asking why I wasn’t writing about Josh in the BME tour trip update. As we’ve been primarily offline, I hadn’t heard or read about what happened. Once a few more posts came in and Nikk sent me links to the two news articles about the alleged murder, I finally understood what had happened. While we try to stay on top of news from around the world, you’ll find when you’re offline and out of the states, it’s not easy to stay connected.

I’ll link you to Shannon’s blog to read more of his thoughts on Josh as I had never met him. He has appeared on Modblog before when Shannon first had his eyes tattooed along with Josh and Pauly, it is sad that the next time we mention him, it’s under these circumstances.

My condolences to those of you that knew Josh and the loved ones that he has left behind. Tanky has asked that you contact her via email for more information if you would like to attend Josh’s memorial service on April 22nd, 2010 in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

Due to the ongoing investigation, the circumstances mentioned in the article and the fact that  Josh left behind loved ones. Please think of them before posting comments in the comment section.

Better Late Than Never News

Here I am with your weekend update, what I will now refer to as your “better late than never news”.

What would news be without some celebrity gossip? Apparently, Katie wants a tattoo, but Tom says, I don’t think so! Charlie Sheen is having some personal problems but his tattoos seem to be the topic of discussion. I’ve seen several reports on his recent spat with his (probably soon to be ex) wife and nearly every one talks about his tattoos. Of course, most importantly, Miley Cyrus wants Taylor Swift to get a tattoo. Whatever you do, don’t let Kanye find out!

Ok, now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s move on to some real news:

An exhibition in Philadelphia is tracing the history of tattoos and sailors. The exhibition runs until February 7th so if you’re in the area, check it out and let us know what you thought.

In California, an Air Force recruit, whose tattoos caused some controversy, has finally been sworn in. The Air Force is continuing to look at the issue of tattoos and whether or not to develop some kind of policy about them.

Here’s the kind of story I love, about a 78 year old lady who just got her first tattoo.

In Orlando, a firefighter’s tattoo has inspired a line of clothing.

Finally, I was just sent a link to this story, that interviews a mother who, along with her husband, is being charged with cruelty to a child after they gave 6 of their 7 children homemade tattoos. They used a homemade machine to “draw” the tattoos on, as the article says, using a guitar string as a needle. The youngest of the children is ten years old. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m thinking the guitar string wasn’t autoclaved and the risk to their children goes beyond some poorly done tattoos. What’s your opinion?

Body Modification News

Your Friday news, a day late and a dollar short. Forgive me ModBlog, I tried to work on this while visiting my father in the hospital and couldn’t get the file I’d saved to open. Then I forgot. Enough excuses, on with the news!

In Port Orchard, “tattoos get nod from veterans group“.

A man in China is offering to “sell the skin off his back“.

In Philly, a photography exhibition by Marianne Bernstein is currently on display which captures tattoo culture. The photographs appear in a book titled, Tatted. I definitely want a copy of this book.

Leave it to MTV, in another exploitative reality show a man who only withstood the pain of tattoos by having a few drinks first, finds he can’t get work with those unsightly markings. Read more about that, here. Sorry ModBlog, I never claimed to be an impartial journalist and this one really grinds my gears.

Out of San Francisco, we discover the allure of body art.

Boing Boing has a book review up for Tattoo in Japan. Looks like another interesting book to own!

Here’s an article explaining “Why People Regret Having Tattoos“.

Grilled cheese sandwiches and unicorns. Did I get your attention?

Record setting tattoo sessions? Kids these days, what will they think of next?

Here’s a nice story about a tattoo event for charity out of Rapid City.

The San Francisco Examiner is running a story about Ed Hardy.

Finally, an unfortunate story about a woman who was offered a job and then had the offer revoked when they found out she had a small tattoo on her wrist.

Friday News Report

In what should be the new Friday tradition, I bring you body modification news!

The APP and Penthouse, together at last!

Check your local newsstand for the December issue of Penthouse magazine. Elayne Angel has a three-page spread of material from The Piercing Bible—with information from the APP. This article features advice on how to go about getting pierced cleanly and safely, in addition to discussing some of the more sexual aspects of body piercing (of course). The text is accompanied by photographs from Sean Hartgrove—the APP’s Conference photographer.

So run out and buy a copy of December’s issue of Penthouse. Just tell the news seller you really are reading it for the articles…

More news…

In Lakewood, Ohio, an eatery offers discounts for tattooed.

Tattooed ladies tell their tales in ‘A History’ – A book review from The Trib.

Tattoo parlour evolves into art studio. – I don’t know if I’d call that evolution. Since when are tattoos not art?

Donate to Toys for Tots and get free tattoo removal in Houston. – When kindness and lasers collide!

Do or Dye – The only salon that cuts and tats. Located in Florida. I remember a salon that did the same in Toronto a few years ago. I’m not sure this place is the “only” salon that *ahem* “cuts and tats”.

Cracking the gang code inside Santa Rita Jail, tattoo by tattoo. – “Deputy Mark Schlegel’s job is more like something out of a Dan Brown novel.”

Out of Canyon Lake, a gentler side of tattoos as a lasting testimony to love and family.

Body Mod News

Here are a few body modification related news stories that caught my eye.

No tattoo parlour deal for Old Town.

Geno Cassillo, owner of the nearby Brick House Restaurant, cited recent fights and a drug bust in Old Town, and said a tattoo parlor would bring similar activity.” – Am I the only one thinking “Sin City” right now?  Of course a tattoo parlour would mean more drugs and more fighting, right?  Right…

Rock Bridge senior Logan Parks’ tattoo is more than just ink.

“I’ll see that tattoo in the mirror, and it gets me through every game.” – More than just basketball, this family develops a tradition through ink.

Blackwood 79-year-old takes tattoo plunge.

You’re never too old for a new tattoo!

USF basketball players have tales told in ink.

‘This generation coming up, as time goes on, you can see the tattoos have meaning to them — you have a death in the family, a birth of a child, references to God and faith.” – College basketball and ink collide.

These Design-y Branding Irons Are Begging For a Hipster Following

“If you think about all the weird things hardcore hipsters do to their bodies already—DIY tattoos, safety pin piercings—branding doesn’t seem too far-fetched.” – Oh irony…  Someone hasn’t heard of a little site called BME.

Sad news

This is probably “old news” at this point but Gino from Durban, South Africa sent in this scan of a newspaper article from their area. It’s utterly depressing that a father, who should love his child unconditionally, killed her over her secret tongue piercing.I don’t have more news than this but I thought that it was a relevant piece to share. I hope that he spends the rest of his life in jail. The death of a child over something as temporary as a tongue piercing is a depressing sign of what anger individuals can have pent up inside.


IAM Member Missing

Good news! Lavina is accounted for and safe and sound.

We really hate having to relay messages like this, but we’ve received word that Lavina is missing. The details we have are as follows:

- She came up to Los Angeles to get some work done with her boyfriend on Sept. 17.

- She went with her boyfriend to San Diego (where he lives) and stayed with him for a few days.

- After a few days, she left for Albuquerque, New Mexico to meet up with a friend there who none of her friends or family knew. She apparently got there Tuesday, Sept. 22 and made a short phone call to her boyfriend. That was the last anybody has heard from her. The number from which she made the phone call was disconnected the next day.

- She was expected back in West Covina, California, on Thursday, Sept. 24, but nobody there has seen or heard from her.

- She’s 19 years old, about 4’9″ tall and about 115 lbs. She has long, dark brown hair and brown eyes.

- She has several tattoos on both arms, including a large octopus on her stomach, as well as one two-and-a-half-inch inch stretched lobe and a split tongue.

The Albuquerque sheriff’s department phone number is (505) 468-7100‎.

Any help whatsoever is welcome, of course. We’ll keep you all updated.

BME News and Notes

A few points of interest, folks! First up, a journalist from scenic London, Ontario’s Gazette student newspaper is looking for people to interview:

The Gazette—student newspaper at the university of Western Ontario, Canada—is searching for individuals to profile on body modification. If you have a piercing, tattoo, microdermal, scarification or other form of body modification you’d like to share please contact Specifically, we’re compiling photos and stories of your favourite pieces and investigating the wide-ranging community and mindsets behind the art of body modification.

Next up, David Vidra (of Health Educators) passes along, by way of Lexci Million, the following information regarding the FDA’s recent decision to disallow the sale of various Care-Tech products, including Techni-Care, often used by body modification professionals and in the health care industry:

Please be advised that this matter is in lawyer’s hands and some information cannot be made public as of yet. Rest assured we will have access to our preferred Care-Tech products very soon and shouldn’t worry about the quality of Care-Tech’s products.

Care-Tech® Laboratories, Inc. Suspends Manufacturing and Distribution of OTC Drug Products

ST. LOUIS, MO, September 14, 2009/ – - Care-Tech® Laboratories, Inc. announces that it has suspended manufacturing and distribution of its drug products to address concerns raised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Specifically, the FDA has informed Care-Tech® that it believes the company’s over-the-counter (OTC) drug products have not been manufactured, processed, packed, and held consistent with current good manufacturing practice for drugs, which makes them presumptively adulterated under the law, even where, as here, no finished product has been found to be defective. FDA also has informed Care-Tech® that it believes these products do not conform to an OTC drug monograph, and so are considered unapproved drugs. Accordingly, Care-Tech® has agreed to suspend manufacturing and distribution of our drug products until we have fully resolved these concerns. Care-Tech® has already taken significant steps to address the issues FDA has brought to our attention, and we are working closely with agency officials to ensure any remaining issues are resolved as expeditiously as possible.

Neither FDA nor Care-Tech® is aware of any reports of injury or illness related to the use of these products, and FDA has not requested that previously distributed product be recalled. “The company is committed to ensuring that each of its products reflects the highest standards of safety and purity,” says John C. Brereton, President. “For over 100 years, patient safety has been Care-Tech® Laboratories’ first and foremost commitment. And I can assure you, it remains so today.”

The company intends to update its customers as further information becomes available.

And lastly, the BME Scholarship is now open for donations for the coming year! Visit for all the details. And hey, while you’re at it, why not take a peek at Sidra‘s winning essay from this year, or re-read this interview with previous winner Diego.

No Superfluous Flummery: An Interview With Bob Roberts

Last month, while in Los Angeles for BME’s Tattoo Hollywood convention, I was given, above all else, one specific task: to interview Bob Roberts, the owner of L.A.’s Spotlight Tattoo, whose art gallery opening that week I wrote about here. There was, of course, an element of danger. “He can be very intimidating,” people cautioned me. “Be careful what you say around him.” Though ostensibly well-meaning, these warnings were unnecessary. When we sat down to talk on Sunday afternoon as the convention was winding down, Bob struck me as a cross between Jeff Bridges’s The Dude from The Big Lebowski and John Goodman’s Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski: an old hippie, content with his status and the life he’s lived…who occasionally gets very, very fired up about things. (Voice-wise, though? He’s The Dude.) Drawing from his nearly 40 years of experience, we talked about his humble beginnings, shitty artists he’s known, blow job etiquette in 1970s New York, various people who deserve to have their thumbs cut off and much more. Here’s our entire conversation, edited in parts only for clarity.

BME: OK, let’s start with some procedural questions and then once we’re warmed up I’ll try to make you cry.

Bob Roberts: Alright. Can you hear me? Test, test. Is the needle going on there?

BME: We’re ready to go. So where are you from originally?

BR: Los Angeles, California.

BME: And what brought you to tattooing in the first place?

BR: Well, it’s a long story. My dad had a store at Eighth and Broadway, and he used to take me with him to work on the weekends. When I got old enough to run around, first I would go by this pawn shop that had switchblade knives that would start at one inch and would go until they were maybe over six feet. Then, they had a lot of tattoo shops, so I used to go into all of them until I’d get thrown out, and I just always loved it, man. I saw all these people getting tattooed and from a young age it just nailed me to the wall.

Later on, I was in rock and roll bands for a long time—I played the saxophone—and I was painting a lot of flash and I wanted to find a job, and I thought I could be good at [tattooing]; I loved drawing the designs. So I went to a few shops and went, “Hey! Where can I get some ink and some guns?” And they just told me to get the fuck outta there.

So, I was living in Laurel Canyon, and I was driving down the hill one day and I saw a friend of mine hitchhiking, and he had this girl with him named Truly, and she had a fringed leather jacket on with a really nice Japanese dragon done in Indian beads on there. So I inquired! I said, “Man, that’s a nice dragon, it looks like a tattoo design.” She said it was, so I asked if she did it herself. She said, “Yeah, and I’m a tattoo artist too.” This is 1973, by the way. I told her I was looking into getting some equipment and machine, and she told me she had a whole outfit she could sell me. So, I bought some machines and some flash (that I still have) and a power-pack, and that’s really how I got started.

Shortly after that, I started going down to The Pike and got my first three tattoos—my first shop tattoos—by Bob Shaw, and I told him I was interested in working there. I’d bring him stuff that I’d drawn and I’d get tattooed by him, so he gave me the ultimate challenge: bring some people in that’ll let you put a tattoo on them. Well, I was in a rock and roll band at the time and these guys knew I could draw, so I told them to come to The Pike with me to get some free tattoos—I was bringing two carloads of guys a week down there. And I did alright, you know? I guess they figured, “Well, I guess this means we have to give this asshole a job.” And they did!

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