Opening up a new business is pretty anti-punk, but Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge's new biz is anything but a suit-and-tie kind of joint. In between working on the band's new album (set to drop sometime around December and inspired by the departure of 20-year long frontman Jim Lindberg) plus the group's upcoming European tour, the rocker found time to open his new, grungy parlor, 3rd Street Tattoo. "Hermosa Ink just sounded a little too Miami Ink or LA Ink," Dragge says. The place, which opens today, is born of his love of controversy and, well, tattoos.
"There's been, like, a ban on tattoo parlors in Hermosa Beach and one of my friends actually took it to the ninth district court of appeals and they said that it was unconstitutional to not allow tattoo parlors," Dragge says. "He won his court case after a 50-year ban. So we jumped on there and we got a couple artists that are 15, 16-year veterans."
After successfully warding off snotty naysayers and busy bodies--who, according to Dragge, are "a group of people suing Hermosa Beach for allowing tattoo parlors because they think its going to expose the citizens of Hermosa Beach to infectious diseases. It's just a ridiculous lawsuit"--the guitarist and his coworkers are planning a rager (with "tons of booze") to celebrate the successful move into the area. After six months of construction, 3rd Street is opening its doors tonight at 7 p.m. In addition to food and drink, bands like Local Hate, Allura, All-Over, Special C and Mike Smith's Ape Rock are slated to perform.
Dragge (whose been getting tatted for over 20 years now and hopes to get his certification to ink soon) fully expects the party to get rolled by the cops.
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"We're gonna give them what they want," Dragge says. "If they think we're gonna make noise, then we're gonna make some noise for 'em and see how they really like it. But for the most part a tattoo parlor is four people sitting quietly in a chair getting tattooed. It's so ludicrous to act like this is some criminal activity. It's changed a lot over the years. If you're a gangbanger you're getting tattooed in jail and you're definitely not paying someone 150 bucks an hour to tattoo you. We're gonna punch them in the face tomorrow night. And if they don't like it or the police don't like it, then too bad, we'll have to deal with that when it comes."
Not that the fuzz are his biggest concern tonight.
"I have some terrible tattoos," Dragge says of getting inked while hammered, "Like I have a line that runs from my middle finger all the way up to my chest, my heart. It's like, up my whole arm and it has stitches across it so it looks like I have a stitched up arm. I kinda woke up in the morning going 'Wow, I'm glad that was a dream' and I look down and it's there and I'm like 'That wasn't a dream. Cool.'"
3rd Street Tattoo is located on 331 Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach. The parlor has six tattoo artists and will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.