While surfing around Facebook I see lots of things: Friend requests from people I barely know, new pictures being uploaded, people checking themselves in at different locations, and invites to upcoming events. Most times I am already aware of the event (thanks to Local Oracle), and like you, most of the time I don’t really care for any of the events I’m invited to.
The other day an event popped up that was different: Fender Bender, put on by Sinners & Saints Tattoo and Body Piercing. I was so interested that I actually clicked on the link to investigate. Being the avid collector of tattoos that I am, I had known about Sinners & Saints as a tattoo parlor for quite some time, but I had never been there.
So I did what any red blooded American would do: I scheduled a tattoo appointment at Sinners & Saints four days later and went in head first to find out the scoop. Apologies to my Nana, but any excuse to get a new tattoo is a good one.
Walking into the shop, the whole vibe and atmosphere made me feel a bit manlier. The walls were covered with freak show pictures, and the place had a rockabilly/punk rock theme. Not too far off from your traditional tattoo shop, but definitely different enough to set itself apart.
While waiting for my tattoo artist to finish drawing up the new piece of artwork that will forever be embedded on my skin (again, sorry Nana), I was able to sit down with the owner of Sinners & Saints, Roger Chouinard, to find out what this Fender Bender event is all about and how he became in charge of it. I was about to find out some very interesting information about this not so “traditional” local tattoo parlor.
So Roger, What is this Fender Bender event that you are putting on?
Roger: It is taking place in Onset on July 30th, 2011. It is the 1st of what will be an annual, FREE, fun, and family-oriented event that is a great excuse for families to get out and have fun. There are going to be a Hot Rod and motorcycle show/contest and its just a great event that is FAMILY FRIENDLY. I remember growing up and LOVING it when my dad would bring me to a car show. I want to give that experience back, and it’s a lot of fun and excuse for me to see and play with cars and bikes.
There will be custom made trophies and plaques—Best Stock Hot Rod… etc, will be given out after being decided by own panel of local judges.
And you put this all together by yourself?
I did all the organizing. It’s a ton of work but I had a lot of help from the Onset Bay Association (OBA). All the money… I should say, any money that is raised will be donated the OBA to help them put on more free public events. Onset, Wareham, and the entire area is starving for things to do. I really want this to be a fun, free family event that people enjoy and have a great time just being outside.
Are you involved with other events? I mean you weren’t just sitting around one day and said, I don’t have a enough stuff to do, let’s put together a great big outdoor event.
Like I said I always use to go to these types of events with my father and I absolutely loved it. I have been involved with bands and touring and putting on events for most of my life. I use to tour and work with bands like Twisted Sister (D. Snider), and Penny Wise in Canada. Playing to over 12,000 people; now that was a blast.
I have done also done a lot of work with other events, specifically related to the Station fire that happened in RI several years ago. I lost a couple friends and had even more friends that were closely affected by that horrible tragedy.
Through the shop here we are always supporting whatever local charities and events. We have supported and worked with benefits for breast cancer and cerebral palsy, and even some of the local sports teams.
So you’re really giving back to the community that you are involved with. That’s awesome. As you know, tattoos and body piercing have been around for 100’s of years but it only just became legal in Massachusetts to tattoo someone in 2001. Even though tattoos and piercings are becoming more popular and accepted by the mainstream, they still hold a dark stereotype, but Sinners & Saints seem to go completely against that.
Tell me a little bit about the shop: How long has your shop been open? How did you become involved with tattooing?
Well the shop has been open for five years now. We have five artists and one piercer/artist. But besides receiving tattoos I’ve never been the one behind the [tattoo] gun.
Wait, you’re not a tattooist yourself? You own a tattoo parlor but don’t actually tattoo?
Haha yeah. I had stopped touring and doing all the band stuff to concentrate more on family. I was literally lugging planks in the wonderful New England winter and looked up at my best friend (who was a tattoo artist) when I said, “Enough of this, lets open a tattoo shop.” He said, “Okay,” and that was that.
He ran the business with me for 6 months before he had to leave do to outside circumstances. But I kept my head down and kept trudging. Most of my entire tattoo artist staff actually used to own their own shops haha. Andy (my tattoo artist) use to own his own place in Taunton actually. I just keep working at it and things have continued to be on the up and up.
I did this interview at 12pm on a Monday, not a holiday, just a normal Monday. Every 5 minutes the door was opening up and new people were coming in. I honestly couldn’t believe how busy the shop was, on a MONDAY MORNING. It was something that I would have imagined seeing at like 6 o’clock on a Friday or noon on a Saturday.
So you went from the band stuff, to hauling planks in the snow, to opening up your own tattoo parlor. May I ask what your education is?
I just have a high school diploma. I once took a marketing class that I failed but I learned a lot from. Like I said, I’ve been involved with setting up and promoting gigs and big events for a long time. It’s about marketing to the right crowd and knowing your audience. I’m doing what I love and having fun doing it.
How is it having a shop in Wareham? Obviously there is no lack of customer base (judging from the door barely being able to stay closed).
It’s great. I grew up here. We actually just opened another shop over in Marshfield. It’s hard to go anywhere and not run into potential customers or people who know me. I’m an easily recognizable guy and everyone always wants to talk to me about “new artwork”, or ”Can you fix this piece?” I get stuff like that all the time. I try to keep business in the shop but its hard. We sponsor little league team, junior basketball association, do the whole benefit thing. Summer is obviously busier than winter but its steady.
Who was your most memorable customer?
We had an old lady come in who is one of the remaining Holocaust survivors and she had us tattoo her serial numbers on her. She was the sweetest old lady. I still see her out and about every so often and she always comes up to me and gives me a big hug.
Where did the name come from?(Without skipping a beat he answered)
It was the name of a bar in the Punisher movie haha.
Awesome. OK back to the Fender Bender event. Are there still openings for people to get involve with this if they want to bring in a car or bike?
Venders should contact me by the week prior to the Fender Bender. Cars and bikes can just show up. That is, unless they are coming with a massive amount of bikes or cars; then they should contact me ahead of time so I can put some space aside.
I want to express this to everyone. THIS IS A FAMILY EVENT. Some guy came by trying to pitch an idea to me about selling calendars of half naked girls and I told him to get out of here.
There will be NO ALCOHOL…but there will be plenty of face painting for kids (and I adults too).
It is July 30th 2011 in Onset Center from 11am to 4pm
There will be former WWE Wrestling Stars (from when it was WWF), midget wrestling, and of course, bikes and Hot Rods. I will also have a whole line of “work” jackets for sale, super cheap.
Oh, and the rain date is the 31st of July (the following day).
Thanks Roger. It was fun and very interesting speaking with you.