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Club Tattoo Interview Series, Part 3

Jan 7 2008 / Monday

sean thora chester

An interview with Club Tattoo's Sean and Thora Dowdell (Cont'd from Part 2)

RB: So, then how did the etnies shoe collaboration come about?

SD: We have another partner, named Andy, who was approached by etnies to do a shoe with Chester and Chester didn’t really want to have a Chester rock star shoe. He said, “This makes so much more sense, fashion-wise, to tie in the tattoo shop.” So he brought that to etnies and etnies loved it right off the bat, so we flew out…or they flew out here actually…and uh…

TD: (Cutting Sean off) We aligned ourselves with a company that does business the way that we do, which is grass roots. We stay core to our audience. Sole Technology and etnies does the same thing and it’s turned into a passion now to change wearable art and to be more authentic. We are not the first people to do art on shoes but we are definitely the first authentic tattoo art that is going to come out on shoes…hand drawn from our facility by our artists that work here. And the way that etnies produces their quality of shoes, they stay core to their clients and make sure that they’re upholding the quality standard, and we like that. We like that about it--that they are going to represent street style with a passion for art and really with any kind of core lifestyle…there’s music and there’s art and lifestyle. All that’s going to go hand in hand and you make it wearable and before you know it, you’ve got something really cool.

RB: So, obviously the first shoes are going to be out soon…people seem excited about ‘em, you seem excited about ‘em…I’m just wondering if you do envision doing…like into the future doing a second season of shoes, a third season

SD: We actually have a three year contract with etnies…

RB: Oh, OK

SD: So yeah…we’ve got six…

TD: We’ve got a few seasons (Says over Sean)

SD: Six seasons of shoes to come out and the way it turned out was our original contract was for one shoe…

TD: A couple pair…*laughing (Says over Sean)

SD: Turned into a couple pair and turned into four pair and now it turned into four pair twice a year for three years so it just kind of snowballed.

RB: That’s good.

SD: Like everything else for us I guess.

RB: (unintelligible)…that your doing things right…

SD: Hopefully

TD: Well, we’re doing what we love and when you do what you love it comes a lot more easily then someone who drudges themselves to work everyday, hating what they’re doing. We come in with a lot of spirit and a passion for the art and it just culminates into every other subject.

RB: So, how did you decide who was going to come up with the designs for the shoes?

SD: We put it out to twenty-two artists that work for us…

RB: Wow

SD: …And said, “Everybody, submit something or several things,” and we whittled it down to eight, nine or twelve designs. We submitted those to etnies…

TD: And then the designers from etnies brought in their opinion.

SD: Yeah, they whittled it down to six or seven. We ran some tests, ran some samples rather, and then we chose the four pair from there with the etnies team.

RB: Will you sort of take that same process for the following seasons or…

SD: We’ve already submitted everything for the next season, the Spring ’08 and the etnies team locked into four designs right off the bat so we’re not even going to sample seven or eight this time. We’re just going to sample the four that we all loved right away.

RB: Different artists or any people (unintelligible)…

SD: Actually one of the artists…actually no…the same three artists that did the first series got picked to do the second series.

TD: It was kind of a motif going, I guess. They’re all very different…each of the styles…the two…the shoes that are out for ’07…the two female shoes…one is very fashion-forward, wearable art, “look at me” type shoe. The other is a little more (unintelligible) for that girl that doesn’t feel bold enough to get a huge tattoo but will get a little one so she’ll get a little bit on the shoe. So we kind of reached out to both genres of the art world--you know, someone who’s willing to come in and, you know, want to really show off body art versus someone who just wants to test the waters a little bit and not really commit.

SD: The artists that got picked…one of the guys names is Chris Bailey, Matt Gigamma and Melissa Fusco are the three artists that designed both seasons of shoes so far.

RB: I’m going to try to talk to them in a little bit

SD: Cool

RB: So, then which shoes are your personal favorites so far?

TD: I like, for the men’s, the one that he’s wearing. And I have to say the shoe that I’m wearing now, the dove, would have to be my favorite.

RB: Cool…so…I guess what I’m wondering now is…your Club Tattoo involved with etnies or beyond…but, what’s the future of it…is it more stores, is it more…

SD: We’re actually opening up a store in Vegas, mid-summer next year. It’s at the (unintelligible) Casino/Resort…we’re an anchor (unintelligible) so we’re a big boy in that casino. We’re going to open up a three thousand square foot tattoo/piercing studio along with a clothing store on the bottom level of the casino. It’s going to be really, really sick. We plan on opening probably several more stores.

TD: We’ll be the first tattoo shop (talking over Sean)…We’ll be the first tattoo shop that has been allowed to be on the strip in Nevada.

RB: That’s what I was just going to…that could be pretty wild.

SD: It’s going to be great…

TD: It’s going to be very wild…

SD: It’s two and a half years in the making, so is this deal with etnies actually, so everything is kind of culminating…coming to a head at this point from two and a half years worth of work. We also are going to launch a clothing line coming out at Magic this August…it’s called VE’CEL by Club Tattoo. You know, we are very passionate about getting out there in the fashion industry.

*strange noise interrupts and there is laughter

TD: (unintelligible) …never ends…

RB: So, I was going to ask you guys to give me like a funny Chester story, that maybe…

TD: *laughing …How much time you got?...*laughing

RB: We got a lot of time…

SD: I’ll tell you a funny Chester story. I got the best one right here. Chester and I also play in a side project band called (unintelligible)…

TD: Interrupts with loud laughter…yes…

SD:…we played (talking over each other…unintelligible)
last year and that was one of our first shows and we went on a little, it was supposed to be a month tour we got hired to do this thing for RJ Reynolds…to go out and play all of their corporate parties all over the United States and at our very first show, we played in Albuquerque. It was this whole--we were introduced by Ron Jeremy on stage--and it was supposed to be this whole Vegas-goes-Porn thing…

TD (Interrupting Sean) Mind you…I don’t know about the Ron Jeremy part and I don’t know about…

SD: Neither did any of us until we get there...

TD & SD: (Unintelligible talk over each other)
SD: …And we get there and we’re playing in front of…I don’t know…fifteen hundred, twenty five hundred people, something like that and Chester…this was when he was drinking…so he was pretty happy up on stage and we’re all playing and about six, seven songs into the set he raises his bottle of Jack Daniel’s…he’s got a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s in the other--mind you, we’re at an RJ Reynolds party; this is a cigarette party--he gets up on stage and says, “Hey, is everybody having fun?” and it was kind of a dead response and he said, “Alright all you mother-f-ers, how’s it feel to be getting lung cancer and liver disease?” And it was like…you could hear a pin drop.

RB: *Laughing

SD: Our power got cut, security guards came out of nowhere. They just appeared, grabbed all of us, escorted us off stage. Three lawyers came out of the back alley with our contract, highlighted fifty-two points of interest we violated and we got kicked off an RJ Reynolds tour for saying the word cancer. So that, to me, was like the funniest thing and he was so upset because we lost a ton of money and I thought it was the most punk rock moment of my musical career…to be able to tell the tobacco companies to shove it up their…

RB: Yeah

SD: …Was awesome

TD: Yeah, I’m getting text messages at midnight and you can hear everyone in the van…

SD: Talking to our wives…

TD: Talking to their wives…we’re going to get sued by RJ Reynolds…oh my god…

TD & SD: (Unintelligible talk over each other)

SD: …Ready to sue us for three million dollars…all this crap…

TD: Yeah, Yeah, it was a very big situation…

SD: (talking over Thora) It was…just the funniest thing I’ve ever seen him do unknowingly.

TD: Unknowingly…just trying to have fun…he was drinking alcohol himself and smoking while drinking…

SD: (talking over Thora) It was a cigarette party. I mean, that was the whole irony.

TD: Yeah, very ironic.

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