Freddy Corbin - Tattoo Age - VICE - 3 of 4

Uploaded by vice on Nov 16, 2011


FREDDY CORBIN: Where your thumb is.
Push an arrow.
I'm on!
MALE SPEAKER: Little green light.
MALE SPEAKER: There we go.
MALE SPEAKER: Ready to come.
FREDDY CORBIN: And then you got the zoom.
Forward, backward, the zoom thing?
MALE SPEAKER: We're zooming.
We're zooming.
It's going to be a good thing.
OK, so you can turn it off.
Da, da--
MALE SPEAKER: Hey, you're going second, right?
MALE SPEAKER: The biggest nerds in the world.

I leave Malibu to my brother.
All the Jesus shit to Eileen.
And everything else goes to John.
EDDY DEUTSCHE: Last will and testament right here.
Al, you get everything, baby.
EDDY DEUTSCHE: Everything.
IGOR MORTIS: I want Eddy's machines.
EDDY DEUTSCHE: And Igor can have a couple machines.
But you get to pick them.
And Freddy--
FREDDY CORBIN: But you're going to be dead.
MALE SPEAKER: You can't leave shit to each other.
GUY ATCHINSON: Amy gets everything except the tattoo
shit, which I'm giving to Mad Jack.
MALE SPEAKER: All right.
And Igor?
IGOR MORTIS: I'm taking it all with me.
EDDY DEUTSCHE: He doesn't have anything.
That's why!
IGOR MORTIS: Bad omen.
FREDDY CORBIN: Just don't get nervous.
I know you're going to jump 9,000 feet.
Just don't get nervous.

MALE SPEAKER: Ahh, right on the pad.
Was it fun?
MALE SPEAKER: He doesn't remember.
He missed most of the jump.

MALE SPEAKER: Smiling all the way down.

You can pull all my videos off the shelf.
Here's some water.
I need some for work.
Now he's going to want this.
Go ahead.
It's cheap.
Now this is a cool photo.
This is doing the last tattoo at Realistic.
That's Howie the Cosmic Commander.
This would probably be about June or May of '91.
And you'll recognize those screens in the tattoo time.
Realistic Studio was opened up in '74.
I had the honor of working there in '90 and '91.
And what it was was Ed went over to Japan after hanging
out with Jerry in Hawaii and stuff, and when he came back
he wanted to open up, basically, the United States'
first appointment only non walk-in tattoo shop.
There was no sign.
You couldn't see it from the street.
That's where Bob Roberts worked.
Greg Irons worked there.
Phillip sat in there.
Leo Zulueta worked there.
What happened was, Realistic, the lease was coming up, and
Eddy wanted to move to San Francisco.
And we wanted to work together, but we didn't want
to work in that back room format.
We wanted a walk-in tattoo shop.
We, basically, were going to open up a shop and we were
going to hire Igor Mortis and Dan Higgs, and that's where
the whole Temple Dude tattoo came from.
Because we were going to work a convention, I think in New
Orleans together, but we weren't going to really be
able to talk about the shop yet.
But we felt, out of respect, we should go to Ed first and
ask Ed if he wanted to own the shop.
And we were driving across the Bay Bridge he actually brought
it up, so what are you going to do Fred?
Your lease is coming up.
I been wanting to talk you about that.
I got this idea.
He drove from the bridge to Columbus and was like, this is
where I wanted to open up when I first got back.
And the next morning he had the place rented.
That's how he operates.
He just gets shit done.
So we opened up Tattoo City on July 1 of '91, and I worked
there till about '96.
If I were to be really truthful, it was really
difficult working with Eddy Deutsche and Ed Hardy, because
I had only been tattooing a few years.
And Eddy was amazing from the gate.
And Ed Hardy was the best tattooer in the world.
Like living in a fishbowl.
We opened up Tattoo City and people are coming in and just
expecting me to be able to--
I want a back piece of this, and I want this.
And I wasn't ready to do big tattoos like that yet.
There were some that I could do.
I could do a big Jesus head back piece or a big rock of
ages maybe because they were simple enough.
But I couldn't do wind bars or Japanese water back then, and
stuff like that.
I still had to learn how to do all that stuff.
I did feel a lot of pressure, to be honest, to be able to do
anything because I worked for Ed Hardy at Tattoo City.
I think a big dynamic of one of the reasons that I got into
drugs even was because there was so much pressure.
I never got into heroin and stuff because I
had a career going.
Like, I work for Ed Hardy.
I didn't take this shit lightly.
I'd start popping Valiums at the end of the day.
And I'll say, it kind of helped for a while, because
you're working all day and you're tattooing somebody,
that's a pretty serious thing.
You know what I mean?
It's not like a haircut.
It doesn't grow back.
And I remember the first time I used to--
this was before cable--
I used to love David Letterman.
And I'd watch David Letterman and I remember smoking a joint
and taking a couple Valiums and feeling that feeling, that
kind of calmness and serenity.
Like, oh, wow.
This feels really good.
And I got into--
when I started getting my ribs tattooed I started taking some
dilaudids and some morphine pills.
And my brother, unfortunately at the time, was getting into
heroin and using heroin.
And there was nobody shooting up, there was no junkies
hanging around, it was like, let's just buy a little bit
and smoke it on some foil.
And it seemed at the time, not innocent, but not harmful.
It didn't seem as harmful as it really was.
And ironically Ed had given me a month off because I was
doing so good.
I mean, we had closed Realistic and opened up Tattoo
City and I was working my ass off.
He said, Freddy, you've been doing so good.
You should take a month off, dude.
And that was the month I got strung out.
Because I just laid around my house and covered the windows
and slept for-- would just go into my room and not come out.
And I would try the 90 meetings in 90 days thing.
It's just not me.
And then I would go through periods of just
giving up even trying.
I had gone to Amsterdam and I was living in the Red Light
District and I was using a lot.
And some crazy shit went down.
My brother got in a car accident.
My brother was a paraplegic.
I called Ed and let him know what was going on and that's
kind of when I got canned at Tattoo City and stuff.
I wanted to tell Ed that I was strung out because I really,
really respected him.
But Ed's business.
So I always knew that Ed would be like, well, Freddy, I love
ya and I appreciate you telling me but you gotta go.
And I was fine with that.
But I wanted to kind of go to him--
it sounds silly in retrospect--
but I wanted to kind of get clean and then go to Ed and
say here's what's been going on.
But in the midst of my grandiose plan of trying to do
this and figure out all this crazy shit, because it's like
you're getting caught up in a shit storm.
He basically canned me.
And then, from what my mom tells me and Eddy and stuff,
that he was really concerned at first.
It was like, what are we going to do?
We gotta get him into rehab.
But by the time I was walking through the gate, he was
yelling at me and screaming at me and all kinds of shit.
So I think he just got kind of angry.
Then it was like all eyes on me.
Around the world.
What's Freddy going to do kind of shit.
It's just really good gossip.
That's pretty much it.
It's like, I think there's a couple dynamics.
There's it's great gossip.
There's the hater aspect.
And then there's the concerned friend aspect of it, too.
There were people that really loved me that were
concerned about me.
There were a lot of people that were stoked.
I don't mean stoked to see me go down, but
like, I had '66 Chevelle.
I was young, I was making money, I was
working for Ed Hardy.
I was kind of rolling.
JASON MCAFEE: I don't really know if I think that's the way
people wanted to see it go for Freddy.
Even though he might say that, I don't really think so.
I think people love him and never really want to be like,
yeah, fucking Freddy's fucked up.
Or Freddy fuckin' blah, blah.
I think that could be his own little thing
going on with him.
I didn't know about the Tattoo City thing, and why he got
fired, or the stuff with him and Ed, or drugs or whatever
had been going on with him.
He was very open about it.
He's a very open person, and was very like, hey, man, just
want you to know, this is what's happened and
you might get shit.
And people are always going to be like, oh, Freddy Corbin
because he's messed up or whatever.
But he's been through some bad shit.
People dying, his brother getting in an accident and
being paralyzed, his brother dying recently.
Things just with his whole life.
Like, he's had a pretty rough run.
And he's come out on top and been amazing.
There's something about him, that his soul and his heart is
just so genuine and so real.
And no matter if he was drugs or not or weed or whatever the
fuck he was doing, there's this part of him that you just
care about and I love no matter what.
FREDDY CORBIN: Of course I wanted to do the right thing,
whatever that was.
So I got off dope.
I stayed clean for a little while, but not long.
And then I ended up going back to Amsterdam and kind of just
bailing the whole scene.
I continued to use in Amsterdam for a while, and
even here in Oakland for a little bit, and then just
wasn't happy.
It just wasn't working for me.
Just staying well and just darkness,
just living in darkness.
So my friend Vinny was always really cool about being really
supportive in a non-judgmental kind of way, was always there
for me as a friend.
And even my wife Lisa, who was then my girlfriend, as
stubborn as we both can be, and as much as we're on
opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to things like
religion or going to India or shit like that, she was always
there for me, too.
So the two of them are really instrumental in me kind of
getting my shit together.
LISA CORBIN: A lot of us have gone
through the similar things.
It is helpful to have other people because they can kind
of call you on your shit.
But there are times when we were all just
like, what can we do?
At a loss.
And there are times with Freddy that were very scary.
Knowing Freddy has been a journey, and sometimes I've
had to hold on with the tightest ropes I've ever had
to hold on to in my entire life.
And I go through all that doubt of, what am I doing?
Am I crazy?
But there was always something there.
There's always that bond.
There was always that connection.
And it's just been amazing to see him pull through that.
There must have been something deep down that
made him want to live.
And then we have Sonny, our awesome son.
And he's just sort of taken, I think, some of that energy and
put it into him and they have a beautiful relationship.
Makes me jealous sometimes.
Ready for the dip?
Can you dip?
Oh, that's the sound.
I guess you do the right thing, good things happened.
Because I was always petrified of having a kid, because I had
been strung out for so many years.
So it was just like, I wouldn't be a good father.
I could never do this or how would this work?
The two things that petrified me the most were getting clean
and having a kid.
And I eventually was able to get clean.

Sonny, my son, has just been the coolest thing in my life.
Because I think when we were talking earlier, I said I
could have never imagined having a kid, and I can't even
imagine what it would be like to not have him.
And I named him after Sonny, kind of.
But Sonny was such a notorious fuck-up, Sonny Tufts, that it
was like, did you name him after Sonny?
Well, not really.
I really just kind of learned how much I loved that name and
how endearing it was to me because of my friend and
because of knowing him so long and stuff like that.
JASON MCAFEE: I tell him all the time.
I'm just like, dude, from when I met you to now, it's insane.
When I met him, he lived three blocks up in this dark,
shitty, fuckin' depressing apartment.
it was just this den of, like, you sat on a couch and you
would melt in it and almost fall asleep.
I would get there and just be like, 11:00 in the morning
coming to work, and I was just--
And just to see where he's come from to like, getting
married, having a baby, owning the two successful shops.
His house, his life, he's changed so, so much.
And definitely, it's Sonny.
Seeing him be a dad is unbelievable.
I've never seen someone attack it so strongly and so
passionately and become--

he's a rad dad.

FREDDY CORBIN: Look at you.
There you go.
Do it.
Do it.
You conquered.
TIM HENDRICKS: It's hard to tame a free spirit, and he's
the ultimate free spirit.
So I think this is one way of doing it organically and
naturally, is having a kid and having a family.
He's still Freddy.
Nothing changed about him.
I admire people like that.
He's an extremely fun time.
Freddy could have fun in a cardboard box.
MAX SCHAAF: The weirdest thing to me is, he
goes to Burning Man.
And he's like, it was insane, bro.
And I never want to go to Burning Man.
I just don't have any desire to, but when Freddy tells you
about it you're like, what?
Oh my god, really?
Because he's just that cool.
FREDDY CORBIN: I feel like Burning Man prepared me for
India, because at Burning Man, anything goes.
You could be talking to some really cool fuckin' people
that are just really down, and the next thing you know you've
got some crazy dude tripping on acid who's flailing and not
knowing where the fuck he is, or whatever,
because there's no rules.
And India is the same way.
India is no rules.
We have this term.
It's like, both and.
It's profound, profane, and then a little bit more.
India is so intense.
You could see a dead person in the street.
There's lepers.
There's people begging.
There's poor kids begging, running around
with no pants on.
There's just a lot of poverty.
A cliche that people say is that India is the most
beautiful and the most horrific place that
you'll every go.
And it's true.
So you'll be out boating and you'll see a
carcass floating by.
A bloated human body will just--
I've seen a dog with a hand in it's mouth cruising off like,
I got some food.
It's just bizarre.
First time I was there, I was like, if I stayed at this one
hotel, I could maybe bring Lisa and her mom here.
Her mom's really cool.
And I'm just like, why am I wasting my time trying to turn
them on to something that I think is really cool?
My wife has no desire to go to India.
It's too dirty for her.
She won't even go camping.
If there's not a toilet, she's not interested.
LISA CORBIN: Freddy's spiritual side is very
separate from our relationship.
It's not something that we share or do together.
So his trips to India, or Burning Man, or Brazil, or the
tea ceremonies, or the parties that he goes to, like the
alchemy parties.
Freddy, I think, maybe got opened up to different things,
but I think he's always been a spiritual.
JASON MCAFEE: His spiritual side is, all over the place,
in a good way.
I think Freddy believes and dabbles in a little
bit of all of it.
There's obviously a lot Jesuses here and a lot of
Christian stuff and all this stuff.
And he even sometimes will say that's what he is and what he
does, is he's a Christian.
But he believes so much in Buddha and all these other
kinds of religions and forms of religion that I think he
takes pieces from all of it.
He's definitely got a lot of spirituality.
Wherever it comes from, I couldn't really pinpoint.
FREDDY CORBIN: I don't feel bound by any dogma of any
religion whatsoever.
And I consider myself a Christian because I'm down for
Jesus and I believe in what he was here for, as well as
Buddha or Martin Luther King or Gandhi or
anybody of that nature.
I'm just kind of into positive energy.
And I think we're all God's fuckin' children.
We're all brothers and sisters no matter what religious sect
or color or size or sex or whatever.

Huh, Son?
And don't trust the government.

LISA CORBIN: I think, actually, when Freddy's
brother passed away because of his involvement in his
spirituality, it really helped them through it.
Because I think that he was in a place where he was able to
accept it and felt that it was maybe the universe had
actually let things happen in a way that was best.
He handled it in a way, I think, that was the best--
I don't know.
He got through it and I think he got through it because of
what he believes in.
And it didn't send him over the edge, because a lot of
those things--
Freddy lives on the edge.
A lot of us have lived on the edge.
And it's one of those things.
Death can be one of those things that
might put you there.
FREDDY CORBIN: My brother was kind of a lone wolf.
I was one of his few friends so I decided to do his funeral
on the Ganges, just take his ashes to India and do it
there, do his little funeral there.
And it's-- they call it a puja.
So you do a puja for the dead and then you do a puja for the
people that you love that are alive.
And so the first day was a lot of burning, and certain
incense and smoke and stuff.
And then the ones for your living loved ones, a lot of
flowers, water.
The living day one, I had to hold this pitcher of water
over the shiva lingam, which is basically like a penis and
vagina statue.
It represents fertility and the cycle of life.
I had to pour this huge pitcher of water over it.
They fill it up and then I'd have to hold it.
And then they fill it up again.
And by the third time, I'm kind of holding my arm.
I came home and I said to Lisa-- because she had been
wanting to get pregnant for a while.
I came home and I said to Lisa, I said, well, if you're
ever going to get pregnant, it's going to happen now,
babe, because I had to hold this penis water thing over
these flowers.
And I was just kind of joking about it.
And she said, well, if I get pregnant, I'll turn Hindu.
She literally said that.
And right after we got married and got locked into this
house, she turns up pregnant.
And I'm convinced that definitely helped.
I'm not saying that was the cause of it.
Obviously, sperm had a lot to do with it.
But I think stuff like that helps, and my beliefs.
That intention is a big part of anything that we do.

Peel it.

All right.
That was cool.