Father John Misty in 2013


The always-enigmatic Josh Tillman (AKA: Father John Misty) has a new album coming out. So it seemed like a good time to revisit this classic 2013 interview with the goofball and pop star. Please enjoy.

What are you up to today?

I’m making some tea right now. That’s one of the perks of the solo-tour life is having a lot of personal space. It’s actually my first-ever tour on a bus, so I’m just kind of lazing about right now.

Before you used to tour in jets, right?

But now you’ve downgraded to bus level? Yeah, the jets… Actually, have you ever seen that Iron Maiden airplane? The lead guitarist of Iron Maiden is licensed to fly commercial jets, like 747s. One time, I was on a layover in Reykjavik, and I saw it land. It’s got Eddie emblazoned across the whole side of the thing. Incredible. If you’re traveling by jet, your music is dead. It’s dead, banal and popular.

Iron Maiden’s got a beer, too, and I know you’ve got that perfume out…

Nobody is buying that perfume. I gotta put a sex tape on the internet or something. I mean, there’s only a couple hundred bottles of it. With the perfume, though, it’s funny: I will very trepidatiously admit it’s satirical in some respect. But it’s actually, like, a really good perfume. It’s made with these incredible, rare oils, and it’s all natural. But I think people enjoy it more as a satirical commodity than a real commodity. But I regret nothing. I still think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

Do you feel like you put yourself out there and got rejected?

Um, no, certainly not based on the sales. I’m being a little hyperbolic when I say it’s not moving at all. It’s paid for itself; it’s all good. It’s not a money hole or anything. But I will say that, with the perfume, some of the glibness around it I thought was a little unsavory or something. In my mind, it was this really simple thing: I have this friend who makes these small-batch perfumes, and my sense of humor is very subtle. I was just thinking, like, “This is hysterical, but people will also see the merit in this.” I thought there would be a little wink to it.

But I think people ended up interpreting it like a gag or something—this big, gross, tacky gag. Like, [puts on obnoxious voice] “It smells like weed!” I would rather kill myself than put out a weed perfume. No exaggeration. I would rather kill myself than put out a weed-scented perfume. This is the way people think, in these blunt terms. Like, what I should have done was put out a men’s boutique beard maintenance shaving kit with tobacco and scented oils. That’s just not me, though. That’s a little too earnest or something.

Do you really not have friends?

Well, yeah, I think so. Yeah, I have some friends. But not many. I’m 32. When you’re in your 20s, you have friends as a means of survival. You don’t even have to try to have friends. You have a job or you drink at this certain bar and you’re surrounded by this network of other people and it’s good and it’s comforting and et cetera. But there’s just more and more that I wanna do and experience in seclusion than with other people. I can’t explain it. It’s not so much about people; it’s more about me. I haven’t made a conscious decision about that or anything, but I find that the things I want to accomplish require me cultivating some kind of internal silence. If you played “I’m Writing a Novel” for Neil Young, what do you think he’d say? You know, I’ve actually played that song in front of him before—in a really intimate setting. This was years ago, right when I started writing these songs. Half of the set was J. Tillman material and half of the set was the new Father John Misty material. I was opening for his wife in San Francisco at this tiny club that holds maybe 150 people. Neil Young was playing guitar and watching the set from the side of the stage. I have no idea what he thought, but I imagine he must have some objectivity on the fact that he’s considered an inspiration or a prominent figure in the songwriter archetype.

Four Reasons Why I am Loyal to the Coil 

I love the coil. I love the feel of it in my hands. I love the familiar buzz it makesthat grating hum that has more or less served as the soundtrack to my career. Hell, I even love the tingling it leaves behind in my fingers after a long day’s work. You may call it nerve damage, but I call it the money buzz. The more it tingles, the more cheddar you’re going home with.  


I do, however, recognize the subjectivity of the preference. In the words of Monty Python’s Anne Elk, this opinion, “which is mine, belongs to me.” I won’t, for a minute, pretend the coil is objectively a better machine than the rotary. Nor will I pretend that I don’t get the draw of a rotary. There’s definitely a reason that so many of my colleagues have made the switch, and even I can be caught using one for a specific application from time to time. Most importantly, I won’t judge you if you choose to use a rotary, even if I secretly laugh at the fact that you look like you’re holding a dildo. You do you; I’ll do me.  


What I will do – and this is for those in the new generation who didn’t experience the traditional apprenticeship and thus, didn’t get that history lesson on why the coil is so precious to so many of us – is explain why I still choose the doorbell over the dildo.  


It’s Infinitely Adjustable. 


This is really the meat of the argument for me. The easiest, most efficient way to explain it is to parallel this with the Mac/PC debate. A rotary, like a Mac, needs little adjustment. Pull it out of the box, turn it, on and you’re ready to go. It’s already been set up and dialed in to be as efficient as possible for as many applications as possible. It’s user friendly, it’s intuitive, it’s ergonomic, and it practically never malfunctions. Wonderful. You really can’t go wrong with it. But like a Mac, the rotary’s strengths can also be its weaknesses.  


The coil, of course, is the PC in this analogy. It might be a bit more cumbersome to the uninitiated, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s totally serviceable in house and has infinite possibilities for customization. That goes for both the individual and the job at hand.  


For example, I have an old friend who runs his machine crazy fast – like, somewhere around 180hz. For any normal artist, that would be batshit crazy. But he works, and really, exists, at a freakish pace, so it works for him. He couldn’t do that with a rotary.  


There’s a Romance to it. 


It’s difficult to put this into words. In one way, it’s a non-argument, because it’s ultimately about feelings – and fuck your feelings, AMIRIGHT? In another way, it’s really the most universal reason that so many of us have remained loyal to the coil.   


For those of us who cut our teeth, so to speak, in the ebbing years of the previous millennium, the building and fine-tuning of the coil is part of the ritual, as essential to the creative process as the artwork itself. They have a swagger and style to them that an out-of-the-box rotary machine just can’t achieve for us. It’s ultimately an intangible thing. It’s the same reason an audiophile will swear by vinyl when there’s no legitimate scientific basis for the preference. It’s why guitarists will more often than not choose a tube amp when there are perfectly good digital models on the market. It’s a feeling that’s rooted in tradition, nostalgia, and the punk rock, DIY ethos at the core of the trade. If you don’t get it, that’s OK. It just means that I’m probably cooler than you.  


It’s a Vessel of Pride and Tradition. 


We touched on this in the last point, but it deserves a subheading of its own. For the artist who was trained on the coil, it represents far more than a gadget that injects the ink into the flesh. It’s an instrument. The fine-tuning and maintenance of the coil is just as much part of the art as the actual artwork. The gauge of the spring, the voltage, the length, the gap – they all play a crucial role in the perfection of the final output.  


The fabled titans of this industry developed their own unique specs for their coils and then guarded them more closely than KFC recipe. Legend has it that Jerry Collins was so protective of his secrets that he would often set up extra machines in disastrous configurations and leave them out just to sabotage his nosy competitors.  


A finely tuned and configured coil is a point of pride. This is mine, my secret recipe, the accumulation of my validation in a world of protected secrets. Some of my most treasured moments have been when an artist I looked up to quietly gave me a pointer on how to better configure my machine. In many ways, those moments (and there were several) served more as a personal validation than any tattoo I’ve ever completed. Once again, you just don’t have that with a rotary.  


Because Fuck You, That’s Why! 


In the end, this is a trade based on rebellion, irreverence and individuality. Prior to this new era of catering to soccer moms and annoyingly hip youth pastors, merely picking up the machine was an act of defiance. Therefore, at the end of the day, those of us who love our coils, love them because we do and you can fuck right off if you take issue with that. Of course, I say this all in love and mutual respect.  



With the help again of Monty Python’s Anne Elk, I want to reiterate that this opinion, “which is mine, belongs to me.” This isn’t science, nor is it gospel. It’s a conveyance of my thoughts, based on my own experiences. Likely, there are many from my generation of artists who can relate, but I can only speak for myself. The rotary machines are now evolving at a near-exponential pace and will likely soon render my thoughts here obsolete. But until that happens, dear younger generation, you should know that our incessant loyalty is more than blind stubbornness. It’s a mixture of familiarity, mechanics, history and tradition. That is why we are loyal to the coil.  



Thoughts articulated by Jeff White 

Cowritten by David Pogge 



Jeff White is a 25-year veteran tattoo artist and the owner of Urge 3 Tattoos in Penticton, British Columbia. He is incredibly generous with coffee and looks great in hats.  


You can follow him on Instagram @amcbutcher. 

You can follow his studio @urge3tattoos.   

Educational Resources for Piercers 

Dear Ms. Angel, 

I was wondering if you have any suggestions on where I can learn more to become a better piercer? I know that my apprenticeship was lacking in a number of areas and I could use some help. I had plans to shadow some other piercers, but that all fell through because of the pandemic.  


often struggle with septum piercings, and sometimes have trouble with tonguetoo. Not that I’m doing any of those right now, but I’m sure I will in the future. Also, I have only done a few genital piercings (frenum and labia), but I would really like to know more. I turn down a lot of business because I don’t feel confident and didn’t really get trained. Honestly, I would like to learn anything that will make me the best piercer I can be. Do you have any recommendations? 


Your help is much appreciated. 



Dear W., 

Thank you for caring about doing a good job. That is an essential element of being a truly good piercer, in addition to expanding your skills and knowledge base throughout your career. I support and encourage your quest to continue your education 


There is a shocking amount of inept “professional” piercing still taking place throughout the US and around the world; so, I’m always happy when piercers take a genuine interest in what they’re doing. Through the online consultations I perform for the public, I see photos of substandard piercings daily, and sometimes criminally deficient performance by members of our industry. They do not appear to care about doing a good job, and it shows in their work. 


It is important for piercers to seek updated information and ongoing training throughout our careersThere are always new developments and improvements in techniques, tools, and products to consider. We should openly embrace useful tips and proven changes that could make our jobs safer or our work more accurate and effective. I, too, continue to learn and revise my practice and wish all piercers were open to the same. 


Online educationcannot take the place of in-person, hands-on instruction under the guidance of a qualified mentor. When it is safe and possible to shadow other practitioners again (perhaps after being vaccinated against COVID-19), that avenue is worth pursuing. Meanwhile, below is a list of more accessible means for acquiring knowledge to help your professional development.  


Association of Professional Piercers resources: 


  • APPhas presented online coursesi covering helix and surface piercings, bedside manner, skin prep, surface disinfectants, tray set-up, instrument decontamination and reprocessing, initial jewelry sizes and styles, and other relevant topics. They plan to offer additional virtual education options in the future. The organization also has piercing-specific bloodborne pathogens training classes online. 


  • The APPhas Facebook forums for membersii and non-members,iii where you can ask questions and review others’ posts. 


  • TheAPPProcedure Manual should be required reading for every working piercer. It is available in print or digital download from the APP website.iv The comprehensive guide contains everything from a piercers’ introduction to microbiology and infection control, right up through ethics and legalities, dealing with emergencies, and much more. 


  • Current and back issues ofThe Point, the Quarterly Journal of the Association of Professional Piercersare available for download (and to view online).v They are well worth reading. 


  • The APP website contains a FAQviand brochuresvii that contain all kinds of information and advice. Note that you are permitted to use the pamphlets in your studio even if you are not a member. There is an excellent new guide for selecting a studio in which to work,viii (and also a handbook with apprenticeship guidelines and curriculum).ixMy resources: 


  • One-on-oneonline piercer coaching! I’m offering customized instruction based on each piercer’s individual educational needs. These services are intended to polish the skills of trained, working professionals and to fill in gaps left by an incomplete education. This seems like a good fit for you. 


Primary topics include my areas of specialization:
• Genital and nipple piercings (in general)
• Structured tutoring on specific placement (septum, VCH, Prince Albert, etc.) using instructive materials including PowerPoint presentations with photos and video.
• Q & A conversations (unstructured) are also an option.

Other possible discussion subjects:
• Piercing placement/aesthetics (for all areas)
• Jewelry selection (style, material, quality, and fit)
• Portfolio review
• Bedside manner and client relations
• Studio practices and policies
• Aftercare and troubleshooting
• Business operations, employee relations, etc. 


  • Ioffer online (photo) anatomy consultationsx if you are in need of input regarding anatomical suitability and/or optimal piercing placement. Consults are also available to piercers (or their clients) for support and assistance with unusual or persistent healing difficulties. 


  • Videosxiof me doing anatomy consultations and performing piercingsare available.xiiThey primarily cover nipple and genital piercings, but some contain nostril, eyebrow, septum, navel, and tongue piercings. They’re not “how-to-pierce” videos per se, but discuss an array of specific anatomical considerations and important issues like asymmetry and tissue pliabilityI clearly demonstrate exactly where I place piercings to suit the individual builds and explain why each chosen location is optimal. I show the particular techniques I employ to perform the piercings including tissue manipulation and the use of receiving tubes and forceps, as well as my grasps for freehand procedures. 


  • More than ten yearsafter my book’s release, the second edition, “The Piercing BibleRevised and Expanded is finally in production and will be available June 2021. I joined forces with a fabulous contributor: piercer and educator Jef Saunderswho has written several guest articles for Pain Magazine. The fully renovated text contains an abundance of new information! 


Other resources: 


  • JefSaunders has a fantastic blog: Confessions of a Piercing Nerd.xiii It contains comprehensive articles with excellent visuals providing practical information for piercers. 


  • Participate in online piercer groups such as Facebook’s “Body Modification Learning Forum,” “Piercer Babes” for women, nonbinary, and trans people in the industry,and “Freehand Piercing Professionals.”xiv Though not formal education, our peers can provide valuable feedback and often have worthy suggestions and ideas to share. Even if you just lurk, you will be exposed to new concepts and critiques of others’ work, which can be instructive. 


  • Look for webinars from industryleaders such as Ryan Ouellette,xvBrian Skellie,xvi Luis Garcia,xvii and others.  


  • Check outYouTubevideos from those respected professionals. Otherwise, when it comes to taking advice or tips from videos, you have to use good judgment, because many of them look more like How-NOT-to-Pierce lessons. 


  • Review the updated NEHA Model Body Art Code (2019) to see if your facility and practices meet the established standard.xviii


  • Take an online anatomy course.xixDistance learning is available from many reputable educational sources.


  • If your studio sells fine jewelry (gold and gemstones) consider takingan onlinecredential course from the Gemological Institute (GIA).xx 


I wish you the best of luck on your journey. Be safe and maintain your drive to always keep learning! 



[1] https://safepiercing.litmos.com/online-courses/ 

[1] https://www.facebook.com/groups/APPmembers/ 

[1] https://www.facebook.com/groups/APPfuturemembers/ 

[1] https://www.safepiercing.org/procedure_manual.php 

[1] https://www.safepiercing.org/the_point_journal.php 

[1] https://www.safepiercing.org/safe_piercing_faq.php 

[1] https://www.safepiercing.org/brochures.php 

[1] https://www.safepiercing.org/picking_your_studio.php 

[1] https://www.safepiercing.org/apprenticeship.php 

[1] https://www.piercingbible.com/book-consultation/ 

[1] http://www.clips4sale.com/store/10557 

[1] Disclaimer: some of the older videos show me using a Sharpie for marking, which is no longer standard procedure. I use gentian violet/individual surgical markers. 

[1] http://www.jefsaunders.com 

[1] https://www.facebook.com/groups/freehandpiercing/ 

[1] https://www.facebook.com/staysharpryanpba/ 

[1] https://brnskll.com 

[1] https://www.youtube.com/user/bodmodkub 

[1] https://www.neha.org/sites/default/files/eh-topics/BAMC-Updated-October-2019.pdf 

[1] https://digitaldefynd.com/best-anatomy-courses/ 

[1] https://www.gia.edu/gem-education/distance 

February 21 Welcome

It’s February of 2021, officially a year since the news of the virus first began dominating the headlines. Caught your breath yet?  

Most of us hadn’t the slightest inkling of the absolute chaos and utter absurdity that would be ushered in by March. A quarantine, government-imposed shutdowns, a largely preventable economic collapse, a wave of science-denial, a toilet paper shortage, and an annoying large spike in OnlyFans.com accounts – and that barely brings us through April.  

The good news is a vaccine is here. More than one, even. Unfortunately, the bad news is we have a portion of the citizenry who have abandoned rationality to the point that they’re convinced that those vaccines are a Trojan Horse to implant us with microchips. Some of us are starting to believe that Idiocracy was more of a documentary than a comedy. But let’s not digress too far.  

Let’s say a prayer to our deities of choice that the worst of all of this is behind us and we can all get back to work, doing what we love. Let’s also cross our fingers and hope the health departments around the country finally figure out that tattoo and body modifications businesses were trained in sanitation and prevention long before a global pandemic forced everyone to take the crash course and we deserve to stay open as much as anyone, if not more.  

Happy February! Enjoy this, our newest issue ever. We’ll catch you on the flipside.  


Happy New Years.

January 2021