RECORD STORE TALES Part 155: Sarge
As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, I had once explored the world of piercings. It was a part of record store culture and I’ve since moved on, but I did make many friends in that world.
One of those friends was Lemon Kurri Klopek, who I also mentioned earlier. Lemon Kurri was the bass player for the Niagara Falls based punk band, The Legendary Klopeks. Through the magic of the internet, Lemon Kurri and I befriended a guy named Sarge, “the best piercer in all of southern England”. Sarge came to visit Canada on a couple of occasions, and in fact helped the Klopeks play their first overseas gigs.
Sometime in the 1990’s, Sarge opened his shop, Metal Fatigue, in Bournermouth. His reputation grew and he became quite successful. “I can’t move in my local rock nightclub for people the shop has pierced, the running joke is about the scrap value in titanium every Saturday night!” said Sarge.
On one of Sarge’s visits, I had the chance to witness his work up close and personal. And not just something standard like an ear or nose piercings, I had the chance to witness a really unusual one.
A local girl had seen Sarge’s clavicle piercing on the internet and was interested. It’s a very unusual piercing that involves going underneath the collarbone. Yes, underneath. There’s a piece of jewelry made of flexible plastic and two metal balls, and that’s how it’s done. Sarge was one of very few people who did it. This girl eventually emailed Sarge about getting one done, not realizing he lived across the ocean. However, Sarge was planning on coming and visiting his Klopek friends that summer. The Canadian could have her clavicle piercing after all.
It was quite a sight to watch. “The clavicle piercing (under the collar bone) is probably my ‘trophy’ piercing now, its really dangerous,” says Sarge. “If I hit anything untoward, someone may die. I have had loads of criticism from various piercers for even thinking about doing one. Saying that, I have now done 8 and they all love them so much! I have stopped doing them now, as we are into unknown territory, watching them heal, working around possible problems with them. So far everything has been hunky dory.”
I still have some pictures from that day. The gentlemen in the photos are Lemon Kurri and Sweet Pepper Klopek, the bassist and singer from the Legendary Klopeks. I have no idea why Sweet Pepper is all bruised in the face. With them was a Scottish chap named T-Bone who took photos. And of course Sarge and his client! And Sarge’s boots.
To get us back onto the subject of music, Sarge tells a great story of some rock encounters in his travels across the pond.
“I met Jon Anderson from the band Yes when I was working at a hotel once! Had a beer with him after work, he was doing some book signing thing, I think I still have his autograph somewhere, he signed a copy of a (Yes cover artist) Rodger Dean art book for me!”
But my favourite story involved his meeting with one of rock’s most notorious frontmen.
The year was 1986. Sarge was out at the bar. Although he had no way of knowing, Philip Lynott from Thin Lizzy had died that day, and the bar was playing his music in tribute to the fallen rock hero. Sarge, however, was not a fan. When he openly criticized the music of Thin Lizzy with some choice words, a large man with “bad teeth, long black hair and a low gruff voice,” told the young Sarge to fuck off. This was Sarge’s first and last meeting with the infamous Lemmy Kilmister!