The one thing that I love about traveling with the band is checking out the various tattoo studios around the country. On a recent trip to play up in Lowell, Massachusetts, we stopped in the lovely city of Boston. As we made our way up to Lowell, right outside of Boston in Cambridge, I noticed a great looking shop called Redemption Tattoo Inc. Now, if you’ve read any of my tattoo columns in the past, you’ll know that when I see a tattoo shop anywhere, I will stop in to check it out. It’s just a little obsession that I have.
So, as I pulled up to Redemption Tattoo Inc., I realized that there was only street parking available for the shop, which could make it a little interesting for clients to be at the shop for hours at a time getting tattooed. Luckily, there were plenty of spots open in front of the shop when we pulled up. I walked up to a shop that was very inviting to the eyes with these gigantic windows in front and what appeared to be this clutter-free appearance. As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by a nice young chap whose name escapes me, but I just assumed he was the receptionist. Of course, I didn’t lead on that I was a journalist checking out the shop because I wanted to be treated like a customer with lots of questions. The unnamed gent asked me the usual questions that you get in a tattoo shop, and not for one second did he ever come off as pretentious or cooler than me, which happens often in this industry.
He told me that Redemption Tattoo Inc. opened its doors back in the spring of 2002 and was opened by owners and tattooers Mike Shea and Erick Lynch, who both have been tattooing for 17-plus years. They’ve surrounded themselves with a few of the best custom tattoo artists from the area in Josh McAlear, a guy named Salty Dave, and the new guy, Chris Marchetto. Now, I was only in the shop for a few minutes, but I wanted to get the idea of how this place was run, and one thing that I did notice as the buzzing of needles rang through the air was that this place was super clean and sterile! Every artist, who was busy and is apparently booked months out, wore gloves and used single-use ink caps and needles. My unnamed friend told me that all of the machines are autoclave sterilized every night. Each artist has their own private booths for tattooing, which is great and makes for an intimate experience, though the artists can still all talk to each other over the booth’s borders.
When I asked about some of their policies like age requirements and appointments and stuff like that, I was told that like most shops in Jersey, they won’t tattoo anyone under the age of 18 years old without parental consent and, obviously, a photo ID is required. As for appointments, my new friend told me that all of their artists will consult their prospected clientele first before they coax them into making any sort of appointments. They do encourage prospected clientele to call ahead first to make sure that their desired artist is available for consultation. No appointment is needed for a consultation. Once it is established that the client wants to make an appointment, a cash deposit is required. He told me that Redemption Tattoo does not accept appointments via phone, Facebook, Myspace or email. It all must be made in person unless the client is coming in from out of state, like us; then a deposit can be taken through PayPal. I was also told that Redemption has won many awards as the best tattoo spot in Boston and by the looks of some of their artwork, I can see why. Their color work is simply fantastic.
Redemption Tattoo Inc. is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. They are located at 2094 Massachusetts Avenue, near the corner of Walden Street, right outside Porter Square in Cambridge, MA. If you’re in the Cambridge or Boston area, this is your place! I was quite impressed with it. If you have any questions about designs, pricing or artist availability, feel free to call the shop at (617) 576-0097 or check out their website, redemptiontattoo.com, where you can also find contact info for each artist. It was pretty refreshing to walk into a shop like this in Massachusetts. I could’ve easily walked into a dump, but I walked into a warm and friendly environment.
Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo spot! Who knows what state it will be in! If you have a tattoo shop that you want to suggest, please e-mail me the name of the place and whom I should ask for at firstname.lastname@example.org.