Skitch and the Bastard Part II

12 05 2010

We met Andy Bastard, yes Bastard, completely by chance one late night during our stay in Austin.

A slightly inebriated friend gracefully stumbled to an ATM machine that just so happened to be situated right outside the tattoo parlor at which the Bastard worked. Covered in tattoos and piercings from head to toe, the Bastard emerged from the parlor as our friend struggled to withdraw some cash.

“Well, hello pretty lady,” the Bastard spoke as he lit his first, of many, cigarettes.

A snarky response from my friend, an hour and a tattoo later, we bid farewell to the Bastard thinking it was our last moment with the man.

Two hours later, after returning to 6th street from our hotel, we made the trek down the lively street. All of a sudden, we spotted the Bastard in another tattoo parlor, made our way in and said hello. Immediately after I asked him where we should spend our time that night, he stood up, told his boss he was leaving and took us down the street to a bar that somewhat resembled the inside of haunted house.

It should be noted that the movie Where the Wild Things Are was playing on the TVs.

We sat down, the man took a shot of whiskey and one of the most interesting conversations I have ever had began.

Andy Bastard is a professional body piercer who splits time between a few different tattoo parlors on 6th street in Austin, Texas. He loves his lady, his cigarettes, his boy, booze and rock and roll, and if you mess with any one of those things, the Bastard will not be happy.

By day he is a proud piercer of flesh and at night he is the lead rocker of THE BEXAR COUNTY BASTARDS, a rock and roll band that will melt your face.

Bastard is living his dream, and he loves it. He knows what it’s like to live in a van. He knows what it’s like to battle his demons. He also knows what it’s like to change his stars and go from nothing to something.

He’s not a famous rock and roll celebrity living in a mansion, and that’s the way he wants it.  “That’s pretentious,” the bastard exclaimed multiple times.

He likes the little things and he values his passions more than a pay check.

The bartender made the “last call” announcement, the Bastard took his last shot and we bid farewell.

Shortly before last call, Skitch, a friend of the Bastard and a tattoo artist with a face tattoo that made him look like a lizard, walked in to the bar and invited us back to the parlor to shoot the breeze with everyone.

Running in to Andy Bastard and the lessons learned were two things I could not have predicted.  He was a very kind person that didn’t have to be.  He chain smokes, curses like a sailor, is graphic about his exploits, but also geniunely cares about the people he meets, if they’re not pretentious that is.

Every person has a story, and now that I have met the Bastard, I do my best to stop and hear them.

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Skitch and the Bastard Part I

30 03 2010

I like to travel.  As a matter of fact, I love and live to do it.  The new places, new smells and all of the new experiences and people that come along with traveling have kept me yearning for more.

My biggest “Aha!” moments have occurred during some of my most memorable trips and I don’t think I would be the same person had they not happened. Walking the empty, ancient streets of Rome in the middle of the night, talking to a delusional ice cream store owner in Nashville, driving to South Carolina to a beach home with friends only to learn that “money talks” and respectable real estate companies prefer not renting to fraternity brothers- every, single one of these adventures has left a lasting impression.

My most recent adventure to Texas was no different.  In my preparations for the trip, I decided to take a much different approach- I would be a sponge, an observer if you will, and completely take in all that would surround me. 

If I stumbled across a man walking around in a pink wig and thong, I would find out why. If a homeless man asked me to do some PR for his traveling “troupe of artists”, I would oblige him. And if a man, tattooed from head to toe, stepped out of his parlor to strike up a conversation- I would happily listen and learn.

The next two posts are the stories of some of the most interesting people I have ever met.  These are my observations.  These are their stories.

This is the introduction to a three-part series about my reflections of a journey to Austin, Tx.





Road-Tripping: It’s what I do

11 03 2010

I’ve been on many road-trips in my day and I have enjoyed them all- some more than others.  But the key to properly approaching and experiencing this type of journey is keeping the proper perspective.

It’s not about the destination, how many souvenirs you can get for a few bucks or how fast it takes you to get to your vacation spot- it’s simply about the journey.  Living in the moment, to be precise.

Whether you’re traveling a couple of hours away, or like the #wififwhip, traveling 16 hours to Austin, Texas, it’s the moments in between take-off and arrival that need to be treasured and truly LIVED.  The late-night meals at a Waffle House and the soul-spilling conversations that occur between the passenger and driver while everyone else is asleep are the brilliant moments that pump me up and inspire.

It’s during those times I don’t have a care in the world.  I’m on a road-trip, a vacation if you will, so my meetings with Mr. Worry and Mrs. Obligation will have to be rescheduled for another time, because I am at peace.

So what are your tips for surviving those road-trips and long vacations?  What moments inspire you?