A new tattoo and piercing parlor is coming to Riverhead.
Taboo, the owner of Natives With Ink in Southampton, is opening a second location — called Vibes Ink — on East Main Street in mid-July. The Riverhead site will also offer a hair salon, barber shop and clothing boutique at the front of the shop.
“I could no longer take on the clientele that I was getting in Southampton, and I know all my clientele follows me wherever I go, so I can bring that clientele over to Riverhead and Riverhead’s been asking for it for so long, so why not?” Taboo said.
The “vibe” of his shop sets it apart from others, he said.
“We get a melting pot that walks into our shop,” he explained. “So you have to be able to vibe with everybody, be in tune with everybody and your personality has to be shown. That’s what sets us apart. It’s our personality, our love for the tattooing.”
He fell into the tattoo business more than 20 years ago, almost by accident. “I was actually forced into it,” he said.
A friend and fellow artist learned the craft while away on a long trip. When he returned, he asked Taboo to give him a tattoo. Taboo responded with a resounding no.
“I was like, no way,” he said.
His friend brought it up again later — to which Taboo responded, “Listen, how are we going to tattoo you? We don’t have a tattoo machine.”
A radio motor, BIC pen, spoon, button, cellphone charger, guitar string and hot glue gun later, his friend had built a homemade tattoo machine.
Finally relenting, Taboo carefully tattooed the back of his friend’s neck with a rose, a pair of praying hands and his daughter’s name. “He was like, bro, this is almost shop good,” Taboo recalled.
They showed the tattoo off to a few guys in the neighborhood, who assumed it had been done at a shop down the street. “My phone never stopped ringing from there,” Taboo said.
Now, he loves the work. He plans to open more shops on Long Island as soon as he’s able.
“I don’t have a son, so my legacy goes when I die, but my tattoos will live on through everybody else,” he said.