Recently, on the Fang Tour 2013 by Dnash, Lady M and I were privileged not only to be able to play host to Dnash but also to be able to meet some other wonderful people that this fang tour brought together in the Chicagoland area.
We were able to spend a working day on the tour with Dnash and to witness, first hand, some of his amazing work. Following his visit here we have been able to catch up with him, between engagements, to get his thoughts on the mid-west Fang Tour.
RVL: Good evening Dnash, glad you and ‘Miss Daisy’ made it back home safe and thanks for dropping by to kick around a few thoughts.
Dnash: Hey there Tim. Yes, we made it home in the appropriate number of pieces due in no small part to the help and support of the many wonderful people we met on our travels.
RVL: So, tell us, overall was the 2013 tour a successful one? And how did it compare to previous tours?
Dnash: well, Tim, it’s far from over but the first leg out to the mid-west went far beyond my wildest dreams. I had originally only intended to attend anthrocon (http://anthrocon.org) in Pittsburgh over the 4th of July weekend, but my mother’s side of the family was having a reunion the following weekend out in Minnesota. Pittsburgh went well enough to cover the petrol costs to GET me there, so I rolled the dice, sent out an email, made a few calls and hooked up a few locations along the way to “work” my way back and forth. It had been years since I had traveled out to the mid-west and the response was amazing.
RVL: We noticed that you had good patronage on Saturday (July 20) at Witchy Wearables in Chicagoland, how did Illinois/Chicago leg shape up in general?
Dnash: Chicago was amazing. As I said, it’s been a while, since 2007 to be exact, since I was out that way. My good friend tom stress used to pierce at a shop on Cicero and he set up my first location at B-distinct tattoos, and you and lady M were kind enough to provide introductions to Witchy Wearables. both locations did very well but I would like to add that over the many years of my doing this, I have found that shops that promote more of the cultural, aesthetic, or spiritual sides of vampirism and other groups that tend to be interested in my line of work tend to do better than those focused purely on body modification. The “tattoo crowd” likes permanent and painful. I provide neither. Unless, that is, you’re being bitten by a client of mine, lol. Witchy Wearables was the perfect fit for me. I cannot wait to come back.
RVL: …and how many stops, in all, did you make along the way this time?
Dnash: 2 in Pittsburgh, 2 in Wisconsin, 1 in Minnesota, 3 in Chicago if you count your kitchen, and 1 in Cleveland. That was for fangs. I had other stops to make as well.
RVL: That sounds a fair hike for the intrepid ‘Miss Daisy’, how many miles did you clock up from start to finish?
Dnash: the intrepid, I like that. She is a humdinger of a land ship I must admit. Especially without power steering! Up around 3,000. That does, however, include a few unintended detours where I was on the phone one second and in Detroit the next. It seems every time the phone rang I missed an exit.
RVL: …and at today’s gas prices those kind of miles don’t come cheap I imagine?
Dnash: well, the trip paid for itself and set me up a bit for the rest of the Halloween season. Like any business, it takes money to make money. I have had a few “real life” matters to deal with over the past few years and my business has suffered a little during that time. Before I began to travel with fang tour on a regular basis back in the mid 2000’s, I did a ton of mail order. once I started traveling, people just assumed I’d make it to their “neck of the woods” at some point and mail orders production, and live performance with a series of projects and I kind of fell off the face of the fang planet.
As with any prolonged absence, needs still need to be met and a lot of other fang makers popped up. Not that I’m complaining….. our craft is so little known worldwide that even if everybody who knew our art was available came out to get fitted all at once, there aren’t near enough of us to fill the demand.
My going underground has helped the craft to a large degree I’d say. I mean, when I began doing this in 94, it was because there were only a handful of people in the world doing it. I only started teeth by Dnash in 95 to fill a demand. I didn’t plan on a life of spit and plastic shavings, lol.
RVL: So, back to the “teeth” by Dnash, we’d like to mention that it wasn’t all fangs either; you did some masterful (bridge?) work for a friend here, how difficult is that compared to creating a pair of fangs?
Dnash: I’ll do anything mouth related. Yes, fangs are the biggest seller but I really am out to create smiles more than anything. That’s another reason I always stayed a little clear of the “scene” aspect of the art. It was ART, not a popularity contest or a way to get laid. I’d just huddle in my studio and figure out how to make the seemingly impossible possible. I also have some very old school approaches, and the wonderful thing about having so much “new blood” in the way of others practicing this art is that there are a lot of new ideas out there. I’m always learning too, you know.
RVL: How did this tour compare with the early days when you were touring? What sort of different market/ client influences did you notice, if any? **
Dnash: well, I have a much bigger mailing list now, so the word gets out farther and faster. Another MAIN thing is that I’ve made some good friends over the course of time who have been able to help out in many ways. Back in the day it was motel 6 every night, super shuttle, and endless airports. Nobody likes to go to motel 6 for their dentistry.
I have to send a HUGE thanks out to you and lady M, and the many others who put a roof over my head this time, helped organize the word of mouth, and set me up with proper shops to work out of.
The same goes for FANG TOUR OZ which kicks off on September 5 in Brisbane. I’ve been over to Australia many times before, but this year will be the first time everything has fallen into place and it’s a well oiled machine. A tour is not an easy thing to put together. That’s why there’s a whole business end of it when it comes to music, etc. The last thing the “talent” want’s to have to worry about is where do you sleep tonight, etc.
Also, as I mentioned before, I’ve begun to modify my focus away from the tattoo/body mod circuit towards more compatible conventions, shops, etc.
RVL: What was the most positive thing about the tour for you personally?
Dnash: meeting people face to face. I hate working on molds. Yeah, it’s easier, more convenient, etc., but to see the look on somebody’s face the first time they see themselves…. it takes me back to the day I got my first pair from Tsarvek up in Vancouver.
Also, I grew up traveling. I’d lived on four continents by the time I was 7 and it just never stops being a bug. I love waking up in a different town every day/night. I love seeing the trees wiz by or the earth fall away into clouds and….. Oh yeah, this isn’t high times, sorry. I love airplanes and airports. I love truck stops. Now this is just getting weird. Seriously, I’m an input junkie. I just love something new every minute and not always being sure of what’s coming next.
RVL: …and what were some of the not so positive aspects of conducting this exercise?
Dnash: the exercise…. no, seriously, like I said a moment ago, it’s a pain in the neck to have to juggle every single detail. I generally don’t get to enjoy my time in different places.
When I travel, I appreciate the fact that folks will travel hundreds of miles to come get teeth. I travel thousands. People sometimes question the cost, and why it’s higher when I’m on the road than my home studio. Well, any given day can cost from 300 – 1500 dollars depending on what you’re doing, where you’re traveling to, exchange rates, hotels, baggage fees, petrol, oil changes, blah blah blah….. and there’s still rent and bills at home to pay. I have virtually no overhead at home. they, on the other had have other costs involved with mail order that they don’t when they come to me in person, so I think it’s fair to defray some of mine over to them and meet in the middle.
People sometimes complain about having to get teeth on a weekday versus a weekend, but that also depends on how long I can be in one place which also depends on demand. A town with one day’s worth of business will not get a full weekend when another town with 4 days of full business will. That’s just practical. It also depends on location. I prefer to travel in straight lines when at all possible. I’m very lucky that I have an AMAZING client base and they work with me at virtually every turn. You get the odd duck who complains, but it’s not the norm. Most people are just happy that I’ve finally come to town after years of them drooling over my website…. now they get to drool over me in person. Well, my hands anyway. I have to tell them not to feel special. I have that effect on everybody, lol.
RVL: From the “shop talk” at the infamous “night of deep dish pizza” it seemed to be mutually pleasurable for you to catch up with Jacob of /Midnight Custom Fangs/ and James of /All In Vein/, do you think the concept of an annual get together will be beneficial in this area?
Dnash: I’d love to see more of us get together. Historically there’s always been some kind of bullshit rivalry between fang makers.
You’d have to ask those who started AND continue it what purpose it serves, but it never served the art. It was always more scene politics and personal aggrandizement than anything else. It’s nice to see people put their egos down and have a slice of deep dish together.
Notwithstanding, there is going to come a time in the near future when “the law” is going to be cracking down on us. It has been so for the tattooing and piercing industry for some time now, but we are going to be getting it ourselves shortly. There are some of us who don’t have the SLIGHTEST clue as to what they’re doing either with the materials we use or with the human mouth in general. There have been stories, many I can attest to over the years of fang makers injuring people. I myself have had one or two close calls with a fang being stuck.
Sharing knowledge is the best way to avoid these mistakes. Having standards of safety and practice will protect us to some degree once the heat is on. all it takes is one pissed off customer to call a health department, prick everybody’s ears up, and get the AMA, the FDA, and god knows who else breathing down our necks.
I’ve had dental training. I’ve worked in all manner or procedures including surgeries. Getting a pair of fangs from me, watching what I do, and copying it from memory does not qualify you to do this. It takes training and practice. I worked on myself for a whole year before every going into anybody’s mouth, and I still made mistakes. But I never hurt anybody. Working in a dental lab isn’t even a qualification to work in the mouth, though that’s been touted as one. Only chair side experience. I’m not trying to come down on anybody but some of us choose to work in the mouth, some on molds. Those working on molds are much safer. Those working in the mouth better have some qualifications because a waiver doesn’t protect you from a civil suit.
I’m psyched to learn that at least one of us is considering actually going INTO the dental field. He’s going to blow all of us away one day because he’ll have the first official FANG LAB in the world where he’ll be able do things we can only dream of. I won’t tell you who it is, but he eats less than me…… amazingly, lol.
RVL: So, we can look forward to a 2014 Fang Tour, yes?
Dnash: …and 15, 16, 17…… I AM immortal, you know.
RVL: …and what’s the priority for you now that the 2013 mid-west tour is over?
Dnash: I’M GOING TO AUSSIELAND!!!!!!! (Tour commences September 2013) well, that and planning for Halloween.
RVL: …any other pearls of wisdom you’d like to share with us about the experience and the trip?
Dnash: don’t try FANG TOUR at home, you won’t get very far?
RVL: Thank you very much for spending a few minutes with us and we’ll be looking forward to the release of, and being able to highlight at RVL, the filmography from the trip.
Dnash: thank you Tim…. again, you and lady M really helped pull something special together. I really look forward to doing it again. As you mentioned, there is a bit of film in the works. The tentative title is “FANG TOUR the (un)MUSICAL”. it’s a reality show based on, well, the reality of an unknown musician making his way from empty coffee house gig to empty coffee house gig, the insanity that ensues from any kind of tour situation, the never ending question of how to get into the rock and roll hall of fame, and how he pays for it all by making teeth in every corner of the world. Pretty epic idea, and one that’s been kicking around since 2006 when a producer from VH1 wanted to air it as a show. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a problem with follow-through at the time (tequila) and never got it off the ground. However, episode one is in the can and will be hitting the web at http://youtube.com/fangtour this October. Several more episodes are being shot over FANG TOUR OZ and Halloween, and season two will pick up in Europe this winter while I continue FANG TOUR EU in support of “The Age Of Nefarious”, my first solo record that’s about 10 years over due. A lot to chew on, but well worth the wait for those of you who’ve hung in there for the past 18 years.
Copyright: RVL and Dnash / Teeth by Dnash 2013
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