Tell your MOM I said ‘Hey’- A backyard BBQ with Sean Philips.
Sean Philips is a bad motherfucker with a voice that sounds like an angel orgasming at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. For the last two decades he’s been helping shape the industry we have today – there’s hardly a major event or forum he hasn’t participated in. If you’ve ever asked a piercing question online, there’s a good chance he was on the other side answering it. From humble beginnings inside a piercing pagoda to running his own studio with his wife, Sean has seen and done it all. We got up early in the morning to talk about the pre-BME days, history, and why getting your heroes drunk will make your dreams come true.
Ari – Sean, go ahead and give us an introduction.
Sean – My name is Sean Philips and I’ve been piercing 20 years. I started in 1996, so my career will be of legal drinking age in October. I am currently in Round Rock, Texas, right outside Austin where I own and pierce out of Golden Goat Tattoo Company. Continue reading →
I’ve been interested in body art for a long time. I now have a large subincision, head split halfway back, and three pairs of 8 gauge jewelry up both sides of the subincision. If I’m interested in impressing a partner, I put six captive bead rings in the holes, and they’re 3/4″ inside diameter and hard to ignore. If I’m going to the gym to work out I just put in six 8 ga. barbells so when I’m in the shower it isn’t as obvious that I’m carrying around a significant amount of metal. I’ve worked out regularly for the past few years, and nobody has ever commented on or questioned my genital piercings, though occasionally somebody will say something about my unusual tattoos – J. 1
There aren’t many subcultures where you can talk about a penis in terms of being famous or influential. Adult movies, certainly, have had their share of iconic appendages so much so that names of particularly endowed stars from the 1970s and 80s are still currency when talking about larger than average measurements. Our own body modification community, in it’s recent history, has also had it’s own rogues gallery of iconic altered penises like Carl Carrol who appeared originally in PFIQ #15 and GM who was known to BME readers as “J” who’s “story of a subincision” article and videos 2 are frequently cited by clients requesting the procedure as a major inspiration.
Other subincisions had appeared on BME and SPC before J, but his had a certain aesthetic appeal that became the archetype for a split penis. While doing his early self done modification work he was unaware of the larger community that shared his passions, keeping it a secret from all but his most intimate contacts. We met through the UNIQUE mailing list 3 and eventually met in person in 1999 at the first ModCon event in Toronto. When he discovered body piercing it was a novelty to him- I remember an excited letter where he marveled that “they can PIERCE that now??” in reference to a basic genital piercing. The dichotomy always struck me funny- that a man who had disunited his urethra to the scrotum and who used mercury filled balloons as sounding rods had no idea about the piercing scene that ran parallel to heavier modifications.
J travelled to Toronto to meet BME founder Shannon Larratt and stopped by Stainless Studios where he had Tom Brazda do a series of piercings on his split shaft and glans; we affectionately called his reverse Prince Albert a halfadravya because it was the 1990s and making up names for piercings was all the rage. It’s my sincere hope that it in no way influenced the dolphin kisses and panda bites of today.
Piercer: Tom Brazda.
Studio: Stainless Studios, Toronto (since closed)
Client: Shannon Larratt.
Source: Hard copy photo submission to spcOnline.
Date: 1996/1997 (exact date unsure)
I had a Tumblr message asking for more posts from piercing’s “middle school” era, so I dug out one of the 1990s albums and found these shots, submitted to the spcO site back in the late 1990s by Shannon Larratt of BMEZINE.COM. I’m not sure I ever actually added them to the site back then.
During the mid/late 1990s piercers challenged the ‘if it protrudes, pierce it” ethic of the previous generation, trying out new piercings, new techniques, new jewelry and aftercare. Sometimes things worked out, sometimes they didn’t, but the experimentation was integral to the evolution of the modern piercing community.
I can’t remember when Shannon Larratt submitted these to the spcOnline site; sometime in the late 1990s seems right but I’m honestly not quite sure. The 4″x6″ photos showed up in my Post Office Box with a note that’s long since been lost.
The piercings- vertical lowbrets- were performed by Tom Brazda at Toronto’s Stainless Studios. Brazda was one of a small handful of highly influential piercers who emerged out of the early 1990s scene. His contributions to the piercing scene have been immeasurable if not regrettably overlooked.
According to the BME/Encyclopedia:
The vertical lowbret piercing starts inside the mouth between the lower lip and the teeth (not behind the teeth as with a mandible piercing) and travels straight down, exiting on the lower edge of the jawline. This piercing is usually done with a straight or very slightly bent barbell 1.5″ to 2″ in length depending on anatomy.
Healing is usually uneventful, although the piercing can be quite sore at first. Gum erosion is also a risk depending on placement. In some cases there may be some transfer of fluid from inside the mouth to the outside of the piercing.