Bang Bang, aka Keith McCurdy, screams “OOOOWWWWW!” down the phone on a call from New York, right before bursting into a fit of laughter. The 30-year old tattoo extraordinaire is enacting Katy Perry’s reaction to being inked. This is just another day in the life of the Delaware native who’s made his mark (literally) on everyone from Justin Bieber to Rita Ora – in the bath, no less.
Not bad for a high-school drop out who started his career after buying a tattoo kit in his teens. With President Obama on his bucket list and a second store on the horizon, we caught up with Bang Bang, about his star-studded moments and how to keep it real.
On Rihanna – his longest serving customer
“We were really young when we first met – I was 20 and she was like 18. It wasn’t her first [tattoo], but she was recommended to me through a mutual friend. We just clicked and have been friends ever since, and that was 10 years ago. She was already a superstar then but now she’s this global icon. I’m so proud of her. She’s an incredible person with an extraordinary job, but it’s just normal whenever we get together. There’s always something on TV when I’m tattooing her, like basketball. Normally we’re just hanging out, making jokes and eating. ”