Nick Perri Talks the PERRI INK. Cartel
Fri, 28 Oct 2011 08:28:34
"This is a dream come true for all of us," exclaims Nick Perri of the PERRI INK. Cartel's opening on Melrose Ave. in Hollywood.
Perri's career is proof that dreams do come true. In addition to enjoying stints in Shinedown and Perry Farrell's Satellite Party, the guitarist has built his own line of custom guitars. Now, he's opening one of the coolest stores in Los Angeles—and that says a lot as the city is the epicenter of all things cool!
The PERRI INK. Cartel boasts a lifestyle, much deeper than any consumer experience you've ever seen. You can get a "gentlemen's cut" from Richie the Barber, receive an ornate and intricate tattoo from Adam Daniel, choose your next piercing, take professional photos in their one-of-a-kind photo studio, or buy handcrafted guitars or motorcycle parts. Welcome to the ultimate rock 'n' roll mall. It's located at 7303 Melrose Ave., and it's open now!
Nick Perri sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about the opening of the store and so much more…
Where does the story of the PERRI INK. Cartel begin?
Actually, the story starts in 2007. Almost five years ago, I was standing in Barnes and Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles. I was flipping through some guitar magazines and I had no knowledge that I was going to see what I saw. I saw myself in this full page ad for guitar strings. Like anyone else, my first response was, "This is great!" My second thought—which was unique and spurned about ten million more thoughts—was, "Here I am, but I'm still a struggling musician after many trials and tribulations in the music business." It's always a roller coaster. I noticed that I was promoting so many other people in the ad. I was promoting the style of guitar I'm playing, the clothing and jewelry that I'm wearing and all of these other brands and really getting nothing out of it. It dawned on me, and I said, "One day, wouldn't it be cool to have a company that could make all of these things?" I'd been into all of this stuff forever. My wife Misi is a clothing designer. I've been playing guitar for 15 years. I've been building guitars and tricking out my own stuff for equally as long. Why am I promoting all of these other brands? It made sense that I should start this umbrella company for my future and really let my ambitions take off and see where they lead. At that moment in time, PERRI INK. was created.
Where did the name come from?
My mom actually came up with the "INK." I was calling it "PERRI INC." She called me one day and said, "Nick, you're so tattooed. You should call it 'PERRI INK.' One day, you can open a tattoo store." That was shuffled into the back of the brain and put on hold. So that's what I called the company. It sat around for a while as my music career kept going. I joined Shinedown right after that and had a lot of success with them. I kept filing ideas into the back of my brain with the more people I met and places I traveled. Fast forward a bunch of years, in 2010, I started the first venture for PERRI INK.—the guitar company. That was the first forte into this. I began building my own guitars. I had something I was really proud of. The guitars were really well-received all over the world. However, the number one comment was, "I wish I could play them." People had to go off of my word and reputation as a musician. If someone is going to spend $3,000 on a guitar, they want to sit with it, play it, and feel the nuances, craftsmanship, and quality that goes into it. About six months ago, everything came together in a wave of serendipitous events that I really can't explain. Nobody has been able to explain them. As Bruce Lee said, "Success is where opportunity meets preparation." I feel like we were all prepared. The opportunity came our way and we jumped on it.
Misi worked at a store called Shrine for many years on Melrose Ave. My arm needed a little work so she told me to go to the tattoo shop next door and ask for Adam [Daniel]. I walked in and asked for him. This guy came out who I knew from 10 years ago playing the Philly music circuit. We played in bands together. He was from New Jersey. We became fast friends, and we started hanging out on this little corner of Melrose and Poinsettia at Shrine, the tattoo shop, and the bar across the street called The Dark Room. That was the first tattoo barbershop ever in L.A.—if not in the world. It was Adam and Richie the Barber. He specializes in "gentlemen's cuts" like the kind from the 1920s with the straight razor shave. He wears a three-piece suit and has a big handlebar mustache. It's really this experience. We were all friends. That shop closed in May on Misi and my wedding day. Instead of being super bummed out, we said, "This is the opportunity. Let's open the story we've always wanted to in that location." We decided to break ground August 1 and we just finished. It's the first shop to be a tattoo shop, piercing parlor, barbershop, guitar store, motorcycle parts store, and clothing line. It's got all the facets in my life that I've been into. I know I'm not unique in that way. The whole lifestyle goes together. Guys who play in bands love getting tattoos and piercings and wearing cool clothes. They don't have a place for photo shoots readily available. So we've got a photo studio for album shots or headshots. It all goes hand-in-hand. It's the same thing with the motorcycle community. It was a no-brainer to combine this melting pot of culture and lifestyle into one location. Of course, L.A. is home for that kind of stuff. If you can dream it, you can do it.
Will this bring together different audiences?
The differences are what makes the shop exciting. You're going to meet new people. You're going to have a blend of people, and that's where the fun is. Life is about getting outside of your box and comfort zone. That's how you grow. If someone comes in for a tattoo and someone else comes in for a high fashion photo shoot, those people may not have crossed paths on the street and shaken hands, but in our shop, they will. There are enough things that tie them together and spark relationships on any level. The store is bustling with activity. It's like a melting pot. Everything we're doing is artistically motivated in some way, shape, or form. That's the thread through it all. We wanted to have this old school American vibe where people are proud of what they do. They take pride in their abilities. The tattoo artist is the best. The photographers are the best. They're fantastic human beings. There's very little ego. The shop gives off this radiant energy of being a magical place. To me, it's the American dream.
It's a place where can be themselves, and It seems like it's going to become a hang spot.
Well said! You really nailed it right there. Throughout the whole process, I wanted to create a place that you'd want to work and where you'd want to hang out after work. That's it exactly. It's all about the hang. We've created an atmosphere that's so comfortable and inviting that we literally chill there after work, laugh about the day, and keep the good time going. We're going to make you feel like you're at home when you come into the Cartel.
What's going to be on the store's playlist?
The playlist is insane. I spent an entire day programming it so it's different every day of the week. It's rock 'n' roll. It's blues. It's rockabilly. It's good times from the '50s through today. The common thread is rock 'n' roll. It's feel-good music.
Will you be visiting the PERRI INK. Cartel?
Visit the store's official site here!
See the trailer for the store here!