“The Brit” makes his mark on Monterey.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
“I’m in a pissy mood,” drivels Dave “The Brit” Bremer in a thick Cockney accent as he inks a lotus flower on a hot chick’s ankle.
The shop he co-owns, Olde Town Tattoo Parlour on Webster Street in Monterey, is crowded with young, loitering girls. One delivers a coffee and Bremer, 40, complains that there isn’t enough ice, then apologizes.
A line of DLI students waits to secure appointments; ragtime music plays. “I love ragtime,” Bremer says. “We keep it different here. We don’t play heavy metal.”
There are no fluorescent lights or American spelling either, only soft leather couches and wooden swinging doors. It’s a place where one might expect to get a shave, not have the words “Never Die” scrolled on one’s bottom, as did a girl pictured behind the counter.
Bremer, a bison of a man, estimates that one-third of his blockish body is armored in tattoos. His favorite: a heart on his shoulder hugging the word “Mum.” When asked if all of his tattoos have meaning, Bremer answers bluntly: “No. I just do it to be cool.”
He exhibits a fresh tatt of a bloody tooth on his neck. “I got this yesterday after I had a tooth pulled,” he says, “ so I guess it has a bit of meaning.”
Bremer hails from Brighton, England. “It is not a shire,” he says. “I’m not a f*ckin’ hobbit.” While in high school, he tattooed other teens with a pen and a razor blade.
After years as a bouncer at L.A. dive bars, Bremer relocated to Monterey 14 years ago with the intent of “getting his act together” and spending time with his mother and daughter. “I was a drunk,” he says. “Now I’m not.”
On July 4, Bremer and Aaron Breeden opened their ink shop, and business has been vigorous since. Bremer is typically glib when asked why. “Well, we’re open ’til midnight. That’s when the elite and the underground meet.”
Then sincerity intercedes. “We treat our customers like bread and butter,” he says. “They leave with a memory, not just a tattoo.
“We are true artists,” he adds, “and [customers] come for me.”