Freddy Corbin

8MM: Meadowlands

I’ve been working on restoring footage from an 8mm video cassette that was recorded at the 1991 Meadowlands tattoo convention. It’s a frustrating process sometimes; I’ll find 3 seconds of Eddie Deutsche tattooing but what are you going to do with three seconds followed by a shaky camera move to the next booth.The screen grabs often promise something more interesting than the finished, edited video.

Archival woes, I tell you what.

Creative Mornings w/ Freddy Corbin

Freddy Corbin.
Pretty much any time Freddy sits down to talk about tattooing (or hell, about anything) it’s probably a good idea to drop whatever you’re doing and listen. His arc on Vice’s TATTOO AGE should be required viewing for anyone interested in tattoo culture, his talk with Scott Sylvia on Last Sparrow a great companion chapter.

The folks at Creative Mornings Oakland invited Freddy to talk a little about the tattoo scene and his place in it. Very much worth checking out.


Bonus Corbin Tattoo Age

The Freddy Corbin episodes of Tattoo Age were hands down the best episodes of an already impressive series. The folks at Vice didn’t stop there though; a Corbin bonus episode (that clocks in just over six minutes) is currently up on the Tattoo Age site.

The bonus footage covers Fred’s trip to India, where he tattooed pilgrims on the banks of the Ganges River. Must see stuff.

Tattoo Age: Freddy Corbin 4 at

Corbin and Higgs

From the Polaroid Project:


“Daniel Higgs & Freddy Corbin

This was the photo I was hoping to take. Such history here. Both Freddy & Dan were considered the young turks of their craft while working at Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City back in the early 90’s.

It was a real trip to watch Freddy listening to Dan, given the span of their friendship.”

Thanks goes out to Lincoln Smith for use of the photo.

Living the Dream

More Fred Corbin on VBS; episode two is now streaming.
FC2 at Vice.

The two Corbin episodes that have dropped have really played out like a loveletter to the culture of Tattooing; you can see in Fred’s eyes that he knows he’s one of the luckiest son’s a bitches in the world and that he’s thankful for everything tattooing has brought him. You can also see the respect his peers have for him in all of the interviews that accompany the piece.

It’s a bummer that we only have one Corbin episode left; the good news is the folks at Vice are finally calling this Season One….

The picture above is of Mr. Corbin and Daniel Higgs, showing their Ed Hardy back pieces. Fred is the Rock of Ages. So damned cool.

Tattoo Age: Freddy Corbin ep1

Fred Corbin: Tattoo Age

In the nine months that Occult Vibrations has existed, my inbox has been host to a handful of emails from people trying to get me to help publicize their projects; tattoo suppliers, tv shows and even a movie about a tattoo that comes to life and whispers to it’s owner, the submissions have almost all been given a polite ‘thanks but no thanks’.

My original intention for OV as a journal of esoteric tattoo art; the history videos came soon after and I was happy to have a blog that strayed from it’s goal but was still very personal; as the only writer I controlled the content, and that content was very much opposed to ‘Reality Tattoo Tv’.

When I got an email from Juliette at VICE asking me about covering Tattoo Age, it was a no brainer. I had already blogged the teaser trailer and my usual skepticism was put on hold. Dan Santoro? Grime? Rubendall? They all trusted Vice and producer Chris Grosso to not exploit tattooing like the ‘Inked’ franchise, so I extended him the same courtesy.

What really sold me, though, was the last name on the list.

Fred Corbin. Mr. Niceguy. Freddy Jesus himself. Along with Dan Higgs, Fred Corbin was one of the most influential tattooers to me when I first started getting tattooed. Their appearance in Stearn’s “Frisco Skin and Tattoo Ink” was IT for me back in 1990… guys who were closer to my age, who read the same comics as I did and who’s views on tattooing most closely matched what I wanted. I’ve shared clips from that video here on OV (and to the Tattoo Age people- you can see clips in episode 1 of Fred’s arc) and have watched it so many times I could probably recite it from memory.

When Tattoo Age finally premiered, with the Dan Santoro arc, I watched. I enjoyed. Grime, Troy Denning, Mike Rubendall… some were more engaging than others but every episode was a fair look at tattoo culture and the tattooers themselves with zero exploitation, zero drama or sensationalism.

Season one, what we all hope to be season one, is almost over. Fred Corbin’s episodes are finally airing (With 1 online now, and 2 and three coming soon) and it’s been worth the wait. It’s impossible not to find something likable about Fred; who moved from what Stearns described as a ‘young turk’ to an elder in the tattoo community with two shops in Oakland and an international reputation who elicit the respect of everyone around him.

These are the episodes I’ve been waiting for. To Chris and the Tattoo Age staff at Vice… thank you so much for all of the work you’ve done. While I still plan to deny most requests that pop into my inbox, you guys always get a free pass.