We got an opportunity to chat with one of the koolest kats on the NJ scene…SHOE!!!! Shoe is a massive bike, car and cool connoisseur! Hailing from the dirty Jerze, Shoe is the owner of the tattoo landmark Tattooville in beautiful Linden NJ. Sit back, crack a beer, and take a read……..
1 What’s your name and what do you do for a living? My name is Mike Nyegaard. I’m a tattooer/malcontent/tourist.
2. So how did you get the nickname Shoe? I got my nickname Shoe from being a Shoemaker when I was a kid.
3 How did you get in tattooing? What was it like trying to get started? . My dad had a bunch of cool tattoos he got the service and I always dug the imagery and stories that went with them. I couldn’t wait to get one myself!! When I was about 17 I got my first tattoos from Ernie White in Butler New Jersey. The whole experience of going to that shop was just magical. There was always cool music playing, some giant Dobermans laying around and of course a couple of cool bikes parked out front. After I got a couple of tattoos I asked Ernie if he needed help around the shop. He wasn’t real thrilled with that idea. So I ended up drawing up a bunch of flash and bringing it to all the local tattoo shops to see if I could get my shoe in the door.(see what I did there?) after getting thrown out of every shop in the tristate area I ended up at the Ink Spot in Elizabeth owned by Steve Ferguson. Steve helped me out a ton.
4. Tattooville has been around for a LONG time. I remember driving past it for years! How long have you been at that location can you give us some history on the shop?Tattooville has been around a long time, we’re just entering our 26th year now. I was partners in the shop with Steve for about three years then we split up and it’s been Tattooville ever since. Steve and I bought the shop from an old timer named Richie. It was called Gold coast tattoos. But it was quite the place! The GM plant down the street was running three shifts full-time so there was lots of Hijinx and foolishness going on in there. There was a note on the door of the tattoo shop that said “if I’m not here, try the bar next-door’ so you get the idea.
5. Tattoo shows were all the rage TV, I guess they are still on….Any thoughts on how that impacted the industry? . It’s pretty crazy that first show Miami ink really opened a lot of people’s eyes! The Japanese guy on the show Yohji actually was working for me when he did the pilot. He was also working in NYC with Chris Garver. I remember talking to him about it and what a chance he was taking. I told him he had to follow his dreams and give it a shot, you never know what could happen. As far as the tattoo show thing goes it’s just like every other TV thing they oversimplify it and add a healthy dose of drama. The tattooing is great but all that soap opera drama is ridiculous. I think just like the chopper shows it let a lot of people to think it was an easy thing to do. When in fact it’s not. You never used to see motorcycle shops-or tattoo shops open and close. Now you see it all the time. Success is survival.
6. I believe you are friends with tattoo legend Jack Rudy. How did you guys meet? Yep me and Jack are pals. . I was trying to get tattooed by him at Fergusons around 84. I showed him a bunch of my designs and he asked me what shop I worked at. I told him I was in a bike club and just working there. He said that was total bullshit and if I was serious about it I should work in the shop. Basically told me to fuck off. Steve intervened and vouched for me. Jack said if he’s so good why don’t you hire him? Steve said if I hire him that’ll make him a professional will you tattoo him then? Jack said sure. Steve hired me on the spot and me and Jack have been good friends ever since.
7. You’re also into bikes and cars… What got you into cars and bikes and how long ya been riding? My dads oldest brother Vin had a body shop and bikes. I remember not even being tall enough to see over the tank of his sportster. He was always tinkering in his garage and I heard him kickin’ that bike over. .It was magic. .It coughed and sputtered then just sat there rumbling. It scared the shit out of me. It shook my insides and the heat and smell was like nuthin’ I ever was around. All the ladies in the house came runnin’ in and started yellin’ to turn it off and quiet down. He blipped the throttle and I jumped and held my ears. Next thing I know he hands me a helmet. I can hear my mom yelling over the sound of the pipes. He backs the bike out and motions to hop on. My dad hoists me up and on the seat and tells me to HOLD ON!! I’m shakin’ like a leaf. I looked down and saw my foot on the peg totally thinkin’ that chain is gonna’ rip it off. The rest of the ride was a blur of sounds and smells and vibration. We blasted around for a while and finally came home to find my mom and family in the street craning their necks to see us comin’ back. He down shifted and pulled in the driveway, I was transformed. That was it. My uncle Vin passed last year at 91. He was tellin’ me at his 90th birthday that he felt bad he only got out on his bike 3 times that year. HE was the real deal.
8. Can you tell us about what you have your garage? Man. I’ve always had all my stuff stashed all over. It’s only recently I’ve been able to get it all in the same place. I started out like most of us on a ’76 Sportster..I rode that thing till it exploded. I pretty much Looked like a gorilla on a tricycle on that thing. Well actually ANY bike I ride I look like that. I have ” LONG RIDE” tattooed on my knuckles cuz that’s all I really want in life. So, I look at bikes as motorcycle therapy. I still feel like Pee Wee Herman when he opens his garage to see his bike. It’s goofy but everything about the experience makes me grin. I’ve been on 2 wheels almost 40 years and it still is as fun as ever. .I’ve ridden all over the country on my 01 road king. I have an 05 Dyna that I bought as a wreck and rebuilt. That bike is the ultimate urban assault vehicle! It’s great to blast around the city or ride all day in the hills. I also have a 97 ultra classic to take my fiancé out in style on. It’s a great date bike, she’s comfy and with the fairing we can hear each other yell that we’re lost. I love old stuff too! We just finished up redoing my 49 Pan. I saw a guy years ago, with his car painted to match his bike. So, my good friend E.J. Kowalski who did most of the real work on the bike painted it to match my 31 model A sedan that we also just finished. It’s a pretty traditional hot rod, chopped with a 350 and 5 speed. Just a blast to drive! My son Cody has been putting the finishing touches on our 46 knuckle. He was just in Easyriders magazine last year in the mini mag “Wrench” I was really proud to have one of our bikes in that mag. It was always the Bible of Kool. Until it got kinda weak there for a while. My youngest son Erik tattoos with me and at his shop “The anchor tattoo co” in New Brunswick. He rides the snot out of his 87 FXR and occasionally goes off roading on it! My other main ride is my 38 Plymouth.i bought it basically stock in California from a good friend of mine. I drove it straight back to jersey without a spare, jack , tools or any common sense. Another good friend did the chop and a ton of Kustom bodywork on it and I’ve had that car all over the country too. My next project is finishing up a 41 knuckle I’ve had for a while and my 52 chevy fleeline. We chopped it and did most of the body mods but there’s a long way to go! I love anything and everything that rolls, motorcycles and our way of life is religion to me. There’s nothing in the world that is as pure fun as bikes. Fuckin scary and dangerous as hell but it’s the life we choose. Like my knuckles say “LONG RIDE’ That’s all I wish for all of us.
9. The interweb, has made it easier for folks to stay connected. I think it’s done alot for the bike community in bringing people together. Any thoughts on the bike scene? I think the whole social media thing around the bike culture is mostly a good thing. I never pushed bikes on anybody. I never told my sons to ride or anybody, you have to come to that decision on your own. Once you take they take the first step I’ll do whatever I can to help you learn to ride and buy a decent bike. I always take new riders to the local motorcycle wrecking yard, just so they can see how fucked up you can get riding. Unless you dream about bikes and riding and can’t wait to ride I’d advise against goin any further. And anybody that says they wanna ride to relax should buy a boat. If you relax on a bike, you die. Just the action of riding a bike engages all your senses.It has too. So when your whole being is completely emersed in riding I think it opens a Small door in your brain and soul to enlightenment. It’s spiritual man!! Wow! I kinda went off there didn’t I? Ok back to the web and bikes.. I just hope that people don’t get so into the selfie/picture thing to the point that it diminishes the enjoyment of the moment. That’s all you have sometimes riding, a whiff of grass, a glimpse of a hawk, a smile from a snot nosed kid. RIDE MAN! I’ve had some of the most glorious times in my life and some of the saddest most painful times surrounding the life I’ve chosen. But it’s life!! And it’s here today to enjoy and have fun with and share with anybody that’s crazy enough to take the ride with you.
10. Where can folks see ya or get in touch with ya? (social media, websites etc.) You can contact me at Tattooville in linden NJ at 908 862 1722 or Email me at email@example.com and please follow me on instagram at my personal page “Tattoovilleshoe” And my tattoo/art page “yeroldpalshoe”. In closing I’d like to thank you Jay for letting me rant and rave. Your blog is really kool. And it’s great to get to know so many of the names I’ve heard forever and hear their stories. Keep up the good work!!!
Yer old pal
Thanks, Shoe for taking the time to talk with us and for the super kool new design!!! folks can pick up at http://www.hijinxapparel.com/
You rule, buddy!!!!
Check out Tattooville on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Tattooville-NJ-140695082640818/
#shoe #motorbikes #hijinxapparel #hijinx #motorkulture #cars