Mohawk on a Gearhead

Tony Eidem

Photo By Tom Angel

Hanging out in the waiting room at the tattoo/barbershop called Gearhead is a lot like hanging out at your buddy’s house. You can sip a beer, play video games, read a magazine or just vegetate on the couch. And while your buddy insists that he can totally tattoo that 3-foot-tall dragon on your back, at Gearhead you really can get everything from a traditional barber haircut and shave to professional ink work. You can even get a Mohawk, free of charge. Owner Tony Eidem explains the philosophy behind the shop, located at 1431 Park Ave., and the many reasons why Gearhead is more rad than Supercuts.

What spurred the idea for a barbershop/tattoo parlor?

Actually, just history. I was a big history buff in high school, and I had always cut hair, usually Mohawks. Tattooing got its start in the back of barber shops. I’ve got some old 1800s flyers that say “haircut, shave, tattooing.”

So … can you get both done at the same time?

No. Because of sanitation, we try to keep it as separate as we can. But once you’re done with your tattoo, you can get a haircut, and once you’re done with your haircut, you can get a tattoo.

How often do people get both?

So far, nobody’s gotten both on the same day, but we’ve had the same guys who come in for haircuts get tattoos, and the same guys who get tattoos get haircuts. We had the Impala car club come in a couple nights ago, and half of them were getting tattooed, and the other half were getting shaved.

Do you ever try to convince a customer who comes in for one to get the other?

No, not really. We’re a kickback shop; we’re more of a hangout. Sometimes a customer will come in to get a haircut, and there will be a tattoo getting done, and they’ll say “Oh, I’ve been waiting to get my tattoo.” But we don’t try to pressure them into anything.

What sort of clientele do you draw?

So far it’s been a wide, wide range. Mixing the barber shop with the tattooing has brought ’em all in; the college scene to the music scene. That’s kind of what I tried to base the shop on—just being open to everybody.

Which service do you perform more often?

Right now tattooing is going through the roof. A lot of people don’t know about the barber shop. We offer $12 haircuts, the same price as Supercuts, and you can get a free cold beverage and a cooler atmosphere.

Do you offer any sort of “buy a tattoo, get a free haircut” type deal?

No, we don’t. We keep the haircut and the tattoo separate from each other. But return clientele always get a break.