Body Basics

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The early influential Chicago studio Body Basics, originally founded and owned by piercer and tattoo artist Mad Jack and subsequently for a short time Pere Frost, was forced to close in 1998, allegedly due to the questionable business and political practices of the owner of a popular retail outlet in the same neighborhood. Some people believe that it was a combination of this along with Pere Frost's lack of business experience dedication that shut down the shop shortly after Mad Jack's retirement.


The following is a highly paraphrased version of the position that most of the piercers and tattoo artists that followed the closing of Body Basics seemed to buy at the time. Note, this is a rumor, and as such, either may or may not contain truth, either partially or in whole:

The owner of a popular cluster of retail stores in the "Clark & Belmont"/Boystown neighborhoods in Chicago decided that he wanted to get into the piercing market and kill the competition as quickly possible. His idea was to drive piercing studios under by having the laws in the city changed such that an impossible-to-aquire license was necessary to do any piercings at all—a license which he aquired himself through bribes and sweet talking.
He was not willing to take on Mad Jack directly. Mad Jack was a multiple felon and an ex-Hell's Angel, and had spent a number of years hardening his attitude in a federal prison. Body Basics (and therefore the rest of the shops) were safe because, although allegedly heavily involved in bribery and racketeering, the owner of the retail cluster was not willing to potentially (in his mind) get cracked in the head with a tire iron on his way to his car at night.
When Mad Jack retired, everything suddenly changed. Pere Frost was aware of the plan of the evil retail owner and watched it happen, but did nothing to strengthen the position of either himself or Body Basics, citing "lack of options." The laws were passed; Body Basics had to all but stop functioning due to lack of licensing, and was thusly forced to shut down.

What seems to be the agreement by both people directly involved and in the periphery of this unfortunate series of alleged events are the following:

  • There was some sort of certificate or license necessary to do body piercing in Chicago.
  • The owner of the retail cluster managed to procure one of these licenses.
  • Pere Frost did not manage to procure one of these licenses.
  • The law about this license or certificate may have existed for some time, but was only enforced after Mad Jack sold the shop to Pere Frost.
  • It was specifically the lack of licensing, and therefore the lack of piercing business, that ultimately ended up closing Body Basics.

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