Dan Dringenberg hails from an era of tattooing that was scary, violent and otherwise hostile. I started tattooing in this period, cutting my teeth with a big biker guy named Miller. I'm sure that many people will understand when I say that Dan has changed tattooing in many ways, but most notably with his black back pack.
It maybe true that every corner of this business is currently saturated with suppliers ripping each other off, but it wasn't like that back then. Dan was one of the first people to produce a high quality tube. Up until that point, you either used super small Spaulding tubes or crappy brass National ones that turned strange colors in the autoclave. That's where Dan's genius began. He produced a remake of the tattoo Sven tube which is now known as the "open top shader." Philip Leu had been traveling around the world tattooing with these, but they were just legend to us, until along comes Danny. In his great wisdom, he figured out the jig work needed to make these things.
Now I have seen these things, and they are really complex pieces, multiple actions happening at once. But cut, polish, press, and blamo! There goes Danny, out on the track pimping his wares out of a black back pack. I still have the first tubes i got from him to this day. They've been beaten useless, but i still have them. Dan has since been through the gauntlet of ups and downs and has come out on top. His machine shop has become a corner stone of innovation, and the quality of the machines coming out of that shop matches Danny's integrity. All of my first parts were from Dringenburg and Company, he is the only reason I was ever able to start making machines in a production form as opposed to one-offs.
I did this interview at the same time as Kore and Tim's interviews, just real late at night when everyone had split except two of Dan's friends who sat next to me while we talked. I'd like to thank Dan for not only allowing me to use his place and disrupt the day to day affair of his shop to do these interviews, but also for all of his help and involvement with my own machine business.
I hope you enjoy this wild ride with Danny, I know I sure did.