Shanghai Kate celebration benefiting the Tattoo Heritage Project w/ Shinyribs, Fingerpistol, Shane Enholm [outside]
“First time I remember meeting her was at Shady Grove at a Shinyribs show,” writes in said bandleader Kevin Russell, veteran Musician of the Year in the Austin Music Poll (ongoing now). “I thought she had the most beautiful eyes. I had no idea who she was.”
In fact, when Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand died on Nov. 15, 2022, at the age of 79, she left her mark on humanity literally. Sailor Jerry protégé, Michael “Rollo Banks” Malone facilitator, and Ed Hardy mentor, the tattoo trailblazer shut down Shanghai Kate’s Tattoos on Guadalupe four years ago, but ATX bears her sign no less than the Longhorns branded into every other live music capitalist. The intersection of sound and insignia looms large for legacy country mavericks Fingerpistol.
“She designed the cover of Fingerpistol’s Bakersfield country-style CD Stepped in It Again,” emails front humorist Dan Hardick, (in)famous as this publication’s TMI Luv Doc. “She’s also been on the Fingerpistol party bus on several occasions. She was, as you might imagine, quite an entertaining iconoclast and an extraordinarily interesting person.”
$33 admits to the Mohawk and a Hellenbrand art show at the neighboring German Free School – benefiting Tattoo Heritage Project and ushering the Star of Texas convention. Shinyribs’ Gulf Coast conjurer continues: “When she came to shows I was always happy to see her. I have no tattoos. Don’t know much about that world. But I did know Kate. So I reckon the first tattoo I get will be of her. If I could only look into her eyes again.”– Raoul Hernandez