Johnny Thunders — July 15, 1952-April 23, 1991

It’s been 21 years since Johnny Thunders was found dead in a New Orleans hotel room; some say from drug-related causes while others point to foul play (his passport, clothes, and make up were gone).

Known for his work with The New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers with the classic punk rock anthem as “Born to Lose” Thunders and I share one thing in common: we both have had tattoos done by legendary Thai tattoo guru, Jimmy Wong. In fact, shortly before Thunders died, he was in Bangkok getting inked by the legendary tattoo artist.

In 2004, I visited Jimmy Wong’s studio on Sukhumvit Soi 5 for the first time. I had heard about this legendary tattoo artist before but had no idea of this Wong-Thunders connection until the night I got inked from Jimmy for the first time. While I was sitting in the chair, waiting for Jimmy to finish, a tourist from France stopped in. Of all the times I spent at the studio, there was always someone stopping in to pay a courtesy call to Jimmy. And on that March night in 2004, it was this man from France who stopped in to meet the man who tattooed Johnny Thunders and get a business card to bring back to his friend in France who was also a huge Johnny Thunders fan. Jimmy stopped tattooing for a few minutes to pose for a photo and then it was back to work.

And if you happen to find yourself in Bangkok and in need of a tattoo from this legendary tattoo artist, look on the wall in Jimmy’s studio; ¬†you’ll see this photo of Johnny showing off his new ink.

Rest in Peace, Johnny.

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