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Pierre Vachon pierces perceptions

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Posted on January 17, 2019 |
By Elsie Lynn Parini



Pierre Vachon_7131 by Steve James.jpg
PIERRE "THE BEAST" Vachon stands outside Frog Alley Tattoo and Leatherworks in Middlebury, where he is in charge of piercings. Vachon is also a pro wrestler, comedian, DJ, leather artist, actor and more. Below, Vachon pierces a customers nose. Independent photos/Steve James

MIDDLEBURY — Odds are you’ve seen Pierre Vachon around Middlebury. And odds are you might have been a little scared.

It’s OK, you’re not alone. Guys in black leather trench coats, with tattoos, and enough muscle for a quartet are intimidating, for sure.

But we also all know that usually there’s more than what meets the eye. And Vachon is no exception.

Like, for example, did you know, the Middlebury resident has traveled all over the country as a professional WWE wrestler for the past 18 years? He’s a comedian, has done TV voice overs, produces events at the Marquis Theater in Middlebury, runs Big Guys Entertainment (a DJ service) with Vinny Herbert, is a freelance bouncer, designs and creates his own chain mail and leather masks and hats. Oh, and for his day-job, he does the piercings at Frog Alley Tattoo and Leatherworks.

Actually, he was a former owner of the downtown Middlebury shop. Back in the spring of 2010 he and Christin Eaton opened Frog Alley. Eaton recently moved out to the Midwest to be closer to family, and the duo sold the business to Donald Patacsil.

Vachon still works out of the shop on 8 Bakery Lane, where he offers piercings to clients. Patacsil, who actually trained Eaton, took over her role as tattoo artist.

“Piercings are one of my passions,” said 41-year-old Vachon, who has several earrings and dermal piercings himself. “I’ll pierce anything, but I’m no nonsense. I give people my honest opinions… Trust is really important. I want people to get value from everything I do.”

That trust also comes with no judgment.

“It’s all modification to your body,” Vachon said. “Whether it’s the first time you cut your hair, a tattoo, a piercing, whatever…  it’s all modification. They’re all equal to me, and I’m happy to do it.”

When he’s not in the shop, Vachon might be over at the Middlebury Marquis, where he books and produces events and shows. Or he might be on the road as Pierre “The Beast” Vachon — as he’s known in the WWE circuit.

“I’m just getting back into it after about a three-year break I took because of a shoulder injury,” explained Vachon, who used to do 6-12 shows in a month during his heyday. Now he’s doing between one and two shows a month. “I’m an old fish in a new pond.”

In the ring, Vachon does just fine. “Sure,” he said, “I might get nervous at first, especially if I don’t know the other guy, but we’re working together and you don’t want to kill the other person.”

But that doesn’t mean Vachon doesn’t get hurt. 

“I always say the fighting is staged, not fake,” explained The Beast, who has had his knee replaced, sprains, broken bones and concussions.

His pro wrestling habit feeds his stand up comedy routine. “It’s great material,” said Vachon, who is hoping to bring his one-man show “Bruised and Tattooed: The life of a famous nobody” to Burlington. Closer to home, you’ll also find him performing at the Marquis.

On a random occasion you might find Vachon as a bouncer. An easy gig to get with his resume.

“I like everyone to be comfortable and safe,” he said. “And if it takes a 300-pound gorilla in the corner of the room to make that happen, I’ll be there.”

But bouncing isn’t really about being big and tough, said Vachon. “It’s about spotting trouble before it starts.”

“Truth be told, I’m a lover not a fighter,” he said. “I can hold my own, but I don’t like to fight. As a person of my stature, there are always people who want to challenge you, but that’s not me. I don’t get it… I just want everyone to be comfortable.”

And this is where we see the softer, quieter side of Vachon. The guy who carefully links chains together to create chainmail candle holders, purses and other items. The guy who softens leather and hand molds it into Steam Punk-style masks, top hats and cowboy hats. The guy who loves the classic 1980 TV sitcom “Golden Girls” — wait, really?

Honest, he does.

So how did this 1995 Colchester High School grad craft together this career of pro wrestling and piercings, with a half-dozen other gigs on the side?

Simple. “I always wanted to make a life that makes an interesting story,” he said. That and he didn’t want to use an alarm clock on a regular basis.

Done and done.

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