Sign of the Times

Posted July 16, 2009 in Feature Story

Last year, the Guinness Book of World Records published over 3,000 successful record-breaking attempts, many involving extreme human feats all over the world. Next month, Yuri Dubon, owner of Sign of the Times Body Piercing and Tattoo Studio, hopes to put Norco and, more specifically, his shop on the map by breaking one of the most painful records in the book. On Aug. 16, Dubon will attempt to pierce 25-year-old Joshua Brown 1,200 times with 16 gauge needles for the world record for “Most Body Piercings in One Session.” The official record of 1,015 piercings with jewelry is currently held in the U.K. by Charlie Wilson and Kam Ma according to the Guinness Book website. The record for most piercings with 18 gauge needles in one sitting belongs to Robert Jesus Rubio, recorded in the U.S. just last year. Brown and Dubon are attempting this feat with 16 gauge needles (which are larger than 18 gauge), which there is currently no record for as of this writing.


  In order to make history, Brown and Dubon have committed to get both mentally and physically prepared, partnering up for daily cardio workouts and trial piercing sessions.


“This is like running a marathon, I really mean that,” says Dubon, who at 50 years old has been in the piercing industry for 20 years, remaining relatively unknown despite his sterling reputation with local clientele. Oddly enough, Dubon has no tattoos or piercings on his body, explaining that it’s “just not his thing.”


Brown, a former apprentice at Sign of the Times, originally got the idea from looking at an old tattoo magazine with an article about a piercing shop that had broken the record with only 90 piercings back in 2001. Needless to say, that record has been long-broken. After doing research on the current record, contacting Guinness in May and submitting an application for an official piercing record, both men agreed to move forward with the attempt.


“It would bring in some business, definitely,” says Kenny Fondren, a resident tattoo artist at the shop. “People would want to come down to the shop, ask questions, try to see his scars and whatnot.”


Sure, this whole thing sounds like one hell of a PR move  for Dubon’s small tattoo and piercing establishment, tucked in the corner of a Norco shopping center. But a successful world record attempt would give Brown and Dubon their own unique senses of accomplishment. For Brown, it’s a chance to follow through on a goal that most of his friends and family think is ridiculous—though a few of his friends support his effort.


“I want to do it, just to say that I’ve done it,” says Brown. “And when people say I’m stupid, including my parents and stuff and tell me I can’t do something, it pushes me even more to want to do it.”


Brown adds that he dedicates the record attempt to his grandfather who perished after his house caught on fire in April 2009.


For Dubon, whose studied the art of piercing in both England and the U.S. since 1989 and opened Sign of the Times in 1990, this is a chance to get some well-deserved respect for his craft.


“I think it means a lot to me because at least I’m gonna be exposing myself breaking the world record. So I think it means a lot to me to have that title,” says Dubon.


At press time, the crew at Sign of the Times was still awaiting confirmation that a Guinness adjudicator would verify the Aug. 16 attempt, planned as an all-day event complete with vendors and live bands. As of now, all of their paperwork has been accepted. For Brown, the day can’t come soon enough. Even after enduring the pain of Dubon pulling out the needles after a recent 300-needle test run.


“Yeah, it gave me a taste of how it’s going to be and by the time we do the world record, I’ll be ready for it, especially after this . . . We will get it done.”


Sign of the Times, 2085 River Road, Ste. A, Norco, (951) 340-2714,


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