I didn't know Richie Pan like my friends Edge, T-Bag Chris Callen, Bandit and others knew him. But after each Smoke Out from midnight to 3 or 4 in the morning, Edge would hold court, bull shitting and everyone from Richie to Hammer would show up and tell war stories. Edge slid me over the Richie Pan painting from GTP. It was based on a photograph from Michael Lichter. I've heard many comments about how it is an image of the essential Richie Pan. For me, it is the essential image of why I ride a motorcycle. For me, George the Painter has captured the essence of the motorcycle lifestyle.
Richie Pan was the owner of Dark Star Tattoos, a Tattoo Parlor located in New Jersey, Rich is also an artist and amateur bike builder whose work has appeared in The Horse, Car Kulture Deluxe, Cycle Source, Tattoo, Savage, Greasy Kulture, The Chop, and many others. Bikers, hippies and tattooed freaks is a place that he started after discovering that he had surrounded himself by these types of people. The Richie Pan painting from GTP is a short run from the master. For more details on the Richie Pan painting from GTP, >click here.
About the night the Dark Star went outT-Bag wrote this about the night that Richie Pan died...
Moments later the party was in full force with a kiddie pool of beers, The Horse Staff, and Stampede riders leading the parade of noise and backslapping that so often falsely puts hotel managers on the edge of their seats. The boys in blue made their rounds, which made everyone nervous. Not for the exhaust notes or the topless girls in the pool, but because the scene of a very large accident was visable from the party in the parking lot. They said nothing, and went back to announce 'adult swim' with some stern warnings. Spacey from The Horse mag played acoustic guitar in the lobby for everyone.
Around 1:30am, the the worst materialized. I noticed Edge walk off with his phone against his ear. This is always a bad omen in the early hours of the event. He has direct communication with the local police and of course his own security. He announced to no one in particular, "They think it's Richie out there. Let's go Spacey," on his heels.
The room became a vacuum. With these hotel after parties, there's so much conversation that you can't hear a stereo, so no one bothers. The silence hung on me like a lead vest. It's hard to say how long it lasted.
That night woman struck and killed Richie Pan, of Darkstar Tattoos and The Horse Magazine, and his friend Michael Napolitano with her vehicle as they we're crossing the street to check out a bar just a block from their hotel. Animated conversations we're dissolved to low murmurs until a confirmation text came through a half hour later making the nightmare a reality. Tears fell in place of empty beer cans. Guys that would've stared at hand-built motorcycles in the parking lot, shared only hollow stares into each other... or nothing. No answers were found.