Jeremy Upshaw may charge more, but it's obvious that you get what you pay for. He's a guy whose fixation with sterilization borders on freakish; he doesn't consider anyone who has apprenticed less than two years to be remotely qualified to pierce flesh; and his own face, ears and neck are Swiss-cheesed. "A lot of the time, customers judge a place by how clean it appears, but they don't get to see what's the most important, what's going on behind the scenes," he says. "I've seen shops that look beautiful out front, but in the back they might as well be injecting blood into each other." Upshaw has even turned body modification into performance art, piercing two rows of holes along a woman's back in order to lace her skin up like a corset, and sewing a man's mouth shut during a fetish performance downtown at the now-leveled Stray Cat club. And, yes, those are ball bearings just underneath the skin on the backs of his hands. Thanks for asking.