By George Kaplan
Photos: Henry DeKuyper
Richie the Barber is certainly not the barber your father took you to as a child. This self-confessed nonconformist is a byproduct of what happens when an old soul falls in love with punk ethos. Known for his 1920s gentleman-like mustache and Chaplinesque picture poses, the man is a dedicated barber whose clientele is as broad as his horizons. On any given day you can find him at his shop, located in the back of the Barber shop at Bolt Barbers Melrose Ave., cutting up anyone from Travie McCoy to Benji Madden of Good Charlotte. Richie is not all about celebrities though. “My favorite clients to cut are the kids,” he says wistfully.
You can bet the kids love to get their coiffure snipped by the ever-so-entertaining Richie, who’s known for giving out toys and candy and turning a normally mundane haircut into the most fun you’ve had in a long time. We’re pretty sure your barber at the local Supercuts isn’t giving you a fade while putting on a personal unicycle and juggling clinic right in front of you, but Richie is. While Richie is well-liked and makes it clear that he is certainly the ringleader to his own life’s circus, there is much more to him than meets the eye.
“My grandfather was a barber and he taught me at a young age, so I’ve always cut hair for as long as I can remember. He’d tell me to always have imagination,” Richie says in reverence.
It’s clear the young barber took that advice to heart, as his own style is ever-evolving, much like his train of thought. “I daydream a lot. I think I do it so much that I find it hard to concentrate sometimes.”
One thing he does concentrate on is delivering the perfect cut and shave every time, as he has just as many regulars as he does walk-ups.