Matthew Pritchard the Dirty Vegan
Matthew Pritchard first shot to fame in the 2003 as one quarter of the outrageous MTV stunt group Dirty Sanchez. The Sanchez boys were the UK’s answer to America’s Jackass but were cruder, ruder and more irreverent. As their fame grew more TV shows followed and as the challenges became more painful and the stunts more extreme the only way was up and in 2006 the Dirty Sanchez movie was released. The film features one infamous scene of Pritchard getting the name of fellow Snachez prankster Lee Dainton tattooed on his penis.
Pritchard still appears on TV but now as a vegan advocate and cook. He has replaced the stunts of his Sanchez years with something far more grueling becoming an extreme endurance athlete. He also runs the Sleep When Your Dead (SWYD) tattoo studios and barbers.
SWYD tattoo and barbers in Cardiff has become one of the most popular tattoo venues in Wales since it opened nearly 6 years ago.
“I just love getting tattooed. I started getting tattooed at Zulu Tattoo in Ireland back in the day. Hanging out with the guys there I just kind of fell in love with the whole scene. Years later when the whole Sanchez thing was coming to an end and I was looking for something to do people suggested why don’t I set up my own tattoo studio and as I was known back in the day for all sorts of crazy haircuts I thought I’d combine it with a barbers and Sleep When Your Dead Tattoo and Barbers was born.”
I ask him what the secret of his success is, in such a heavily saturated market.
“I guess that’s tricky but we are successful because we are good and nice,” he laughs.
“I remember going in some tattoo studios back in the day and it was really intimidating. They would look you up and down when you walked in; like going in a saloon bar in an old western. I wanted to create a friendly atmosphere where people could feel welcome. I only employ good tattooists with impeccable hygiene, but they also have to be nice people. At the end of the day who wants to work with arseholes or be tattooed by arseholes?”
"I still enjoy a beer and have the odd blow out but I love exercise; it’s not hard to do what you enjoy.”
Back in his Sanchez days Pritchard lived a full on rock & roll lifestyle but he has now left behind his party monster alter ego and is focused on health and fitness.
“I did the Cardiff half marathon when I was 16 and when I quit my old ways I thought to myself that I’d like to give it another go. It just grew from there really. I support two charities through my sport The Lions Barber Collective and The Sound of Animals. I still enjoy a beer and have the odd blow out but I love exercise; it’s not hard to do what you enjoy.”
Pritchard moved from half marathons to full marathons then onto triathlons, Iron Man competitions and beyond.
“One of the challenges I’m most proud of is my circumnavigation of Wales. I did a 25 mile swim from Penarth to Porthcawl, then cycled the whole coast of Wales to Prestatyn then ran back to Penarth. To finish the challenge I ran the Cardiff half marathon for the last day, as I arrived at 1 a.m. the morning of the race. I’m not sure which was tougher that or when I did 30 half Iron Man challenges in 30 days. I’ll be honest with you by the end of both of them I was knackered but it’s great to use your skills to give something back.”
“The only drawback from my sport is it stops me getting tattooed. You can’t heal a tattoo when you’re going in the pool every day, running and cycling miles.”
"At the end of the day who wants to work with arseholes or be tattooed by arseholes?"
Not only did Pritchard switch from party animal to fitness machine he also overhauled his diet and went vegan.
“People told me I wouldn’t be able to do a marathon vegan let alone Iron Man yet I feel fitter in body and brain now I’m vegan; I’m plant powered and going strong. I’m not trying to preach, we are all adults and have to make up our own minds but for me a vegan lifestyle is fantastic.”
His vegan principles extend to tattooing.
“I definitely think the tattoo industry can do more to eliminate animal products from the tattooing. Every little helps and small changes now will lead to big changes later.”
Though Pritchard has moved on from Dirty Sanchez one last hurrah is planned.
“We are having a reunion this Christmas. We will show the Dirty Sanchez film and have a question and answer session after. It will be nice to be on stage with the 3 other guys again one last time. Happy memories and showing the movie will be a nice way to say goodbye.”
"I feel fitter in body and brain now I’m vegan; I’m plant powered and going strong."
Prichard has just opened another tattoo studio in the town of Bargoed and he has another business venture taking shape.
“My dog, Lemmy, is my best training partner and he’s inspired me to open up a dog grooming salon. I’ve been successful at running a business cutting peoples hair so I thought I’d try it with dogs. I have to point out we won’t be offering tattoos to our canine customers; I think the RSPCA would have something to say about that,” he jokes.
Like Pritchard said it’s nice to work with nice people and despite his crazy reputation he is one of the nicest people I’ve interviewed. I can’t help but ask one last clichéd question before I leave; does he still have Dainton tattooed on his knob?
“God I always get asked that!” he laughs. “Yes I do; he’s not been lasered off yet. I’m always telling my girlfriend that she keeps putting Dainton in her mouth.”
A final thought from the author: "The best way to heal a tattoo is to use a specialist healing balm or cream; for me Yayo is the best option hands down. But like Pritchard says you've got to really be careful what you do during the healing phase. One simple way to ruin a fresh tattoo is to soak it in water. Avoid swimming, baths and saunas for the first few weeks after your tattoo has been applied and always use Yayo aftercare to get the best results."
Yayo... its a family thing.