Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a member of a gang or a club? It must be nice to have a ride or dies that make sure you are safe from any type of threat or problems.To have some sort of brotherhood or sisterhood with people you are not related to must feel super special. So have you come across the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club? It is one of the Biggest biker clubs on this planet. This club initially came into being for veterans to connect and create a sense of camaraderie which quickly developed into a worldwide organization. Recently the Hells Angels have been affiliated with some shooting sprees in Las Vegas, drug running throughout the world, and various other criminal activities. It played one of the most important roles that propelled the 1960s counterculture even leading to club members killing each other. How is the Hells Angels club like today… Let us see…
The Beginning Of A Legacy
Although the actual date for this is not precisely known, it is agreed by most of the members that the Hells Angels were officially established on March 17, 1948, in Fontana, California. It was founded by the Bishop family and some other friends who were World War II veterans that were all from various post-war motorcycle clubs such as the Pissed Off Bastards, joining forces because of one common hobby. Even though there are a few reports of crime and violence linked with them, the Hells Angels say they got their start because military surplus made motorcycles affordable, and post-war life made many returnees feel a little lonely and missing their sense of soldier friendship. This club’s name is even linked to the US Navy, Army, and Marine’s as you’re about to learn…
Inspired By Squadron Nickname
So how did this iconic motorcycle club get its name in the first place you ask? Well, it has been reported that the name Hells Angels was actually a suggestion made by a friend of the founding members named Arvid Olson. This man Olson had also served in the Flying Tigers “Hells Angels” squadron in China during World War II and he felt that the name was apt for the club. So the nickname “Hells Angels” became one of the many nicknames that came about from the tradition of American soldiers giving their squadron fierce and threatening nicknames in World War I and II. And the Hells Angels charters started without ever being aware of each other’s existence.
Charters Grew Across California
When it was first founded this club began to initially spread throughout the state of California moderately but quickly. The founder of the Oakland charter Ralph “Sonny” Barger reported that one of the first charters in California was actually founded in San Francisco, Oakland, Gardena, Fontana and a few other lesser-known areas. Turing then, the charter so only kept within themselves and did not acknowledge the existence of all the other charters. In the 1950s, the different groups came together and unified to establish a large-scale organization and start a system of internal codes and criteria for admission. After it became well established, the club made an impact on the 1960s counterculture…
Cornerstone of Counterculture
So in the 1960s, the Hells Angels club started becoming a large part of the counterculture movement, with special regards to the state of California. The club was very popular and held a prominent position in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco and were frequent attendees of all social events that took place there. So it was not a surprise to see that various members were also connected to the counterculture’s primary leaders in music and expression, such as Ken Kesey, the Merry Pranksters, Allen Ginsberg, Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, and more. It is very surprising to hear that the Hells Angels never looked for a bad reputation like the ones we are about to expose you to.
They Don’t Want a Bad Reputation
It is good to note that the Hells Angels, and some other motorcycle clubs, would often call themselves a one percenter biker club. Actually, this was a phrase that is actually a 50-year-old title that is a version of the old saying that 1% of troublemakers give a bad reputation to 99% of bikers. So this name is a supposed attempt to get them separated from all of the negative stereotypes involving biker gangs and even the Hells Angels in particular. So in spite of the name, various members actually bumped heads with the law where a few crimes ranging from murder to drug dealing had been committed. Even now the club is still expanding rapidly and has spread out of the United States as well…
In the beginning, the Hells Angels motorcycle club was strictly and exclusively based in the state of California but soon it began spreading, eventually becoming international by 1961. So in 1961, the first charter to exist outside of California started in Auckland, New Zealand. So this soon opened the floodgates and the iconic motorcycle club started its course in spreading around the globe. So in the year 1969, the first European charter was opened in the city of London. Currently, there are 275 charters in Europe alone.Since the 1970s till now, charters have been founded in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Eastern Europe, and more. New areas are always sought after. So what exactly is Hell’s Angel’s culture you ask? Let us find out.
Hells Angels Attire
It is quite evident to spot a member of The Hells Angels. They are not really one to shy away or hide away in secrecy. Most of them usually wear a leather or denim “cut” which is slang for a motorcycle vest. On the cut, there are various patches of Hells Angels that have been written on the back with the location of their charter at the bottom. The full members always have the red and white-winged “death head” logo, with the letters HAMC (Hells Angels Motorcycle Club) and also the digits 81. 81 actually stand for letters H and A with H being the eighth letter of the alphabet and A being the first. In due time, the members can also earn other patches. So what does it take to be a member then?
Becoming A Hells Angel
As you may have already guessed, being a part of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is no easy job. To actually become a member, it would actually take up to a few years to be one, that is, if you are capable of making it that far. For starters, you must hold a legit motorcycle license, have your own Harley Davidson motorcycle over 750 CC and a personality that fits in with everyone else in the club. You cannot have a history of child molestation or have ever applied to become a police officer or prison guard to join this legendary club. Some other requirements have not been disclosed to the general public’s knowledge.However, you have to first “hang around…”
So after getting all this done and after one is being considered as eligible, a prospective member then becomes a“hang around.” In fact, this is the first stage of the process. So then, the candidate can be requested to join some club meetings or meet other club members at open social gatherings to further see if they are eligible. So if you are a hang-around, it gives you the chance to meet other members and to have a network, and have a sneak peek at the lifestyle that comes with being a member of the Hells Angels. If you want to know that a few patches represent, then we suggest you keep reading this post. You would definitely want to stay away from guys who you spot with some of these…
Next, They Become a Prospect
So then supposing a hang-around is still interested after a while, he could then become an associate. While being an associate, the person gets to spend a few more years going to social events, spend some time with other members, and at the same time, proving their worth to them. Although there is no specific time frame, an associate can soon become a prospect. Even though prospects can join closed meetings, they do not have votes regarding club business. Prospects then go through some test before becoming a fully-patched member of the club. The prospects are able to wear a cut with a patch with the state or territory of their charter. It is good to know that the Hell’s Angels are a full-out unanimous democracy…
Needing A Unanimous Vote
To become a fully-patched member, the last thing that needs to happen is for one to get voted in. For this to take place, the prospect must receive a unanimous vote from the rest of the charter he will belong to. But before this voting starts, the prospect must go to each charter in the nearby area to present himself and show his dedication to the Hells Angels club. So then, after he is voted into his personal charter, he receives his top Hells Angels rocker and winged death head logo that are given out at the initiation ceremony. The act by which someone gets voted into the club is known as “being patched.” If you see someone wearing this next patch, do not get into an altercation with him.
The Special Patches
The book called ‘Gangs’, by Tony Thompson, describes other patches that have been earned by members for particular deeds they have done. A patch of this sort is the Nazi-style SS lightning bolts containing the words “Filthy Few.” This particular patch is one that is usually awarded to members that have or would actually commit murder for the sake of the club. Another patch known as the “Dequiallo” patch is actually adorned by those who have run-ins with the law enforcement with violence while being placed under arrest. Some other patches that show the dedication of members towards the club and their achievements are also there but are secrets to the public. Hunter S. Thompson was there for a year in the club but then he got beat up.
Hunter S. Thompson & Hells Angels
This “Gonzo” journalist Hunter S. Thompson first started as a member of the Hells Angels before his career kicked off. To write his book ‘Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs’, Thompson was actually living it up with the club for 1 whole year. He joined the activities and rode with the club, taking part in the lifestyle. But soon he had a problem with the club. Thompson was trying to prevent some guy from beating up his wife but rather got a beat down of his own. The club members accused Thompson of wanting to join the club just for his personal gain and the profits. Thompson’s book became a huge hit and he paid the club nothing. The nature of Hells Angels can be seen as you read on.
The Altamont Concert Incident
The Altamont Speedway held one concert back in 1969, where the Hells Angels played the role of security. There is no specific answer as to who exactly hired them for security, and some of the attendees and the officials also felt as though it was not exactly a good idea. The club members laid hand son many rough concert goers. There was one incident where Merideth Hunter pulled out a pistol. The man was soon attacked by a Hells Angels member, leading to a man called Passaro stabbing him as he fell on the ground. Passaro was initially arrested for this but then when clips showed that Hunter held a gun and that Passaro was defending himself, he was acquitted of the crime. The club has also received accusation of being racist.
Are the Hells Angels Racist?
The Hells Angels motorcycle club claims to be a racially segregated organization, but just one look at its members, one would definitely think that this is a lie. In a 2000 interview, Sonny Barger has said, “The club, as a whole, is not racist, but there are probably enough racist members that no black guy is going to get it.” There have also been a few speculations that suggest that if someone is white, they join the Hells Angels and if they are black, they join the Dragons. But Tobie Levingston, the leader of the Dragons club, has revealed that he and Sonny have a strong friendship and that the two clubs are not rivals at all. The Lennoxville Massacre shows the terrifying side of this club, see how and why…
The Lennoxville Massacre
We are humans and so we often have different views and opinions. So some members of the Hells Angels were in the middle of a misunderstanding back in 1985. There were 5 members from Hells Angels North Laval Quebec who got killed by other members from the Montreal, Quebec, and Nova Scotia charters.Since they could be liable members, these 5 soon-to-be-dead members were invited to come to the Lennoxville clubhouse. There, these member were beaten, shot, and their bodies were disposed at the St. Lawrence River. Five members that executed the crime were first arrested and sentenced for life but were released by the year 2013. This is the Lennoxville Massacre.
Sons of Anarchy, Based On The Club
The popular television show ‘Sons of Anarchy’ was created by Kurt Sutter. This show is somewhat based on the Hells Angels club. There have been many plot points and storylines that have actually happened to the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Some of the incidents that have happened in the history of the club have been shown in this show. Some real-life Hells Angels members also made appearances in the show including David Labvrava, Chuck Zito, Rusty Coones, and Sonny Barger. Kurt Sutter used Labrava as a technical advisor to make sure that the show correctly depicted a real motorcycle club. Labrava was one of the main cast, playing “Happy” throughout the show.
Sonny Barger Is The Hells Angels
For a long while, Sonny Barger has spearheaded the Hells Angels club and is one of the most recognized members. Each charter is self-governed and holds their own presidents but Sonny Barger is the man that everyone respects. Barger is actually the president and original founding member of the Oakland charter. He is now 78-years-old and still rides with the club. This is had the oldest membership of all the rest and has stayed out of prison for most of his life. He went to jail for attempting to blow up a rival gang’s clubhouse in 1988 for 4 years but has stayed out of trouble ever since. Due to his iconic reputation, Barger has appeared in several films and television shows and has written a few books as well.
Maurice “Mom” Boucher
Although Sonny Barger is the most popular member of the Hells Angels club, representing the good of the club, Maurice “Mom” Boucher has been doing just the opposite. He is an ex-president of the club with so much history. He became the Montreal charter president who during the eight-year-long took part in the Quebec Biker War. He is now serving three life sentences after getting arrested for crimes such as murder and drug dealing. Before joining the Hells Angel club, this man was a member of the white supremacist biker gang called SS. He led the Lennoxville Massacre and has cemented himself as the ultimate villain in the club history. On another note, did you hear that the Hell’s Angels have sued Disney and Toys R Us?
The Club And Lawsuits
Even since the Hells Angels the club became bigger, it has turned into a cooperation even more so than a club of guys who enjoy riding motorcycles. The motorcycle club has had its fair share of legal affairs. In 2007, the Hells Angels actually sued Disney because it used the Hells Angels logo in the film ‘Wild Hogs’ without their consent. Also in 2010, the club filed a case against designer Alexander McQueen for misusing their trademark winged death head symbol and Saks Fifth and Zappos.com for selling rings bearing their symbol. In 2012, the Hells Angels sued the company Toys “R” Us for the sale of yo-yos that contained their “Death Head” logo prints. They take their logos and symbols very seriously so the club is not afraid to sue.
George Christie – Ventura President
George Christie is the ex-Hells Angels President of the Ventura, California charter. He was one of the longest-serving presidents the club had ever had. He left the club in 2001 and was cooperating with the police which got him blacklisted by the club. In 2013, he got arrested because of firebombing and the extorting a tattoo shop in Ventura. He joined the History Channel show Outlaw Chronicles and will publish a book soon.
Rejected From Ventura
Hells Angels ex-leader George Christie Jr was not allowed to attend the Ventura County Fair in the year 2003. He also did this back in 2002 where he violated the policy that prohibited gang attire and tattoos. “This is a constitutional thing for one, but it goes far beyond that,” Christie had said. “This is not something I take lightly or something I just do on weekends. I’m a Hells Angel 24 hours a day. I’ve dedicated my life to it, and I equate that to religion.” What happens next? Go on and read…
They Don’t Get The Respect
George Christie was denied access for 2 years straight and the rest of his angels were allowed as they did not wear the club attire. The club soon felt discriminated. The Hells Angels felt like they have been misrepresented as a gang and not a club which they do not condone. There was a judge back in 2002 who actually said that the club was not a gang as it did not perform such crimes that a gang does.
Christie Wants to Show Peace
Christie really wanted to join the fair and even gave a prior information about him attending. He only took his family with him to the fair as well. “It’s the contention of the Ventura police that there is going to be some sort of spontaneous problem, some type of violence. I don’t agree with that and tried to show them by going as far as taking just my family,” Christie had said. Do you think this paid off?
Otto Friedli – Hells Angels Founder
Otto Friedli was an original member that belonged to the Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington Motorcycle Club. After leaving this club, he went on to become a founding member of the Hells Angels back in 1948. He was then president of the San Bernardino charter as well as the National President. But after Driedli went to prison, Sonny Barger soon became the National President of the club. He came back from prison, leaving the Hells Angels on good terms to join the Black Sheep Motorcycle Ministry.
Terry The Tramp – Oakland, California
Terry the Tramp was one of the oldest Oakland, California charter members. He starred in the film ‘Hells Angels 69′ and was also included in Hunter S. Thompson’s book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs’. He was one of the most notable members who died of a drug overdose back in 1970 at just 30 years old. He is an icon in the club till date.
Yves “Apache” Trudeau – Canada, Laval, Québec
Yves Trudeau or “The Mad Bumper” was an ex-member of the Canadian Hells Angels North Chapter in Laval, Quebec. He was addicted to cocaine and would frequently become paranoid, thinking that the other members were out to kill him. He admitted to 43 people between September 1973 and July 1985 in the hopes that cooperating with the police would lessen his prison sentence. He was released in 1994 to again be arrested for sexually assaulting a young boy in 2004.
Did They Try And Kill Jagger?
Rockstar Mick Jagger has been through a hell lot, almost losing his life on some occasions. BBC radio uncovered some facts that had been hidden for so long. The was an attack on the Rolling Stones vocalist during the height of their career in the 1970s.The Hells Angels attempted to kill Mick Jagger while he was on a holiday home in the Hamptons reports one FBI agent.
A Secretive Plan
The main idea was to attack Mick Jagger while he was undetected from the sea. The Hells Angels club was a very tough club but their assassination skills could be put up for debate. “They planned the attack from the sea so they could enter his property from the garden and avoid security at the front,” says Tom Mangold, a BBC presenter that exposed the story to Radio 4 series on the history of the FBI.
An Unexpected Turn
The story then follows a twist when the men were all set, waiting on the boat and preparing to handle the deed. But then a storm took over and all the men fell off the boat. “A group of them took a boat and were all tooled up,” Mangold said in his report. “But their boat was hit by a storm and all of the men were thrown overboard.” Mick Jagger was incredibly lucky.
The FBI Got On Their Tail
So the founder of FBI became certain that the Hells Angels were definitely a criminal group so he devised a plan. The officer made sure to let his men infiltrate some of the chapters of the club that would obviously be of high risk. One of the agents actually discovered this assassination attempt here. “The FBI only found out about the assassination attempt sometime after the fact,” says Tom Mangold.
It Pays To Be Sneaky
Although it was uncovered very late, it was important that they did anyway. The FBI had a genuine reason to go after the Hells Angels. “Apparently this agent was told of the attempt and its failed outcome sometime after it had occurred, although it was never made clear to him when exactly the attempt on Mick Jagger’s life had taken place,” Tom Mangold has said in his interview.
What Did The FBI Do?
“Because no actual crime had been committed, there was nothing that the FBI could do,” Mangold further said. “It’s as simple as that.” It is also reported that Jagger was not even aware of this plan himself. This news was kept secret as there was no good reason to bring it up anyhow. So, there are a few information that needs to be gathered regarding this incident.
Trouble With The Rock Machine
There has been some animosity between The Rock Machine and Hells Angels who are both similar on many levels. Things were extremely bad at one point in time. “They were famous rivals to the Hells Angels from 1986-2002,” a source has revealed, further saying, “The Quebec Biker War primarily dealt with this rivalry; a turf war raged on for years while the two clubs fought over the rights to street drug distribution and territory.”
The Book About Them
Hunter So. Thompson released his book in 1966 and did not shed a positive light on the Angels. “Unfortunately, the Angels were depicted as emotionally and intellectually void in the book; a feud between the famed author and the club ensued,” The richest had written. “They were less than pleased that he spoke so badly of them after they had allowed him to spend time with their club to research the book.”
Women Who Roll With The Angels
A ton of women have fallen for the Hells Angels lifestyle as well. Many women have joined the club and it goes to show that even the ladies love motorcycles. Some of them even wear the Hells Angels cuts, with “support your local 81” patches. They are not just girlfriends as well. Most of them are wives to the Hells Angels members who love the whole idea of being in a motorcycle club.
A Dangerous Lifestyle
The women that join the Hells Angels are equally dedicated to the men. Even though women can join the Angels, it is not so frequent that a female Hells Angel commanding a bike is spotted. The women usually have a lot of dedication and submit themselves for the benefit of the club. Most of the women who join this club are married or involved with the men so breaking up would be quite weird.
What Do They Do?
Thousands of club members get together to ride together in Europe and beyond, joining forces back in the 2016 World Run event in Poland to rally and ride in a massive group. The Hells Angels often hold social events that are for the benefit of the people although they often commit crimes every now and then. These rides are usually to commemorate deceased members or done for the benefit of kids.
The club has had a few run-ins with the law.So the Hells Angels clubhouses are kept very lowkey to avoid the authorities and law enforcement officials.This building here was actually a former Hells Angels clubhouse on Eastern Avenue in Toronto. They were kicked out by the government and soon the building was up for sale. The money was used in supporting a crime bill.
100 Police Raid in Germany
The police once raised a Hells Angels clubhouse in Cologne, Germany and came in very prepared. In May 2017, 100 officers of German law enforcement came in an armored vehicle to break down the clubhouse, that contained a battering ram and an iron cage. Police confiscated weapons and even arrested 10 members of the Hells Angels. The raid took place due to an altercation that took place between the Hells Angels and another gang, the Bandidos.
A Hells Angels New Year’s Eve
Happy New Year! This picture perfectly shows the true spirit of a Hells Angels New Year’s Eve party. It was taken at the Johannesburg Hells Angels chapter, ringing in the year 1983 with the traditional kiss.
Attack On Vietnam Protesters
During a 1965 anti-Vietnam war protest at the Berkeley-Oakland line,35 members of the Hells Angels attacked a police cordon to stop them from entering Oakland.
The Berkeley Attack
After just a month of this incident, the club held a press conference. Ralph “Sonny” Barger said that he feared the protesters “may provoke us to violence.”
Hells Angels Forever
1983 was the year the documentary called ‘Hells Angels Forever’ was released. The late actor Robin Williams and his wife Valerie were there and so was Chuck Zito, the Vice President of the New York chapter of Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club was also in attendance.
A Hells Angels Wedding
This picture was shown on the Manchester Daily Express, where a Hells Angel named John Fernihough and his sweetheart, Marie Clarkson was pictured right after their marriage. He was 17 and she was 16.
50 Year Anniversary
March 17, 1998, became the 50th anniversary of the Hells Angels’ founding. Many of the members came together to party and celebrate.
To enjoy some R & R, where do the Angels go? In 1986, they went to the Stoner Lodge which is located in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, and there was a party for Sonny Barger in August of ’86.
An Image Overhaul
BAck in 1978, the Manhattan chapter of Hells Angels wanted to change their bad reputation by throwing a party. This went down at the Thrush nightclub on February 28, 1978.
The Merry Pranksters
On a Saturday back on August 7, 1965, the counter-cultural novelist and LSD addict, Ken Kesey held one party at his ranch which is in La Honda, California. It was reported that the man introduced the Angels to LSD.
Funeral For An Angel
Gerry Tobin has the nickname “Gentleman Gerry,” and was a very popular member of the London chapter of the Hells Angels. In 2008, the members of the Outlaws motorcycle group gunned him down and were imprisoned.
More Than A Club
Although they attempt to change their reputation several times, “This biker gang is responsible for about 90% of both the drugs and the sex trade in Canada,” The richest has reported.
The Mayor And Hells Angels
Rob Ford who was the former mayor of Toronto had been snapped with members of the Hell Angel’s. He was also caught on tape smoking crack with them. He, however, denies being acquainted with them.
George Christie Spills The Beans
The Hells Angels president for the longest streak in history is George Christie Jr. He appeared on a show called Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels where he said,“My position and I hold it steadfast throughout all six episodes, is the Hells Angels is not a criminal organization, but there are criminals within the organization like there are in any walks of life.”
Christie wanted to clear the air himself. he said, “I figured it was the appropriate time to tell the story from my perspective and my words. It’s interesting because it’s not really from a law enforcement perspective. That’s usually the way these stories are told. It’s very unique.”
Is He Afraid Of Being Targeted?
There was bound to be some aftereffects when Christie left. “That’s really not an issue with me,” he says. “Certainly there are people that have taken exception. When you’re a leader in an organization for 35 years and you have a revelation and decide to leave, certainly there’s a fraction of your old associates that aren’t going to be happy with you.”
It Was Like A Divorce
Christie is not bothered about how the club feels about him leaving. He said it was a decision that was made rationally and that the club took it a little too far.
What Attracted Christie?
However, Christie was still very vocal about the club’s honor and value system. “I felt there was really a code of honor despite what society-at-large would think,” Christie went on saying, “These were guys I could trust. I knew if I confided in them or told them something, they wouldn’t take it and use it against me.”
Through his interview, Christie hopes to shed a light on people who do not have a clear understanding of what the club is about. “What I want [viewers] to understand is they have completely misinterpreted what the organization is all about and what its primary function is,” Christie explained.
Why Did He Step Down?
The main question asked, however, is why Christie left the club and his position. “I felt we became the people we rebelled against, and that’s exactly what I told them at the meeting when I left,” he answered.“At one time, we would interact with all the clubs up and down the coast, and by 2011, we were fighting every major outlaw-bike club in the United States—plus law enforcement.”
The Book Had To Be Written
Some things need to be addressed and some people need to set things straight. “All of a sudden I had people I’ve never met before, who weren’t even club members, who were maybe who you’d call loose associates or fans or whatever, coming at me, making accusations and whatnot. I decided to set the record straight,” Christie as he explained his motive.