17 Reasons Why I Could Never be in The Hell's Angels
Sonny Barger, leader of the Hell's Angels
Chuck Zito, a latter leader of the Hell's Angels outside Nello Restaurant
These are a motorcycle club member's identity: His colors
Hell's Angels: a glamorous beginning
It was fitting that the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, don’t laugh, started in a cool place like Fontana, California. Say the word, Fontana. Doesn’t just saying the word just send waves of cool over your body? Fontana, almost synonomous with the legendary band, Ronnie and The Daytonas. How about Ronnie and The Fontanas? That works.
Something of an unknown conspiracy might be afoot here. I got it! 50’s female crooner, Martha Reeves and the Fantanas. Nope. But there again, the name, look at it. Fontana. “Ladies and gentleman, here are Martha and The Fontanas!” It works. Hold it! With some rather borderline-risky research methods, I found out that this Reeves gal had another group, the Vandellas. Not a case of you say Fontanas, I say Vandellas. But Martha Reeves definitely had two girl groups. Reeves’ slight-of-hand never got my this old rocker.
Hell’s Angels formed in 1948 in Fontana as a result of two forces at work: Fame and boredom. Fame from bomber squadrons named Hell’s Angels in World Wars I and II, and an iconic-film by Howard Hughes. Plus a band of military vets with time on their hands and not having a desire to be tethered by a nine to five job with narrow black tie and white shirt, sat down and formed what was to be arguably “the” most-famous, most-notorious motorcycle “club,” in our history. (Note: I did not use the derogatory moniker: “gang,” as in motorcycle gang).
Stars of Howard Hughes' film, Hell's Angels
Hell's Angels news conference
Howard Hughes' movie poster
July 14, 2012 - Crime City Run in Frankfurt
A deeper history
True, the Hell’s Angels and F.B.I. were never in-bed together. Both factions despised the other. So much so that the F.B.I. infiltrated, degraded, worked underground, above ground with countless reels of secret tape recordings and eight millimeter film trying to catch the Hell’s Angels selling drugs, arms, any illegal act including double-parking their “hogs,” (motorcycles, not old ladies), in a tow-away zone just so collars could be given-out to zealous up and coming agents who needed a good bust to make from field agent to special agent.
But agents, like fads, come and go. That also applies to Hell’s Angels. Some are still around while some are dead. But that name, Hell’s Angels, when spoken with the right shape of the mouth, instills a cold fear in those who know better than to cross the street while the Angels are waiting for the light to change. That’s respect.
As for the Hell’s Angels lifestyles, free and unbowed to “the man,” it was proven in some areas of the”club,” that the Hell’s Angels did sell a few drugs, sell a few arms and had their old ladies work in strip clubs in order to make a living. Make a living to pay the mortgage on what? I never unraveled that paradox.
The legend, the “Prince of Inprecision,” the late Dr Hunter S Thompson, father of Gonzo journalism once rode with the Hell’s Angels and enjoyed every beer, joint, and party. Thompson wrote a rather scathing essay about the Hell’s Angels that got him in the wrong limelight with this powerful “club,” and suddenly got out and bought the Owl Ranch in Colorado.
As much as I adore, maybe idolize Dr Thompson and his undeniable writing talent, and riding with the Angels for a while, I know in my heart that this is where Dr Thompson and myself part ways.
I know that there are
“17 Reasons Why I Could Never be in The Hell’s Angels”
Ken Kersey, left, with some Hell's Angels
Revelers kissing during a New Year's Eve celebration in New Zealand
Brief history of Hell's Angels
courtesy of TIME magazine
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Cub began in Fontana, Calif., in 1948, at a time when military surplus made motorcycles affordable and the placid post-war years left many veterans bored and itching for adventure.
A vet named Otto Friedli is credited with starting the club after breaking from one of the earliest post-war motorcycle clubs, the Pissed Off Bastards, in the wake of a bitter feud with a rival gang. "Hell's Angels" was a popular moniker for bomber squadrons in World Wars I and II, as well as the title of a 1930 Howard Hughes film about the Royal Flying Corps (the phrase lost its apostrophe over time).
For years, the HAMC, as members refer to the group, remained a California organization; the first chapter to open outside the state started in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1961. Eventually the club grew to most states and 30 or more countries, fueled by the alluring imagery of devil-may-care outlaws making their own rules.
Here are 17 things that the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club allegedly do frequently . . .and reasons why I, Kenneth Avery, American, could never be a member of their motorcycle club:
17. Smoking cigarettes – Our merciful God delivered me from that deadly-habit up almost ten years ago. One of the few wisest things I ever done.
16. Drinking booze – See reason above.
15. Shooting firearms – I hate loud noises. Plus bullets from firearms can kill people and other living things.
14. Never showering – once in my life, I enjoyed the rebellious-feeling of not showering, a personal teenage protest against “The Establishment,” but as a mature adult of 60 years old, showers are an exciting part of my day.
13. Starting fights – I really hate violence and knowing at any time, I am not a great street fighter.
12. Disrespecting females – this practice I could not do to save my life. I love and appreciate females way too much.
11. Wearing long hair – I do not have any hair to grow long. And no one in the civilized communities of America really respect a bald Hell’s Angel.
10. Taking long bike trips – I hate long trips. My fibromyalgia would cause me to be the “weak link” in this famous motorcycle “club.”
9. Running from the F.B.I. – now days, these “straight-shooters,” are as mean and intimidating as the Hell’s Angels themselves.
8. Limelight – I cannot stand to see myself on television and with so many documentaries being filmed about Hell’s Angels, I would be a nervous wreck.
7. Fixing a motorcycle – I have never been mechanically-inclined, so I would only slow the Hell’s Angels down.
6. Never brushing – do you really think that any self-respecting, rowdy Hell’s Angel ever takes time to brush and floss before taking off for work each day. I have a need to keep my teeth clean.
5. Using a tough name – and for me, there just isn’t any tough names left for new members of the Hell’s Angels. The really tough names have already been taken.
4. Carjacking – I would be much too afraid that the elderly couple I am harassing to get out of their car for me to take it would whip-out a .44 Magnum and I would be history.
3. Seeing the same people – day after day. This, if any member of the Hell’s Angels were asked to be honest, can be monotonous. I like to see and talk with different people.
2. Eating habits – for this famous motorcycle “establishment,” is highly-unstable and irregular. I have to eat my breakfast and dinner at an appointed time.
1. I cannot ride a motorcycle – no explanation needed.
So with this piece being published, I have done the famous Hell’s Angels a huge favor in not having to beat on my door begging me to join their motorcycle “club.”