ADIOS – Besides being used as a way to say farewell, it was actually an acronym used by Outlaws to say “Angels Die In Outlaw States”. They weren’t joking either.
I think there must be a mental switch that activates in the male brain when we’re strapped to a beast going racing down a road. One small mis-step away from death, the adrenaline, the freedom, the rebellion. Historically that beast was a loyal steed, 80 years ago though, Old Thunder turned into a grunting, greasy, petrol-glugging, road machine. Instead of riding with your fellow chap-wearing cowboys, you belong to a family of brothers that will uppercut a tipsy bar patron for taking your stool. A little bit of cult, a heap of tribalism, a pinch of peer-pressure and a shit-tonne of fuck the police – this easy-bake, bender-filled recipe seems to be a moreish one that will consume your life with fun and rebellion.
Now, of course, everyone knows the Hells Angels, there are tv shows, books, movies all inspired by leathered band of brothers. But 13 years before them and incidentally their rival; another crew from Illinois a motorcycle club was founded in 1935; The Outlaws. It started as shared interest for motorcycles that quickly turned into (if the name didn’t give it away) a group of nomadic blokes seeing where the road took them (crime. It took them to crime).
So, what may seem like a bunch of adults playing war with their “rivals” and the cops – there was actually some pretty serious shit going down. You don’t get to fuck around, drinking on a bike all day without needing to acquire some money to fund it all. Which can only lead to one place – crime. Murder, money laundering, fraud, drugs, gunfights all adding fuel to the self-perpetuating story of the biker life. With almost 3000 members (even today) spread across 176 chapters from Ecuador to New Zealand there is a recorded Outlaw M.C crime in every country they’ve been and every state in America.
So whether the outlaw life chose you or you chose it, seems like either way it ends up being a good measure of one’s life which means you only really have one option: lean into the mayhem.