Saturday, July 5, 2014
Hells Angels 1975 First off I want and need to state something right out of the gate with this essay. I am not nor have been a member of but do respect the Hells Angels for whom and what they stand for. This essay is not intended to piss any one off and is a story that is part of my life.
The year was 1975; I had just been released from a Federal Prison known as the Prospect Hill Projects located in Waltham Massachusetts. It was a crime to be poor in those days and we were felons. My mother was remarrying a man named Bill at a wedding fit for magazines complete with waterfalls and lilacs. The wedding was held in Lincoln Massachusetts which has a bylaw that you are required to maintain 1.2 million in your bank account. Apparently my mother was dreaming of this day because she had it all perfect, any women’s dream. After the wedding and wedding pictures that 10 years later be thrown out, we headed back to my new Uncles house in Lexington MA. And my new cousin, JJ, who I would become good grade school friends with. It was a picture perfect day for older folks to hang out and get stoned on booze. Being 10 years old, I became quickly bored hanging around older people who were busy talking about things I didn’t understand I headed out to the outer reaches of the back yard. At the back of the yard are thickly settled woods with much brush to keep the over 30 crowd from entering. 10 is a perfect age to look for creepy crawler things that tend to hide under rocks and fallen trees. I had been in the wood most likely an hour which for a 10 year old feels like 10 minutes. I was wondering closer to a highway that was at the end of the woods yet fenced off from allowing kids and wild animals to be plowed over by oncoming traffic. I watched trucks and cars pass and started to do the count game on how many 18 wheelers went by. The highway upstream from where I stood has a long bend in which you cannot see the oncoming cars and trucks. A loud monstrous noise started gaining volume as time went on. I waited and watched the highway to see what was that noise was from. Maybe a minute or so passed. A minute is a long time if you watch it on a clock. There it was, loud sleek and vivid, the cause of all that noise entered my sight. They were motorcycle riders but different than the ones you see on a normal day. Dozens upon dozens came around the bend in the highway, some 2 abreast some single and loud. They were a group called the Hells Angels and I knew it because it was written on the back of their jackets complete with a symbol that you only need to see once and you never forget: the Deaths Head. The word”Massachusetts” written on the bottom of their jackets. I held on to the fence with my two hands and I don't believe that I breathed while they passed. I had never seen this sight before only the brick walls of the projects and the tar that paved the streets in the projects. I later learned they were on their way to a funeral for a member named DeFalice who was a wild Angel from the Salem MA Chapter. He had crashed while riding his bike down a side walk at full tilt, clipped a pole and that was the end.In Lexington Massachusetts on the corner of Pelham Rd and Massachusetts ave. During a parade that is held yearly in Lexington to celebrate Paul Revers ride from Boston MA to Concord MA. His patch later turned up in a yard sale in which it was bought and brought back to the Salem chapter at least that is what I was told, sources for the history of what went on were from several people that I use to or still do know, I just haven't seen them in 25 years. Ya I asked around to find this out years later (5-7 years later at the time). One person stood as they passed, a women wearing a spotted fur coat. She had long blond hair well passed her shoulders. With long leather boots, I watched her for no apparent reason and a picture of her is frozen in my memory. It was at this point in my life that I realized that there was something else going on in the world. Meaning, all I knew till this point was school and the project life and not much else. I went to the library to find out more about them. Not much was written at the time but what I did notice was they were at rock festivals and such. There were pictures in books with that patch at rock concerts and were ever there was action. The Hells Angels had this tendency to be where the action was. This was all preinternet so I wasn’t able to Google the name. Later I found a couple of books written on the Angels. Hunter S. Thompson and one by an Angel named Freewheeln Frank. There are also a couple of magazines that had written stories about them. I guess you could say I researched them because I even took the bus to Boston to look up books at the library there and that’s when I found the magazines. Some of the people that associated with them: rock musicians, Allen Ginsberg,William Burroughs, Michael McClure, Emmett Grogan and other writers from the generation of the 60’s, remember this was the late 70’s when I started to research the Angels. Emmett Grogan is the person who started "Meals on Wheels"in San Francisco while a member of the Hells Angels MC Frisco Chapter. He was also part of an organization called Diggers.I started to read about these folks and found myself reading philosophy in the 9th grade. You don't read philosophy in the 9th grade. I did. I also started to explore music with bands like Jimi Hendrix, MC5, Janis Joplin and other 60’s musician that I had never heard of and most likely never would of until years later if I had not started to research the Angels. By the end of high school I was well read in philosophy and poetry by the names I mentioned earlier. I had excelled myself academically by simply seeing the Hell Angels. Interesting what can trigger ones thirst for knowledge. I have written a song called Pink Diamond Red that goes out to members of Angels for living the life they want to because most people don't. The meaning of the song is only in the title. Pink: meaning a young man, Diamond: meaning a man conforming to society’s ways by getting married which is what is taught to us and Red: realizing that you’re not living the life you want to and drop out of society and become a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. The words in the song are just basic rock and roll and the meaning is only in the title which is different than usual which is fitting for the song if you think about it(non conforming) and understand what I am saying. That was done purposely. I wrote the song in 2010 while living in Portsmouth NH. The words started to come to me after seeing a pencil drawing of Joey Ramone and listening to the Pretenders. It was a thunderous rainy night. And that is what I will admit to as far as the song goes a lot more went on and there are other song writers who know what I mean. The music end of the song I came up with this year after practicing guitar and making a formal decision that I am sticking with music. The song is in demo form on ReverbNation stay tuned.