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InvisiblePapaverS
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Sonny Barger...
    #1018599 - 11/03/02 03:46 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)



LONDON (Reuters) - Sonny Barger is on a highway to hell and that's just the way he likes it.

The legendary Hell's Angels patriarch, who helped found the motorcycle club almost 50 years ago, has battled cancer and heart disease as fiercely as the law, but has no intention of allowing age to mellow him -- or giving up the free-wheeling lifestyle he loves.

"I'm not going to change. I'm not going to slow down. Riding a motorcycle is just about the most fun thing in the universe," 64-year-old Barger told Reuters during a visit to a Hell's Angels clubhouse in London's East End.

"Hell, most guys would love to retire to have this kind of life so I don't need to retire. Plus I just bought a new bike last week."

The grizzled, tattooed Californian is the kind of rough, tough, unrepentant hard man that country and western songs are written about.

His reputation as grand-daddy of the world's 50,000 Hell's Angels has spread far beyond the biker community, attracting both hero-worshippers and detractors on the way.

ROLLING STONES

Barger said he was constantly being asked to tell his stories about the Angels' history, particularly during the 1950s and 60s when their hell-raising exploits shocked "straight America" and branded them as outlaws.

"But probably the question that I get asked the most is what happened at Altamont," he said in reference to an infamous Rolling Stones concert near San Francisco in 1969 when the Angels' provided security in return for a few kegs of beer.

During the concert, which started after the crowd was kept waiting for hours, a fight broke out and an Angel stabbed a man to death. The band decided to pull the plug.

"Keith Richards told me the band wasn't going to play anymore until we stopped the violence. I stood next to him and stuck my pistol in his side and told him to start playing his guitar or he was dead. He played."

The writer Hunter S. Thompson was among those celebrities who sought him out in the 60s, intrigued by the bikers' outlaw life.

Thompson hung out with Barger's Oakland chapter before writing a best-selling book about the Angels -- which Barger still angrily dismisses as an "inaccurate piece of junk".

"A lot of the myths about the Hell's Angels came from that book and stayed around for years," he said.

"(Thompson) was a pain in the butt. He ended up getting beaten up and sent down the road."

Barger makes no concession to age or illness, brushing off cancer and a heart attack with a wave of his hand.

His leathery tanned skin is testament to the 40,000 miles he puts on the clock of his Harley Davidson Road King every year and the time spent outdoors working on his small Arizona property.

Reared by his older sister after his mother ran off with a bus driver and his father drowned his sorrows in drink, Barger joined the U.S. army at 16 after forging his birth certificate.

"I learned things in the army that I found interesting. Like how to take weapons apart."

He was kicked out with an honourable discharge in 1956 when his deception was discovered and soon developed a hankering for another type of uniform -- that of the wild leather-jacketed bikers who were just beginning to band together in clubs.

One such fledging group was the Oakland Hell's Angels. Barger swiftly became leader of the pack and helped oversee the formation of independent chapters around the U.S and abroad.

LEADER OF THE PACK

He is now regarded as the unofficial leader of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club worldwide and wears his distinctive Death's Head patch on his leather jacket with pride.

"We're stronger, we're bigger than ever and I can see another 50 years coming.

"The motorcycles are the best thing about the club. But the brotherhood is a great thing too. We take care of each other."

Barger's autobiography was an international best seller when it was published in 2000 and launched him into a new globetrotting career as a celebrity author, signing books and making personal appearances.

A second book, of biker stories, was published this year and two more are in the pipeline. A movie about his life is in the works and Sonny Barger Premium Lager is on liquor store shelves.

Courteous and polite in person, it is easy to forget that the "loveable rogue" -- as one fan described him -- is a criminal with a long record for violent assaults, kidnapping, firearms offences and conspiracy.

But Barger shrugs off any questions about his past and says he has only one regret in a life filled with battles, jail, drugs and divorce.

"If I had to do it all again, I probably wouldn't smoke," he said with a short laugh, speaking through a hole in his windpipe after his larynx was removed during cancer surgery 20 years ago.

"People have misconceptions about things they don't know about and a lot of people don't know a lot about us. The biggest misconception is that we are a criminal organisation."

Barger said the club had a strong code of honour and its members abided by strict rules, which he was reluctant to reveal.

But his book lists them as including no stealing from other members, no messing around with another member's "old lady", no spiking the club's alcohol with dope and, more tellingly, no throwing ammunition onto live bonfires.

Barger's stories do little to quash any prejudices about the Angels. His books are packed with tales of battles with the law, murders, violent assaults, drugs, booze and general mayhem.

One story recounts the theft of his beloved hand built bike "Sweet Cocaine" in 1968. The culprits, prospects for a rival club, were rounded up and punished.

"One at a time we bull-whipped them and beat them with spiked dog collars and broke their fingers with hammers.

"Moral of the story -- don't get caught stealing a Hell's Angels bike, especially if he is the president."


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OfflinePenguin
You can't be me I'm a Rockstar

Registered: 02/10/02
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Papaver]
    #1018752 - 11/03/02 04:36 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I met Sonny almost 2 years ago when I went to a bike show. I wanted him to sign a picture of himself that was in a Hunter S. Thompson biography.

His words about HST:  :mad:I hate Hunter Thompson.
~ Sonny Barger to Penguin.


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The fear of loss is always greater than the desire for gain


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OfflineLearyfan
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Penguin]
    #1018768 - 11/03/02 04:42 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Did he sign it?



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Invisiblesuperpimp
The boss of thefamily

Registered: 06/11/01
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Papaver]
    #1019067 - 11/03/02 08:32 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I never met Barger, but I have been in a few Angels clubhouses. It's kind of a sad scene really, a bunch of angry 55 year old loosers acting like 19 year olds and taking themselves way too seriously, and a bunch of angry 25 year old loosers acting like 50 year olds and taking themselves way too seriously. That pretty much sums up the whole club. They sure do have access to tons of good bike parts though. That's the only reason I would ever deal with them.


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InvisibleRipple
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Papaver]
    #1019111 - 11/03/02 08:51 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

New Speedway Boogie (Written By Hunter about Altamont)

Please don't dominate the rap, jack, if you've got nothing new to say.
If you please, don't back up the track this train's got to run today.
I spent a little time on the mountain, I spent a little time on the hill
I heard someone say "Better run away", others say "better stand still".

Now I don't know, but I been told it's hard to run with the weight of gold,
Other hand I have heard it said, it's just as hard with the weight of lead.

Who can deny, who can deny, it's not just a change in style?
One step down and another begun and I wonder how many miles.
I spent a little time on the mountain, I spent a little time on the hill
Things went down we don't understand, but I think in time we will.
Now, I don't know but I was told in the heat of the sun a man died of cold.
Keep on coming or stand and wait, with the sun so dark and the hour so late.
You can't overlook the lack, jack, of any other highway to ride.
It's got no signs or dividing lines and very few rule to guide.

I saw things getting out of hand, I guess they always will.
Now I don't know but I been told
If the horse don't pull you got to carry the load.
I don't know whose back's that strong, maybe find out before too long.

One way or another, one way or another,
One way or another, this darkness got to give.



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The bus came by and I got on that's when it all began!



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InvisiblePapaverS
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Ripple]
    #1019430 - 11/03/02 11:04 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Cool! Where's that from and when was it written? I've never heard HST write poetry before... :cool:


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OfflinePenguin
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Papaver]
    #1020149 - 11/04/02 07:20 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

HELL YEAH! sonny signed it. he has one of those vocalizers for his throat.


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The fear of loss is always greater than the desire for gain


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OfflineBruiser
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Registered: 04/17/02
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Papaver]
    #1020239 - 11/04/02 08:45 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Nice post Pappy! :grin: My friend used to live across the street from the Cape Cod clubhouse. We used to watch that place in awe when we were younger. I could tell so many stories about that place. The president of that chapter was also a bouncer at one of the local clubs in Hyannis, Ma. I've watched all the documentaries and stories about Barger and the Angels. Quite fascinating!
-Bruiser 


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-I put the chrome to your dome


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OfflineShroomSkin
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Bruiser]
    #1020387 - 11/04/02 10:00 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I met a few Angels at 2am at a Waffle House in Dallas. They were pretty cool. Got stoned with one of em, the other two didn't smoke and ride. (I was shocked...I mean they ewre obviously drunk!) After we smoked we shot the shit for about 10 minutes then they drove off. They seemed like decent enough people.


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Stay gold.


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OfflineBruiser
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: ShroomSkin]
    #1020399 - 11/04/02 10:12 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I know a ton of Angels. My Step dad and mom do a lot of shit for them up north. (N.H.) I don't know exactly what though. I don't think I want to. I know they hang out with a bunch of them. I met alot of them when I went to visit one time. Unfortunately, my step dad was in a motorcycle accident about a month or so ago, and may lose his leg. He's had a ton of surgeries on it already. They say he will never walk right again, and he won't even start to put weight on it for at least a year or more. :frown:
-Bruiser 


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-I put the chrome to your dome


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Anonymous

Post deleted by Anno [Re: Papaver]
    #1020626 - 11/04/02 12:32 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)



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InvisiblePapaverS
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: ]
    #1020637 - 11/04/02 12:39 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Thanks! FreakQ just sent me a PM about that as well. :laugh: 


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InvisibleRipple
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Papaver]
    #1023660 - 11/05/02 10:52 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

yea sorry for the late response Pap but as you may know the dead were scheduled to play at the speedway that night but never made it on stage. Robert Hunter was with the band and was really affected by the incident. The Dead back in those days were very tight with the Angles and Jerry Garcia kind of pulled back from there connections after the Altamont incident.


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The bus came by and I got on that's when it all began!



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InvisibleFreakQlibrium
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Ripple]
    #1024038 - 11/05/02 01:14 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Hey Ripper, nice to see you around again. My understanding was that it was the dead's idea to hire the Angels to "police the crowd" in exchange for $500 worth of beer. The dead had hired them as security at sevral other small local events with only minor difficulties......

don't know if you saw the movie"Gimme Shelter" but there's a scence with Garcia arriving at the concert site and a brief conversation with Santana drummer Michael Shrieve where Shrieve is telling Garcia that he's really picking up a bad vibe about the whole thing.......and that was B4 anything really heavey went down.......

Side note: Anthony Pizzaro(sp?), the angel accused of stabbing the guy to death was later aquitted......even though the Maisley brother's film (gimme shelter) provided cinematic evidence that he did in fact knife the guy to death.....go figure  :confused: 


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"Being crazier than a shithouse rat is not sufficient grounds for banishment"



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InvisiblePapaverS
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: FreakQlibrium]
    #1024217 - 11/05/02 02:11 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Yeah the dead were very often used for concert security in the Bay Area. I think this strange bed-fellows relationship between the hippies and the Angels stemmed from the party that Ken Kesey and the Pranksters threw and several other things.

I think the Hells Angels made for an interesting element in that whole San Francisco thing. There were so many ways to look at it, and there were so many ways in which it worked, and so many ways in which it didn't work. It just helped make the whole thing just that much more crazy and unpredictable! :cool:

Gimmie Shelter was on AMC a few months ago, and I got to see it again. It?s a good movie about an interesting time. I mean, really, in so many ways the hippie thing died almost as quickly as it began -- I think the Death of Hippie event in Haight-Ashbury was staged in ?68 ? but I think Altamont was definitely a symbolic end to the ideals of the hippie movement.

Although I was pretty much 10 years too young to participate in the 60s, I have always been fascinated by the period in times, and would have liked to have lived as a young adult back then! The Beat Generation would have been another interesting movement to participate in. Oh, and let?s not forget the Lost Generation of the ?20s in Paris. These later two were probably more intellectual and arts based, but they all would have been good!


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InvisibleRipple
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: FreakQlibrium]
    #1025903 - 11/05/02 11:20 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Your right Freak the Dead and the Angles had a relationship which caused the band to recommend them for the security for the concert. However in the movie"Gimme Shelter" you see the dead getting off a helicopter and being told about the events which had proceeded there arrival. They subsequently got right back on the chopper and left. Now I?m not trying to say that the dead were angles, but that type of violence was not the kind of thing that Jerry Garcia could deal with. The Man could never hurt a fly, all he cared about was his music, making people happy and getting high. The world could use more people like that. RIP Jerry!



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The bus came by and I got on that's when it all began!



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Offlinefrogsheath
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: Papaver]
    #1026149 - 11/06/02 12:37 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

That's interesting. I havn't seen Gimme Shelter yet. The book sounds fun.


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InvisibleRipple
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Re: Sonny Barger... [Re: frogsheath]
    #1029731 - 11/06/02 09:27 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Good Movie check it out


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The bus came by and I got on that's when it all began!



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