Under the Influence: The 1960s Hells Angels
A short feature piece from a few weeks back for Nothing Major.
In 1966, Hunter S. Thompson wrote in Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga:
“The hard core, the outlaw elite, were the Hell’s Angels… wearing the winged death’s-head on the back of their sleeveless jackets and packing their ‘mamas’ behind them on big ‘chopped hogs.’ They rode with a fine unwashed arrogance, secure in their reputation as the rottenest motorcycle gang in the whole history of Christendom.”
The book did as much in launching Thompson’s career as it did setting off decades-worth of mythology around the legendary motorcycle club. One look at one of these depraved freedom-seekers in the 1960s, or even today, you’d be excused to head in the other direction. The Hells Angels (they don’t use the apostrophe) influence on biker culture is undeniable. The gang’s look redefined lawless style.