Episode 195: Hell’s Angels: Club or Criminals?

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the world’s most famous Motorcycle Club (MC), The Hell’s Angels. This group considers itself the ultimate MC, a place where like-minded individuals can share brotherhood and even perform fund-raising efforts for the poor and for needy vets. However, most law enforcement agencies in the world view them as a gang which specializes in distribution of everything from guns to drugs and even prostitutes.

The Hell’s Angels started in 1948 in Fontana, California, and it was originally a club for ex-pilots from World War Two. Hell’s Angels was the name of a film and a term for certain flying aces, so the name followed the pilots from the air over Germany and Japan and down to the freeways of California. Starting only in the west coast, this MC eventual reached over 20 countries and has hundreds of branches around the world.

They were seen as counter-culture rebels in the 1960s, but by time they allegedly put a hit out on Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones due to some violence and death at the Altamont Free Concert, their reputation got sullied in the press. While the modern day Hell’s Angels does indeed do charity rides for children and the American Red Cross, they also have long-standing wars with other clubs that have left thousands dead over the years.

What does it take to become a member of the Hell’s Angels today? What does it mean to be a “hang-around,” “an associate,” “a prospect,” or a “full patch?” What do the patches they wear on their vests mean, and how do they show off their rank and time inside the organization? What does the highest-level member of the Hell’s Angels to have ever defected have to say about the club after he turned rat and gave information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police? Listen, laugh, learn.

Link to the story of David Atwell, the defector: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/life-after-betraying-the-hells-angels

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