Join the Hells Angels: A Guide

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘How To Become A Hells Angel’ by Grunge

Written by: Recapz Bot

Written by: Recapz Bot

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How does it work?
Requirements for joining Hell’s Angels: motorcycle ownership, minimum engine size, devotion to living on the motorcycle; women have supportive roles; law enforcement professionals are excluded; limited drug use allowed; severe consequences for sexual crimes; exclusion of black members historically; progression from Hang Around to full patch membership involves hazing; leaving brings consequences, keeping patches is common.

Key Insights

  • Key insights from the video text:
  • To join the Hell's Angels, you must own a motorcycle and be legally able to operate it, preferably a Harley-Davidson or an American-made motorcycle.
  • Your motorcycle should have an engine size of at least 1,200 cubic centimeters to keep up with the club.
  • Hell's Angels members are expected to live on their motorcycles and go everywhere on them, rain or shine.
  • Women cannot be full members but have other roles such as gathering intelligence and holding contraband for the members.
  • Individuals pursuing law enforcement professions, particularly as police officers or prison guards, are not considered for membership.
  • The club accepts drinking, smoking, and certain drug use, excluding intravenous drugs, but members caught using drugs through intravenous methods can be expelled.
  • Sexual crimes, especially against children, are considered the most heinous crime, and members with a history of such crimes face severe consequences.
  • The Hell's Angels have historically excluded black members due to existing racist members in the club.
  • Membership progression involves starting as a Hang Around, then becoming an Associate, and finally a Prospect before full patch membership.
  • Prospects undergo hazing, maintain bikes, tend bars, and prove their loyalty through various tasks for an extended period.
  • Full patch members are expected to attend meetings, pay dues, engage in club activities, and receive tattoos with the club's symbols.
  • Leaving the Hell's Angels is rare, and those who do often keep their patches, but those who are kicked out face severe consequences and might have their tattoos forcibly covered up or be run out of town.
  • The mottos of the Hell's Angels are "'Angels forever, forever Angels'" and "'When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets.'"

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Transcript

Sex, drugs, and violence will help get you in, but they can also keep you out. The requirements to be a Hell’s Angel are a lot stricter than you might think.

Yep, this is a pretty big one, and it may be stating the obvious. If you want to join the world’s most famous motorcycle club, you have to own a motorcycle and be legally able to operate it. There’s no official rule stating that your motorcycle must be a Harley-Davidson, but if it’s not, you’re liable to have your bid for membership met with laughter, if not a swift kick in the rear end on your way out the door. If you want to ride with the Hell’s Angels and your bike is not a Harley, it has to at least be made by an American company. According to outlaw motorcycle gangs, Hell’s Angels require that your hog must also be powerful enough to keep up with everyone else, with an engine size of at least 1,200 cubic centimeters. Hot Cars reported that since the inception of the Hell’s Angels after World War II, Harleys were the chosen mode of transport, in part because early members had been in the war and thought that it was more patriotic to buy and ride American-made motorcycles. Plus, in those days, Harleys weren’t very expensive, and maintenance was easy. The relationship between the Hell’s Angels and Harley-Davidson runs deep to this day.

All set with your new hog? Great. Now, if you don’t yet have calluses on your butt and hands, you’ll probably want to get some riding time under your belt, say, several thousand hours. As it turns out, the Hell’s Angels take the motorcycle club part of their name quite seriously, and members are pretty much expected to live on their hogs. According to the One Percenter Bikers website, being a Hell’s Angel doesn’t mean dragging your Harley out of the garage on weekends for leisurely rides with your bearded, tatted homies. Angels go literally everywhere on their cycles, rain, shine, or meteor showers, and we don’t mean down the street for groceries. Chapters often organize long interstate rides, and if you don’t participate, you’re not going to get far in the club. So if you really dig the whole biker lifestyle but aren’t actually down to ride your bike until you literally can’t feel your bum anymore, the Hell’s Angels are probably not for you.

This is where the requirements for potential members get a little bit nebulous. According to One Percenter Bikers, potential candidates must be the kind of guy that will be accepted by his fellow bikers, and we do mean guy, as women can’t be full members. Part of the reason Angels need to be ready to fight relates to what former Angel George Christie calls the basis of their code. He told the History Channel, “‘The number one rule of the Hell’s Angel code is always back your brothers. I learned that before I even became a member.'” Having friends in common with other members and also shared interests, in addition to motorcycles, can help candidates gain an advantage. Women can’t become full members, but do have valuable places within the organization. According to the Vancouver Sun, women are key to gathering intelligence on law enforcement and rival clubs and are often encouraged to enter the military or other positions of authority to act as double agents. Women will also hold contraband like guns and drugs for the members. While hangers-on are pretty much treated as club property, with some even sporting property of tattoos, wives and girlfriends are treated with a level of respect similar to that commanded by full members. Sonny Barger told the BBC, We are male chauvinist pigs as far as women are concerned, but we have a right to be because we want to be.

Perhaps we should have asked this sooner, but have you ever taken any steps, even baby steps, like just putting in a preliminary application toward becoming a police officer or a prison guard? Yes? Well, sorry. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. The Hell’s Angels will not consider for membership anyone who has ever made moves to pursue either of those law enforcement professions, according to the Vancouver Sun.

As for the other end of the scale, the Hell’s Angels are accepting of a healthy set of vices. Drink booze? Smoke cigarettes? Do drugs? Sure, all of that’s fine. As long as it’s not a very specific type of drug use we’re talking about. According to outlaw motorcycle gangs, Hell’s Angels members can be summarily expelled if they are ever caught partaking of intravenous drugs.

If you aspire to Hell’s Angels membership, there is one real crime that will bring the wrath of the gang fully down upon you. Anyone with a history of sexual crimes, particularly against children, can expect harsh treatment from the Angels. Take, for example, the case of Terrence Tognolini, who in 2010 was convicted of just such crimes while a full member of the Angels. A few years earlier, after the charges were first brought, Tognolini was cordially invited to attend a chapter meeting. After being informed that his fellow members had been made aware of his hobby of drugging and sexually abusing teenage girls, Tognolini had his patches stripped, was beaten bloody and senseless, had his tattoos roughly covered up by black ink, and was dumped into the street.

Sonny Barger, the legendary late president of the Hell’s Angels’ Oakland, California chapter, told the BBC, “…the club as a whole is not racist. But we probably have enough racist members that no black guy is going to get in it. It only takes one no-vote out of an entire chapter to nick someone’s potential membership.” And based on the club’s 70-plus year history of exclusion, not many black people are applying. It then may come as a surprise that the Angels have historically enjoyed a good relationship with the all-black motorcycle club, the East Bay Dragons. Barger himself even wrote the foreword for its founder, Toby Gene Lovingston’s autobiography, Soul on Bikes.

Alright, so we’re all squared away so far. And if you still want to be a member, you must first become a trusted friend of the club, one who is vouched for by at least one full member. The title you’ll receive at this first level of involvement is Hang Around. At this level, you don’t get those killer rockers on the back of your jacket yet. The one reading Hell’s Angels is the

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘How To Become A Hells Angel’ by Grunge