“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path.
By Robert “Hawk” Hawkins
The only thing that Kurt Sutter got right in the SOA debacle is when Jax said: ” Ever since he was a kid, all he ever wanted was his bike and a patch”. So congratulations Kurt Sutter you did something that most bikers think of at least. Other then that your show sucked, like a friend of mine, said just the other day, “If you had no idea what the Biker clubs were like, totally a virgin when it comes to that life, why in the world would you want to become a part of a club?”
Well enough bashing and hating on ass clown, there is a lot more to the biker lifestyle than some stupid show, which got me thinking about today’s post. ” Life after a Motorcycle Club”. Riding in an M/C was some of best times of my life, it was also some of the worst times. Growing up I was fortunate to have many club members I got to get advice from and be around. Those old timers taught me more about life than any ass jacket of a teacher would ever teach me in school. So, of course, growing up around those guys that one phrase Kurt Sutter got right applied to me.
1993 was the first time I prospected for a club, it was a mixed white/latino club. Back in the neighboorhood, I grew up in back in Chicago that was the neighborhood make-up. We had no cares what race you were as long as you would back each other. I did a year as a prospect and in late 94 finally received that patch. It’s the best feeling in the world to get it, especially after all the BS one has to go through to get it. in 1998 the club dissolved (This was due to the fact of the conditions of the 90’S in Chicago, if you know club history, you know about Chicago in the 90’s and events that took place) and we all went our different ways. When everyone started moving up to the main club in the area, I decided to take a break, I just had my first kid and wanted to focus on family.
The years that followed were tame, to say the least, I was young and just plain bored. After riding in a club, my life was missing something, after some soul searching I thought what would spice things up would be to get out there again with a club. After all, I was divorced, ex-wife took the kids across the country and had really no other thing to do with myself. So I checked around and ended up with a support club of one of the dominant clubs in Chicago. I started hanging around and it just didn’t feel real (Women were allowed to wear patches), so one day I went to a bar and ended up meeting some cool cats, they were apart of a major club that was an official support club for them. Finally, it was the real deal again, I ended up prospecting for them.
Prospecting wasn’t easy, especially when going to the bigger club functions. But hey that’s the way prospecting goes. The guys in that chapter were “Brothers” we were in contact every day, would go out almost every day and hang, shit, most of us still stay in contact till this day. I have to say that chapter was the best in the nation the club had. Things were great until guys started moving up to the main club. most of us today wish none of us made that move.
While prospecting again for the main club, it never felt like the brotherhood we enjoyed before. It was more about politics and chasing this club or that club. Our President of the former club patched into the dominant club and we were all proud of him, the best day for us all. I was coming up on only 51 days left before patch in vote and everything changed for me. A full patch member pulled a stunt (Something that can’t be published). It left me dumbfounded, I go to the President and let him know what was up, ask if I could solve the issue, to my surprise I was told since he was a full patch I couldn’t solve it. Well, that just pissed me the hell off, after all, you’re a man first before a patch holder. Yea they busted him down to prospect, but damn if he could do that shit to me, he could do it to the entire club.
Well after that incident I left the club, I couldn’t in good faith support a club like that. It wasn’t the club I knew from the 90’s anymore. Years later I reconnected with my old boss, I learned he was put out on bad because he left the club (initially in good standing) but because he was renting from a former member with that club (Guy was put out on bad standing) he too was put out on bad. This guy, my former President was put out on bad cause of that? What kind of BS thinking is that? Where is the suppose brotherhood?
After leaving club life after all this, I’ve developed serious trust issues, it can stem from the incident that happened to me during those times, or the fact my boss was considered like a son to our former President and he was put out on bad for some trivial crap like renting a room from an ex-member out on bad. I’ve looked around in the following years for a good club fit, but I’ve always found myself hesitating because of trust issues around a patch. My former boss is now apart of a good bunch of guys when I visited them they were pretty awesome, (Even though many hate who they are) when I walked into the event, it was just a bunch of blue-collar working men, no tension at all, which just a word of advice for those who are all glory eyed for the bigger 1% clubs, that’s all you get is tension everywhere you go, even with inter-club events.
It’s been hard after leaving the club, many who are ex-patch holders would probably say the same thing. The calls stop coming, the hanging out stops, it’s basically you never existed. So if that is the case when you leave the club, how is that a brotherhood? What I’ve learned from my experience is most big clubs are not about brotherhood, It’s about the fame, power and more importantly, about personal advancement. The things I seen so-called brothers do to each other to get power is way beyond me.
It’s been years since I’ve personally been in a club, I love the independence I get from not being in a club, trust me, don’t miss chasing other clubs, going to what seems, every event that was mandatory. But I do miss the riding, riding two aside down the road at 80 miles an hour (especially those rain-soaked trips to Oregon) and just hanging out in a garage shooting the shit. I’m hoping one day to experience that again, getting the trust issues worked out, not looking at everyone like they have another motive for wearing a patch. I guess my buddy was right. “It’s hard to come out of the thought process that you’ve had all those years”.