Biker Lifestyle

The Last Chicago Boss- Part 2 Interview with Big Pete 1%er- Former Regional Vice President, Chicago Northside President and Chairman of Illinois Confederation of Clubs

” Northern Illinois the chapter began in 1999 and under Big Pete 1%er grew to as large as 18 clubs. Big Pete 1%er is the founding chairman and has been the only chairman this chapter has had until he retired from his post on February 9th 2015. Much of that is due to the passion he has for this endeavor and the effort he has put into making it what it is today. After talking with Pete I can see and understand he believes in the need for the ILCOC. As Pete explains about the confederation, he said more than once, “This is a win-win situation for us (clubs and bikers).”

(Excerpt from interview done in 2006 by Cycle Connections )

I was a former Black Piston , our chapter participated in the Northern Illinois Confederation of clubs while Big Pete 1%er was chairman. I always looked forward to the meetings and parties with all the other clubs that were involved. I believe the Chicago area was pretty lucky to have such a vibrant organization within the whole national scheme of things. One thing that Big Pete 1%er did was to organize all the club parties for each and every club, he would always make sure parties and events didn’t cross with others events, he would always make sure that each club in the confederation had a good showing. I remember sitting down at meetings in our chapter of the Black Pistons filling out our club calendar, it was always filled up for the summer with parties from the other clubs in the Confederation.

big pete outlaws motorcycle club
Peter “Big Pete” James, former high-ranking Outlaws leader in Chicago area.

Some of my favorite events while a Piston was the Fugawe Tribe party in the woods, the Outlaw Northside St Patricks party (Cabbage was awesome lol) and the Outlaw Sweet Home Chicago party every year. Yes I know being an ex-piston I would have a biased view of which club parties I liked to attend and favored, But Big Pete 1%er was a true master of making sure all the clubs within the confederation stayed tight with each other. That’s something Big Pete 1%er always made sure of, something that some would say caused a decline in his health at one time. Not only was he the Regional Vice President of AOA, but he also was a Chapter Boss of the Northside, and to top that off the Chairman of the Northern Illinois Confederation of Clubs.

One thing most clubs truly respected was Big Pete 1%ers leadership, he was a man who didn’t mix words. If you were an ass-jacket, he would call you on it, if he didn’t like you, he would still be fair to you. This is what really stood Big Pete 1%er out of a crowd. How many people could say they know someone where they not only judge fairly but they also stick to what they believe in no matter what the other person thinks?

The Northern Illinois Confederation Clubs under Big Pete 1%er took on many issues that faced not only the motorcycle clubs, but he and the confederation also stood up for the independent biker. I can remember suits being filed against bars for their “No Colors” Policies, some of them so bad they were even telling people with HOG patches they couldn’t come in. I also remember the IlCOC fighting against that bullshit RICO act the government uses like candy against motorcycle clubs.

One thing that I look at today concerning the Northern Illinois Confederation of clubs, is my disappointment that it has become almost nonexistant or even worse, something most of us knew in the early 00’s wouldn’t recognize now. When someone who led an organization like ILCOC as Big Pete 1%er did and leaves, a person can really see just how much a leader he truly was. As I did my interviews with Big Pete 1%er, most of the readers focused on club stuff, my interest was more COC because like I’ve said earlier, I was a Piston and knew Big Pete 1%er and a lot of the questions people were asking I already knew. So doing research on what interested me the most I found some pretty darn shitty stuff. Illinois Northern Illinois Confederation of Clubs isn’t what it use to be under Big Pete 1%er. For shit sakes, the old web address doesn’t any longer exist.

Insane Throttle
Big Pete 1%er and Brutus Jr

One of the more troubling aspects that I’ve found out during the research for this piece, the clubs within the confederation are not as close or organized as it once was. I heard a story on how one of the clubs went to another clubs in the confederation and started beating on that club because they didn’t receive an invite. What kind of horseshit is that? Didn’t receive an invite and you start shit in front of women and children (Club hosting the party had an open party where all were welcome). I can remember how taboo that was when I was coming up, women and children were never involved or exposed to club issues.

That’s how much things have been changing in the M/C world nowadays. I often laugh when someone brings up protocol. I often think to myself, “Do you have any idea how and when that was started, but most importantly why?” Some of the answers I get just makes me shake my head in disbelief,  I say no wonder why membership is down in the M/C’s. The Confederation had a great purpose when it was chaired correctly as Big Pete 1%er did. But now it has to take on a totally different type of meaning by the looks of it.

The National Confederation of Clubs was a good Idea to start with, but it has since grown into a monster of self-interest for those clubs that hold the chairmanships. Now I’m I saying all of the charters are like that? No, because I do not have any knowledge of how things are run by those whom I never experienced first hand and seen how they continue to operate today. What I can talk about is the particular one that use to be great under one mans leadership and is no longer the same since he has left.

I get many emails from readers on the subject of why I no longer ride with a club. I guess I can try to put it in a short perspective and not go off topic. Brotherhood is something I truly believed in growing up, for christ sakes I had the privilege of being exposed to clubs at an earlier age. Now as I look at the M/C lifestyle, or M/C culture, it isn’t the same one I knew. The whole concept of the club turned into a “Me” thing and not a “We” thing. I have to admit after I read Big Pete 1%ers book and talking with him, I lost total confidence in a club that I use to idolize my whole life. I sat there and said to myself “What the fuck” how in the hell did this happen? Here was a guy that not only put everything into his club, but he also was out there on point with 18 other clubs and building Chicago to what it was. (I’ll let the readers decide, order Big Pete 1%ers book The Last Chicago Boss available here)

last chicago boss
Big Pete 1%er at his Book Signing for Last Chicago Boss

So short answer: It’s hard to believe in true brotherhood anymore. Big Pete 1%er was right, “Brother is used when you don’t know someone’s name”. That is how watered down that term has become. Now do I know good guys in clubs? Hell yea I do, I get to talk to many from all over the world from all kinds of different clubs. But do I know many that are like Big Pete 1%er? That I can honestly answer “No”. I was telling someone the other day when Big Pete 1%er talks, it’s like you a kid and he’s the dad and you hang on every word that he says. The knowledge and wisdom this man has about not only the biker stuff, but life is unreal. I really enjoyed doing the two articles on “The Last Chicago Boss”. I hope that those reading this article will hop on Amazon and grab the book. If you do, you will start to see just why Big Pete 1%er is truly the “Last of the Titans”.

“The COC is about Equality,” I Preached, “Just because we wear patches doesn’t mean we have to act like assholes. Page 32 of “The Last Chicago Boss”. That can sum up exactly how Big Pete 1%er was as a leader with the COC. Yes, he was an Outlaw, the dominant club in Chicago, but he always made sure that all of us within the COC didn’t let patches go to our heads. This is something in this new day of age, most don’t understand, and probably why most clubs fail. When you start letting the brotherhood become more about you, then a group as a whole, problems start arising within the ranks because of the individual quest for power.

As Big Pete 1%er left the COC on February 9th, 2015: The rule simply states: I knew that- And even as I said the words- “I’m Done, It’s over” – guilt tugged at me. I could no longer protect the clubs I’d help form. (Page 277, Last Chicago Boss) . That statement could not be far truer about the state of the motorcycle clubs (at least in Chicago) in today’s times. Now today’s clubs face a whole new set of issues that were once unheard of. Issues that face them (And why most clubs don’t want anything to do with the National Confederation of Clubs) is a new generation of leaders who want to use force instead of sitting down at a table like in the old days to solve issues. Diplomats such as Big Pete 1%er no longer exist in most clubs, it’s all about the power now.

From an outside point of view, this is the reason why clubs start forming alliances with other small clubs instead of joining the Confederation of Clubs. Smaller clubs now realize a lot of what used to be in the old days, is not around anymore. Without guys like Big Pete 1%er who helped the clubs in the city and eventually earning their trust, these smaller clubs start switching sides to the other team or start standing up to the dominant clubs and say enough is enough. When clubs start doing that there is no longer any fun of being in a club. Who truly and honestly can say, “They would risk getting shot or spending 40 or 60 years behind bars over issues that could’ve been brought to the table and solved over a sit-down?” That generation is long gone and in today’s world, technology is so advanced, it’s hard to get away with anything like what happened in the early territory fights.

As I read more on page 277 of “The Last Chicago Boss”, it became more personal for me, 10 years before I was a Black Piston, Chicago was my home and all that I inspired to be around my whole life was summed up as Big Pete 1%er recounted sitting in front of a Hells Angels Party, one that was filled with activity, supporters and downright fun. “Chicago is lost”. Those words hit me like a brick, how did it come to this? The answer is pretty simple actually, the Hells Angels knew not only how to market themselves and grow a huge support base, but the Hells Angels knew how to treat their support clubs. One thing I have to give the Hells Angels, they let people do their thing as long as it didn’t affect them.

As I close out this article, people like Big Pete 1%er who always played “Chess, instead of Checkers like other current leadership does” is someone that was irreplaceable not only in the Northern Illinois Confederation of Clubs but also the AOA nation. For those “Haters” that are so pissed off about me doing this article on Big Pete 1%er, the hate emails and such. Ask yourself this question. Why did Big Pete 1%er leave the club? (Our readers can get that answer on page 276 inside The Last Chicago Boss) How is it that “Brother” is such important, and now talked about as he is by those who use to be the first ones to sing his praises? Think about the hypocrisy in all that.

Don’t forget to catch our series on “The Confederation of Clubs” Coming next week. Hope all of our readers have a great Thanksgiving.

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4 comments

  1. I am not a 1% but I can see the writing on the wall, unless the MCs get some unified direction and set up ground rules for club behavior when meeting other clubs their doomed. Structure, structure, structure, is a must.

    Sent from my Verizon Motorola Droid

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  2. Some clubs need to start thinking outside the box. And most dominance need to stop trying to prove their the man to anybody that walks and start remembering why they joined a club and more importantly remember that everyone riding has the same passion for motorcycles as they do. I looked into the club you did that two part article on with the president Q&A. From what ive found is thats the biggest club in the world. Nothing could stop them if they wanted to take over just by numbers alone. But instead of saying how tough they are, the guy speaks of brothers as family and he doesn’t cares what or where anyone goes and does, just respect them and they will respect you. That simple. Some clubs should really start taking notes. Living free has never ment bowing down to someone else because they say you should

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  3. You do realize Big Pete is out bad and you fail to realize Big Pete was in the club for personal gain and never had anyone else’s well being at heart. The Chicago COC is alive and functioning just fine without the “Godfather”

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