By James “Hollywood” Macecari
Member of the ONA Press Association
What was the cost of being involved with a motorcycle club? Hint, it was more than just money
One of the lessons I’ve learned running Insane Throttle Biker News and Hosting Motorcycle Madhouse Morning Mayhem, people have no idea whatsoever the cost that will come with membership in a club.
Many people see a motorcycle club as a route to, “Brotherhood!” It’s not, not even close! Now, before I go further I’m not going to say it’s bad being a part of a club, it’s just not what people think it is. If you’re a former member of a motorcycle club I’m guessing you will agree. If you’re a supporter of a motorcycle club I’m guessing you will be ranting and raving in the comment section about how much I suck. Either way, I’ll give my opinion on what I believe and you can take it whatever way you like.
Does a motorcycle club have, “True Brotherhood?”
This is the question for all the ages isn’t it? I’ve heard the argument on both sides of the aisles and most of the time the “No’s” have it. This must be culture shock to those who are supporters, hangarounds and prospects. Truth is, like one individual said who left a major 1% club on good terms,” it’s all a big mirage!” I asked him what he meant by that and he said, “it’s all a numbers game now, nothing about most of these clubs is about brotherhood. You’re going to find out when you leave, there are no so-called brothers anywhere to be seen.”
“It’s all a numbers game now, nothing about most of these clubs is about brotherhood. You’re going to find out when you leave, there are no so-called brothers anywhere to be seen.”
I let that sink in for a while, actually a few days, before I revisited the statement he made. When I considered all his arguments a light bulb went off, he was right! Brotherhood is just a mirage, meaning while you’re in the club it might exist, but when you leave it vanishes. Those who again were in clubs can probably attest to this.
Why does the brotherhood end at the door? Isn’t brotherhood supposed to be forever?
I’ve always argued from the viewpoint ,those who you left behind are doing their thing, people lose touch and go on with their lives. Is this all it is? I’m not so sure any longer since brotherhood is supposed to last through hell and back. Not being a member of a club anymore shouldn’t affect the relationships you had. Unless of course you were kicked out bad, but that’s a whole different article though.
I was tight with many people when I left, I’m happy that I’m still in contact with them till this day. It’s been almost 15 years now. Now granted, it’s mostly with people I was in a chapter with, but I still do talk with many others in chapters all over. I think my case could be one of the lucky ones, many are not like this. Most of the time when someone leaves they no longer have contact.
I’ve found most of the time when people are disenchanted with former brothers it’s because there was no brotherhood in the first place. Personal beefs and politics is something that will ruin a club, not to mention a bond of brotherhood between individuals. I’ve seen this kind of stuff a lot, especially when it comes to the politics of a club.
I would have to ask the question, “what was your reasoning for leaving in the first place?” Was it financial, work or family? Or was it because of the politics inside the club? I believe the reason someone doesn’t stay in touch with someone is because they have some kind of grudge against them. By no means is this the case every time, but when it comes to a club it’s almost dead on.
I didn’t like the son of a bitch when I was in the club, why should I care when I’m out?
You don’t have to care, but you’re not entitled to go around saying brotherhood didn’t exist. I would argue it was you who decided it didn’t exist. I’m giving some examples by the way for a club’s position. Something many people get confused about. I like giving both angles to an argument so the readership can make up their minds. It’s sad that most times they think I’m being hypocritical, “you just said this and now you’re saying that.” I can’t help people who are not used to getting both sides. I believe the media is the blame for that one with their always one sided propaganda bullshit.
On the other hand there are legit reasons why people think brotherhood is a mirage. One being contact is lost, others being clubs go through so many people over time. For example, there are only a few people I can say are still around from the time I was in. Sure, they know about me because of what I do, but they wouldn’t if I didn’t do all the content creating. When there is turnover it’s hard to keep track of the ex members.
The brotherhood can cost you your family.
This is one of the saddest parts of a club, especially if you put all your time and energy into it and neglect your family. When I was in I saw too many of these situations happen.
Hell, I came close to losing my family because my dumb ass put everything else in front of them. This is one of the biggest mistakes I can honestly say isn’t worth so-called, “brotherhood.” I take the stance now that brothers are not blood, family is and thus come in first with my priorities. For those who’ve been through this can attest to the damage done to their families because of their priorities. Why do you think a lot of clubs now say, “Family, work and then club?” It’s because they know people have different priorities other than a club. Sad part, clubs use it as recruitment tools and then when you’re in everything changes. Instead of it being family, work and then club. It becomes club, work and then family. Work comes behind the club because you’ve got to make money for those dues and road trips.
You’re going to have to find out for yourself, no one will be able to tell you anything different
I’ve been doing this blog since 2012. In that time I’ve conversed with thousands of people. People who would ask the famous question, “club or no club.” My answer has stayed the same till this very day. “NO CLUB!”
I get it, wearing colors is an awesome experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Here’s the “but!” Clubs are a second job in which you have to pay them for your time, travel and other expenses to keep a clubhouse. To top it off, you won’t have any brothers when you leave. You will experience what many others tried to tell you when it’s all over and done with. I’ve also had tons of people that wrote me back saying they should’ve listened to me before they went through the process.
My famous saying, what is it? Come on you know! “Join a riding club, motorcycle rights organization or something else where you have no commitment.” I’m not saying it to be a dick to motorcycle clubs. I’m telling you like so many others probably have, it’s not worth it in the end.
“ I’ve also had tons of people that wrote me back saying they should’ve listened to me before they went through the process.”
WOW! “Why are you bashing on clubs?” This will be the bitch in the comment section, you will see people puff out that chest like I could give a shit. With that said, I’m not bashing them. I hate seeing people make mistakes and regret them later, especially when they were not ready to join a club in the first place.
Well Hollywood, are you in a club? Why won’t you tell anyone?
This is a question I’ve been asked since I started this publication. No, I’m not in a motorcycle club. I’m in a different type of set-up, one that isn’t any of your business. Do I support particular motorcycle clubs? Yes, I do, but I try my best to give all a fair shake. To ward off the next question, Why won’t you tell anyone about that one? What I can tell you is I never worry about having to lose a brother. It’s an organization I’ve known and been in my whole life. I’m around guys that I’ve grown up with, over 40 years now. True brotherhood is found in different ways, it’s not a one size fit all type of deal. I’m an independent biker and have no affiliations with any motorcycle club. Plain and simple, at least I hope it is anyways because I get tired of answering that question.
I find it funny when people try to claim a motorcycle club is the only one where a biker can find brotherhood. Again, I just sit back and laugh at that ignorance. I rode with a club and enjoyed it, it took away from my family and the real brotherhood I had. This combined with medical issues I decided to leave. So did I finally answer that question for all of you? Probably not, I’ll still get the assholes who want to know more or keep asking.
Let’s wrap this up
Like many that have left a motorcycle club and will tell you, it’s not all ice cream and cupcakes. Club life is hard on your family, health and sanity. Many people who have or are in clubs still age quick and lots of health problems follow. The traveling, Stress and partying takes its toll on a body, something I wished I listened to.
The brotherhood you’re looking for might actually be somewhere else other than a club. Don’t be in a rush to join an MC. Take your time and hangaround a few years and build a bond with people you might one day call brother. You will actually thank me for saying that by the way. Just because you own a motorcycle doesn’t mean you need a patch. You’re on two-wheels, you’re cooler than most of the people out there that don’t have a bike. Ride with it and don’t worry about all the other stuff is what I always say.
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