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Motorcycle Clubs are becoming big corporations who chase dollar signs

By James “Hollywood” Macecari

Editorial Columnist

I recently did a segment on Motorcycle Madhouse Morning Mayhem where I discussed LLH&R. My argument in that segment was there was no longer any true brotherhood left. I believe brotherhood has been replaced by the numbers game and who can sell the most support merchandise. 

Motorcycle club support merchandise was once reserved for only those the club knew. Fast forward to 2020 and you see a race on the internet, on multiple platforms, to sell the merchandise for huge monetary gains. 

Sure, motorcycle clubs rely on supporters to help with clubhouse upkeep and other club functions. Is it worth it though? There have been many examples of people buying the clubs merchandise off the internet and causing issues with other clubs. Not to mention trouble for the club selling them the merchandise. 


You would’ve never thought that some of the bigger clubs would be corporations making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on clothing and other support gear. I have to admit, clubs were smart to play on people’s desire to become a part of something, even if it was just in their own minds. 

Motorcycle clubs used to be about fun and brotherhood. Unfortunately, they’ve traded that for the dollars instead. What happens when you chase the almighty dollar? Everything else suffers because that becomes the focus, including the club itself. 

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Support merchandise is one of the ways motorcycle clubs bring in revenue. The other revenue is from membership dues and events. Here’s something I never understood and I would consider a legit question. Why have members pay all these high dues when parties and support merchandise should be enough to pay the bills? Let’s not forget the bar money made at the clubhouse. Bar money can add up to thousands of dollars of income every month for the house. 

If you don’t believe me that motorcycle clubs have become successful corporations, just look at the filings they must provide in order to keep their corporate status and trademark protections. Many big clubs spend thousands of dollars on attorneys and court cases to protect their brands. Some have actually made a ton of money winning these trademark infringement cases. 

Is it a bad thing for motorcycle clubs to make money if they can?

That’s a question only the clubs themselves can ask. All anyone outside the club can do is give an opinion on that question. I would have to say Yes and No. Yes because hopefully this would keep others from doing something stupid and getting the cops on the club. No, because money is really the root of all evil and it has a way of hurting the brotherhood itself. When money gets involved, especially large sums, politics become a prominent aspect of the club. 

“Motorcycle club support merchandise was once reserved for only those the club knew”

Politics is very dangerous in a club. You know the old saying, “when you’re divided you fall.” This couldn’t be more accurate. When circles start forming and money becomes the central issue, things start getting screwed up.

Less quality of man joining the club

It’s true, more people nowadays do not find joining a club enticing. The ones that do are often of low quality, meaning they wish to join something, but want the easy way in. All one had to do is look at many of the pop up clubs. 

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Someone blowing their money on a pop up club is one thing, something I argue they deserve. But for the standards being dropped for older clubs is something I never thought I’d see. Those who’ve been around the scene for any length of time, in or out, can see the quality isn’t all that good. 

“Motorcycle clubs used to be about fun and brotherhood. Unfortunately, they’ve traded that for the dollars instead.”

How many stories have we’ve heard about someone being put out on bad for some really stupid shit? Out bad is an entirely different subject, but it usually tells someone how the club is conducting itself on how they treat ex members. Again, there are always three sides of a story, but when you see it time after time it becomes a pattern. It’s that pattern that distinguishes how tight a club really is. Of course, this is just my personal opinion and shouldn’t be taken as gospel.  

One has to ask themselves, especially before joining a club, is the club out for your brotherhood or are you just another dues paying number? This is a question I’ve always told people to ask themselves while they are hanging around. Hanging around a club will give you all the information you need if you’re methodical in your observations. The worst thing anyone can do is jump right into a motorcycle club, you’re doing yourself a disservice. 

Why have a second job where you’re not getting paid, just to support the corporation?

I’ve always talked about the commitment it takes to be in a motorcycle club, especially a legit 1% club. One of those commitments is your time and money. Being a member of a motorcycle club is actually a second job, the difference is you pay them instead of getting paid. 

There is something very troubling to me personally when it seems like you’re not getting a return on your investment. Actually, this is something that will hit some of you when you leave your clubs. I refer you to my last editorial, “What was the cost of being involved with a motorcycle club? Hint, it was more than just money” One of the main takeaways you will get from that article. You’re nothing but a number and when you leave the club it leaves you. I encourage you to look at some of the comments from former members. Much what was in that article rang true for many people. 

What was the main reason you wanted to join a motorcycle club? The answer is probably going to be brotherhood. Is it brotherhood when you leave the club and you’re soon forgotten? Hell no, brotherhood is supposed to last a lifetime! Like I said earlier, did you get a return on your investment? Most of the time the answer will be no. 

Why does it seem like you’re bashing clubs?

If that is what you’re getting out of these articles then I don’t know what to tell you. It seems people don’t want to step out of the box, or what’s popular to take a deep dive into subject matter. My editorials are actually directed towards new bikers interested in joining a motorcycle club. Sure, you have these protocol channels that give some of the stuff people need to know. The information is usually coming from the angle of an MC or MC friendly type of deal. My job is to give both sides of the coin, good or bad! In order for someone to make a decision, they have to see the whole picture. This saves them time and it especially saves motorcycle clubs time when it comes to someone being ready to join. 

Blindness and ignorance doesn’t help the MC scene, it only hurts it. Those who are the cheerleaders and one’s who think clubs can do no wrong are fools. These types of people are actually the ones that kill motorcycle clubs. When they go to join they figure out that it wasn’t for them and wasted everyone’s time. 

So, what are your thoughts on this subject? Do you think motorcycle clubs have become more of a corporation and got away from their original purpose? Let me know in the comment section, I’ll be interested in seeing how many people tell me to fuck off, lol. 

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  1. If you are going to talk about “Return on your Investment” then you have the wrong mindset to join a club. Being in a club is about giving your life for free.
    When you leave a club it is because you no longer enjoy the life……. So you are turning your back on the club,
    In return the club turns it’s back on you.


  2. Your last article was about bikers no longer wanting to be part of a club. Such as leaving on any terms, meaning members want out. . But I also like your articles. I will drink to that.!


  3. When you get older the clubs only want your money because you can’t ride as much anymore so most older members are ignored


  4. I have to agree it seems some clubs have become large corporations. I can’t wrap my head around clubs having a CEO and a board room with members and quarterly meetings. That is definitely is a far cry from the original premise. Part of me understands, (the natural progression of society, so to speak) and the major part of me is repulsed. I’d like to think my club would never fall pray to such a materialistic ideals, however, that said, I’d be a fool if I didn’t already recognize the signs of that type of behavior.
    I for one will fight against it, when I call someone “brother”, I truly mean he is my brother and has earned that right and gained my respect. I will protect him at all costs.
    Money, drugs and women, three things that can ruin a good brother. When we get on the scoot for a road trip the true feeling of brotherhood comes back. That’s what I’ll fight to hold onto.


  5. As one that started my own club as agree not wanting to follow someone else’s rules, I think brother hood is important but everything changes, MCs, church, a can bring in revenue illegally or legal…more are following the legal path even the 1% clubs, too expensive the illegal way in the long term. You even mentioned before I believe….a lot are not joining MCs as before..I think because potential members want the brother hood.. without the BS, so have the brother hood which still exist but market the MC..


  6. Clubs are all about the money nowadays. Just look at the way the big clubs dress now. Clean black leather cut off, clean jeans and white sneakers. It’s all about the image. It was better when they had fewer members but, truer members.


  7. If you’re looking for a return on investment, see a financial planner.
    As opposed to the 1%er’s I have been involved with since the 60’s, you bunch are a complete and utter embarrassment.
    I wouldn’t trust any of you.
    There’s probably a handful of people still breathing that I would. But we’re all the old school, old days people you don’t want to listen to.
    We actually lived & believed in Trust, Respect, Integrity, Loyalty and a whole lot more.
    You little morons don’t have a clue what that means.
    I’m never going to say we never did anything that wasn’t completely legal, but you idiots are involved with shit we never would have been even remotely stupid to be involved with.
    Then there’s this support club bullshit. Yeah, I call that as people not even good enough to get hangaround status. And given the number of Club members turning snitch or killing their own Club members, your Chapter should be taken from your asses. You’re incompetent fools.
    Nobody, and I really do mean Nobody ever would have even had a brain fart of a thought of doing anything like that.
    There are people laughing at you, and they’re also very pissed and disgusted by your actions.
    You’re weak, stupid, you let cops join, WTF. You’re pretty much fucking worthless. Pretenders and fuckups.

    So, James, see if you can get Sonny to weigh in on this subject. Doubt he will, but I expect he feels the same as I do.
    And yes, of course this is not my real name.


  8. As a person that has been riding for 61 years ill be 75 in january mother **(**** did u hit the nail on the head


  9. Well i think you need to do more research into what MC clubs use to be about because it wasn’t about being apart of a Brotherhood but also doing whatever you wanted to do and no one could stop you as well as other things and i wo t say it was about haveing fun all the time thats why there called 1%’s original. My self and a few others our starting our own MC club/ organization with the motto Family first community second we want to be that MC club that helps out the community in ways such as helping the home less, helping our local businesses out with getting more business for them by doing fundraisers and we ain’t asking for dues from them by simply asking to show there support and showing up to our fundraiser event wearing a cut that says they sponsor us and show there support we want to help better our community in a positive way. Not push people and businesses around to get what we want . We want to show that MC clubs dont have to have the bad reputation that many people look at them as being


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