By James “Hollywood” Macecari
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 I believe brotherhood has been replaced by the numbers game and who can sell the most support merchandise.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.
MOTORCYCLE CLUBS HAVE BECOME BIG CORPORATIONS
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.
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.
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.