The legendary “biker”, symbol of the Hells Angels, the largest motorcycle group in the world, and of their “on the road” lifestyle, passed away at 83
On horseback, in the West, far from the laws of America, tied only to the rules of brotherhood between outlaws, no work, no home, no telephone, no refrigerator, no latest model washing machine, no modular kitchen, no taxes to pay. No trace of the American Dream of well-being. Only the road. This is how Sonny Barger lived and so he died the other day at 83 years of riding a Harley and not a horse like the old cowboys but with the same gunslinger air: farewell to the most famous of the Hells Angelsthe most grim and the best of all at building his own legend, founder not of the Hells Angels – they already existed – but of the “angels of hell” club in Oakland, California.
He died, against all odds, old. Killed not by a rival gang but by an even more ruthless opponent, the tumor that forty years ago took away his vocal cords but which after that surgery remained good good – perhaps he too was afraid of Sonny – up to a couple of days ago. ‘Years ago. He talked to a special machine, aware of being so even more threatening, sunburned skin and tattoos made in prison now faded, eyes of coals, sparse white hair and very short instead of the old hair of the past, the fame out of time among today’s kids thanks to the appearance in the role of Lenny the Pimp in the cult serial «Sons of Anarchy». Barger was the man who frightened the great writers who had approached him – Hunter Thompson and Tom Wolfe – and who wrote books about his life, and novels about “angels”, even a strange manual of safe driving (just him), stories little in line with his bad and abundant criminal record.
The Hells Angels of that time were the other side of San Francisco’s Summer of Love, enemies of the hippies and the Black Panthersin favor (from a distance, generally) of the war in Vietnam, also willing to collaborate strategically (perhaps in exchange for a little benevolence on their heroin and amphetamine trafficking) with local sheriffs against the various “long-haired” ones who hated more than any other What.
Also for this Barger – a relic of a parallel American dream that no longer exists – was happy to talk about a bit of everything, of the philosophy of the 1% (1% of criminal bikers), of the many women, of the fights, of the trials., of the time he smoked a cigarette on the stretcher that carried him to the operating room where they would open his throat. Anything but the night of AltamontDecember 6, 1969, which began as the best night of his life, his Hells Angels doing the order service (in exchange for beer, for a total of $ 500) of the free concert of the Rolling Stones that thanks to the breakup of the Beatles they were at that time the most important band in the world. The images we see today, on LED screens or on our phones, come from “Gimme Shelter”, the Maysles brothers’ documentary, and show Meredith Hunter, 18, an African American, at the center of a fight a few meters from the stage.
He has a gun. While Jagger, surrounded on stage by terrifying thugs in leather jackets, more prisoner than protected, sings “Under My Thumb”. One of Barger’s “angels” stabs Hunter several times, then kicks him. “I was relatively undone, I hadn’t taken hard drugs,” he would write years later, predictably blaming the dead man. “Afterwards, I didn’t feel too sad about what happened at the concert. A day like any other in the life of a Hells Angel. ”
July 1, 2022 (change July 1, 2022 | 07:26)
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