Piker Press Banner
November 27, 2023
"Mes de los Muertos"

Ask Biker Ed 02

By Ed Moyer

Zakk Wylde burst onto the music scene with Ozzy Osbourne back in 1988 or so with the release of No More Tears. Many trumpeted him as the next Randy Rhoads. I remember the heavy metal chicks at skool drooling all over his pictures and some even said that he was the reincarnation of the legendary Randy Rhoades, whom had tragically died during a tour with Ozzy in the early 80s.

He has been on the music scene ever since touring heavily in support of his own music as well as Ozzy's. What brings me to write this article isn't his impressive musical skills. It is the latest turmoil that has come to my attention from the Manchester UK area. Apparently there was a Black Label Society concert scheduled for this past weekend (June 18). Prior to the concerts start a local Motorcycle Club took exception to the fact that Zakk's band emblem resembled a local clubs colors. To protect his fans Zakk cancelled the concert and there are plans to do a make up date.

I will throw out some terms and come back to explain them in the end hopefully. Bottom line some 1%ers took exception to this. Whether it was because it resembled their clubs, or a rival clubs is uncertain. The forums over at Black Label Society and Zakk Wylde.com have been going insane. Now I am not normally one to buy into internet hype. But this entire issue is something that can be too scary to ignore. Bottom line the bikers think that *people aren't showing respect and are making an arse of themselves. We had to earn our colors, all yall did was buy yours. So either take em off, turn em out or we'll take em* This is reference to their vests and t-shirts initial reports have indicated.

This isn't the first time that bikers have been associated with *bad manners* at a concert: (The following was found at http://www.angelfire.com/pa/redlands/hist.html)

The Rolling Stones gave a free "thank-you America" concert at California's Altmont Speedway. A young black fan, Merideth Hunter, was stabbed to death by members of the Hell's Angels motor cycle gang. The Stones had hired the gang - on the advice of the Grateful Dead - as security for the event. The murder was captured on film by the Maysles brothers in their documentary "Gimmie Shelter." As a result of public outcry, "Sympathy for the Devil" was dropped from the set-list for the next six years.

This coupled with what happened to a very close friend to Zakk's Dimebag Darrell Abbott founding member of the metal band Pantera. The following information was found on wiki:

Abbott was murdered while performing on December 8, 2004 at a Damageplan concert at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Nathan Gale, 25, of Marysville, Ohio, entered the nightclub at about 10:00 p.m., just after the performance began, after scaling an eight-foot fence and being chased into the building by club security. He entered the left side of the stage and proceeded across to the right where Abbott was standing. Gale then grabbed Abbott and shot him twice in the head with a Beretta pistol at point blank range. Abbott received a total of 5 to 8 gunshots.

Three others were killed in the shooting: attendee Nathan Bray, 23, of Columbus; club employee Erin Halk, 29, of northwest Columbus; and Damageplan security guard Jeff "Mayhem" Thompson, 40, of Texas. The band's drum technician, John Brooks, and tour manager, Chris Paluska, were also injured.

According to police, Gale fired a total of fifteen shots from a Beretta pistol, taking the time to reload once, remaining silent throughout the shooting (although early reports indicated he made disparaging remarks about the breakup of Pantera). When security staff and audience members climbed the stage to try to stop him, Gale fired at them, killing Halk and Thompson and wounding Brooks and Paluska. Gale then took a hostage, holding him in a headlock position. When the hostage moved slightly, Columbus police officer James D. Niggemeyer shot and killed Gale with a 12 gauge police issue shotgun in the back of the head.

During the rampage, nurse and audience member Mindy Reece, 28, went to the aid of Abbott. She and another fan administered CPR until paramedics arrived). According to some reports, victim Nathan Bray was also attempting to render assistance when he was killed. The shootings occurred on the 24th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon, but there is no indication that this was a factor in Gale's actions.

In May 2005, Officer James D. Niggemeyer was cleared by the Franklin County grand jury, which is charged with formally investigating police shootings. As expected, Niggemeyer was cleared and commended on his outstanding police work in the time of a crisis.

It is very easy to see why the brain trust of BLS would cancel a concert in order to protect their fans from the idiotic behavior of a few. These few are not able to see that the vest below is not an actual MC / 1%ers vest. There by it is not another club moving in on their territory or that it is a *nobody* mocking the life style of a hard-core biker. Honestly if you have so little faith in yourself that you have to hassle a few kids wanting to go to a concert and support their band, you seriously need to re-examine your goals in life.

Now to play devils advocate; a 1%er is some one that rides their bike as their main mode of transportation. (Yours truly falls into that category). However, to take that a step further. I visited the Hells Angels website (yes this is the information age folks just about everyone has a webpage) In the FAQ section. Under How do I join?, was this response:

As the saying goes, If you have to ask the question, you probably won't understand the answer. The key words are Motorcycle Club, which means they are true motorcycle enthusiasts and their motorcycle is their primary means of transportation. On the average a club member will ride 20,000 mile plus a year, and this means rain, snow, or sunshine. Each Charter varies in their requirement, but if you're really interested you should talk to a member in your area. And if you have to ask where the nearest Charter is to you....you aren't ready to join a Motorcycle Club.

To borrow from some one over on the BLS forums:

You know that's right, while you're at it don't let any one say you can't wear them for your funeral!!! Seriously 1%ers take it seriously they truly did earn those patches they wear. To put it in perspective say you are a Marine who served in Nam and lost a lot of good friends, then one Fourth of July you see some punk ass kid wearing dress blues, making an ass of himself, you go up and talk to him. Only the kid just bought them, or was given them. If your gonna wear the colors wear them with pride, not arrogance, or cockiness, pride. If you do see a 1%er, confront (read to be respectful and not an arse) him first offer to buy him and his buddies a round or at least make a notion that , 1, you are not a threat to them or their territory, 2. that BLS is just a band with a unusual way of showing support, you may have to produce a cd. or photo, and 3. mention that if they still don't like it that you will gladly remove them, and put them in your car, coat check, whatever. This way they don't forcefully take them (I.E. you get to keep your colors), and secondly you may have a few new friends, and won't truly BLEED Black Label. Plain and simple, no one said you can't jump out of a plane without a parachute, it just might not be wise.

Why all the hub bub abolut *colors*? Again a visit to the Hells Angels FAQ section offers this answer to Why do you call your club vest colors?:

Again, another metonym. Colors or Patch stand for the motorcycle club's (Any motorcycle club) insignia. On the top of the back of the vest is HELLS ANGELS, and the bottom is the Charter's location. These are called rockers. The center is the logo called the Deathhead, and the small square with MC stands for Motorcycle Club. The Hells Angels, as well as most motorcycle clubs have copyrights on their name and logo

[Editor's Note: Biker colors are copyrighted all to hell and any websites with decent images of them are not keen on the images being linked to. SO. Click here to check out some colors on a sanctioned page. Note about midway down at least one that resembles the Zakk Wylde stuff. --AQ]

So you can see where the confusion comes into place. The image listed above is that of a legitimate motorcycle clubs *colors*. Some of the bikers may feel that they are treading on their *turf* or that they are mocking them and some may even feel like they have been ripped off. Bottom line is this. I love Zakk's music and had even began toying with the idea of getting some of his patches for my vest. Nevertheless, until I am able to make it to the local biker bar(s) and can confirm one way or the other what is going on, I won't be flying any colors that could be misconstrued.

The terms take em off, turn em out, or we'll take em is a direct reference to either take the shirt/vest off and return it to your vehicle. Turn it inside out or you lose you choice to what happens next. Yes it is a violent means to an end. One that I have not ever tried to do and yes I do realize that this is America. But at the same time I realize that a biker and his friends are more likely to be able to end my life before there will be anyone there to protect me. Case in point:

1%er News:

Pagans kill man wearing HA support shirt

Two bikers with the rival Pagans club are charged in Manville killing...

A Somerset County man gunned down Sunday in a Manville sports bar was killed because he was wearing a Hells Angels T-shirt, authorities said yesterday. John Grover, 40, of Hillsborough was killed by two members of the Pagans motorcycle club who thought Grover was a member of the rival Hells Angels, Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest said.

But Grover didn't even own a motorcycle, according to close friends, and police say he had no criminal record and there is no evidence he was a club member.

A T-shirt with a flaming skull logo given to him by a friend was his only connection to the "New Roc City" chapter of the Hells Angels based in New Rochelle, N.Y. Gang experts said the shooting is more evidence of an escalating turf war in New Jersey between Pagans and the infamous Angels, which has chapters worldwide but is just starting to take root locally.

"The Hells Angels are moving into what has primarily been known as Pagan territory," said Detective Sgt. Rick Foote, supervisor of the Street Gang Unit for the State Police. "They are actively looking to open a chapter here."

Forrest said two known Pagans, William "Rodent" Martin and Peter Ciarletta, have been arrested in the murder of Grover.

According to police, the two Pagans were sent to Gatto's Sports Cafe in Manville looking for someone affiliated with the Hells Angels.

Martin, 33, of North Plainfield and Ciarletta, 28, of Warren went armed with two handguns and quickly spotted Grover and his friend watching the Yankee game at Gatto's, a neighborhood bar not known as a biker hangout, Forrest said.

Martin and Ciarletta sat opposite Grover, glaring at him for more than 30 minutes before they left through a side door. Accounts differ as to whether they exchanged words with Grover, but Grover followed them outside.

As he opened the outside door, Martin pulled a 9-mm handgun from his waistband and fired four times from about 10 feet away, Forrest said.

Two shots struck Grover, one in the leg and one in the abdomen, knocking him back into the bar. Martin jumped into a Jeep Wrangler driven by Ciarletta and they sped off toward Hillsborough, Forrest said.

A witness, who asked not to be identified, rushed to Grover's side and applied towels from the bar to his leg wound, which was gushing blood.

The witness said he kept asking, "John, are you with me?" to make sure he didn't lose consciousness before medical help arrived. Grover was still conscious as EMTs arrived and transported him to Somerset Medical Center, the witness said.

He was later pronounced dead.

"We're still shaken up about what happened," said Bobby Gatto, owner of the bar where Grover was a regular. "We called 911 and they came immediately. It was just crazy. Surreal."

Hillsborough police quickly spotted the red Jeep being driven by Ciarletta and pulled it over at Beekman Lane and Conover Drive, Forrest said.

Martin bailed out and fled on foot through a wooded area, Forrest said. He was captured after a brief chase by two officers and a 9-mm handgun was found nearby, Forrest said. A second .22-caliber handgun was found in between the front seats of the Jeep, Forrest said.

Martin and Ciarletta were arraigned yesterday in Somerville on murder and weapons charges before Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong.

Somerset County Sheriff's officers patrolled the front of the courthouse building with dogs, and an officer in riot gear was visible in the hallway behind Armstrong's bench before the hearing. Eleven sheriff's officers were present in the courtroom during the proceeding where Armstrong set bail at $1 million for each.

Martin has been convicted of violent gang activity in the past. In 2001, he was charged with attempting to kill a Trenton-based Pagan, who wanted to start his own motorcycle gang. The victim's stab wounds to his chest, side and neck required 170 stitches to close.

Martin later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in the stabbing and got five years of probation when the victim declined to testify against his fellow gang member.

Foote, the State Police gang expert, said New Jersey authorities have been watching closely the violence between Pagans and Hells Angels since the 2003 clash at a party thrown by the Hells Angels on Long Island where one person was killed, 10 were wounded and 70 were arrested.

Soon after the Long Island incident, a Philadelphia tattoo parlor used by one of the gangs was firebombed.

On New Year's Day this year, a Hells Angels member from Bloomfield was beaten on the head with a board outside a Burlington County bar during a fight with Pagans.

Two weeks later, a high-ranking member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Hells Angels was shot and killed while driving in the city.

"You're going to see these small encounters," Foote said. He said the targets of attacks are typically those wearing overt gang membership patches or jackets. In recent years, the Hells Angels have started merchandising T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts through their various chapter Web sites and in local shops. The gear is available in styles for both men and women and requires no actual affiliation to the motorcycle club for purchase. "Your purchases show that you support The Club's philosophy of being free," according to the Hells Angels Web site.

T-shirts like the one Grover was wearing when he was gunned down cost about $20. Friends said the closest Grover came to motorcycles was riding all-terrain vehicles in the woods near his Hillsborough home. He had just started a job as a mechanic, said friends who feared being named.

"He was a good guy -- a gentle giant," said a neighbor in describing the 6-4, muscular Grover. "He definitely was a person who was not in any way a Hells Angel. He happened to be wearing a shirt that they didn't like. It's devastating."

Staff writers Ralph R. Ortega and Jonathan Schuppe contributed to this report. Matthew J. Dowling can be reached at mdowling@starledger.com or (908) 429-9925.

Yes I did research that last one it is at the http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=38258

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY were reportedly forced to cancel their scheduled gig in Manchester, England Saturday night (June 18) after a local biker club, Sons of Hell, allegedly complained that the group's back design is too similar to their own. A BLABBERMOUTH.NET reader, Will from Manchester, wrote, "They [Sons of Hell] were telling people to cover up, take off, or turn inside out their BLACK LABEL shirts, and anybody with a band shirt on that was black and white. They then continued to beat people up who didn't, ripping shirts off. I saw at least three ambulances. It's really bad, I was looking forward to [the gig]. It was all a logo issue apparently. They had an issue with the BLACK LABEL logo being similar to theirs, and in their colours." Another BLABBERMOUTH.NET visitor who went to the venue wrote, "They threatened event staff and fans. The gig was cancelled for safety of all involved."

Article © Ed Moyer. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-07-04
1 Reader Comments
07:06:18 AM
I know a few Hells Angels from different chapters on the west coast. For a time, I even worked for George Christy in his tattoo shop. My coworkers and I wore, and still wear, the Black Label Society "colors" around club members all the time (but never in the clubhouse). They all thought it was pretty cool, and even added my BLS cd collection to the shop music library. I also have a vest advertizing my business with a 3-patch-style layout, and from what my friends tell me, as long as there is no "MC" on any of the patches and no "territory" claim, I have nothing to worry about.
Now if asked, I would have no problem taking off either vest, because I do understand and have total respect for what an MC's colors mean to them. But only in VEST/PATCH form. Because I'm also an educated Graphic Designer. And I know that the "3-patch-layout" (word/s over graphic over word/s) has been used to design signs, crests, logos, and just about everything with words, since the invention of words! They have absolutely NO claim to that, so if that's the logo the band wants to put on shirts, then the need to get used to seeing those shirts. I can think of six or seven food labels right now that use that layout for the logo. Are they gonna force those foods to halt production?
Your Comments

The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.