A few weeks back, I wrote a lengthy piece about David Mann, the artist and illustrator who spent four decades chronicling the biker life for Choppers publisher Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth and, later, for Easyriders, the most enduring rag ever published by and for bikers, until new owners ran it into the weeds…. 🀬

….but Rest in Peace, Dave Mann, and R.I.P. the original Easyriders and its late editor Lou Kimzey, who is the closest thing my writing career ever got to a mentor. What commercial success I’ve had (and granted, I never tried to make writing my primary occupation) is due to Lou Kimzey’s kind words.

Anyhoo, at Dave Mann’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/davidmannstore) a post recently appeared featuring a particularly dark and gritty image, even for Dave Mann, who did dark and gritty better than anyone. It was used as an illustration for an essay about violence between motorcycle clubs. Half the essay’s text appeared on the page over Dave’s artwork…. but the other half? πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ Even though it says ‘Continued from page 41,’ the jump was actually to page 41. Mr. Kimzey and the boys ran a loose ship back in the day, and errors were to be expected.  πŸ˜

But me and my fellow Mann fans didn’t care about to or from; we just wanted to see the rest of the damned article!

I hate being left hanging like that, so I went and found a copy of that issue (April 1977) and got what radio personality Paul Harvey used to call ‘….the rest of the story.’ It was just another half-page, but it was the conclusion of a powerful essay, especially in those grim days when ‘gang warfare’ was decimating motorcycle club rosters and drawing heat on everyone who rode, patched or not, Me, I spent more than one afternoon looking down the barrel of a lawman’s gun because our home team was going tit-for-tat with other clubs over Goddess knows what. πŸ™„


The man who died apparently crawled into a van parked near our campsite and bled out as LEOs searched for perpetrators and victims.  Of course, those guys all had the good sense to split, if they were physically able, long before the po-po made their appearance.
We, on the other hand, were not so smart.  We were held at the racetrack for hours under the blazing sun until the cops were satisfied they’d found everything they were going to find. Then they began pointing rifles and shotguns at us, screaming at us to get our bikes moving and get out the gates NOW! or have them impounded and spend the night in jail.
The scramble to get several hundred pissed-off bikers out the narrow gates of that racetrack – many of them stoned and/or drunk as Cooter Brown after hours of waiting – might have been farcical if not for the dead body, the wounded, and the ranks of angry LEOs, many on horseback and all a-bristle with long guns.
As if that weren’t enough, when my crew reached the gates, most announced they were going to ride into Houston and continue partying!  😳  
I’d had enough of East Texas, so me and another fellow – a stranger – partnered up for the long ride back to Austin.  Good thing for him, too, since his headlight went out before we reached the Montgomery County line.  I rode beside him the rest of the way back to Austin, the little seven-inch sealed beam on my shovelhead the only light to advise oncoming motorists of our presence!
And of course, there was retaliation, as seen in this undated clipping circa 1989, following several bombings of rival club members’ homes. and vehicles.

Sadly, although the Nordic and Canadian Wars have died down, and wholesale slaughter a la Laughlin and Twin Peaks is no longer the rule of the day, there are still too many dust-ups like Porter, too many barroom brawls and killings, and retaliatory strikes, and revenge for those retaliatory strikes, and paybacks and drive-bys and so on and so on…. ad nauseam.

Maybe someday this bullshit really will be past.

Finally, here is the artwork as it first appeared on Dave Mann’s easel. George Christie, former President of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club’s Ventura, California, charter, and now an accomplished author and podcaster, owns the original painting, and offers prints for sale through his website at http://www.georgechristie.com/. I wouldn’t mind owning one, just for its value as documentation of our history as bikers, but I wouldn’t want it hanging on my wall with my numerous prints of more serene works by David Uhl, James GuΓ§wa, Norman Bean, Amanda Zito, et alia…. and that’s assuming Jackie didn’t brain me for even thinking about displaying that violent imagery in our home! 😁

Since I’ve written about my collection, and art in general, I think my next entry might be a tour of MMMoMMA, also known as ‘My Miniature Museum of Modern Motorcycle Art.’ Maybe I’ll start with my visit to the actual MOMA in New York, and its exhibit of automotive and motorcycle art, and follow the trail through motorcycle museums at Anamosa, Iowa, and Maggie Valley, North Carolina, all the way back to Austin, home of the aforementioned and as-yet-not-world-renowned MMMoMMA. Watch this space! 😎

A sneak peek at part of My Miniature Museum of Modern Motorcycle Art, located on the banks of scenic Little Walnut Creek in beautiful downtown Northeast Austin…. Texas, that is. 🀠


P.S.: I thought y’all might be interested in two other facts about the incident at Porter, cited above.

First, while violence did erupt between two rival motorcycle clubs, it had been a gentlemanly fistfight – a good old-fashioned punch-up, as the Brits call it – until the security guard hired by the event promoter allegedly waded into the crowd of brawling bikers, pulled his sidearm and fired a couple of rounds in the air. It always worked in the movies, right? However, in Porter, on hearing gunfire, the brawlers simply assumed the fight had escalated. Weapons were produced, shots fired, and, well…. you know the rest.

Second, about those 1988 arrests referenced in the sentencing article: Those arrests took place on April 30, 1988; five years to the day from the incident at Porter, but also the very day the Motorcyclists’ Rights Organization I was a state officer with had scheduled a statewide Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Rally. We had ambitiously slated massive gatherings in Amarillo and Galveston, and at the State Capital in Austin, to press for better awareness of motorcyclists in traffic and improved rider education. We hoped, of course, to make a good impression on the press – rarely kind to us during our legislative efforts – and perhaps convince the motoring public at large that we were just fun-loving motorcyclists, and not an existential threat to their safety.

How far do you suppose that pipedream got when we had to share our coverage on the evening news with reports of mass arrests, bombings, shootouts and the like? To this day, I wonder if the cops didn’t time those arrests for that day, just so they could upstage our event! πŸ˜’