The Hells Angels are one of the most notorious biker gangs in the world. According to intelligence agencies such as the police, FBI, and CIA, the Hells Angels are part of what is known as the ‘big four’. This ‘big four’ includes three other motorcycle gangs such as the Pagans, Bandidos, and the Outlaws. All four of these motorcycle gangs are well known for their outlandish and violent behavior. The Hells Angels in particular have a reputation of making up their own laws and rules. Drug trafficking, prostitution, robberies, and assaults are just some of the crimes the Hells Angels have committed. Although they are known for all of these heinous crimes, members within the group claim that they are all just motorcycle enthusiasts, what some of the members do on their own time should not reflect the lives of everyone in the group.
About the Hells Angels
The Hells Angels have been said to date back as far as 1948 by World War II veterans in the region known as Fontana, California. At first, the group was started by members of a different motorcycle club, the Pissed Off Bastards. The name ‘Hells Angels’ itself was derived from one of the members of the club, he was in the ‘Hells Angels’ squadron while in the army stationed in China. Hells Angels was given to those who worked in aviation, they would do incredible and death defying stunts while up in the air. The name Hells Angels then spread like wildfire, groups of these men began claiming their territories and organizing their own biker clubs.
During the mid 1960s-1970s during the counterculture movement in the United States and throughout much of the Western world, the Hells Angels took storm and made their presence known to the rest of the country and soon the world. With club members in over 29 different countries you would think it would be easy to get into this society, but this is very untrue. There are many steps you need to take before even being accepted by these members.
Because this biker gang is involved with organized crime and has a reputation for violent and destructive behavior, it is very important to them that they choose their members carefully. One rule is that no member or joining member can be a former policeman or prison officer. This, for obvious reasons, is because they do not want a ‘snitch’ within the group. Having someone such as this in a gang full of hardcore rebels would not mix well in fear of being exposed for whatever crimes they may commit. Child molesters are also not aloud within the group.
Becoming a member of the Hells Angels requires a little more than having a motorcycle. If you want to really become a member, there are a series of steps, and rules that you must follow. Aside from ever being in a position of law enforcement, the individual looking to become part of the gang must first become what they call a ‘hang around’. ‘Hang arounds’ are aspiring members that are invited to a couple of gatherings and Hells Angels functions. While they participate, certain higher ups in the gang take note on how they like the individual, if they like you, they will ask you to come to more gatherings or even ride along with them. If they do not like you however, you will not be welcomed back and they will make it very apparent.
After awhile, the ‘hang around’ will eventually be asked to become an ‘associate’. Being an ‘associate’ lasts up to a year to even two years. This does not mean the individual is a member just yet, once the time has passed and the members see the associate as something more, they will start to call the person a ‘prospect’. As a prospect of the gang, you are asked to do some club duties and attend certain events with the members. Even though they are close to being members, they do not have the right to vote on certain things within the club.
This leads to becoming a ‘full member’. To become a full member of this biker society, you must be voted on by other ‘full members’ of the group. Once you have been judged and discussed upon, the ‘full members’ will take a vote on whether you should be in the gang or not. If you are accepted, they will pronounce you as a ‘being patched. ‘Being patched’ means just that. You will receive a patch that is to be put on your biker jacket/vest. This patch represents the gang as a whole, and although there are many places the members have territory, the specific location will be displayed on the patch. Even though you wear this patch on yourself, the patch is still property of the Hells Angels, meaning when you retire, die, or get kicked out of the club, the patch must be returned.
With all of this being said, tattoos of this notorious biker gang, the Hells Angels, are not only rare, but they can be dangerous to display as a piece of body art. If you are not a member of the Hells Angels, it is suggested that you do not get a Hells Angels tattoo; especially in areas where the public eye can see. Like most gangs, the members do not want someone who is not in the society to be representing them. To those members who do show their loyalty and love for their gang however, it is a promise of being a Hells Angels member for life.
For the most part, a Hells Angels tattoo consists of the name, ‘Hells Angels’ along with whatever district or region that particular member is from. Not only are these displayed for the tattoo, an image of a skull with a helmet with long angel wings sprouting from it is not only the most popular symbol for the Hells Angels, it is also the symbol that is on the patches the bikers wear on their jackets and vests.
This symbol signals other members of the club that you are too within the gang. Although the members all respect each other from whatever region they are from, if you sport the Hells Angels tattoo, be ready to have to answer questions about it. Other members of the club that see you with this tattoo will be sure to approach you and question whether you are legit or just posing. If you are legit, they will welcome you with open arms, if you are an imposter just getting the tattoo for the looks however, things could get a little dangerous for you.
Members display this tattoo on the back, the upper arm, the forearm, and even the chest. Most members that display this tattoo will get it in an area that is both recognizable to the public but also can be covered up. The most suggested spot for a tattoo such as this would be on the upper arm or even somewhere on the chest.