Summer Reading Time.

When I was first putting together Mayfield Eight I included a fictitious biker gang called The Banshees. I scoured the internet (back in 2012) to make sure there wasn't a real MC with that name. All I found was an obscure short-lived group out in New Orleans back in 1966.


I did stumble across another 'Banshees' group recounted by Dale Arenson in his book Hangmen. The Banshees there was another short-lived group operating out of Southern California back in the 1980s. Why was I reading this book? Research. I wanted to get the right 'feel' for biker culture. The Banshees are a peripheral thing in Mayfield Eight, they exist in the background. Portraying them as a real MC was important to me to keep the story grounded. So Hangmen I read to keep in my arsenal of real-life accounts involving that postwar to 1970s phenomenon.

I read two other books, and am in the middle of another one.

Hells Angel.

Hell's Angel, the autobiography of the late Sonny Barger accounts his stories surrounding developing the club in Oakland California, taking over a similar-named chapter in San Francisco back in 1964. They were notoriously linked with a tragic death during the Altamont Rock Concert with The Rolling Stones back in 1969. They were in charge of security, and a man brandishing a gun was beaten to death. Mr. Barger explains his side of the story, how the set up was all wrong and something bad was bound to happen with an unruly crowd that Mick Jagger kept waiting too long.

Under and Alone

Another great book I read some time ago was Under and Alone by William Queen. Similar to The Departed or Donnie Brasco, Under and Alone recounts a two year deep dive into the world of The Mongols (he described them as significantly more violent than any other group including The Hells Angels). Queen was an undercover cop getting as much information about the group's illegal activity to use against them later. He lived the biker lifestyle 24/7 for 11 months out of the year, explaining he had a short-term construction gig with a friend out in Utah he'd stop over for the 12th month. That was when he could visit his wife and child safely. It was a very harrowing book, and like Donnie Brasco portrayed by Johnny Depp, William Queen found himself psychologically losing his identity more and more as a Mongol.

Becoming a Son

Lastly, I'm just now going through a major actor, former Hells' Angel, consultant to the FX show Sons of Anarchy. He portrayed Happy Loman on the show. David Labrava's account of growing up in Florida and then Hawaii is a bit rough around the edges (this is a self-done book without an editor) but it's surprisingly very approachable. David's recollections come through clearly and keep you interested.

With Summer quickly coming to a close, These four books I'd highly recommend for anyone curious about Outlaw Biker Culture!

Have a great weekend!

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