By James “Hollywood” Macecari
Many times over the years, especially since I started Insane Throttle and grew in popularity, people have asked what drew me to joining a motorcycle club. It’s a great question, one that has been asked of many people I’m sure. I tend to think this question is most often asked by new riders and regular everyday citizens who are not educated about motorcycle clubs. It comes down to curiosity I suspect, most people dream of riding in a pack side by side and partying till the cows come home. I admit, that’s what I thought about the scene when I came into it at a young age. Looking back, it’s a totally different outlook now that I’m older. It’s kinda surreal when I think about it. When I look back on some of the things I’ve done and went through it makes me laugh, but also makes me regret.
The dream of riding in a pack side by side and the parties came true
The dream of riding in a pack side by side and the parties came true, but the negatives outweigh the good. I think the biggest regrets I’ve had were politics. Politics in the motorcycle club scene is harsh. Clubs may talk about brotherhood, but most of the time it’s not the case. It’s these experiences that always led me to doubt brotherhood. Here I was within a group of so-called brothers, watching most of them tripping over themselves, to jockey for positions or favor. Basically, it became the survival of the fittest. I lived that way for so long being in a street gang that it was disheartening to say the least. Instead of dreams of parties and actual brotherhood, I was actually lucky that my health became shit where I had to leave the club. Sucks to say, but it’s true. The politics were so bad within the club that I no longer had the will to be apart of it anymore.
Another regret that I had was the toll it took on my family. My kids grew up without a father and my wife didn’t have a husband. I was too busy with club stuff and living the life that I forgot about them. It’s funny, the other day I saw a creator talking about, “how clubs don’t interfere with being a father and family life.” I really knew at that point, when hearing that, just how old I’ve grown. It also hit me like a brick, on how much the scene has changed.
I now know how greybeards feel
What I once knew is gone, swept up by evolution I guess. When I went into the club that’s all life was about. The time you spent with the club was a daily thing, time at home was almost non-existent. For disclosure I have to say the intensity depends on the club you are in. Either way a motorcycle club takes up a lot of your life.
Would I do it all over again? Honestly, no! When I reflect back I understand now how much I truly lost. I’m I saying it was the clubs I was with faults? No, not at all. The blame is on me and no one else. I was the one who decided to put the club before family. This point right there is what I try to explain to people when they ask me about clubs. Don’t put club in front of family, no club in the world is worth more than your family. No club in the world is worth missing out on birthdays and holidays. Fortunately, I was able to capture what was left of my kids growing up. What I truly missed though was their younger years, something I wish I could take back all the time
Was the Colors and image worth it?
I can say with 100% certainty it wasn’t. The experience might have been filled with fun times, but in the end it cost too much. As I said before, join a riding club, something without the responsibility and freedom to do what you want. As much as I hate to say it, club life isn’t freedom. Freedom is doing what you want when you want to do it. Freedom isn’t about being dictated to or committed to any one thing. The best way I can explain a motorcycle club, it’s like having a second job. What’s worse, you’re the one paying out, instead of the one being paid.
I’ve been out of the club life for over 15 years now. One of the things looking back on is how much my health turned to shit. When you see a club I want you to do something, especially if you’re wanting to join a club. Look at some of the guys, many of them will look tired and run down. Some of those guys who look like they are in their 50’s are actually only in their late 30s and early 40’s. This is especially true with official support clubs and 1% clubs. The lifestyle will always kick your ass no matter what people tell you. I learned that lesson the hard way.
I don’t hate motorcycle clubs
Motorcycle Clubs were a big part of my life. Motorcycle clubs have a place in my heart and always will, but it’s also my mission to inform people about the effects they have on a person. Do I ever recommend or has anyone heard me recommend joining a motorcycle club? The answer is no, I’ve never told anyone to join a club. It’s the opposite if you’ve ever seen or heard my work.
I’m a big believer in riding clubs and motorcycle associations. Everyone knows the reasons why I push those, so I’m not going to rehash it. Here’s the thing though, I don’t believe pushing only the positives of motorcycle clubs. Shit, some people would say I only talk about the negatives of club life, and they might be right. Reality is very important for me, something that I want to make sure to convey, to those who have a way of thinking about how motorcycle clubs are. It’s not all positive to say the least. If I had to put a percentage on it I would say 35% positive with the rest being negative.
What people don’t get about me
What people don’t get about me. I like to make sure all sides are expressed, something I say time and time again. People in the club scene or their supporters are not used to this. They are used to hearing from people who are only for motorcycle clubs or from people who oppose them. One thing is for sure, until I arrived on the creator scene no one focused on the whole picture. It was either one viewpoint or the other. It’s funny, people actually cannot tell which position I hold on clubs. This is because of the way I present the news or my opinions. This just means I know I’m doing my job right because it’s making people think for themselves. Thinking for yourself was a trait to be admired in a biker, but not so much anymore, thanks to the change in attitudes and culture.
My personal belief is people try so hard to fit in, they lose their ability to be an individual. People nowadays believe in falling in line with others, even though they might not believe in what they are following. Screw being a biker, that’s dangerous to anyone who wants a life of freedom. You know what I call it when people fall in line with the masses don’t you? I call it being a coward and not standing up for what you believe as an individual.
Stop being a follower and be your own person
Another question I’m most often asked, “are you afraid of what clubs think about you?” No, and I’ll tell you why. This is a business and career for me. I’m in the business of giving people all the information regardless of who’s who. Do I deal with threats? All the damn time! The way I look at it though, I have a job to do, like it or not.
I’ve been through all the gang shit growing up. Threats don’t faze me, especially when they are coming on the internet. I’m always out and about in the scene, never do I worry about ill will. Clubs for the most part understand I have a job to do. Most Clubs also know they couldn’t have a better friend in the media than me. Clubs know I’m very fair. I will fight for clubs 100% when they are done wrong. They also know I will report when they’ve done something to make the scene look bad.
Being your own person is paramount to this lifestyle
Being your own person is paramount to this lifestyle, at least it used to be. Here’s an example about being a follower. A social media post goes up. You may or may not agree with it but you see everyone else has one view and you don’t want to express the opposite view. So what happens? Even though you don’t agree with their view, you post with them instead of being yourself, out of fear of what people will say. That’s being a follower!
Take time to think before joining a motorcycle club
One of the most important decisions you will make before joining a motorcycle club, should be knowing who you’re getting involved with. I know most people want to hurry up and get patched in, this in my opinion is the wrong thing to do. My suggestion is to take a year hanging around and get to know the people and how the club operates. This very important step will help you determine if the club is right for you. Don’t be in a rush, anyone who gets in a rush without the correct information always loses in the end. You also have to remember it’s not only your time you would be wasting, it’s also the motorcycle clubs time, you would be wasting. So think before you jump in with both feet.
My conclusion is there are very important decisions you’ve got to make before joining a motorcycle club. Don’t rush the process and sure the hell don’t cut out your families. I once knew an old timer in my former club that died alone, without any personal family attending his funeral, just because he put the club first over them. One other small point. Do you know why you only hear about a few people making it to a 20 year milestone within a club? It’s because one day they wake up and have the revelations hit them like it did me. The ones who wake up know that they’ve made mistakes in how they handled being in a club. Don’t make the same mistakes as I and others made.