Rusty Coones, Hells Angel and president of a California chapter of the world-wide MC, appeared on this week’s episode of the Discovery Channel’s The Devils Ride. With all of the controversy that has flared over the show—are the Laffing Devils a real MC, or are they a made-for-television fictitious club—does Coones appearing on the show add to its credibility, or does it take away from MC clubs’ credibility overall?
In 2006, Bikernet interviewed Coones. The reporter was admittedly intimidated by Coones and the prospect of causing more trouble than he could handle, offering this as a way to assuage any future rumblings:
“I am a little nervous in taking on this task. I do not want to ruffle any feathers. On the other hand, I'm honored to interview the president of the Orange County Chapter of the Hells Angels.”
It is understandable, one would concede, that a person would be nervous about interviewing someone identified so completely with a MC like the Hells Angels, a notorious one-percenter club, capable of who knows what. The American Motorcyclist Association, coined the phrase “one-percenters” when they said that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens, while the other one-percent were outlaws who subsequently gave all motorcyclists a bad name.
But, does the association with a television show like The Devils Ride take away from that reputation?
What Is Credibility for a MC?
It is interesting that so many critics of the show seem to consider the Laffing Devils to not be a “real” club simply because they are not one-percenters. Presumably, the majority of motorcylists would not be one-percenters—a full 99 percent, in fact. And, the fact that they never claimed to be a one-percenter club doesn’t seem to assuage the harsh feelings being thrown their way. No doubt anticipating this reaction, producers brought Coones--who also appeared previously on an episode of the FX show Sons of Anarchy--on board for an early episode, hoping this would give their club credibility; it has not worked for many viewers.
But, what does it do for Coones and the Hells Angels?
The Hells Angels are a world-wide organization, with various chapters; Coones was founder of the Orange County chapter and is president of the San Fernando Valley chapter—at least, he was president as recently as August of 2011, according to OC Weekly, where he gave an interview, and talked about how he found his love of motorcycles; his long history with local police; drugs and prison; the bike built for him by Jesse James; and his business, Illusion Motorsports.
It was via Illusion Motorsports that Coones came into the mix on The Devils Ride, giving the Laffing Devils a repo job to complete and, no doubt, prove their worth as an MC. They did complete the task; did it work?
Some Huliq readers do feel that having Coones “vouch” for them by appearing on the show as he did adds to the validity of the Laffing Devils, as comments on a recent story seemed to indicate:
Maybe someone should give that question to Rusty Coones. It's pretty obvious that the LDMC antics have been endorsed and approved by the local 81's.
The guy who sent them to get the bike is a hells angel. Now all u knob slobbers will change ur comments.
Well, all you have to do is google Rusty, pulls up his business and his whole life. Pretty interesting reading. He is the real deal and it appears SOA closely follows his "former" activities...
But, not everyone agreed that Coones’ participation meant a reconsideration of the Laffing Devils’ credibility:
So Rusty was on tv, therefore, FAKE as well...right? If Rusty is HA then the HA has also reached a new low and must be slobbin on the laffing devils knobb as well.
Whether or not the Laffing Devils are “real” or “fake” is hard to say at this time. And, perhaps the participation of Rusty Coones, notorious Hells Angel, does confuse the issue a bit. However, in the end, it is television, “reality TV” or otherwise, and ultimately meant to entertain.
Image: Wikimedia Commons