“I’ve been after you for a long time dude,” a Ventura, California police detective named Terry Medina told former Hells Angel George Christie, Jr. during an interview tape recorded in the middle of, what in hindsight seems to have been, Christie’ mid-life crisis. “You know why? A lot of people have poured their hearts out to you and have copped to a lot of dirty deeds to you.”
The extent, if any, to which Christie informed to police on his fellow Hells Angels remains debatable because so many of Christie’s filings in federal court remain sealed. Christie was probably expelled from the Hells Angels because his former club brothers believed he was an informant. Christie was also involved in a questionable business deal that resulted in the loss of the Ventura charter clubhouse.
Christie still maintains that he left his old club in good standing and that he was retroactively put out bad at the insistence of club founder Ralph “Sonny” Barger. There is, undeniably, and not exactly secretly, some bad blood between the two men. Christie has taken pains over the last two years to try to discredit Barger. He has accused Barger of exploiting his position in the club for financial gain, of tolerating informants and has even suggested that Barger might himself be an informant. Not many people with first hand knowledge of the motorcycle club world believe that. But George’s ambitions reach beyond the narrow confines of that world.
Christie’s Last Case
After his expulsion from the Angels, Christie was charged with conspiracy to firebomb and extort his business rivals. Christie has always given every appearance of being a bright, reasonable, articulate man. To anyone who knew him just a little, and to some who knew him well, it seemed unlikely that Christie would be so stupid as to do what the FBI said he did. But, multiple, highly credible sources have since told The Aging Rebel that Christie was in fact guilty. “I told him not to do it because it was stupid,” one source who claimed to know about the arsons before the fact said. “He did it anyway.”
At the time he was indicted, Christie’s last case seemed to be an obvious attempt to get the out bad Angel to tell what he knew. The FBI had him cold. He faced life in prison. His plea deal remains sealed. There was a very long interval between the moment he agreed to the deal and his sentencing which suggests that Christie was debriefing. He wound up doing about a year in prison.
Among Christie’s admirers have been Mongols, Bandidos and Gambinos. Among his most faithful friends is former Bandidos Presidente George Wegers. By his own account, Christie almost accomplished a merger between the Hells Angels and the Bandidos. “I like to get along with everybody” Christie said in another recorded interview with police. It might be telling that Christie talks about the proposed merger as something he almost accomplished.
Not everybody loves George. The English documentarian Nick Mead worked on a film about Christie for more than two years then scrapped it when he became convinced that his subject was a liar, a thief and a rat. A Hells Angel who has known Christie for more than a decade describes him as “a con man.” A non-Hells Angel who blames Christie for a prison term calls him “heartless.”
Now Christie appears to have gone into the business of betraying the hearts poured out to him and sharing the dirty deeds he has heard confessed. He is clearly doing it for money. Christie is also at an age when men sometimes wonder how they will be remembered. This year, George Christie, Jr. is defining the “true” history of the Hells Angels. In George’s version, George sparkles like one of Liberace’s capes.
Even before he went behind bars, Christie was eager to tell the world his side of his marriage and divorce from his old club. His almost 40 years in the Angels is his most valuable asset. He believes he has a right to sell his recollections about his former club because, “I did sacrifice my whole life for it.”
He is also obviously motivated by disappointment and revenge.
The Hells Angels made George Christie a public figure. The patch made the man. Since his expulsion from his club, Christie has given numerous interviews wearing his old club cut. Stephen Manley, the actor who will portray Christie in the forthcoming History Channel “reality” series Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels does not. But the subtitle of the show is “Hells Angels.”
In the next eight months or so, Christie promises to debrief to the world at large. During the last decade various writers ranging from Julian Sher to Kurt Sutter by way of Jay Dobyns and Kerrie Droban have promised readers and viewers the “vicarious experience of being a Hells Angel.” George Christie will give television viewers that vicarious experience starting next week. He promises he will tell you “stories that have never been shared in public.”
That’s not quite true. The first story is about Harry Joseph “Taco” Bowman and the American Outlaws Association. Christie has already told that tale many times. His version seems harmless if uninsightful but some people are offended by it. And, what offends those people is not the story’s harsh truthfulness. They are offended by something else.
According to Christie, by 1986 no Hells Angel “remembered why we were fighting” the Outlaws. “Nobody seemed to know.” Christie recalls that he reached out to “the other club” and showed up uninvited and unannounced at a meeting presided over by then club president Bowman. Protected only by his bullet proof charisma he walked out unscathed “I came here to talk to you,” Christie remembers telling Bowman. “I have been talking to my guys and nobody knows why we are fighting. Do you guys know why we are fighting?” Christie made this statesmanlike peace gesture on his own initiative and gave Bowman his phone number. It did not work. Christie alleges that eventually Bowman tried to kill him. In most versions of Christie’s recollections, Bowman tried to kill him twice. One attempt was foiled, Christie remembers, when Bowman’s pistol fell out of his pocket.
Court documents state that what Christie has said was the second attempt came in 1994 when Bowman allegedly sent a man named Houston Murphy to surveil Barger and Christie. Maybe Christie’s peace mission will work on television. Maybe George and Taco will hug as your television screen fades to black. But the bare plot of the first episode of Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels suggests that the show is offering more than it can deliver: Unless, that is, you are one of the ignoramuses who buys and publishes “true crime” accounts of life inside a motorcycle club.
Yes there will be a book.
Christie’s forthcoming memoir, now titled Inside Out: My Life As A Hells Angel was sold to the Thomas Dunne Books imprint of St. Martin’s Press on June 23. In the book, Christie will describe himself as the “West Coast chairmen, and international spokesman for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.” The book will describe Christie’s “forty plus years with the baddest, toughest, most feared group of guys ever to rev their engines and…what happened when he quit.”
Inside Out will be written by a woman named Eva Knott who “covers crime and courts for the San Diego Reader.” She got the job because about three years ago she wrote an article titled, “Don’t Embarrass the Hells Angels.”
Near the beginning of her story she explains, “No, they don’t use an apostrophe in the name, and if you don’t like the punctuation you can tell them yourself.” You can read more here.
Christie’s book will be edited by Peter Joseph who has previously specialized in celebrity memoirs: Including biographies of Steve Guttenberg and William Shatner. Christie’s agent for his book’s domestic rights is Bob Diforio who sold Kerrie Droban’s first two biker books, Running With The Devil and Prodigal Father Pagan Son. The worldwide rights to Christie’s tell-all will be handled by an agent named Jane Dystel.
All these important publishing characters expect you to expect that Christie will tell-all about the people who have poured their hearts out to him and confessed their dirty deeds. There is not much more to say about the book except that it will probably be published next spring.