George Christie’s memoir, now titled Exile on Front Street: My Life as a Hells Angel…and Beyond, will be published September 20. You can preorder a copy right now if you want. The book is available for presale in Britain, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy and France.
The book was previously titled Inside Out: My Life As A Hells Angel. It is an interesting title change. The term to “put on front street’ is usually understood as the act of exposing someone’s personal business by discussing it in public.
Christie’s life in the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club ended sadly. He became an adversary of club founder Ralph “Sonny” Barger. He was banished after proof surfaced that he had incriminated club brothers to police. A mountain of circumstantial evidence indicates that he debriefed with federal authorities after pleading guilty to conspiracy in 2013. The British director Nick Mead pulled a documentary about Christie because he thought his subject was lying to him. In the last couple of years Christie has threatened to sue Mead, and a guy who bought a motorcycle from his late son and a former club member who raged against him in public. In turn, he has been threatened with lawsuits by Barger and Jacqueline Mann, the widow of the late artist David Mann.
Christie may have led an interesting life but the end of all his adventures was to be broke. So he has made a career of dramatizing his recollections for money. He sold tropes, clichés and gossip to the History Channel for a “reality-based” (as surrealism and cubism can be said to be based on realism) series called Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels. The show was not a hit. But something more than half a million people saw at least part of it and viewership for some episodes might have been as high as a million. Whether it made money for its producers or not, the show enhanced Christie’s brand.
So somewhere someone is jumping up and down like a little boy who has to pee in anticipation of this book.
Christies words will be ghost written by San Diego “true crime” writer Eva Knott. She is a staff writer for the San Diego Reader who previously ghost authored Ripley’s Big Weird and Dangerous Fish.
Knott’s words will be lovingly polished by Executive Editor Peter Joseph of Thomas Dunne Books. At the moment Joseph is particularly proud of his work publishing, “the internationally bestselling The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence; the Strunk & White parody The Elements of F*cking Style by Chris Baker and Jacob Hansen; the narrative history Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam’s Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned by Alvin Townley; and Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies by Mikey Walsh.”
One of Christie’s agents, Jane Dystel of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, enthuses: “George Christie wasn’t just a Hells Angel, he was the longest serving Hells Angel chapter president. It meant leading a group of wild, larger-than-life characters who were anything but natural followers, and being the spokesman for a club that doesn’t always make for great press. He was also the rare peacemaker among street soldiers more comfortable with fighting than standing pat. For decades, he was the guy pushing a rock uphill with a lot of people trying to roll it back down again. That rock wore him out, so he left the Club in 2011. But it’s not a legacy you just shake off like an old leather jacket. You don’t retire quietly from the Hells Angels. Being an Angel is a little like having a tattoo, if that tattoo seeped right down through the skin and muscle, into the blood and bone and cells that make a man who he is. On the outside, let loose of the patch, George Christie is still trying to make peace. Only now it’s a truce with himself, a reconciliation of what was, and what comes next. Finding that peace is a story, a story filled with drama, and battles and all you might imagine (and more) an outlaw biker could go through. It’s a story of family and love, enemies and grudges, rife with struggles, losses and triumphs. It’s the story of the law and the outlaw.”
The actual book may differ from and be something a little less than the book Christie’s agent pitched.