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Ride Forever -
Thursday Edition

Lou Kimzey: America's 20th Century Founding Father

And the Original Editor/Publisher of Easyriders Magazine

By J.J. Solari with photos by Kim Peterson and Pete Chiodo

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Lou Kimzey on the bike Bandit built for him.
Lou Kimzey on the bike Bandit built for him.

I asked Bandit, the guy running this operation you're now reading, if he thought you, the guy reading this operation you're now reading, might be interested in what Lou Kimzey accomplished. He was the original editor of Easyriders magazine, and while I am not sure, maybe he was the guy with the original idea for what Easyriders staff were proud to refer to as "the rag."

A shot from Bandit's first bike feature.
A shot from Bandit's first bike feature.

Bandit replied, and I quote, "Sure. You might make him a mystic. Only a few knew, yet he controlled the free world for several decades and didn't care.... Go for it."
This response actually jolted me backwards for an instant. For one thing all the words were spelled correctly. And for another, he had just written my whole article in one sentence. With more insight. But then he worked with the guy every day. In fact, he was hired by the guy. Basically sight unseen, just from an inquiry Bandit made on the phone about a motorcycle he built that the new rag might want to take pictures of. Kimzey said "You want a job here?"

This is kinda like Jesus gathering his army of 12, bam bam bam, without preliminary interviews and resumes.

This same thing happened with me. I broke Absolute Rule Number One when sending material to a magazine for consideration for publication. Which rule is, "Study the magazine first. Learn their audience. Editors cater to their audience. Their audience is more important to them than you are."

My writing journey....isn't that the word in use now? Journey? Everyone being on a fucking journey while sitting on their ass or fucking a goat? They're on their ass- sitting journey? Or their goat-fucking journey?

"So, Conswallatta, tell me about your journey from failed male prostitute to Drag Queen Extrava GAN za!!"

Everyone's on a fucking journey. Even though no scenery is actually going by. Life isn't a journey. Life's a fucking death sentence. It's a journey to Hell.

Fucking "journey."

So, I broke Rule Number One sending Kimzey a fiction tale. I had never even heard of Easyriders, forget about "studying" it. I never went to writing school. I never worked at a publication. My writing teachers were Writers Digest and the Writer, two magazines I don't even know if they still exist or not. In fact, I decided to BECOME a writer from an ad in Writer's Digest showing some daydreaming fool sitting on a large boulder in the middle of nowhere and pensively squeezing his chin with his thumb and index finger, wearing clown pants even David Lee Roth wouldn't have anything to do with, and staring out into the distance like he was trying to understand why he had no life skills. The ad asked in large letters, "Is this you?"

I looked at it for a long time and said "Yeah, that's me."

So, I learned about magazine writing from a magazine about magazine writing. Seemed logical to ME.

I know what you're saying: "Isn't this about Lou Kimzey?" Yeah. But he was an editor. And I am a contributor. That's writer jargon for someone who sends stuff to an editor. For a writer to have ANYTHING good to say about an's like a bureaucrat saying anything good about free enterprise. Mt. Shasta explodes more frequently than that.

Contributors have a legendary dislike of and opprobrium towards - opprobrium means, as far as contributors are concerned, relentless, usually unvocalized, disgust - they hate editors. And I have nothing but (to this day) astonished amazement of Kimzey as an editor. And he was MY editor. Who I was writing for. So, I have a unique perspective regarding his editorship. Which-editorship is what I am writing about.

I have NO idea what kind of a PERSON he was. This is about his - as Bandit very interestingly put it - his apparently "mystical" abilities to successfully defy the publishing industry AND to be immune to published criticism by them. But they all knew he was there. In fact, I am prepared to say that Lou Kimzey is in a club with only two people in it: "The Club of Editors Who Advanced America." The other is John W. Campbell.

I know what you're saying: "You're just saying nice things about his editorship just because he published your stuff."

Let me tell you something: no editor on earth would have published my stuff. It was that unprecedented for a national newsstand magazine. WHILE he was publishing it, I couldn't believe he was publishing it. Little did I know that Easyriders was unprecedented.

The first thing of mine they ever published was something I sent in just to piss them off! I had sent in some stories - at the insistence of a buddy who said I needed to send them some shit ‘cause he was a former Galloping Goose and he read the rag.

I said, "No way this is a so-called biker rag that would even be close to representing what bikers actually are: “which is America's Bad Examples." So, I sent them what I ASSUMED they would like. Shit all came back.

I said to Dennis, "Fuck you, fuck Easyriders, I'll send them something that's actually 'biker' the way EYE see bikers just to AGGRAVATE their fairy asses." I wrote a tale overnight and read it aloud to Dennis on the phone the next day.

When he stopped laughing he said "Send it. They'll fuckin' love it." I said "You're even stupider than I thought." He said "Fuck you: send it."
I sent it and four months later I get an envelope with two issues of May '75 #29, a check, and a hand-written note that said "We cannot fucking believe this. You need to come in here." I called Ousley and said what just happened. He said "I told you, asshole. Pay attention when I talk."
I said, “ok.”

I was living in utter squalor at the time near MacArthur Park, of the song fame. I was at the bottom rung of my existence and I wrote something completely and totally WRONG for publication in a "normal" universe....but without being technically criminal or illegal, just Very Black Humor, which is a variety of comedy and has nothing to do with race and makes an effort to make death, mishap, calamities, injury, everything bad....
You have to make the reader actually laugh at all that bleakness, preferably aloud but inside their head is good enough, and which I had a natural flair for and actually WORKED at, but I knew there was no actual audience for it in the global professional publishing world. It was SO wrong, and so relentlessly so. I wrote it just to piss off whatever the fuck "Easyriders" even was. Just because fuck them that's why.

TURNS OUT.....Easyriders was every bit as fucked up as I was.

Here's the Unbelievable-Editor part: not only did he say to his underlings "Yeah, ok, this is fine," not a word was altered. I said to myself, reading the story in the issue on the floor of my rats nest...."These people are crazy. You can't put out a magazine, expect to be successful......and publish this story to the English-speaking world." TURNS OUT..... the English speaking world in ENGLAND, where English kinda has its headquarters, and thanks to my first submission which I wrote just to offend everyone who SPEAKS English....apparently offended the QUEEN.

Because Easyriders was banned from its shores for 3 months. Because of Lou Kimzey's decision-making. I'm guessing he PROBABLY had to publish it over the florid-faced outraged objections of his own boss, the publisher. He apparently - maybe - put his job on the line. TURNS OUT.... my little yarn wasn't the only objectionable thing in there. Keep in mind I never even heard of this magazine. So I'm actually going through my first-ever issue and every page I'm going "....well this ain't right.....this ain't right.....this ain't right....... you can't print this....."

The fucking thing was geared exclusively to such ilk as the Hells Angels....Satans Slaves.....Devils Disciples.....Galloping Gooses....Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington.....Gypsy Jokers.....Boozefighters..... and of course Bandit.

You don't create magazines for these people! That's wrong!! It gets worse: women were nonchalantly assumed, via the contents, to be created for men first, and for themselves second; having been in prison or currently in prison was just somewhere you eventually go in America, not anything actually unusual or to be ashamed of.

NOT having a firearm was a warning sign that something was fundamentally wrong with the person; being in full and total control of your wits was, if anything, AIDED by the ingesting of nonnutritive chemicals; not ever bathing was hardly anything to criticize; AND....being a patriotic American was something you were just born with if you were normal and thus it was not open for debate or discussion. In other words, fuck your inclusivity, you stay away from us we'll stay away from you.

There was advice to the lovelorn, or basically wiseacres, by way of a vastly overweight happy go lucky libertine broad named Miraculous Mutha with occasional hygiene issues; cartoon representations of bikers who looked NOTHING like the ones I would describe in my yarns but were instead massively muscled trim handsome human versions of Jack Russell terriers or alert border collies who OFTEN could be found passed out in junk yards or filthy living quarters or calmly allowing themselves to be brutally yelled at by a girlfriend who would be at one or the other end of human female attractiveness.

Either variety was totally acceptable to these handsome rogues on Harley chopper, which they were exclusively on. Topless chicks were the norm. Living on choppers was the norm. Violating the ingested-chemical edicts was not only the was almost not worth even mentioning. It was, like, "Um...isn't that what you DO?"

There was a section that printed letters from guys in jail. Totally unheard of in proper journalistic endeavors. The human skull was the fucking logo. There were skulls everywhere. You would think it was a black magic mag. But oh contraire, it was parties, drinking, riding motorcycles in the wilderness, jokes, aggressive cluelessness, shaking-off ineptitude and moving on to the next ineptitude....And the magazine was its own worst critic, "Hey, yeah, we fucked up, what do you want from us, you seen our 'office'? You seen our STAFF?"

Izzy, the great
Izzy, the great

I actually DID see the office. And the staff. I eventually showed up as requested and it was at the other end of a very short strip mall on literally a dirt road in Agoura Hills with a 7-11 at one end and Easyriders at the other. A woman named Izzy Petty let me in. Very polite, Very businesslike. Very handsome. Handsome in a woman is a good thing. Just for the record. She totally didn't notice that I looked like what Tiny Tim had used as a guide to proper hair management. I had a white dress shirt on that looked like I pulled it off a dead hobo, some pants - as I recall - and I think I showed up on a Honda 175 four- stroke.

Izzy took me down a hall, around an old, pristine antique Harley that was in the fucking hallway, I went into a room and the only other two Easyriders "employees" were in the room, Kimzey behind a desk that had a fucking dirty Harley engine on it. Keith “Bandit” Ball was sitting in a chair near the desk, who I pretended wasn't there because he looked like a 7 foot long fucking enforcer in the Biker Hockey League. There were David Mann original oils ON THE FLOOR leaning against the wall, which, if anyone would have been interested in buying them at the time might have fetched a hundred dollars apiece and which would now easily sell for 20-30 grand apiece.

Kim Peterson, the Editor of In The Wind forever. Denise Pearson the original art Director.
Kim Peterson, the Editor of In The Wind forever. Denise Pearson the original art Director.

The place was a fucking mess, just like where I was living, and these three people were the fucking staff. Lou gestured me to sit, I did and he said, "You got us kicked out of England, you know."
My heart lit up! In MY head this was SUCCESS. TURNS OUT....Kimzey had the same attitude! Which was crazy! I mean crazy as in not at all sensible. Not for a fucking editor, the fucking whiniest, self-pitying entities on earth outside of writers.
So, he tells me “No Class Chick” got them kicked out of England and after he saw my face light up he said, "It was probably Duffy's illustration."

I THINK he was probably trying to communicate that I wasn't in any trouble and this meeting wasn't going to end with the guy at the side of the desk taking me into the desert and coming back alone. But the way I saw it, it was kind of downplaying my accomplishment. I think Kimzey noticed that and I'm thinkin' said to himself, "This weirdo is as fucked up as we are."

He then said "You know how many letters we got about your story? 25."

I said after a minute, "25 letters to a national, apparently global, magazine ain't really a lot."
He said, leaning abruptly forward, "IT IS FOR US!!!"

I stared at him for a long time, and he was still frozen in his new position, looking right at me. And I thought to myself "....This fucker is alright. He's telling me that whatever the fuck it is I'm doing to keep on doing it."

That was the meeting! I spent a total of about ten minutes in the Great Easyriders Building, a building which bums would have avoided, met the staff of three and went back to LA and wondered, "How the fuck do I top what I just did." Which I did, in order to get REJECTED. For the first time in my writing "career" I was AIMING for a reject slip. And what do I get? Encouragement. Fuckin' Haight-Ashbury- level brain-bending.

Turns out I was involved with some strange new force in publishing that was targeting an audience that was reviled by everyone except B-Movie- makers who were making the human version of monster movies but with biker renegades with titles like "Demonic Biker Angels Eating Your Dog's Face On Wheels!!" and "Crazed Biker Filth Bathing Your Mom!" and "Satan's Breed On Wheels of Lust For Your Daughter On Prom Night!" and "Biker Inbreds vs Catholic Girls In High School Uniforms!!"
There were scripted biker movies in existence, which enterprise was basically scripted-wrestling only outside the arena and the fighting even more choreographed. But there was no effort on the face of the earth to take lowlife biker ilk seriously and cater to their likes and get on board with their dislikes.

Then Lou Kimzey showed up. Apparently his editorial policy was, "We will target only one audience: people who put riding a Harley first...and everything else second." There was only one kind of person like this at the time: male American lunatics. PROBABLY in California. Because there's plenty of places to ride and plenty of places to hide. Plus, you're not out of commission for 6 months of the year due to seasons that don't know that climate 'scientists' have declared Spring Winter and Autumn to be extinct. I'm guessing this was his thinking.

Whatever his editorial policy was it didn't include articles of interest to guys in suits. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that the target audience rode extended and stripped Harleys as priority-1 and getting drunk, stoned, ripped and laid as priority.
Everything After would not be able to tell the target audience from what crawls out of a sidewalk tent these days on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. Until you actually talked to them. Which "normal" folks refused to do.

However, unlike sidewalk vagrants, lifer "biker trash," as they are sometimes referred to, can be extremely coherent and, unlike vagrants, possessed of very quick reaction responses. They are also capable of figuring out not only what kind of person is talking to them, but will make responses that actually have some connection to the initial topic that was put forth.

Harley biker trash and sidewalk vagrants, in fact, before Kimzey showed up, had only one thing in common: no one had ever published a magazine directed at them. To this day no one has published a magazine aimed at sidewalk vagrants. In fact, that sounds like a funny idea. I ought to do it myself. But first I gotta take a dump, hold on.

So, my meeting with Kimzey and Bandit is over in about ten minutes, Lou gives me the first 24 issues of Easyriders to take home and I guess "study." Writers are supposed to "study" the outfits they write for, so they know what the editor is going to at least CONSIDER. That's a rule. You can be Voltaire, you write an article for Car&Driver about the history of the Phoenicians...they're pro'bly not gonna read it. No matter how "well" it's written.
So, I'm going through these magazines, lookin' at the pictures of Deeply Dedicated actual biker trash and I'm going ".....these are the people that were, like, the Invisible Scary People that people only heard about but never wanted to see that roared through the San Fernando Valley in the ‘50s when it was empty except for the Tuxford Pit, traveling carnivals, and the feral populations of Sunland and Tujunga."

When I was a pre-teen in the ‘50s, the "motorcycle gangs" - who parents everywhere declared to be some new kind of mental-patient society, since, as all us kids ever heard from mom and dad was that, "riding a motorcycle is the craziest thing you can do."

This naturally translated to us kids as "then it must be fun.".....the "motorcycle gangs" were almost phantom enigmas that everyone talked about but usually only heard very late at night.
The Ozzie and Harriet type parents at the time were terrified of them. Even though they steered clear of everyone. Kids kinda regarded them as interesting.

Parents however came unglued at the very mention of them. What they saw in photos was enough: beards and Ozzie & Harriet World that meant crazed escapee from an asylum....tattoos - that meant you stabbed strangers to death 24 hours a day every day....earrings?? on men?.....that meant something from some whole new dimension of horror.....swastikas and german helmets?.....actually no one had a problem with those. Germany and the Nazis had been pulverized and Ozzie & Harrietland saw it all as trophies of war, and CERTAINLY not a looming Nazi threat.

They had enough sense to know, unlike the libs of today, that without Hitler there's no actual Nazi threat. What passes for Nazis in America today would not be able to defeat an army of ants. But the Communists will never get over the Nazis. Which was actually one reason bikers wore the paraphernalia. Just to piss off Communists. You do not have to be a Nazi to have a problem with Communists. But you'll never convince a "progressive" of that.

But in a way TURNS OUT....they were kinda right, our parents. These traveling-in-packs high-decibel inebriates with startling motorcycle skills were not on the fast track to anything anyone would consider respectability. And this particular VARIETY of crazy people were riding motorcycles that they went out of their way to invent new ways to make them even more dangerous by removing functional gear and replacing it with lunacy apparatus. One example being something they called a "suicide shift."

And fairings and windscreens? No. Goggles. If anything. Helmets? You fucking serious? Wear a goddamn helmet? "I'm on a fucking Harley going 80 miles an hour most of the time, fucker. You think safety is a fucking issue with me? YOU better have put on a helmet because I'm about to try and knock some clueness into you."

These were mega-crazy people, in other words, bikers. You don't publish a magazine targeting the insane. These were people who wanted everyone to understand that their Life Priorities were bikes; chicks; booze; and kicks, in
that order: "kicks" being defined as anything they, not necessarily you, thought was fun, rather than, ya know, annoying or infuriating, etc. Fun things, like, for instance, ya know, urinating on your sole items clothing and then immediately wearing your sole items of clothing, preferably unlaundered, for the rest of your life. Ya know: fun stuff.

You do not publish magazines for people like this.

So, I'm going through these magazines and there's articles about being drunk. Articles about being stoned. Articles about naked girlfriends. Articles about cops being a pain in the ass. Not "the enemy." Just dumbass fucks, with of course a smattering of to-the-bone sociopathic monstrosities in uniform. But not people to go to war with.

Mil Blair (left) one of the original partners. A local rider, Bandit, a model from France, Rip and Joe Teresi another one of the original partners along with Lou.
Mil Blair (left) one of the original partners. A local rider, Bandit, a model from France, Rip and Joe Teresi another one of the original partners along with Lou.

People to ignore and avoid. Never challenging them. For one thing they have access to infinite backup. For another's almost not sporting duking it out with a cop: you've lived most of your life wrangling a fucking Harley around and could probably beat up a bull rider, not that anyone would want to 'cause they're really nice guys....and you're tangling with some bloated out of shape guy who sits in a car most of his life driving around to nowhere for no reason and taking donut breaks 50 times a day.

I mean: cops are pathetic. They're an army at war with Americans. Talk about confused. Kamala Harris is more focused. Ok, no, you're right. She's not.

There were endless cartoons of impossibly-fit bikers dead drunk in fly-swarmed squalor, impossibly-fit bikers drooling bulge-eyed at walrus-sized women acting coquettish and holding a liquor bottle and a steaming order of fries as enticements to romance, impossibly-fit bikers doing something idiotic in front of cops that still made the cops look like the stupid ones, impossibly-fit bikers laying in living room debris ordering to be fetched a can of beer from a cartoon chick a thousand times better looking than that particular biker deserves yet still eagerly granting his every command....

And that's another thing: Easyriders made no effort to suggest that the women who hung around these denizens of dirt and asphalt did not consider themselves property. And that the women had no problem with being considered such.
Now you might say "That's because they live in fear." You go up to one of these broads face to face and tell her that, that she lives in fear of the men. You will find yourself on the ground real quick. Probably with a broken jaw. You have to tread around these broads a whopping lot lighter than you have to with the men.

You had best be nice to them: 99% of the time they don't need their boyfriends to back them up. And there's two ways to learn that: the easy way, reading this. Or the hard way, unconscious and humiliated by a broad.

Political incorrectness reached a whole new level with this target audience. They were America Firsters. Everyone else? not fuck with us.

This was non-negotiable and in force 24 hours a day, all year long, every year. Period. Even the Constitution wasn't this patriotic. No other magazine would have dared to have as policy "America right or wrong" as a given. This was not even a stated policy. It was assumed it was understood automatically in the natural order of things.

To continue, illegal ownership of things that were illegal by decree - rather than because you stole them - was not considered anything to even remark-on much less chastise.

But by far the most uniquely insistent aspect of the "magazine policy" was "not to make converts" and not even to make new readers......but to be left alone.

The magazine didn't care if you liked bikers, didn't like bikers, wanted to be a biker, wanted to criticize bikers (bikers are immune to criticism) all that mattered to the publication and its target audience was that they be left alone because they sure weren't gonna fuck with YOU.

What could be fairer? If there had been only a hundred bikers in America Easyriders wouldn't have cared. There at least would have been a hundred bikers in America with a magazine they could rely on for addressing their likes and dislikes. Turns out there were millions of bikers in America.

My little collection of magazines on my dirty 75 dollars a month floor revealed more and more eye-popping realities of the rag. 1: Prisons are places where you make an extra effort to stay in touch with the imprisoned, rather than abandon them as pariahs against society. 2: Fuck society. 3: Tattoos are not despicable; they are an advanced art form. 4: Choppers are an advanced art form. 5: Graffiti is an advanced art form. 6: Prisoner art is a MAJOR advanced art form because if all art comes from pain, prisoners are artists 24 hours a day. 7: Women actually are the best thing there is; we're just not saying that to THEM. That would be giving them an inch. 8: We know something you critics of our feral rag don't: there are actually millions of us. You think there's just 2 or 3 hundred down in the Bayou picking their noses trying to figure out what alligators are.

Lou Kimzey had a secret weapon other editors didn't have: he knew he was hitting not just a silent majority, he was hitting an in-hiding majority. They were in-hiding not because of fear. They were in-hiding because they didn't want to get contaminated by "society."

These were individuals. Rugged ones. The last of the "rugged individuals" that used to be the highly valued goal for all male American youth to reach: being an individual, and having some sand. That's what an American male was: an individual with some sand. What the goals were for American women....let one of them step up and announce them. I'm not a woman. No offense. Women ain't my department. When they have their clothes off then I sort of know why the hell they're here. But, hey, that's just me.

California gave birth to two major social revolutions: the movie industry. And the Hells Angels. At some point the movie industry and the Hells Angels found each other, which was PROBABLY inevitable. And at some point, like
Darwin staring at lizards and a light going on, a light went on in Lou Kimzey's head and he thought, "There is no magazine targeting this biker ilk as customers."

That realization, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit and ceaseless motivation, created Easyriders and changed America. It united the rugged individuals. The Last Actual Americans looked around and said, "I ain't the only one that's like this: apparently there's a whole magazine publicizing my shitty appearance and my shiny, delightful-to-look-at, spirit!"

Easyriders wasn't created for Hells Angels to read. It was created to make the announcement that what these guys want out of life, and what the other Harley fraternities like them want out of what ALL actual Americans want out of life: to be left alone to have fun....and ride like hell a death machine across the empty desert in the middle of a summer's moonlit midnight at 80 miles an hour.

Well, certainly all THESE actual Americans, these clubbed-up Biker Americans wanted to do that. Also the Hells Angels spirit of enthusiastic positivity was 100% the opposite of what remained of the American Spirit by the 1950s after Americans having died in two world wars, one of them by decree, and achieving no new terrain, just dying defending foreigners on foreign soil just for the sake of Virtue Signaling - which is now almost mandatory for everyone 24 hours a day, then Korea, another waste of time and lives to save other citizenries, then Vietnam, another waste of time on other terrain to save other citizenries and deplete our own, then 20 years wasting time in Afghanistan such that guys in Toyotas, wearing robes and sandals could conquer the country in two days, I mean at some point it has to begin to look like, even to accountants in the offices of Meek Meek and Meek that the biker life is the last hope for sanity and relaxation under what passes for the Land of the Free these days.

Let me tell you something about the "American" government as long as I brought it up: if the "American" government detests you - like it does bikers - must be eluding their tribute demands. Government is a protection racket parading around as a benign selfless guardian of the lesser beings who depend upon it for love, safety and guidance and which lesser beings treat its office-holders and appointed high chancellors as though they were saints standing around the throne of God and giving God advice.

While there were many biker clubs forming after WW2 it was and still is the Hells Angels who were manifesting whatever it was that the cowboys and the "wild west" of America had done to apparently win the hearts and minds of the citizenry not just in America but all over the world.

The American West was where you went to ....and you might want to sit down for this.... the American West was where you went to to escape the Constitution, now grown from a piece of paper you had nothing to do with in the forming of or the signing of, grown now to a Mystical Level of Worship Rivaling The New Testament. Sergei Leone wasn't making movies in Italy with Clint Eastwood portraying Presidents and Speakers of the House. No, he was making movies in Italy with Clint Eastwood portraying American Gunslingers of the American Frontier. The American Frontier of the 1840s.

But not the American Frontier of the 1950s. Which American Frontier by the 1950s consisted of the Hells Angels, the Satans Slaves, the Galloping Gooses et cetera. Through what I am about to declare as brilliant marketing, advertising, public relations and bizarre self- promotion, the Hells Angels, via what they apparently recognized via some kind of genius wizardry as the eventual guru of lowbrow culture via something called "gonzo journalism," they took a gander at Hunter Thompson, and someone in the Hells Angels, or maybe all of them, with astounding shrewdness, recognized the unknown Thompson as a writer competent-enough with the language and stylistically suited to "tell their story." Which he did.

What the Hells Angels shrewdly wanted to achieve via Hunter Thompson - who they eventually beat up by the way - Lou Kimzey recognized in the whole "outlaw biker" aggregate, an aggregate more or less subconsciously devoted to achieving a cultural-icon status, for better or for worse, as that of the Hells Angels.

The name "Hells Angels" appeared a LOT in the early issues of Easyriders, as I learned, slowly turning the pages one by one of my sudden stash of the first 24 issues and it was in there with their permission. The Hells Angels sponsored their own stuff and shindigs in the rag. It was like two geniuses finding each other: the Hells Angels....and Lou Kimzey.

Other ads consisted of people no one heard of making skull jewelry, places to buy new engine parts for Harleys, places to have new redesigned creations for "normal" Harley parts in order to create new customized Harleys, detailed particulars of a monthly featured road art you could ride and wreck so that others could build their own just like it, calendars for outdoor parties in cow fields where thousands of Harley riders and their girlfriends would show up at, with upper attire on the women being generally absent.

I mean, who knew this shit actually even existed and went on? Turns out Lou Kimzey did. Easyriders eventually started creating their own rodeo events for Harley riders and their own bike shows where sculptures in metal and wiring you didn't know whether to ride or pray to filled vast hangars filled with thousands of strolling bikers. Easyriders Magazine was like an escapist video game for a hidden audience that you didn't have to plug in. You just turned its pages.

No journalistic entities fucked with Easyriders even though in these entities' astoundingly cunning and yet amazingly stupid heads they could smell that something was not right.

Every magazine in the USA was already completely on board with caring and sharing and love and the, "you are not important but your neighbor is" perversion of the Golden Rule. They were all on board that America was the problem in the world, that unconditional love for everything in existence was very, very, very important.

Sure, love is important. But putting your fist into a face once in a while is also very very very important. The bikers in the Easyriders pages were revealing themselves in their huge numbers and without taking a shower first and putting on some new clothes to make a good impression.

What was already in existence in the shrubs and forests and dirt piles was now being broadcast to the planet. Over and over and over, issue after issue, with no hint of apology or embarrassment or even concern.

There was an entire magazine devoted SOLELY to people who rode Harleys....and just like honeybadger.......what you thought about it....they just didn't give a shit.

No articles from the Butthurt Press Cabal consisting of people who don't know shit about shit emerged to chastise this new magazine that was displaying what all other publications agreed was, "all that is wrong with America - disobedient individuals," while Easyriders was nonchalantly declaring bikers as the only thing RIGHT with America. None of this made any sense to the journalism world. Very little does. And PLUS..... the rag appeared to be run by bikers. That was just not possible: bikers can barely read, much less write. Much less.... MEET DEADLINES???

Easyriders could not be figured out. Better to just ignore them until it vanished from the newsstands.

But it didn't vanish from the newsstands. Don't go looking for it NOW! Lou Kimzey is DEAD! Ok? Just like Steve Jobs is dead. Just like Tesla is dead. Ok, you're getting the picture.

It didn't vanish from the newsstands. It grew. Everyone wanted to be a biker. Everyone wanted to have a Harley. Everyone wanted to be in a Harley fraternity. Even cops. Talk about being too successful.

I am going to stop here and leave Sons of Anarchy waaaaaaay over there and I am not going toward that direction any longer. I'm gonna just back up a little and get back onto some sort of normally-real ground that is not an Accidental Satire disguised as Biker Life.

Today Sturgis - which the normal human public never heard of before Easyriders made it a point to relentlessly insist that it was Priority One for everyone on earth to do in their to-do list before death - is now Annual National News for being irresponsibly selfish and uncaring and recklessly cruel to others by its visitors not staying home and not wearing masks and not getting whatever the vaccine is, and not doing all the ten other million rules that change from day to day and by refusing to be "charitable" by not- attending this Existential Threat to Humanity via the flu that is not a flu but is also a super flu but is also a galactic onslaught by the Arbitrarians that has no cure and no solution and no means of escape from no matter how many times inoculated, the only known road-to-safety being total obedience to orders for eternity that have no effect on viruses but only on humans.

Or.... basically declaring humans to be a disease. Basically. And since humans are a disease, they have to be isolated from all other humans. Even though all the other humans are already a disease every human already has. Yeah: it's about that level of comprehensibility.

The Sturgis attendees say in response to this, "Fuck you." And then the criticism stops. Until next time. Cause Harley bikers are like honey badger. They don't give a shit. In fact, there should be a biker club named Honey Badgers. No one would fuck with them.

Xmas photo of the staff in 1980.
Xmas photo of the staff in 1980.

In closing it would not be a crazy statement to say that Lou Kimzey was in fact the starting point of a long series of events, with him as the ignition switch, that started an engine that had as its most recent achievement the transporting of Donald Trump into the Oval Office.

And if you think that was a bad thing.........I have a picture of a honey badger right here. His name is Scruffy. Tell him.

--J.J. Solari
Click for more J.J. stories. Scary shit!
Click for more J.J. stories. Scary shit!

Join the Cantina, Quick! Touch her.
Join the Cantina, Quick! Touch her.

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Reader Comments

J.J. always tells it like it is. I'm proud to say that I've been a small part of this crazy Easyriders thing for over 30 years thanks to Bandit. In fact, we are bringing the righteous old Easyriders back... in print. Check it out at

Dave Nichols
Sunday, January 14, 2024
Editor Response Congrats Dave. We will be glad to share this in the news. Keep the faith.
This is a great article. It brings back a lot of memories.

Mil Blair

Sunday, December 18, 2022
Editor Response Thanks Mil! Merry Xmas...
Great fuckin' read. It reminds me of the old daze, and to be honest, the old EZ which I miss. It use to be perfection when Lou was alive, but things kinda went south after he passed, but still hung on and kept readin' the rag, even though the bikes really sucked and the mag seemed to be directed to the Upwardly Mobile, instead of us dirtbags. But I kept on with Bandit's site here, and I dig it a lot, where else would I get to read this magnificent article?

M. Zaputil
Bumfuck (Apple Valley), CA
Friday, September 23, 2022
Editor Response Man oh man, I appreciate this. There are a lot of untold stories floating around. I respected Lou and worked with him for a decade. I knew Joe Teresi and Mil Blair mostly from Jammer. Lou and I stayed up late nights to finish Jammer catalogs.

I left in '81, and Joe asked me to come back in '87. Times had changed and he was trying to navigate the mags. There are lots of stories about change and how we dealt with them. Maybe someday I'll get around to some of them. Thanks again.

Hell, we are facing change right now and I'm fighting back. This time us grubby bikers are going to win.
Great memories, I miss the old days!

William Britt Hilyer
Pickens Sc, SC
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Editor Response I do to, but I'm also enjoying the shit out of my new digs in the Black Hills. It's all good with choppers, whiskey and women.
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