Hell’s Angels and the Beat Counterculture







Hell's Angels Ride the Streets



In 1967, I attended the first Human Be-in with my childhood friend, Nancy Van Brasch, who later became a Merry Prankster and good friend of the Kesey family. The Hell’s Angels guarded the sound equipment offstage.

The Beat Poet, Michael McClure, was a good friend of the famous Hell’s Angel, Freewheelin Frank, and did a biography about him.

Putin was the head of the KGB, Russia’s Top Cop. Putin busted and jailed a lot of folks who did not want to go along with the program. His Anti-Outlaw biker gang, the Night Wolves, are busting heads in the Crimea, they sent there to make non-conformists tow the line. These fake outlaws are cops, out to bust the counter-culture wherever they find it.

I would say every Angel in the Bay Area took LSD more than once. Putin is too chicken-shit to drop, as are his wolves.

What I recall about that day was the sun. For January it was warm and bright. Our collective good vibes was credited. We took a huge risk, tried something different than the Terrifying Cold War, that the Christniks have brought back, the Night Cops leading the way. Fuck the cops! The New Cold War is going to cost humanity trillions!

Michael McClure was a good friend of Jim Morrison. They would get fucked up on drugs and booze together. Putin and his Night Wolves are afraid to get fucked-up, but have no problems fucking-up millions of peoples lives with guns and tanks.

Ken Kesey was on a mission from the cosmos to turn the Hell’s Angels on to LSD.

“Turn on. Tune in. Drop out!”

Jon Presco



San Francisco 1966
Michael McClure introduced me to Freewheelin. They were doing a book together for Grove Press and needed a cover shot. Frank was the secretary of the San Francisco branch of the Hell’s Angels. He would dictate the book to McClure who would type the words. I liked Frank very much; he was always good to me. He gave me a Hell’s Angels protection card, just in case. He would invite me to parties, drive-in movies, etc., but I was too afraid to go.

San Francisco 1966
Freewheelin Frank and Michael McClure were writing a book together about Frank’s life as a Hell’s Angel. It is an ‘as told to’ book because although Frank was the secretary of the local chapter of the Angels, he was illiterate (but he had a steel-trap memory). I saw the unfinished manuscript on McClure’s bed and thought it was a good establishing photograph. Years later, I asked Michael why he did not use a computer in his work. He told me there would not be a hand written manuscript (typed with corrections/changes and drawings) for the archives and a diskette had no real value

The Rose of the World. The Metaphilosophy of History.) is the title of the main book by Russian mystic Daniil Andreev. It is also the name of the predicted new universal religion, to emerge and unite all people of the world before the advent of the Antichrist, described by Andreev in his book. This new interreligion, as he calls it, should unite the existing religions “like a flower unites its petals”,

Oakland, 1966
Gypsy was a Hell’s Angel from Colorado, where he said he knew Dylan. Neal Cassady is lighting Gypsy’s cigarette from his, in this photograph. Both of them were talking in ‘con talk’ most of the time. Neal asks Gypsy “Hey, have you got any animals, man?” Gypsy replies that he doesn’t have any animals. Later, I asked Gypsy what Cassady asked him for and he said that Neal wanted some Camel cigarettes.




The ‘Human Be-In’ was later recalled by Allen Cohen (who assisted the artist Bowen in the organizational work,) as a necessary meld that brought together philosophically opposed factions of the current San Francisco-based counterculture: on one side, the Berkeley radicals, who were tending toward increased militancy in response to the U.S. government’s Vietnam war policies, and, on the other side, the rather non-political Haight-Ashbury hippies, who urged peaceful protest. Their means were drastically different, but they held many of the same goals.


The Human Be-In focused the key ideas of the 1960s counterculture: personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, communal living, ecological awareness, higher consciousness (with the aid of psychedelic drugs), acceptance of illicit drug use, and radical liberal political consciousness.[2] The hippie movement developed out of disaffected student communities around San Francisco State, Stanford and Berkeley and in San Francisco’s beat generation poets and jazz hipsters, who also combined a search for intuitive spontaneity with a rejection of “middle-class morality”. Allen Ginsberg personified the transition between the beat and hippie generations.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Hell’s Angels and the Beat Counterculture

  1. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    The Hells Angels contributed to Boho Chic. Women can wear boots, chains, dead animals, and look like barbarians.

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