Ralph Hubert "Sonny" Barger (born October 8, 1938 in Modesto, California) is a founding member (1957) of the Oakland, California, U.S. chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Sonny Barger is also the author of four books: Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club, Freedom: Credos from the Road, Dead in 5 Heartbeats, and 6 Chambers, 1 Bullet. He was editor for the book Ridin' High, Livin' Free. Barger was identified but didn't speak in Hells Angels on Wheels and was one of several members of the Angels who had speaking parts playing themselves in Hell's Angels '69. He wrote a guide for motorcycle riders published in 2010.
Barger was suspended from school for slapping a teacher. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at 16 after forging his birth certificate.
He was kicked out with an honorable discharge in 1956 when his deception was discovered and was drawn to the oil-stained world of the so-called "one-percenters" -- a term coined by the American Motorcycle Association to describe the tiny minority of bikers they deemed troublemakers.
"I wanted to live my life the way I wanted to live it," he says, explaining the credo of loyalty and rugged individualism he once expressed as "don't be a rat, and sometimes you literally have to fight to be free."
Trading his first motorcycle, an Indian, for a Harley Davidson -- widely known as "hogs" for the firm's one-time pig mascot -- he swiftly became leader of the Hells Angels Oakland charter and oversaw the formation of independent charters, or branches, across the United States and then worldwide.
Barger was one of the Hells Angels present at The Rolling Stones' Altamont Free Concert in 1969. He is also a prominent figure in Hunter S. Thompson's bestselling book, Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. Barger and the Hells Angels are also depicted in Tom Wolfe's best seller The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test during Ken Kesey's La Honda encampment.
In 1983, Barger was diagnosed with throat cancer, caused by years of heavy smoking. As a result, his vocal cords were removed, and after a laryngectomy he has learned to vocalize using the muscles in his throat.
In 1988, Barger was sentenced for conspiring to blow up the clubhouse of a rival motorcycle club, The Outlaws in Louisville, Kentucky, and spent four years in federal prison in Arizona.
As of 2007, Barger remains an active member of the Hells Angels in the Cave Creek Chapter (Phoenix, Arizona), having moved there from Oakland in 1998. He has owned 10 to 12 motorcycles throughout his life. In recent years Barger has worked to promote motorcycle safety, co-authoring a book on the subject with Darwin Holmstrom, the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles (Alpha: 1998). The book Let's Ride: Sonny Barger's Guide to Motorcycling was released by HarperCollins on June 8, 2010.
Biography From Wikipedia