Rusty Coones, last seen on Discovery's "The Devil's Ride," is a rock 'n' rolling trail blazer as a member of the band Attika 7.
See, rock 'n' roll and motorcycles have always been a good match, dating back to the days when Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran were riding the streets when they weren't rocking the stage.
But while rockers ride, a hardcore biker hasn't successfully become a rock star. The hulking Coones, a Hells Angels member, just might change that. He's a guitarist for the new hard rock band Attika 7, which features ex-Biohazard and sometime porn star Evan Seinfeld on vocals.
Blood of My Enemies
The band's debut, "Blood of My Enemies," is due July 31 from Rocket Science Ventures. Fans got a preview of the music during the June 5 episode the Discovery Channel's "The Devil's Ride," on which Coones appears. The music is raw -- both sonically and emotionally -- rock, yet melodic and very appealing.
Coones, also known for his bike building at Illusion Motorsports of Orange County, Calif., checked in to talk about music, bikes, the motorcycle movement and what it means to him.
Q&A with Rusty Coones
AllAboutBikes: It's almost like bike builders have become the new rock 'n' roll stars -- you're one of the first to actually perform music. Tell me how your music affects the art of building bikes -- are the two related or are they totally different.
Coones: You have to be an artist to write lyrics and songs and to build beautiful machinery, whether it be motorcycles or cars, or whether you're a painter -- you're an artist also. It's just a different type of artist. If you're artistically talented and if you have it in you and you're inspired by music, you can do both. You have to be inspired, man.
AllAboutBikes: It strikes me that there's a lot of mainstream attention on builders these days. How does that affect your art in creating motorcycles. Do people come in with unrealistic expectations?
Coones: There's different ways to build a bike. You can build a bike that looks really good on a kickstand. It's like an awesome piece of art but when you go to ride that bike its the worst riding motorcycle you've ever ridden -- it's unsafe, it's uncomfortable and it's just not a practical bike. Or you can build a bike that looks really beautiful and it's also really practical, and it's really dependable.
We went full circle at the shop. We do bikes that look really great on the kickstand and are really dependable and functional because we know all the systems that work. We know what doesn't work and we can advise people when they come in of the better way of doing it.
Basically there are two ways to skin a cat, or maybe three or four, and we try to give them the best option -- just from experience. One of the worst things that can happen to you is when you get on that bike and it's the best day of your life and you're stuck on the side of the road with every body passing you waiting for a tow truck.
AllAboutBikes:Do you feel you were accurately portrayed on "The Devil's Ride?"
Coones: That was a situation where I didn't have control of everything but I told them, the part that I'm in, don't make me look bad. I don't think they made me look bad because I was separate from everyone else in the show, I wasn't a part of their crew. I told them if I were going to be involved in Season 2, there would have to be a lot of changes and input because there was a lot of stuff I didn't agree with.
They want me back on the show and that's nice but I have other things coming. You'll be seeing in things in the future that are really good and I'm going to have absolute control over, which is very important to me -- I cant just sell my soul to be on TV, I've got to do it the right way.
AllAboutBikes: What’s you daily rider?
Coones: Actually, I got three. I got a Dyna-chopper, which is a Harley-Davidson, ’95 custom, stretched frame, pretty cool bike, all black. Everything I ride is black. Then I got, for long distance, a Victory vision, which is a huge motorcycle.
Looks like a spaceship but it’s a great high-speed rider and it handles really good. It’s an American-made V-twin, 126 inches. Then I have a bike that’s pretty cool, it’s a Jesse James Dominator. A big long chopper that Jesse made for me as a gift when I got out of prison.
What can you tell me about you involvement in the Hells Angles?
Coones: I won't discuss the club, that's against policy. I have been an active member, have been for 17 years.
AllAboutBikes: Bike culture big now -- any thoughts on why so many people are tapping into it?
Coones: It's taken many years for it to work out to where somebody like me could be in a position where production companies are calling you to work -- it wouldn't have been the case a few years ago.
There was more of a negative stigma attached to it. "The Sons of Anarchy" probably did lead the way for a lot of it and people are seeing how successful that TV show is and there a lot of copycats out there and people who want to capitalize on the popularity of that show.
AllAboutBikes: I think the popularity of it is a double-edged sword. If it becomes to mainstream, it's going to lose its edginess.
Coones: True, the exclusivity, the whole edginess of it is lost when you got the dentist or whatever on the weekend playing "Sons of Anarchy." He's like the tough guy wanting chaps in 110 degree weather -- then it becomes laughable. But there's a lot of people who were into motorcycles way before this and there a lot of people who will still be into it that really have a passion for it and maybe some who haven't found it yet and that will always happen. Whatever's going on right now might fade way a little bit or it might fade away all together. I'm not really sure right now, you know how fickle the world is.