Terry The Tramp, born John Terence Tracy, is a former member of the Hells Angels Oakland chapter.
There is also another biker known as Terry The Tramp, Terry Orendoff, who was the Vagos Motorcycle Club President and the subject of a book written by Keith Ball. He is in no way related to the person discussed in this article.
Terry The Tramp Hells Angels – Early Life / Personal Life
John Terence Tracy a.k.a Terry The Tramp was born on 21 December, 1939.
After finishing High School he joined the Coast Guard where he stayed for around three years. Other jobs that he held over the years included actor, laborer, mechanic, tree-trimmer and various hustles. While living in the Bay Area he secured a position working at a General Motors plant on the assembly line, a job which he would later be fired from after negative articles about the Hells Angels were published in the media.
He enjoyed travelling around from town to town, he was a drifter. It was this habit that led to him receiving the nickname of “Terry The Tramp” after being known to have lived in locations including Detroit, Fresno, Long Island, Los Angeles, Norfolk and Sacramento.
The author Hunter S. Thompson described his physical appearance as “He is six feet two inches tall, 210 pounds heavy, with massive arms, a full beard, shoulder- length black hair and a wild, jabbering demeanor not calculated to soothe the soul of any personnel specialist”.
After dropping out of college to get married he had 2 children with his wife, who he later divorced. A second marriage and another child would follow.
During one period when the Hells Angels had been having disagreements with other groups there was a revenge attack against Terry. A house that he was renting in East Oakland had a bomb thrown through the window. The resulting fire ruined much of the house. His partner of the time, Marilyn, had a significant number of her artworks ruined. She left him.
His love of partying resulted in many stories, including the following:
- Falling into a camp fire, resulting in serious burns requiring hospital attention.
- After passing out he was wired to an electrical socket by Mouldy Marvin, who then soaked his jeans with beer.
- One night Terry was “convinced that he’d died as a person and come back to life as a rooster which was going to be cooked on the bonfire just as soon as the music stopped. Toward the end of every dance he would rush over to the tape recorder, shouting “NO! No! Don’t let it stop!”
- A microphone was hooked up to high powered speakers and Terry gave an address to the San Mateo Sherrifs Department “Remember this,” he screamed into the mike. “Just remember that while you’re standin out there on that cold road, doin’ your righteous duty and watchin’ all us sex fiends and dope addicts in here having a good time. . . just think about that little old wife of yours back home with some dirty old Hell’s Angel crawlin’ up between her thighs!” Then a burst of wild laughter, clearly audible on the road. “What do you think about that, you worthless fuzz? You gettin’ hungry? We’ll bring you some chili if we have any left over. . . but don’t hurry home, let your wife enjoy herself.”
Terry The Tramp died from an overdose of Seconal (Secobarbital) on 13 February, 1970, age 30. The story goes that he was buried by his Hells Angels brothers in the Bay Area, however his family then had the body exhumed and reburied at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum which is in Sacramento County, California.
Terry The Tramp Hells Angels – Club Involvement
He is best known as being a member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels, who at the time were under the leadership of the most famous Hells Angel of them all, Sonny Barger.
His fun loving spirit is displayed well in this scene from the Hells Angels 69 movie (link opens in a new tab), where he takes center stage on the dance floor:
Originally a member of the Sacramento chapter, a chapter which then relocated to Oakland. After spending several years with the Oakland chapter he then transferred to the Hells Angels Berdoo chapter (San Bernardino), allegedly in response to the “no needles” rule on drugs that was brought into the Oakland chapter by Sonny Barger.
Terry The Tramp Hells Angels – Crime
The following is an excerpt about Terry The Tramp by Hunter S. Thompson from his book Hell’s Angels (see the Media section below for more information about the book):
In his twenty-seven years he has piled up a tall and ugly police record: a multitude of arrests, from petty theft and battery, to rape, narcotics offences and public cunnilingus — and all this without a single felony conviction, being officially guilty of nothing more than what any spirited citizen might commit in some drunk or violent moment of animal weakness. “Yeah, but that rap sheet’s all bullshit,” he insists. “Most of those charges are phoney. I’ve never thought of myself as a criminal. I don’t work at it; I’m not greedy enough. Everything I do is natural, because I need to.” And then, after a moment: “But I guess I’m pushin’ my luck, even if I’m not a criminal. Pretty soon they’ll nail me for one of these goddamn things, and then it’s goodbye, Terry, for a whole lot of years.”
And the following passage in the book provides some further insight:
Despite his spectacular rap sheet, he estimates his total jail time at about six months — ninety days for trespassing and the rest for traffic offences. Terry is one of the most arrest-prone of all the Angels; cops are offended by the very sight of him. In one stretch, covering 1964 and ’65, he paid roughly $2,500 to bail bondsmen, lawyers and traffic courts. Like most of the other Angels he blames “the cops” for making him a full-time outlaw.
Terry The Tramp Hells Angels – Media
Hunter S Thompson had spoken with Terry on many occasions in the writing of the much acclaimed book Hells Angels. Find out more on Amazon (link opens in a new tab).
He played a significant role in the classic biker movie Hells Angels 69′ where he is credited as “Terry” for his speaking role in the film. His dancing skills are also put on display as can be seen in the clip featured further up in this article. Find out more on Amazon (link opens in a new tab).
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