Bill Hayes is one of those rare writers who has truly lived the old saying: “Write what you know!” Since the 1960s he has turned his three prime passions—music, martial arts, and motorcycles—into a literary career.
The music part came first, as he wrote record reviews in sleazy underground ’60s newspapers; but things got a lot less cheesy as slicker review venues and a long-running column in Real Blues magazine followed! Many features in the world-renowned Black Belt magazine allowed for the martial arts outlet.
But it’s Hayes’ love for motorcycles—specifically the always-compelling biker culture—that launched Bill Hayes’ writing success. In the 1990s he had a regular column in Easyriders magazine. Then came his bestselling book, The Original Wild Ones: Tales of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club, followed by American Biker: The History, the Clubs, the Lifestyle, the Truth, The One-Percenter Encyclopedia: The World of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs from Abyss Ghosts to Zombies Elite, Hell on Wheels: An Illustrated History of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs, and Greatest One Percenter Myths, Mysteries & Rumors Revealed.
And now Hayes has been turning his focus to the world of biography—presenting the life stories of some of the most interesting people on the planet. His book, Triumphs and Tragedies: A True Story of Wealth and Addiction, chronicles the incredible saga of plumber-turned-philanthropist Karl McMillen, Jr. Bill’s collaborative biography, Hullabaloo!: The Life and (Mis)Adventures of L.A. Radio Legend Dave Hull, is a book packed with pop culture history and music. Both of those books, as well as Bill’s upcoming projects, provide looks into lifestyles that are every bit as intriguing and seductive as that of deadly karate experts and scooter tramps!
Bill lives in Redondo Beach with his wife, business and life partner, editor, designer, and publisher, Jennifer Thomas.
The pair’s newest publications include A Privileged Witness: The Truth About Billionaire Edmond Safra’s Death with Ted Maher, the man wrongly condemned for the crime. They have also co-written Scars from the Claws: My Life with Bobby Seale, the autobiography of Bobby’s ex-wife Artie Seale, who suffered abuse at the hands of the famed Black Panther Party founder. That book will be released soon .
Hayes has appeared on several television documentaries, including the Biography Channel’s Biography of the Hells Angels, the History Channel’s America’s Book of Secrets, A&E’s history of the Crocker Motorcycle, and the Military Channel’s documentary on outlaw motorcycle clubs. In 2011, he was awarded the prestigious Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) for his efforts.
In addition to writing, Hayes is a seventh-degree black belt in Kenpo Karate. He and Jennifer co-own and run their own studio in Torrance, California.
As a musician, Hayes began playing in garage bands in the mid-1960s. He remains very active in the Los Angeles area music scene playing bass in SoCal's best and coolest bands: primarily in the indie-impassioned Debbie & the GoodMan Band; the badass blues band, Lex & the Feral Cats; the legendary Kara Turner Band; and the ultimate still-surviving 1960s garage band, Several Mouth Parts!
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PHOTOGRAPH BY MADELEINE BOUDREAU