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by Chuck Zito with Joe Layden

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-312-30124-3
Publisher: St. Martin's

A lively, pugnacious, and engaging autobiography from biker, boxer, bodyguard, and actor Zito.

Born in 1953, raised in and around New York City, Zito quickly learned to fight aggressively from father Charles, a winning welterweight and sparring partner to Rocky Graziano. Combining boxing and martial arts skills with a quick temper, Chuck developed into an intimidating young man. In his early 20s, he fell in love with motorcycles and founded the New Rochelle Motorcycle Club in suburban New York, where he lived with his (now ex-) wife and their daughter. Aided by perennial coauthor Layden (The Rock Says, not reviewed, etc.), Zito paints a brilliant portrait of club life: its fun, violence, loyalties, and ethics form the backbone of this autobiography. By 1983, Chuck was vice president of the New York City Hells Angels. That association plus his fighting skills got him work as a bouncer at Cafe Central, a popular hangout for celebrities in the early 1980s. He befriended Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, who were biker enthusiasts. Bouncing led to bodyguarding, and Chuck formed enduring friendships with clients Liza Minnelli, Charlie Sheen, and Sean Penn. (He pummeled a former client, Jean-Claude Van Damme, who provoked him in 1998 at a New York night club.) Zito was thriving when the FBI raided the Hells Angels in 1985, alleging that the club manufactured and distributed methamphetamine. In Japan at the time of the bust, he served time in a Tokyo jail and then six years in a variety of federal prisons, even though he was clearly innocent. Fellow Hells Angels members provided support behind bars, but he is blunt about the harshness of prison life. Layden's straightforward prose captures Zito's respectful but inflexible sense of honor, short fuse, and fast hands. All these qualities led to his affecting role on HBO's prison drama Oz.

Respect the man, enjoy his powerful story: got a problem with that? (44 b&w photos throughout; 8 pp. color photos, not seen)