Sons of Anarchy was a very popular crime-tragedy-drama show that aired on FX from 2008 to 2014, centering on a fictitious motorcycle club. The show's outlaw MC went by SAMCRO, as in Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original. While the show's motorcycles alone make it worth watching, there's more to stories behind the stars. The biker show took plenty of cues from the real-life Hells Angels Motorcycle Club even going as far as including a few members of Hells Angels as part of its cast.

Updated December 2021: Whether you're a fan of Sons of Anarchy or just want to learn more about motorcycle club members and their connection to the TV show, we've updated this feature with more information.

One example of this was David Labrava, who had the recurring role of Happy Lowman on the show. Happy Lowman is SAMCRO’s enforcer (assassin) and takes great pleasure in committing murder, as evidenced by him getting a smiley tattooed on his body every time he's killed someone. In reality, David Labrava is an ex-HAMC member and leads a rather quiet life.

Perhaps the most (in)famous HAMC member to appear on the show is Sonny Barger, who was a founding member of the Oakland Chapter of the Hells Angels. Barger had a small role on the show as a character named Lenny "The Pimp” Janowitz, a founding member of the Sons of Anarchy MC.

However, there’s another HAMC member in the cast whose real-life story is just about as colorful as the character he plays.

Let’s find out more about this Sons of Anarchy star who was a Hells Angels MC Member and led a very colorful outlaw life.

Meet Rusty Coones, HAMC Chapter President

Howard Coones, better known as "Rusty," stands at six-foot-five and is as imposing in real life as he looks on screen. His real-life story is a little more colorful than his reel-life character, but more on that later.

Coones became involved with the show when Charlie Hunnam, the star of Sons of Anarchy, visited his motorcycle shop, Illusion Motorsports, to buy a few extra motorcycles for the show, which were later auctioned off for charity. However, there are rumors circulating that Coones had previously met the show's creator, Kurt Sutter, during a Hells Angels MC toy run in the San Fernando Valley.

Later, Sutter got in touch with Coones, not only having Coones customize a motorcycle for him, but he also brought him on the show as a cast member and technical advisor.

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In SAMCRO, He’s Rane Quinn

In Sons of Anarchy, Rane Quinn is the President of the Nomads chapter, and he is the guy who brings “Happy Lowman” played by David Labrava to the Sons of Anarchy MC. In season three, Happy would leave the Nomads chapter in order to join SAMCRO as their enforcer.

In season five, the Nomads chapter disbands and Quinn goes on to join the Sons of Anarchy Indian Hills Chapter, only to leave that and join SAMCRO in season six.

On the show, Quinn is a violent man, committing a total of three murders, all enemies of SAMCRO: killing a member of the True IRA, an East Dub member, as well as a member of the Lin Triad.

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The Real-Life Story Of Rusty Coones

Rusty Coones is more than just a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, he was the President of two HAMC chapters. First of the San Fernando Valley and then the Orange County chapter, a chapter he founded. So we could almost say he's HAMC royalty.

His real-life story comes with lots of drama and tragedy as well. In the 1980s, his heroin-addicted brother overdosed, and in response, he opened a rehabilitation center in California. He would close it down in 1995 due to a change in government subsidies that made it impossible to run it and turn a profit. In the late '80s, he also met his wife, Katherine Coones, and went on to have a son and daughter with her. This petite blond has stuck with Rusty Coones through thick and thin.

In the true spirit of being an outlaw biker, Coones himself has been to prison twice. The first time he went in for drugs. In 1999, he bought Illusion Motorsports and was trying to make something out of it by customizing motorcycles, only to go back to prison on drug conspiracy charges, distributing a chemical used to make crystal meth.

During the time Coones stayed behind bars for six years, his wife Katherine kept Illusion Motorsports running for Rusty to have something to do when he got back. When he finally did get back, the economy was failing and Illusion wasn’t doing all that well. It was at this point that Coones met Charlie Hunnam and Kurt Sutter, and the rest is, as they say, history.

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Coones Feels 'Sons Of Anarchy' Was A Godsend

Rusty Coones has been a HAMC member and been to prison twice on some serious charges; that's not the kind of stuff that would endear this bear of a man to anyone.

However, after his role on Sons of Anarchy, a show with some five million viewers, Coones has become something of a celebrity of sorts in his town. His exposure on the show was enough to give his business a breath of fresh air. Sutter was so impressed with him that he even featured three songs from Coones’ rock-metal band, Attika7, in the show. Being a TV MC member has done Coones a lot of good.

If you want to see more of Rusty Coones, he also appeared on Orange County Choppers: American Made and the Sons of Anarchy spinoff Mayans M.C., another show with some incredible motorcycles.

Sources: OCRegister, LATimes, TVLine

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