By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
By Leif Haven
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
The patches that the outlaw motorcycle clubs wore on the backs of their leather jackets came to symbolize that brotherhood, and as a result carried great significance. Motorcycle club members have killed and died over their patches, and they have literally gone to war with rival outlaws who have tried to steal or disrespect their patches.
A system to the patches has since developed -- the more patches, the more intense the club. Outlaw bikers usually have a three-piece patch, with the "top rocker" stating the club's name, the "bottom rocker" declaring the club's territory, and the club logo in the middle. The many one- or two-piece patch clubs are usually family or recreational clubs whose members are less serious about riding and don't live like outlaws.
As Calamity explains it, becoming an outlaw motorcycle club -- and securing the rights to wearing the coveted three-piece patch -- can be a risky proposition.
"Anyone can declare themselves a three-piece club, but out of respect, you need to get the support and the alliance of the predominant club in the area," Calamity says. "If you don't, it could be bad. So you go to the outlaws in your area and you say, "I want to fly a three-piece, are you cool with that?' Then they vote, and if they vote no and you do it anyway, then you're basically declaring yourself against them. These clubs have come before you and they've established the lifestyle, and they die over their patch. And some people do, blowing up clubhouses and stuff. It's the world we live in, so you go by the rules."
Though some old-school outlaw bikers are hesitant to call the Dolls outright outlaws, the Dolls say they live by the code of honor that is the essence of being outlaw.
"We have a different approach," says Goth Girl. "It doesn't mean we necessarily do anything illegal. I just expect them [the club] to back me up 100 percent. A real loyalty. We would kill for each other and our bikes."
Co-President Erin Eppstein goes by the nickname Calamity because she's broken every motorcycle she's ever ridden on. She is a cowgirl at heart; she grew up watching John Wayne movies and passes the time listening to rockabilly. She was just about to ride into the sunset to work as a cowgirl on a Wyoming ranch when she met Goth Girl in February 1999. After starting the Devil Dolls, she scrapped her cowgirl plans because through the club she has finally, at age 32, found her niche.
"Our lifestyles are so different, but there's this bond," Calamity says. "Sometimes I'll be driving home and I'll think about the stuff we [the club] talked about and I'll get all misty, which is so retarded. But I fucking love all of them."
Calamity has since become Goth Girl's levelheaded sidekick, the perfect complement to Goth's blind enthusiasm. When, for example, Goth Girl dreamed up the idea of marketing "Goth Block" (a sunscreen with SPF 666) on the Devil Doll Web site, Calamity reminded Goth Girl that they needed to think about warning labels so they wouldn't get sued if someone had an allergic reaction.
And when they came up with the idea to create a Devil Doll calendar, Goth Girl wanted just the two of them to pose, wearing different wigs. Calamity suggested they share the spotlight with other bikers.
Before Calamity became a city girl, she grew up in Oregon, where she was a self-described dork who had few friends. When she moved to Sacramento for high school, her natural shyness kept her an outcast, and she became a disciplinary horror story. She got drunk every day before classes and mouthed back to her teachers, but it was all just a facade for her timidity. In college, she would immediately drop a class when she found out she would have to give an oral presentation, which is part of the reason she's been an on-and-off-again undergraduate student for more than a decade.
Despite her shyness, Calamity is the queen of one-liners and quick rebuttals, and she has plenty of outlaw attitude. "What bugs me are those citizen bikers who line the streets during runs and hold up signs that say, "Show me your tits,'" Calamity says. "Some women do it. And then women like us get off our own bikes and beat the shit out of them. And then we say, "Do you still want to see our tits?' They usually don't."
The beginning of the Devil Dolls can be traced to Valentine's Day in 1999, when Goth Girl and Calamity met serendipitously at an art exhibit. They recall their chance meeting fondly, as if it were the beginning of a romance.
"I was parked out on the sidewalk, and I see this rockabilly chick checking out my bike," Goth Girl recalls. "And I was like, "What's she doing? She's either a thief or she's thinking that it's some good-looking guy's bike.'"
"And then a mutual friend introduced us," Calamity says.
"And I said, "Cool, well, let's go riding,'" Goth Girl continues.