What Happened to Easyriders?

Why did Easyriders Magazine Close? Who Owns Easyriders Now? What’s the future of Easyriders Magazine and the Motorcycle Rodeos and Bike Shows? These are some of the many questions revolving around what happened to Easyriders.

But before we go into what is happening with Easyriders, here is a brief history of the company. First, Joe Teresi and others started the company in 1970. And the legal name of the company chosen was Paisano Publications. Then under the leadership of Teresi, Easyriders Magazine becamen iconic American biker name. Then years later the Biker Rodeos and Motorcycle Shows began.

The Collapse of Easyriders Magazine

Over the years the magazine sales slowed down. In addition, the attendance at the Easyriders events experience huge declines. Also, the quality of the attractions at the events start to drop. Then the number of Bike Shows and Rodeos held each year are cut back. And eventually the size of the staff shrinks. Additionally some of the people with experience leave the company and their replacements do not have similar experience.

In 2018 Teresi announces that what is left of the iconic brand is up for auction. Especially surprising was that one day pretty much everything related to Easyriders online goes silent. For instance the Magazine’s site was shut off, the site’s domain was up for auction, their Facebook activity fell off, etc. Even worse there is an announcement that Easyriders will no longer be printed. But it came as no surprise that there are a lot of loyal subscribers and followers who were not happy to say the least.

Subsequently, we started searching for answers to find out what was going on and why Easyriders closed.

Early Information on the Changes at Easyriders

Then in July of 2019 we found an article by Bandit on www.BikerNet.com(1). If you do not know, Bandit has been in the biker industry for decades. In addition, he gets good information early because he knows a lot of people.

In Bandit’s article he notes that Michael Lichter went to go check on his photo archive at the Easyriders headquarters. As you probably know, Lichter is THE most well-known motorcycle photographer. In addition, for decades he was THE photographer of Easyriders Magazine.

After a lot of knocking on doors Lichter was eventually able to “… speak to one of the new partners, who owns StrongHold, a clothing shop on Melrose. The guy [said he] had never heard of Michael Lichter.”

So there are a number of troubling things with the above.

– Some clothing store guy now owns Easyriders?
– Melrose in Beverly Hills?!?! How can someone who doesn’t know who Lichter run a 50 year old BIKER company?
– This doesn’t sound like the spirit of Easyriders will continue.
– Furthermore, in the article it states that the new owners of Easyriders held their “creative meeting in Canada.”

Our thought was whatever happened to the focus being about the AMERICAN biker?? Later we found that the new owners are Canadian.

Furthermore, in the article it states that the new owners of Easyriders held their “creative meeting in Canada.” Our thought was whatever happened to the focus being about the AMERICAN biker??  Later we found that the new owners are Canadian.

Towards the end of the short article it said that “Dave Nichols and Beatnik were let go.” Notably, Dave was the editor and Beatnik was an important part of the company too. Without a doubt, Bandit’s information on the future of the Easyrider was enlightening … but obviously not in a good way.

Future of Easyriders Magazine Announced

On August 14, 2019 there is more troubling information on the Easyriders Magazine Facebook page in the “About” section. There it states that part of Easyriders’ new direction of the company and the magazine includes:

  • “Major-label product collaborations”
  • The new magazine will be a “quarterly coffee table-style book.”
  • There will be “Gorgeous photography.”
  • The new Easyriders will be “coffee table book.”
  • The new publication will be sold at “boutique venues.”

Certainly with this Easyriders’ information it sounds like the new Easyriders focus will be towards yuppies, RUBs and hipsters.

New Owners of Easyriders

Then in February of 2020 there is additional bad news about the future of the Easyriders is in an article on www.WWD.com(2). Probably for most bikers a better way to describe this is Easyriders is that sells out.

In addition, there is more information on the new owners of Easyriders Magazine. According to the article two of the new owners are brothers. However their big experience is the founding of a “denim line Chip & Pepper.”.

Further revealed was that the “…new chief executive officer is Charles Perez, a veteran apparel manufacturer in L.A.” No, there wasn’t anything noted about Perez riding, knowing about the biker world, etc. Only that he’s some apparel guy who is now running Easyriders. Again, this new direction for Easyriders in general or the Magazine isn’t good news for bikers.

Also, in the www.WWD.com article another person noted who will guide the future of Easyriders is “… Chris Breed, an L.A. restaurateur…” So now a restaurant owner is at the helm of the company?? Again, there is nothing said about his knowledge of the motorcycle industry or the biker world.

What’s Next for Easyriders?

Also, the article states that the Magazine’s new format is going “… to be a more inclusive outlet looking to showcase the entirety of the modern motorcycle lifestyle. And in a more upscale way.”

In addition, one of the new owners is quoted as saying, “We’ve taken it from what was, well, more trashy, to now being almost like a GQ for bikers.” But my question is how does GQ magazine fit with bikers?

According to the article, the new owner is “… already looking at licensing [David] Mann’s work for socks and underwear…” If you are not familiar with the David Mann, for decades you have seen his biker lifestyle art in Easyriders Magazine and other places. Although in 2004 Mann passed away, he is still considered to be THE biker-world artist. And his iconic art slapped on socks and underwear is horrible!

First, Mann must be rolling over in his grave. Next, prostituting out his art in general, but definitely on socks and underwear, shows zero respect for his art. Finally, WTF has happened to Easyriders??

The Bad Start for the New Easyriders

Honesty, integrity, loyalty, and respect are important in any relationship. But it is critical in the biker world. If you read the comments on their Facebook by their paid subscribers and longtime fans they are not happy to say the least. Compounding the poor treatment of their paying customer is that a lot of them could not get a response at all. Now, how can anyone think that this is the way to treat customers, let alone biker?

What’s Going on with Easyriders Bike Shows & Rodeos?

As noted, the Easyriders Rodeos and Easyriders Bike Shows have declined in pretty much all aspects. Then the 2019 / 2020 Easyriders Bike Shows are canceled. But the 2020 “Easyriders” Rodeos dates have been announced.

However with all of the above it does not sound like they are going to focus on bikers. Again, the Magazine closes without notice, there is the poor treatment of loyal customers and followers, the Easyriders Bike Shows, etc. Subsequently we have no idea if the Rodeos will actually happen. Also, we have no idea if there will be either notices or refunds if they are canceled.

With all of the above it is pretty clear that the iconic trademark will be prostituted out. Including to promote a yuppie, RUB and hipster type of publication, events, and other non-biker products. Over the last year the company has gone from bad to a total wreck.

Finally the era of Easyriders is clearly over. But we will continue to get you more information as it becomes available. RIP Easyriders Magazine.

Footnotes

  1. BikerNet.com, July 13, 2019, https://blog.bikernet.com/sad-day-at-easyriders
  2. www.WWD.com, February 4, 2020, https://wwd.com/business-news/media/easyriders-biker-motorcycle-magazine-bought-by-pepper-foster-1203459567/