get to know: greg minnig of deth killers

When Greg Minnig — ringleader and founder of Bushwick-based clothing brand/neighborhood motorcycle club Deth Killers — signed off an introductory email with, “We’re a lot more than a clothing brand and coming to Bushwick is probably the best way to take it all in,” I knew I was in for a wild ride. I had only been to Bushwick a handful of times before, but had heard from a few people that Minnig is Bushwick’s heavily-tatted, traffic-law-infringing mayor in black leather. After watching a YouTube video of a Deth Killers get together — reminiscent of an old Ruff Ryders video — replete with indoor pyrotechnics, indoor dirt-biking, and what looked like a booze-drenched punching contest (I was later told that whoever punches the hardest is elected Deth Killers president), I knew that I had to take Minnig up on his offer. But if I was gonna go to Bushwick, I wanted to actually go to Bushwick and be shown around a bit (on the back of a bike, perhaps?) Although the back-of-a-bike thing, sadly, didn’t materialize, Minnig did take us around by foot to some of his favorite neighborhood spots and gave us a taste of a day-in-the-life (which I concluded is a bit like Club Med with more tattoos, bikes, baseball catches, and strippers). To top off the Deth Killers + OAK tour de Bushwick, Minnig popped some seriously impressive wheelies on the Pulaski Bridge as we sped alongside him in a pickup truck with a big dog named Chili Dog hanging out in the back. I ended the day — to make a long story short — ready to move to Bushwick.

For background: Deth Killers is a clothing brand (David Bowie and Kate Moss are fans) known for asphalt-resistant jeans, graphic tees, leather jackets, and other stylish biker staples. Most of the materials are locally-sourced, and the line is designed and produced out of Minnig’s Bushwick loft which doubles as a daytime clubhouse. The kevlar jeans are so tumble-proof that they have withstood some pretty serious crashes, including a recent one on Bedford Ave which saw a Deth Killer named Stephen getting catapulted over a car. He showed me the Deth Killer jeans he was wearing at the time: miraculously, not a scratch. In addition to trafficking in (seriously) asphalt-resistant denim, the Deth Killers are a legit motorcycle club with rules, rituals, and name tags. Although dead serious about biking, the Deth Killers are more likely to kick rowdy people out of local watering hole Wreck Room or organize monster block parties than wreak any serious Hells Angel-caliber havoc (although they have scuffled with the law over things like detonating indoor fireworks.) The Deth Killers are about riding fast, having fun, and looking good while doing it. After the jump, Greg Minnig’s favorite places in Bushwick and a Q+A.

Text By Marlo Kronberg
All Photos by Jen Maler

PLACES

Roberta’s — was opened by our friends Brandon, Carlo & Chris. Before Robertas, Carlo was one of the original Deth Killers. We share a special relationship with them — the whole Roberta’s crew is like our family. We have also thrown some remarkable events together, like the Halloween we turned their farm into a dirt bike track and raced dirt bikes all day and night until the track caught fire and the farm almost blew up. There are always at least a few Deth Killers on the staff at Roberta’s.

Wreck Room on Flushing and Evergreen is run by Doug RPNG (one of our club officers) and is one of our local bars. The Deth Killers often provide security here and pretty much every week have to bounce someone. It’s fun and it earns us lots of free drinks…

Arancini Brothers is next door to Wreck Room and is run by Will Levatino, a DK prospective member. The make Sicilian rice balls and they are DELICIOUS.

Morgantown Deli and General Store is a deli run by super grocer Chris Demarco, who happens to be my brother-in-law (I married his sister) and he makes the best sandwiches in all of Bushwick as far as I’m concerned. Go here and ask Chris or Mamaduke to make you a sandwich. You won’t regret it…

INTERVIEW

OAK: What’s your name, where are you from, and what do you do?

Greg Minnig. I’m from Bushwick/East Williamsburg/Morgantown/Long Island and I’ve lived on an island my whole life.

OAK: What did you do today?

GM: I went to Roberta’s, had a baseball catch in the farm, rode to some buddies’ motorcycle shops around Brooklyn on my Gixer 1000, rode with some friends to Los Hermanos Tortilla Factory on Starr Street, went back to Roberta’s, had a beer and another baseball catch, and made some new friends who later bought some jeans and gave my friend Stephen a foot massage.

OAK: What are you doing tonight?
GM: Throwing obnoxious people out of Wreck Room.

OAK: When and why did you move to Bushwick?
GM: I lived in the LES and my view looked over the Financial District. I saw 9/11 through a wall of windows and moved to Bushwick a few months later because my apartment felt bleedy.

OAK: When did you first start biking? Was the transformation into full-on biker
immediate?

GM: When I was fourteen I owned a baby blue hand-me-down 50CC Yamaha Riva Scooter, and would ride two and sometimes even three friends on the back to this place in my hometown on Long Island called “Beefalo.” They would serve “Beefalo” burgers, a hybrid of buffalo and beef. The place was packed on the weekend with bikers and Budweisers and loud music and we would roll up — three 14-year-olds on a baby blue scooter. Hilarity ensued.

It was slow going for a decade or so after that, but it took.

OAK: What’s your wildest, most decadent story as a Deth Killer?

GM: Election day is always exciting at Murderhaus (our clubhouse) because the fire department always shows up. Indoor fireworks + burnouts + punch machine + Pumps strippers = election day.

Or it could have been our most recent Deth Rally/fashion show when all the models/Deth Killers were on acid. I was wondering why everyone was punching like a little bitch.

OAK: How would you describe the Deth Killers lifestyle in a sentence?

GM: NO RAPING AT ANY TIME.

Two more sentences: performance always comes first in motorcycling. That’s why we ride sport bikes and dirt bikes — because it’s all about what the bike is capable of, and very little about what it looks like. Anyone who tells you otherwise or buys a bike because of the way it looks will almost never become a good rider.

OAK: How would you describe the Deth Killers aesthetic in a sentence?

GM: It’s always a pussy avalanche in Deth Killers robot-skin pants.

Freeform list of things you like.
GM: Cats, pizza, friends, money, clementines, candy, marijuana, pictures of groups of dead people. Like in group photos from when they were alive, not after they are dead cause that would be weird and kind of gross.

OAK: Favorite place to bike in the city. Why?

GM: Honeywell Bridge. It’s a long, wide bridge over the Sunnyside Yards and you can practice wheelies all day and cops never seem to bother you.

OAK: Favorite bike.

GM: My 2005 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 with full Ohlins and Brembos is pretty nice. However, I wouldn’t be mad at a BMW S1000RR. Google it — it’s sick.

OAK: Favorite beverage.

GM: Beer-beer. Mix 1/2 Budweiser with 1/2 root beer. It tastes much better than it sounds.

OAK: Favorite type of pizza.

GM: With all due respect to the pizza artists at Roberta’s, Tony’s on Knickerbocker and Dekalb has the best Sicilian slice in the city if you as me.

OAK: If you had to wear one outfit everyday for the rest of your life what would it
be?

GM: Self-cleaning socks, astronaut underwear, micro-mini terrycloth robe (black), a gold chain with Cornuto pendant, a smile.

OAK: What’s your vice?

GM: Prostitution, I mean pizza.

OAK: Secret about yourself.

GM: I was born a hermaphrodite.

OAK: What’s next for the Deth Killers?

GM: Space by 2019.

OAK: Where do you keep your guns?

GM: I don’t like that question.

Click here to shop Deth Killers.

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