Gee, that’s really odd, when you think of a genre of music which inspires and glorifies violence, shootings and hatred, what comes to mind first?
Oh, that’s right, it’s everybody’s olde-time family favorite: Rap music.
When last I checked the FBI’s Uniform Crime Rate statistics, blacks and their ghetto sub-culture still have shockingly higher rates of murder, rape, home-invasion, armed robbery, and even mass-shootings than “nazis” do.
But hey, we’re talking about the lame-stream media here, and we can’t really expect them to focus on railing against what is the biggest and most blatant problem first, can we?
Well, wake me up when we see a strongly-worded editorial condemning violence-prone rap music, unless of course that would offend another distribution arm of the same media trust. Certain offensive music is just more “politically correct” than others, I see.
Wisconsin shooting brings secretive white power music into focus
The hate-filled music subculture is gaining attention amid news that Wade Michael Page, the suspect in the deadly Wisconsin shooting, played in white power bands.
August 07, 2012
The guitar riffs come from punk rock, the lyrics from fascist ideology. Bands stake their territory with names like Aryan Rebels and Definite Hate. And when the Blue Eyed Devils sing “White Victory,” you can bet that it isn’t a love song.
This hate-filled subculture of neo-Nazi bands has been around since the early days of punk rock in the 1970s, but has edged uneasily into the spotlight following the shooting deaths of six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin by alleged gunman Wade Michael Page.
Page spent years playing bass and guitar in bands that railed against a racially integrated America. His last endeavor, End Apathy, sang of compassion as a weakness and called America a “sick society.”
“There is a whole underworld of racist bands unknown to the public,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks right-wing extremism. “Music is their single most important recruiting method, more than any other factor.”
Page is typical of the scene’s regulars, said Arno Michaels, a Milwaukee-based writer and peace activist with the group Life After Hate. Michaels played in white power punk bands for years, leaving after the birth of his daughter and after seeing friends die in street clashes.
“When I got into the punk scene, I enjoyed the aggression and rebellion,” Michaels said. Wearing a Nazi swastika “created an environment where the world responded with hate and violence, which to me justified what I was doing.”
Six weeks after Time Warner Inc. and black rapper Ice-T pulled the controversial “Cop Killer” song off the market, an unprecedented legal battle over another album released by a Time Warner subsidiary promises to reopen the bitter national debate over artistic expression, free speech and corporate responsibility.
The case involves Ronald Ray Howard, a 19-year-old Texan who has been charged with murder following the shooting death last April of 43-year-old state Trooper Bill Davidson on a highway near Victoria, about 100 miles outside Houston.
Page became involved in white power punk after attending 2000’s Hammerfest, a fascist-punk festival hosted by the Nazi group Hammerskin in Orlando, Fla., according to an interview with Page posted on the website of Label 56, which released his albums.
In 2001, Page joined a Nazi band called Youngland that was based in Orange County, playing with the group for about two years, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
“Orange County is a huge white power music scene,” said Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research for the ADL. “There are a lot of white power bands and there are a lot of places they can play. It’s a hot spot.”
Exact figures for the secretive scene’s reach are difficult to come by. Potok estimates there are several hundred bands, including ones based in Europe.
Most performances are underground and unadvertised, to avoid drawing attention from authorities and to prevent adversaries from disrupting the event and attacking show-goers.
An invitation to a white power punk show more often comes as a phone call or text message.
“Most common is they announce the event, and they say if you want info, contact X,” Pitcavage said. “If you contact X, they will contact you back if you did not raise any flags with them. They have learned the hard way to evolve.”
Then it gets more cryptic. “You make contact and are told to travel to a gas station,” said Aaron Flanagan, an analyst with the Center for New Community, which tracks hate groups. “You will meet up with three generally intimidating large people covered in tattoos. Once they approve you, you will be given directions to the venue.”
Mainstream venues can be deceived into accidentally hosting neo-Nazi shows. In 2009, the Doll Hut in Anaheim openly talked to the OC Weekly about unwittingly hosting a white power concert falsely booked as a wedding reception, and fearing violence, the venue let it run its course before publicizing the scam.
“Concerts are booked under completely false pretenses,” Flanagan said. “They’re booked as a birthday party, as an anniversary or a showcase. Then the VFW Hall or the American Legion Hall does not realize what they got into until people show up.”
From the earliest days of punk, bands have occasionally flirted with Nazi imagery. Sex Pistols’ bassist Sid Vicious and Siouxsie and the Banshees’ singer Siouxsie Sioux wore swastika armbands for shock value.
But underneath the antagonistic mainstream punk scene, a more troubling variant took root. In the ’70s, the fascist English political group National Front organized punk shows to recruit disaffected young men and women into its ranks. The English band Skrewdriver, one of the few musically proficient bands in the scene, is largely credited as the genre’s defining act.
Other left-leaning and inclusive punk scenes fought against this ideological strain. One of hard-core’s pioneering bands was the all-black D.C. group Bad Brains, and the leftist San Francisco band Dead Kennedys fought back with a 1981 single railing against “Nazi Punks.”
“Punk is such an extreme form of music, it’s always attracted different types of extremes,” Dead Kennedys founder Jello Biafra said in an interview Tuesday.
Years ago, Biafra recalled, he was at a club when members of Britain’s National Front — a white power group — were hanging out with the road crew of a British punk band. “It creeped me out,” he said. Rap music creeps us out as well!