Wade Michael Page, the gunman in Sunday’s Sikh temple shooting, had a history of problems with alcohol, which led to him losing his military career and, more recently, a job as a trucker.
The white racist punk rock scene has existed almost as long as punk rock itself. It lives along side the regular scene, its members often seen at shows by mainstream bands.
If you looked you could find them without trouble in the Lehigh Valley when I wrote for the Morning Call newspaper in the late Eighties and early Nineties.
Reads a piece from the Call in 1988 by reporter Gerald Shields:
Allentown has become an East Coast hub for “skinheads,” a loosely organized group of youths known by their shaved heads who flock to the city every weekend to attend punk rock shows at a center city club, according to interviews yesterday with three youths involved in the local club scene.
Meanwhile, South Whitehall Township police continued their investigation yesterday in the stabbing of three teen-agers on Friday night. Police said the attack was done by a group of about 15 skinheads, who stabbed the youths and beat them with chains …
Local youths who are knowledgeable about the movement said yesterday that skinheads from New Jersey, New York and Connecticut come to Allentown every weekend to visit Oliver J.’s, a center city Allentown under-21 club, which caters to the youths.
I assiduously avoided Oliver J’s.
There’s only so many times you can face writing weekend wrap-ups on fights, miscellaneous violence and petty riots until the thrill wears off and by 1988 I’d seen more than enough bleak punk rock shows.
Another infamous story from a number of years ago is here.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is well aware of this music scene and for the Post, Mark Potok had a few comments:
The assault Sunday put a spotlight on a little-known but vibrant — and sometimes violent — music subculture, according to watchdog groups. “There is a whole underworld out there of white supremacist music of which the public is almost entirely unaware,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which first flagged Page’s connection to hate groups in a blog post Monday. The group has been monitoring Page since 2000, when he began playing for bands with names such as Max Resist, Blue Eyed Devil and Intimidation One.
“This guy was in the thick of the white-supremacist music scene,” Potok said. “He was not a fringe player. He was well known in the scene and played in some of the best-known bands” …
His wanderings at one point led him to Georgia to attend “Hammerfest,” an annual white-power music festival that the Anti-Defamation League calls “a virtual Woodstock of hate rock.”
Paradoxically, even Nazi punks don’t spend much on the records of their favorite bands, a tacit admission the grim music is 100 percent crap, although the audience very actively engages in live events. One can look at it as the backdrop for bonding rallies where the purpose is to gin up violence and the thoughts of it against others.
The quintessential bottom out of sight crowd, they are thin in the wallet.
A web article from a few years back reveals the numbers behind Definite Hate, one of Wade Page’s bands:
A deal with Resistance [a now defunct label of the National Alliance] isn’t about money: Though the label paid the $2,000 in studio costs, it offered no advance, no video budget and no cut of the merchandise. Definite Hate received $1 for every disc sold. (Resistance’s best-selling release, Rahowa’s Cult of the Holy War, has sold about 25,000 copies worldwide.)
In fact, the only band to have any impact in the mainstream was the English neo-Nazi act, Skrewdriver.
Nothing quite says “No sale” with such rock-ribbed authority like swastikas, SS lightning bolts and “Heil Hitler” tattoos on the face, neck, hands, chest and arms.
Generic Nazi punk hatecore grenade, distinguished only by accidental infamy.