Hate music: Music With a Heart Full of Hatred



Hate music: Music With a Heart Full of Hatred
Far more dispiriting than the freakish, tattooed skinhead bands blurting white supremacist lyrics is the image of two pristine-looking little blond girls throwing their arms in a Nazi salute and singing, ”Strike force, white survival.” They are all under the influence of so-called hatecore, music that proselytizes an ugly neo-Nazi message in clubs, on CD’s and on the Internet.

Tonight VH1 offers a smartly produced special called ”Inside Hate Rock” that alerts viewers to how music is used to promote racism. While white supremacist rock ‘n’ roll is not a huge movement, it is insidious because it appeals to the vilest sentiments. Among the milder lyrics are these, from the band Carolina Sons: ”When I walk down the street I don’t like what I see. A sea of foreign faces staring back at me.”

On the Web site for Resistance Records (www.resistance.com), the main distributor of this music, you find an advertisement for a video game called Ethnic Cleansing. The player runs through a cyberghetto and kills blacks, Hispanics and Jews.

This documentary offers interviews with band members, defectors from the movement and people warning against hate rock. Tattoos and shaved heads predominate, though there are also clean-cut musical hatemongers. The program includes excerpts from concerts, which often look like loud brawls (no different from many other rock concerts, except the lyrics are more disgusting). The issue of First Amendment rights arises briefly, and viewers can vote at the VH1 Web site (www.vh1.com/insidevh1/ shows/newsspecials/haterock/) on whether such bands should be banned from performing.

The hate rockers, direct descendants of the skinhead movement in Britain, got their own record label in 1993 when George Burdi, once a star in this world and eventually a defector, began Resistance Records. Four years later (after Mr. Burdi had been jailed for assaulting a female protester), the company foundered, besieged by tax problems.
But it was revived by William Pierce, leader of the racist National Alliance and, under the name Andrew Macdonald, author of ”The Turner Diaries,” an inspiration of Timothy McVeigh. Mr. Pierce bought Resistance for $250,000 and revitalized it. In the program, Mr. Pierce, gray-haired and wearing a suit, discusses the value of hate rock as a marketing tool for racism. In the same corporate language, another executive at Resistance talks about expanding into other musical genres, including country and western and neo-Classical.

The people making the music aren’t quite so dispassionate. A member of Carolina Sons, referring to racial and ethnic groups he does not like, says, ”Personally I could shoot ’em all.”
Some performers have specific reasons for their hatred. One band member recalls being attacked by black boys when he was young. But most of their vitriol seems to be merely a focus for general or specific dissatisfaction with their lot. They identify with Hitler and often use the number 88 as a code. (H is the eighth letter of the alphabet; 88 stands for ”Heil Hitler.”)

The documentary does not overplay how many people follow hate rock. Record sales are in the thousands, not the millions. But the Internet gives such groups an extended reach and generates an outsize sense of power in their audiences. They may be the fringe, but they should not be dismissed.
VH1 NEWS SPECIAL: Inside Hate Rock

Story from New York Times

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