A fatal shooting this past August at a Sikh temple by a skinhead in a 'hatecore' rock band shocked the nation. 'Hate music' is little known to those outside of that dark world. What is 'hate music' and is there a link between it and actual violence?
On the Sunday morning of August 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a male individual dressed in a white T-shirt, military-style black cargo pants and armed with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun entered the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shortly before 10:25 a.m. and commenced with a shooting spree.
The gunman shot and killed seven Sikhs while also severely wounding another three Sikhs and a local police officer in the deadly assault.
As more officers arrived and began closing in, the shooter ended his life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The ensuing probe into the massacre by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) soon revealed the identity of the shooter to be Wade Michael Page, 40. The investigation also uncovered some very disturbing revelations about Page’s background that dispelled any notions about him being simply another disgruntled shooter.
Wade Michael Page of the hate band End Apathy.
Page was a neo-nazi skinhead and the lead singer in white supremacist rock band called, End Apathy.
Upon making this startling discovery, the FBI elevated the mass shooting incident from that of a simple hate crime to an act of domestic terrorism.
Page’s shooting spree and subsequent death has made him the latest martyr for the white supremacist cause and a real life example of the link between the angry lyrics of ‘hate music’ and real-life violence.
The realm of 'hate music', also commonly known as white power music, hatecore, or hate rock from which Page emerged is a dark subculture on the fringe of society that remains largely unknown to most mainstream Americans.
However, Page’s shooting has brought the otherwise shadowy and murky world of ‘hate music’ into focus.
This secretive hate-filled music subculture is gaining mainstream attention amidst a backdrop of controversy.
It’s a disturbing world of stiff-armed Nazi salutes and flags, shouts of heil Hitler and sieg heil (a popular slogan during Nazi-era Germany that meant "hail victory"), angry men sporting shaved heads and racist symbols.
The music in this small but uniquely dark genre includes warped versions of country, folk, pop and heavy metal. The lyrics are unmistakably and unapologetically racist, urging white people to “stand up and fight” while degrading and dehumanizing African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Jews and other minorities. The lyrics in some songs disturbingly call for a race war.
At its essence, this genre of music is hardcore hate with a beat.
Despite its narrow appeal and being confined to the cultural margins, the ‘hate music’ industry appears to be a very lucrative business, netting over $1 million for white supremacist groups in album and merchandise sales annually.
More than merely a source of entertainment, analysts say that ‘hate music’ is a potent recruitment tool that is used by white supremacists to draw teenagers and young adults into the white power movement.
In the wake of the Wisconsin temple shooting spree, there is now mounting concern about the potential of ‘hate music’ to incite others to commit violence, including hate crimes and even acts of terrorism.
Oak Creek, Wisconsin - August 5, 2012: a police SWAT team in an armored truck arrives at the Sikh temple where white supremacist Wade Michael Page went on a shooting spree that resulted in seven deaths. Several others were also wounded in the shootout, including a police officer. Page died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound as arriving police were closing in on him. The FBI would later call the shooting an act of domestic terrorism.
Soundtrack of ‘The Master Race’
The origins of white supremacist music date back to the 60’s and the civil rights era in America. According to a 2007 special report on ‘hate music,’ The Hardest Hate: A Sociological Analysis of Country Hate Music, the songs during this era were a form of protest that expressed resistance to the federal government and civil rights advocates who were challenging well-established white supremacist practices endemic in the American southern states.
Back then, country was the only flavor of ‘hate music’ available. White power-based musical sub-genres of heavy metal and pop had yet to be invented.
The modern-day world of ‘hate music’ with its multiple sub-genres and its vast popularity in the white power movement can essentially be traced back to one man: an English neo-Nazi musician, singer and songwriter by the name of Ian Stuart Donaldson also known as Ian Stuart.
Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive)
Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi-era Germany. Hitler is revered by white supremacists and neo-Nazis everywhere.
Born August 11, 1957, in Lancashire, England, Stuart would grow-up to become the single most influential figure in starting the ‘hate music’ movement.
In 1975, Stuart would form the band Skrewdriver with three other men in the English city of Blackpool. The band tried a punk rocker look for a short time before deciding to go with a skinhead look. The band gained a reputation because of the fights that would often break out during its performances.
The original Skrewdriver band was not racist.
In 1979, the band broke up. Stuart formed a new line up for the band and began to pen racist song lyrics for the growing number of white supremacist skinheads in England.
One of Stuart’s most popular songs is White Power. The lyrics in that particular song blasts multiculturalism and immigration in the United Kingdom:
Are we going to sit and let them come?/Have they got the White man on the run?/The multiracial society is a mess/We aren't going to take much more of this./What do we need?Stuart and the new Skrewdriver openly supported and raised funds for far-right political groups in England such as the National Front, a racial nationalist and whites-only political party. In fact, Stuart would become an active member of the National Front.
Ian Stuart Donaldson in a 1983 interview in Britain. Stuart was the lead singer and organizer of the racist skinhead band, Skrewdriver. He is widely credited by white supremacists and neo-Nazis as the founder of ‘hate music.’ Stuart died in a car accident in summer 1993.
Stuart, along with Nicky Crane, another infamous face on the racist skinhead music scene, founded Blood and Honour. Blood and Honour is a British neo-Nazi network that organizes concerts and distributes white power music.
During the 80’s, Stuart would lead two other racist bands: The Klansmen and White Diamond.
In 1992, he brought the racist music scene to London with a concert he helped organize near Waterloo Station.
On the night of September 24, 1993, Stuart was involved in a car accident in Derbyshire and would die the next day from his injuries. He was 36 years-old at the time of his death.
Though Stuart was dead, his dark legacy to the world would be ‘hate music.’ In fact, ‘hate music’ - the spawn of Stuart’s hateful mind and heart - would not just continue to survive, it would flourish.
Inspired by Stuart, dozens of new neo-Nazi skinhead and white supremacist-based rock bands began to sprout in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
Stuart is an icon in the world of ‘hate music’ and has been immortalized by skinheads and white supremacists. He is largely considered to be the founder of ‘hate music.’
Today, 'hate music' is a massive enterprise and a galvanizing force for white supremacists throughout the U.S.
'Hate music’ is serious business.
Bands with aggressive and violently suggestive names like Aggressive Force, Aggravated Assault, Extreme Hatred, Neo-Hate, Hatemonger, Gestapo SS, Code of Violence, Dirty White Punks, Aryan Tormentor and Aryan Terrorism are among the more popular bands with white supremacists.
An estimate by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization which tracks hate groups and right-wing extremist activity, reveals that there may be between 100 and 150 white power music bands in existence worldwide.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which also monitors hate groups and domestic extremists, maintains a similar database which holds dossiers on more than 20,000 people and organizations that it has identified as neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and right-wing extremists, including those involved in the white power music scene.
Though dozens of ‘hate music’ bands are active throughout Europe and Canada, the vast majority of these bands are American based.
In fact, while the ‘hate music’ movement may have gotten its start in the UK, the U.S. is now the nexus of this thriving industry.
'Hate music' is composed of various sub-genres. One of the oldest sub-genre of ‘hate music’ is a racist form of Oi!, associated with the original skinhead subculture in Britain. Another popular genre of ‘hate music’ is ‘hatecore.’ ‘Hatecore’ is the white supremacist version of hardcore punk and is the most popular form of white power music at the moment.
End Apathy, the rock band of Wisconsin temple shooter Wade Michael Page, was considered hatecore.
A white supremacist form of death metal music, known as National Socialist Black Metal Music or NSBM, has also become popular.
Yet another genre is that of Nationalist Folk music which also usually includes white power pop music. The number of white power pop music stars today, a genre dominated by women, is very small. Heavy metal is overwhelmingly the preferred music choice for young white supremacists. A female white nationalist artist by the name of Saga is currently the leading pop music artist in ‘hate music.’
An image of the immensely popular white nationalist pop music superstar Saga. She enjoys a very high degree of popularity in white supremacist circles globally, particularly the U.S. and Europe. Saga, who is considered a legend in 'hate music' has been on the scene since the late 90's. She is said to represent a "softer and more appealing" side of 'hate music.'
There are several other smaller sub-genres of white power music. One of those subgenres reportedly even includes a few racist hip-hop artists, though most white supremacists strongly dislike hip-hop.
White power music conveys many messages.
The messages conveyed by white power music are typically that of antagonism toward Jews, nonwhites, gays, Muslims, and left-wingers. However, there are also songs that convey other messages, too. Some white power songs may glorify martyrs or heroes of the white supremacist movement.
Screen grab from "Louis and the Nazis" (Neo-Nazi Pop Twins) documentary
Members of Stormtroop 16, a hardcore white supremacist heavy metal band.
Many white supremacists drive for hundreds of miles from various points in the U.S. to attend ‘hate music’ concerts. Others download or purchase ‘hate music’ from the internet.
‘Hate music’ concerts and events bring white supremacists from separate states and regions in the U.S. together, thus providing opportunities to network as well as partake in recreational entertainment. The ADL reveals that there may be as many as 300 to 500 white supremacists in attendance at a ‘hate music’ concert, which are large numbers by the standards of the white power movement.
Despite its limited appeal and its continued existence in semi-obscurity, ‘hate music’ has thrived, especially within the past few years. It is now an integral part of the white supremacist movement and a multi-million dollar industry that funds hate groups throughout the nation. Not only is the ‘hate music’ industry a significant source of funding for white supremacists, it is also the premier recruitment tool being utilized to attract teenagers and young adults into hate groups.
Screen grab of Youtube video
Lamb and Lynx Gaede, formerly known as the rock and pop music duo Prussian Blue, performing "The Stranger" at a European white supremacist festival in 2007. This would be one of the final performances by Prussian Blue. In 2011, Lamb and Lynx would publicly renounce racism and the white power movement.
The use of the internet and online forums has also greatly assisted in the proliferation of ‘hate music.’ The American white supremacist community is very internet savvy and is very cognizant of the advantages that are inherent in having and maintaining a significant online presence. Many white supremacist-based record labels and their artists have official websites, twitter accounts, Myspace and Facebook pages.
Most live performances are secret affairs that are underground and unadvertised.
Invitation to a white power music concert often comes as a phone call or text message.
The clandestine concerts, which typically attract hundreds, are generally held at venues out of public sight at locations throughout the nation. Record labels and promoters of ‘hate music’ concerts operate under strict secrecy to avoid infiltration by anti-racism protesters, journalists or law enforcement.
According to the ADL, the concerts typically take place in old warehouses or open fields, though on some rare occasions they may take place in an actual nightclub.
To attend a concert one must be a known and active figure on the white power scene or at the very least know someone in the movement who will vouch for them.
Who’s Who in the World of ‘Hate Music’
The phenomenon of ‘hate music’ is wildly popular. There are reportedly over 100 bands and singers within ‘hate music.’ The following are some of the more popular artists and record labels within the industry. While the names of the following artists and bands will likely be unfamiliar to most in mainstream society, those who follow the movement know these artists very well:
Saga: the leading lady of hate music is an artist with the record label Resistance Records. The Swedish-born pop music star began her career over a decade ago as the lead singer in the band Symphony of Sorrow. Saga would progress to a solo career and release several albums. She is immensely popular and has a very strong fan following within the white power movement globally, especially in the U.S. Her official website, which describes her as “The Independent Voice of Europe,” is very sophisticated and savvy. The website features a line of Saga merchandise that includes T-shirts and other merchandise which can be purchased through the site.
Saga has also been referred to as “The Swedish Madonna of The Far-Right” while other admirers in the hate movement have referred to her as “a living legend.” Almost all of her songs are in English, though she does occasionally sing in Swedish.
What separates her from most of the more hardcore artists in the hate music industry is that her physical representation of the white power message is much softer.
Saga’s position as the first lady of hate music is undisputed.
In its 2001 Intelligence Report on the hate music industry, the SPLC along with input compiled by the Center for New Community and Searchlight, listed Saga as a hate music artist for the right-wing extremist movement.
Scott Stedeford and the Day of the Sword: Stedeford was the lead singer in Day of the Sword, a white supremacist rock band. He formed the band in Philadelphia in 1995 with fellow band members Michael Brescia and Kevin McCarthy. Stedeford was also the band’s drummer and organizer.
However, signing songs of racial hate and the ultimate white supremacist dream of the fall of the federal government and the rise of a exclusively white America was simply not enough for Stedeford and Brescia.
An image of Scott Stedeford, the lead singer of the white supremacist rock band, Day of the Sword. Stedeford was also a member of the Aryan Republican Army (ARA), a domestic terrorism organization that was active during the mid 90's with the expressed purpose of violently overthrowing the government and establishing the United States as an all white nation. Stedeford is currently serving a 30 year prison sentence for his part in the terror group.
Both men became members of the militant group known as the Aryan Republican Army (ARA). From January 1994 to December 1995, Stedeford, Brescia and other members of the ARA under the command of it's two leaders, Richard Guthrie and Peter Langan carried out a string of heavily armed and well-coordinated bank robberies in the Midwestern states of Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas and Kentucky. The group is reported to have even once robbed a bank while disguised as FBI and ATF agents.
Exact numbers on the ARA’s roster are unclear but may have included anywhere from a dozen to as many as several dozen members.
Screen grab - The History Channel: Army of Hate
Aryan Republican Army member brandishing a handgun while making a propaganda video. The Aryan Republican Army (ARA), a domestic terrorism organization that was active during the mid 90's with the expressed purpose of violently overthrowing the government and establishing the United States as an all white nation.
The ARA is believed to have obtained many of their weapons from Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe, white supremacist brothers who traveled the nation while supplying militant hate groups with high-powered weaponry and explosives.
Chevie has been linked to three murders and the bombing of a courthouse in Spokane, Washington.
The Kehoe brothers were captured after a nationwide manhunt sparked by a violent shootout with state troopers in Ohio during a traffic stop. Cheyne is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence while Chevie is serving a life-term.
Though it has never been independently verified, there is some speculation that the ARA may have had contact with right-wing anti-government extremist Timothy McVeigh and assisted with the funding or planning of the April 19, 1995 truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal office building in Oklahoma City that killed 168.
United States Department of Defense
An image of the Alfred P. Murrah building just two days after it was decimated by a truck bombing on April 19, 1995 at approximately 9:02 in the morning. The bombing which was carried out by anti-government militants Timothy McVeigh and co-conspirator Terry Nichols, killed 168 people and wounded another 500. McVeigh and Nichols were convicted of the crime. McVeigh was executed in August 2001 while Nichols is currently serving a life sentence in prison.
Before its members were finally caught by the FBI in late 1995, the ARA had robbed 22 banks and netted between $250,000 and $500,000. The group had planned to use the money to finance acts of terrorism against the U.S.
None of the money was ever recovered.
In a statement to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, Mike Reynolds of the SPLC told the Maryland-based institute:
“These people had a support system. They had safe-houses and very good false documents. They were clearly preparing for something beyond bank robberies.”
Stedeford was captured by the FBI in Philadelphia and is currently serving a 30-year sentence. Fellow bandmate Brescia was also captured by the FBI. The band’s first (and only) album, Hail Victory, was released shortly after Stedeford was sentenced to prison.
The popular Day of the Sword song, "There is no Doubt,” is a supposed white supremacist anthem of sorts with lyrics that exalt the professed “greatness” of whites as “The Master Race:”
History is our proof of western civilization/A lineage so supreme, with its Christian foundation/No legacy is as great, nothing else with such worth/We’re a holy and special people above all others of the Earth.
While the song’s chorus is as follows:
Beyond the shadow of a doubt…The Master Race!
The White Pride Worldwide banner.
Bully Boys: an American ‘hatecore’ band from the state of Texas affiliated with the Hammerskins, a very violent and hardcore group of skinheads. The band was originally signed to Panzerfaust Records, a neo-Nazi record label. However, that record label was finally shutdown in January 2005 amidst a series of infighting and controversy. Though Panzerfaust Records is no longer in business, the Bully Boys are still very much active in the 'hate music' industry. In fact, the Bully Boys are one of the top acts in 'hate music.'
End Apathy: In 2005, Wade Michael Page started his own hatecore band, End Apathy. Page was the sole member of his band until drummer Ozzie Babbitt and guitarist Brent Rackley joined in 2008. Page wrote the band’s music and was its lead singer.
The End Apathy MySpace page for the band describes it as “old school” with “punk and metal” influences. The band also describes its music as “a sad commentary on our sick society and the problems that prevent true progress.”
Page believed that whites were capable of more and had said that his inspiration behind forming End Apathy was “frustration that we have the potential to accomplish so much more as individuals and a society in whole.”
Dave Herrera, a music news reporter for Denver Westword’s Backbeat music blog, had this to say about the style of the band’s music:
While the music and imagery of some of the other groups Page was reportedly associated with contain more overt racism, the music of End Apathy seems to reflect a more dour, nihilistic slant…
End Apathy’s songs include such titles as, “Submission” and “Useful Idiots.”
The following are lyrics from Submission: Trust is a prelude to betrayal/Honesty gives way to deception/Compassion is a weakness/Honor a sacrifice/Adapt to the trying times/Or pay with your life/Valor is all but pointless/When no one is at your side/Your heart's and mind's controlled by fear/As you stumble through this strife/Your meekness is perfected/Human values compromised/You betray your dignity for this miserable life
SPLC has described the band as a “racist white power” trio and Page in particular as a “frustrated neo-Nazi.”
In 2011, after several years as a hanger-on in the neo-Nazi skinhead scene, Page was finally granted full membership into the Hammerskins.
Yet another personal highlight for Page and his band came earlier this year when End Apathy was granted a semi-mainstream venue to perform at in the form of the 2012 Battle of the Bands, an event sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink. The End Apathy was allowed to perform at the event despite its overt links to white supremacy.
Rockstar did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by Digital Journal about End Apathy being granted admission into this year’s Battle of the Bands tournament and whether or not other neo-Nazi bands would be allowed to perform at the event in the future.
Hate watchdog groups say End Apathy has been a popular band at many Hammerskin-organized white power music concerts over the past two years.
The band permanently broke up after Page’s death following the August 5, shooting spree at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
The most popular and elite talent in the white power music industry are actually able to make a living as full-time professional artists. However, the vast majority of the estimated 100 to 150 bands and artists make very little money in this industry and hold regular day jobs while performing on the weekends, holidays or vacations. Most of the bands and artists in ‘hate music’ will never get rich though most will readily admit that they are not in it for the money. Most do it because they like to perform before live audiences and receive the adulation of fans while advancing the white supremacist cause by spreading the message of hate through their songs.
While being an artist in the ‘hate music’ industry may pay next to nothing, it provides some artists the chance to live out their dreams as racist rock stars.
The ADL reveals that the record labels and the CEOs behind them make the real money in the ‘hate music’ industry. There are over a dozen white power record labels currently in existence, some of the following are listed below:
Resistance Records: currently the largest and most known of the white power record labels. Resistance Records was also the first record label of the hate music industry. Its origins can be traced back to Michigan in 1993 though it would eventually relocate to Hillsboro, West Virginia where it has been based since the late 90’s.
Through its website, Resistance Records reportedly receives dozens of orders a day from customers all over the world. The label also publishes Resistance, a music magazine that features white power music artists and has a circulation of nearly 14,000 (a large number in the white power movement).
According to the ADL, Resistance Records once took in as much as $1 million annually – a rather significant amount for a white supremacist group.
A few years ago, the label also operated a web-based radio station, Resistance Radio, which streamed white power music across the Internet 24 hours a day.
However, Resistance Record has seen better days. The record label, though the oldest and most known, is no longer viewed as popular or cutting edge by many listeners and has had its hands full competing against rival record labels for fans and artists. Both the SPLC and ADL also site infighting and poor management by Erich Gliebe, a prominent white supremacist and CEO of Resistance Records.
Label 56: is a record label based in Linthicum, Maryland that also distributes recordings by dozens of white power bands from the United States and Europe. The record label and distributor portrays itself, its music and artists as a radical departure from the mainstream. On it’s website, Label 56 promotes itself as "revolutionary" while employing progressive sounding slogans such as: "independent music for independent minds" and "cultural change through music and activism."
Screen grab of Label 56 official site
Along with a 50’s era microphone and a flaming music note, the Label 56 logo includes a shattered vinyl record with the label “mainstream,” an unmistakable illustration of the record label’s disdain for modern-day mainstream pop culture and entertainment in all of its forms. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Label 56 is a white supremacist record label.
Upon cursory glance the white supremacy is less apparent on Label 56 than it is on the websites of other ‘hate music’ record labels. However, a more detailed and critical analysis, especially by someone familiar with the murky world of white supremacists, soon reveals the hateful content that serves as the driving force behind the site and the record label itself.
SPLC has described Label 56’s official site as a "white supremacist website.”
Label 56 is the record label for such white power ‘hatecore’ bands as Final War, Force Fed Hate, Absolute Terror and Spirit of the Patriot.
Label 56 is also the record label of the ‘hatecore’ band End Apathy, whose lead vocalist, Wade Michael Page, perpetrated last month’s shooting spree at the Sikh temple which resulted in the deaths of seven and left four others critically wounded, including a police officer.
In April 2010, Page was interviewed by Label 56. In the interview, Page reveals that he started the band to “figure out how to end people's apathetic ways” and that it would "be the start towards moving forward."
In a bid to distance itself from the temple shooting atrocity, the record label scrubbed it's website clean of all music, interviews and any other content featuring Page and End Apathy. Label 56 also released an official public statement condemning Page's violent rampage. However, many hate group watchdogs have not loan the statement much credence due to the fact that the controversial record label continues to openly support artists who preach and advocate hate and violence in their lyrics.
In an interview with Democracy Now host Amy Goodman, SPLC director Mark Potok referred to the Label 56 statement condemning Page's shooting and expressing sympathy towards the victims as "hogwash."
Besides promoting white power music artists, the controversial record label also sells a wide array of white supremacist paraphernalia directly through its website, including hate music CDs, shirts and hooded sweaters featuring the names of popular ‘hatecore’ artists.
A white supremacist magazine called “Homo Superior” can be purchased from the site as can the infamous novel Hunter.
Screen grab of Label 56
October 5, 2012, screen grab of the home page of Label 56's official website. The lower right corner of the page features a musical collaboration between 'hate music' metal bands Youngland and PWA entitled "Double Strike." The white supremacist imagery is very rich. Note the Confederate flag adorning the illustrated Youngland arm while PWA is an acronym for "Preserve White Aryans."
Hunter is a 1989 novel about a white supremacist that stalks and then murders interracial couples and civil rights activists in and around the Washington, D.C. area.
The novel is very popular in white supremacist circles.
It was authored by William Pierce (now deceased), a prominent white supremacist leader, under the pseudonym "Andrew Macdonald."
Pierce is also the author of The Turner Diaries, a novel glorifying hate crimes and terrorism that was said to be the inspiration behind the Oklahoma City Bombing perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nicolas. At least 168 people were killed and another 500 wounded in the 1995 attack.
FBI agents also discovered a copy of Hunter during a search of Terry Nicolas’ residence after the bombing.
Label 56 did not respond to an email from Digital Journal seeking comment.
Mice Trap Distribution: not an actual record label but a major outlet and distributor of white power music. ‘Hate music’ CDs and other white supremacist merchandise, including shirts, can be purchased from the Mice Trap website. The website also contains a feature where visitors can listen to ‘hatecore’ music from some of the more popular artists in the industry, including tunes from the group calling itself Racist Rednecks Rebels and their latest album "Keep The Hate Alive."
According to the SPLC, Mice Trap Distribution is based in Maple Shade, New Jersey and has been in operation since the late 90’s. It is the invention of Steve Wiegand, a man who was featured as an influential figure in a special autumn 2003 report by the SPLC on leaders and prominent individuals in the right-wing extremist movement.
Over the years, Wiegand has occasionally clashed with other white power record labels and skinhead rock bands who have accused him of bootlegging their music and other shady business practices.
More Than Just Music: Are There Links between ‘Hate Music’ and Acts of Violence?
Can music actually incite violence and even murder?
It is apparent that for some artists, writing and singing lyrics about racial hatred and violence is simply not enough.
In the past, some artists have chosen to go beyond the hateful rhetoric of their lyrics and provide their listeners with real-life examples of the criminal acts that they wish to see enacted against racial and ethnic minorities as well as the U.S. government itself.
For those artists it’s about much more than just a song.
Over the past 20 years ‘hate music’ is believed to have been involved in several violent crimes that have included everything from hate crime beatings of minorities and bank robberies to cold-blooded murder.
Of course, the shooting spree at the Sikh temple this past August by End Apathy lead singer and skinhead, Wade Michael Page, is the most notable example of the apparent link between ‘hate music’ and violence.
ABC News Screen grab
Wade Michael Page, skinhead and lead singer of the white supremacist band, End Apathy. On the morning of August 5, 2012, Page went on a shooting spree at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Seven were killed and seriously wounded several others, including a responding police officer. Page died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head as police surrounded him and were beginning to close in on his position.
And then of course, there is Scott Stedeford, the former lead singer of the white supremacist band, Day of the Sword. As previously discussed, Stedeford moonlighted as a member of the Aryan Republican Army, a terrorist outfit that robbed over two dozen banks throughout the Midwestern region of the U.S. to finance a campaign of terrorism and insurgency designed to topple the government.
But there have also been instances where the listeners and fans of ‘hate music’ have also been seemingly inspired to go forth and perpetrate hate crimes and even murders against minorities after listening songs with violently suggestive lyrics.
‘Hate music’ appears to have played a notable role in the December 7, 1995, murder of an African-American couple by two active-duty U.S. Army paratrooper soldiers who were also members of a skinheads faction in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The two skinheads, James N. Burmeister and Malcolm Wright Jr. were dishonorably discharged from the military and convicted in a civilian criminal court of the execution style shootings of both Michael James, 36, and Jackie Burden, 27 who were enjoying a late night stroll together.
Both Burmeister and Wright were sentenced to life-term prison sentences.
In an op-ed on the ‘hate music’ phenomenon to Newsday this past August, Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, noted that the two skinheads had spent most of the night preparing themselves for the murder of the couple with pitchers of beer while blasting the song “Coon Shootin’ Boogie” and listening to the hate rock superstar band Skrewdriver.
With the recent shooting Wisconsin temple shootings and the appeal of ‘hate music’ to young adult white supremacists, criminal justice officials and analysts have become increasingly concerned with the possibility that white supremacists may be inspired through hate music to carryout future hate crimes and possibly even lone wolf campaigns of domestic terrorism.
While the link between ‘hate music’ and violence seems quite obvious on the surface, analysts are quick to note that things are a bit more complicated than they may initially seem.
The issue of susceptibility seems to play the most significant role in the link between ‘hate music’ and violence with analysts noting that some racists may be more susceptible than others to the violent messages in music of this type.
In a special CNN report on the ‘hate music’ movement, Lonnie Nasatir, the director of the ADL’s Upper Midwest Region office, says that it is often hard know how music will affect a particular person and that while it music is universally powerful, its effects are often indirect.
Nasatir further notes:
“Hate music does sometimes create direct effects. Incidents of hate crimes being committed by people who had just been at a hate music event have been reported. More indirectly, hate music certainly contributes to the shared ideas and notions of the white supremacist movement, including its willing acceptance of violence.”
He goes on to say
“But there is a "chicken and egg" question, too. It is almost certainly the case that, for many white supremacists, the music doesn't motivate them to violence so much as reflect attitudes about hate and violence they already possess. Does the music motivate them to be hateful, or does the fact that they are hateful cause them to appreciate the music? For each individual, there's probably a different answer.”
Basically, the results regarding the link between ‘hate music’ and violence are inconclusive.
Admittedly, the vast majority of white supremacists who listen to ‘hate music’ are not instantly inspired to carryout criminal acts. However, it is also an indisputable fact that music of this type has been linked to acts of violence.
What is certain is that ‘hate music’ remains a pillar of the white power movement while posing a continued threat to society through its potential to incite any of its thousands of listeners to violence.