Joe Nelson going for the Ian MacKaye
Joe Nelson is in the holiday spirit and has given us here at DCXX yet another great story like only he can. This time Joe dives into the white power skinhead scene that seemed to infiltrate the late 80's hardcore scene. Like any other Joe Nelson story, he's got a knack for pulling humor out of anything and everything. For those that remember the late 80's scourge of white power skins, you'll definitely get a kick out of this. For those that missed it, consider yourselves lucky. -Tim DCXX
It's around this time of year, where I start thinking of friends, family, holiday stuff, and of course the 1980's White Power Skinhead movement. It's probably because after interviewing Tom Metzger, the movement's pseudo rock star sometime during the fall of 2002, I ended up creating a holiday card, which went out to my closest friends. The card was a picture of Metzger and I with the greeting of "Whishing You A White Christmas". I hadn't even realized I'd misspelled the word "wishing" until years later a girlfriend pointed it out to me. "Even better" I thought. It just makes it so much more authentic.
I was first exposed to the existence of the skinheads from going to shows in Southern California during the 80s. There were many different skinhead gangs in the area; distinguished by either a certain color of suspender, or the way they laced their boots or even a combination of the two. It was very confusing, so I didn't pay too much attention to them. I had a shaved head as well, but that was only because Ian MacKaye shaved his head. There were also gangs that shaved their heads, but also made it clear that they were not a part in any way shape or form of the other people at the show with shaved heads. In fact the whole point of their gang was to make sure they were recognized as the true people with shaved heads, and that the other gang was looked on as hijackers of that haircut. Like I said, it was very confusing.
Around the moment the skinheads were showing up at gigs, the local trash talk shows on T.V. started running exposes of these groups. That's where Metzger came into focus. He and his son John made the talk show rounds, talking their talk, longing for some sort of segregation to come back into our lives, and basically making a pretty strong play to the disenfranchised losers out there to come on down, and join up. Their groups were the Tom-run White Aryan Resistance (WAR), and the John-run, but strings-pulled-by-Tom, Aryan Youth Movement (AYM). Both groups even included armbands of like a wolf, or some type of Nazi skull with an eye patch.
The infamous Joe Nelson / Tom Metzger Christmas card
As the Metzger affiliated gangs gained notoriety, their followers started to show up in greater numbers to more and more shows, or other places we'd hang. I remember at an Agnostic Front show out in San Bernardino there were at least 30 of them Sieg Heiling the band. Then down at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, a bunch of them including John Metzger himself were handing out literature. I ended up in a conversation with one if the lieutenants who actually thought I might be "down for the cause."
I asked him, humoring myself, "what's the difference between White Power and White Pride?" 'Cause I might be down for the White Pride part, since it is a lyric in a Black Flag song, but the White Power thing is a little extreme for me."
"Well you know...White Pride just means you're proud of your race...you know your heritage...where White Power means we want to keep things in power, keep the Blacks out."
"Oh yeah that makes...ummmmm...a lot of sense...sooo...well...what if I'm German and Norwegian? Which heritage am I more proud of?"
"Ummmm...well...ya know you're White...so that...or maybe...German probably."
Obviously he didn't know the answer, or he considered "White" the answer to a person's heritage. Immediately another of his friends who's rank I could not determine stepped in and handed me a sticker which simply said, "White men built this nation, White men are this nation." Apparently that was intended to clear up any confusion I may have had. Wow, what a top-notch organization these fuckers have, I thought.
A few weeks after getting my 1st sticker I ran into the Lieutenant and 30 of his friends at another show in some community center down in San Diego. As I walked by him he shot me a "what up" nod. "Fucking great" I thought, "Now, I'm on a what up basis with these jackals." Somewhere in between the 45-minute change over of bands that was commonplace in those days they approached me.
"Hey brother, I never got your name," said the lieutenant.
"Joe" I answered, immediately thinking "DAMNIT WHY DID I GIVE HIM MY REAL NAME?"
"Really?" I half chuckled.
"Yeah,why?" he shot back.
"Well...ummm...ya know?...well...cuz...it's a Jewish name?...or has Jewish origins"...I said sheepishly, realizing I was making blunder, after blunder now.
"It's not a fucking JEW NAME...where did you get that?"
"Ummm...well...ya know? The Bible?...ummm King David?...Ya know? King of the Jews? David and Goliath?"
David's eyes were glazed over. He wasn't buying any of it.
"Forget it I said...bad joke."
David eyeballed me a little. His soldiers also surrounded me in a half circle, employing some sort of military strategy I assumed. Perhaps tactics the Scotts employed against the English at The Battle Of Stirling Bridge, or maybe they were relying on the strategy Wellington used when facing Napoleon at Waterloo. It was hard for me to tell, but then again, unlike these guys I had never trained for the military in my bedroom late at night.
Then suddenly, and without any warning one of their crew handed me another sticker. This one depicted a good honest white guy who was just reading his book, minding his own business, when all of a sudden a Jew attacks him using his nose in the same manner a mosquito would to drain the blood from his back. "Attack of the Parasite King" it exclaimed.
"Thanks" I said, realizing I now had 2 stickers from the organization.
I attempted with all my might to force my hair to grow at least another inch so they'd leave me alone. It didn't work. Instead we talked for a few more minutes. David told me about the Metzger's, WAR, and AYM. He also spoke with crazy historical inaccuracy of Hitler, and the Nazis, somehow tying what they were about to what these 30 or so skinheads were about. It made absolutely no sense, but I wasn't about to make any more blunders as I had earlier by insinuating the name "David" was Hebrew. No fucking way. Instead I nodded, and occasionally said things like "cool," or "interesting" so they would be fooled into believing we were actually having a conversation.
The skins eventually dispersed, and later on were the victors in an extremely fair fight which showcased all of them beating a lone, long haired Chicano kid to a pulp, while the rest of us watched meekly, cowardly. No matter how I felt, we felt, or anybody felt, what had become clearly apparent was the David "The King of The Skins", and his bald soldiers had infiltrated our world. They were now in charge of the clubs, at least the ones south of Los Angeles County. Somewhere "The Battle of The Bulge Part Deux" had occurred, and the Nazis had gained a foothold on American soil, even if that foothold was made up of only 30 or so pairs of $150 Doc Martin covered feet, leading to a single half lit brain, filled with Metzgerisms.
Seriously though, what the fuck was going on? I tried to rationalize that as a child growing up in the 70s and 80s a lot of us romanticized fighting the Nazis as our grandfathers had done. Perhaps then this was our calling? Perhaps we were at the dawn of our own little World War II? Perhaps we'd actually get our own chance to rid the world of Nazis. Except our world would be a lot smaller and contain a rented P.A., and the War itself would have absolutely no historical relevance, and be in fact totally meaningless in the scope of, well, anything. Little did I know, that chance, along with everything else I was pondering was indeed actually coming...and coming soon.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 10:09 PM