I don’t know if the Southern Poverty Law Center’s HateWatch site has got its facts straight in identifying the Sikh Temple murderer as a “frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white-power band,” but color me amazed (and perhaps naive) by this whole skinhead music subculture, which I tend to identify with a distant time (the 1970s and 1980s) and place (the United Kingdom and Europe generally).

Hatewatch links to a bizarre, politically-veiled interview with the alleged killer in what is apparently a white supremacist website, and comments:

[Wade] Page told the website that he had been a part of the white power music scene since 2000, when he left his native Colorado on a motorcycle. He attended white power concerts in Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Colorado. At various times, he said, he also played in the hate rock bands Youngland (2001-2003), Celtic Warrior, Radikahl, Max Resist, Intimidation One, Aggressive Force and Blue Eyed Devils. End Apathy, he said, included “Brent” on bass and “Ozzie” on drums; the men were former members of Definite Hate and another band, 13 Knots.

Ugh. Back in the mid-1980s, I once went with some work colleagues to a bar in an inner suburb of Atlanta to hear some “friends” of theirs perform, and was disgusted to discover that a good third of their tunes were openly racist. But they were a country band drawing from a metropolitan area (if not the immediate vicinity of the venue, where such sentiments would have swiftly earned the musicians a major ass-kicking) where white racism was still relatively open and abundant. Yet their following was decidedly word-of-mouth, and I don’t recall hearing of any “white power concerts.”

Shocking what you can discover if you kick over the right rock.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.