A Look at White Power Music Today
by T.K. Kim
A mob of nearly 150 neo-Nazis dressed in bomber jackets and combat boots descended upon a Pennsylvania volunteer fire hall in January for a large white power music concert. Billed as "Uprise 2006," it was organized by the Keystone State Skinheads, a Skinhead gang with six Pennsylvania chapters, and Robert Huber, the operator of the racist record label Final Stand Records. Uprise 2006 featured several of the more popular white-power bands in the U.S., including Teardown, Those Opposed, and Straightlaced Nightmare. The bands carried on the tradition of the British group Skrewdriver, which basically created the "hate rock" genre in the 1980s with simplistic anthems marked by angry lyrics and buzz-saw guitars, such as "Race and Nation": "I believe in the White race! A race apart, we've got a mile start!"
The goals of white-power bands today are to recruit successive generations of young racists to the white-power movement and to make a sizable profit for themselves and for the small companies that distribute their music. There is serious money to be made in hate rock. The neo-Nazi organization National Alliance at one time filled its war chests with hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds from its wholly owned hate-rock subsidiary Resistance Records. This profit potential is why bootlegging is rampant in the semi-underground hate-rock industry, and why the industry is fiercely competitive and more divided now than ever -- ironic twists for a business that's based on marketing a message of white unity above all else.
As the landscape of the white power movement in the U.S. has undergone seismic shifts in the past two years, the hate-rock industry has entered a corresponding phase of power shifts. Former powerhouse music labels such as Resistance have fallen on hard times while others have disappeared from the scene entirely. Panzerfaust, a Minnesota-based operation that at one time was Resistance's most serious competitor, crumbled in early 2005 when it was revealed that its proprietor, Anthony Pierpont, was of Mexican descent.
Now, with Panzerfaust gone and Resistance struggling, a new crop of hate-rock labels and distributors is struggling for shares of the profit and power the major labels let slip. Unlike the mainstream record industry, where bands are contracted exclusively to specific labels, the hate rock business is fueled by distributors who pay individual bands for non-exclusive rights to market and sell their albums. As a result, it's not unusual for records by the most popular white power bands to be sold at the same time by multiple hate-rock labels, and it's relatively easy for new distributors to get in the game. What follows are snapshots of the key players that are currently vying to spread the message of hate through poorly played but lucrative rock 'n' roll.