The global network of neo-Nazi rockers

The Herald, Scotland/January 26, 2014

By Neil Mackay

The slogan of the US neo-Nazi record label Panzerfaust pretty much sums up what white power music is all about:

"We don't just entertain racist kids, we help create them."

Some years back, I spent six months travelling the world, making a documentary about white power music and its role in funding and inspiring the far-right on a global scale. It took me from an armed neo-Nazi camp in the hills of West Virginia - run by former boxer "The Aryan Barbarian" and his wife, a one-time go-go dancer with the stage name Holly Caust - to the back streets of northern English towns; and from a hate rock festival besieged by German police to the racist underbelly of seemingly charming European cities like Milan and Stockholm.

In Britain, the white power scene has long propped up far-right parties like the old National Front and the BNP. Seminal British white power band Skrewdriver were closely linked to BNP leader Nick Griffin in his youth. Griffin well knows the power that music has when it comes to getting a message of hate across to young kids. I filmed him with his hangers-on setting up Great White Records, the BNP music label.

David Hannam, Great White Records managing director, told me: "Any money raised by sales will go directly to the BNP ... Young people love anything that is seen as rebellious so, when the social workers and the teachers and the parents go 'that's taboo', the hope is that young people always rebel, and in our opinion if they are going to rebel, we would like them to do it our way and to listen to our music."

Griffin told me: "People will listen to a song over and over again, and take all the words in, in a way that you would be very lucky to get one in 100 of them to listen to a speech. Music is a very effective way of getting our views across."

The naked hatred of much white power music is breathtaking. Take Grinded Nig, an American Nazi band, whose album Freezer Full of N****r Heads features a song entitled Jackhammered N****r P***y. In Milan and Stockholm, I met two white power "goddesses", dripping with hatred for Jews and immigrants, and fawned over by their besotted male fans. Saga, from Sweden, is known internationally as "the Madonna of the Far Right".

One leading light in white power music in the UK and across Europe is a Scot called Steve Cartwright, a former member of the ultra-extremist group Combat 18 and also one of the organisers of Blood and Honour, the outfit which runs white power gigs in Britain. Cartwright is also partly responsible for bringing a concept called Project Schoolyard to Britain. Inspired by the US Panzerfaust label, it involved activists handing out CDs of white power music to children outside schools.

I travelled to a sleepy town outside Leipzig with Cartwright and the English white power band Whitelaw for an illegal Nazi music festival. More than 1000 neo-Nazis took over a dilapidated hotel for the concert. Within hours the place was ringed by hundreds of German police, attack dogs and riot vans. A standoff took place, with many of the German fans chanting at police outside: "Death to Zog!" (Zog stands for Zionist Occupied Government.) Tensions rose and as the cops cuffed and arrested young skinheads; a local politician arrived to calm things down - a guy called Klaus Jurgen Menzel, deputy leader of the regional NDP, Germany's main far-right party.

Menzel, who grew up during the war, told the cops to leave the young Nazis alone, hugged the members of Whitelaw and told me he wanted to educate these kids so they became good patriotic Germans.

Back in Britain, Steve, Whitelaw's bassist (who has a sticker on his guitar that reads "My boss is an Austrian painter") took me to his home near Cambridge. After shaving his head and polishing his oxblood DMs, he tells me: "For things to get better, they have to get worse, and to me that means I'd let every asylum seeker into this country who wants to come in. I would. I'd let them all in because that would cause enough unrest to give me my way."

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