The Sikh Temple Shooter's Racist Rock Subculture
Wade Michael Page was part of rock's white power scene.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: August 6th, 2012
ade Michael Page, the gunman in the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin, was part of one of the lesser-known—and less entertaining—subgenres in rock. Page was in a white power skinhead band called End Apathy. Racist skinhead bands have existed on the margins of the punk rock and heavy metal scenes since the early 1980s, twisting those genres’ expressions of anger and rebellion into shallow, hate-filled screeds.
The skinhead subculture originated in England in the late 1960s. Originally a non-racist working-class movement based on an appreciation of ska, reggae, and soul music, the skinhead movement was revived in the late ‘70s around newer ska and punk rock bands (also non-racist) like The Specials, Selector, Bad Manners, Sham 69, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, and Cock Sparrer.
While the movement already had a very small racist element, the music was not race-based. However, a small subculture arose, inspired by the ideals of Britain’s white nationalist National Front.
The emergence of the racist element in punk rock inspired the Dead Kennedy’s anthemic song "Nazi Punks Fuck Off."
When punk band Skrewdriver (originally a non-racist band) reformed in the early ‘80s and aligned themselves with far-right white nationalist politics, they brought the racist skinhead culture to prominence.
The emergence of the racist element in punk rock inspired the Dead Kennedy’s anthemic song “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” but that song proved far more popular than any of the bands it was written in reaction to.
Racism in popular music has existed for a long time. Since the 1940s country music has had a small racist underground. The rise of speed metal in the ‘80s and ‘90s saw the creation of the racist National Socialist black metal movement. White nationalism also emerged in pop music in the early 2000s when Prussian Blue, a Holocaust-denying racist duo comprised of twin pre-teen girls made a minor splash.
Wade Page’s band, End Apathy grew out of the hardcore punk rock movement. His band was virtually unknown until Page became notorious for the Sikh temple shooting. Like all music inspired by racism and hatred, Page’s music was unremarkable. Racist music appeals to the very few people it does appeal to because of its paranoid, racist vision of the world, and certainly not because of the music. It's as though the qualities that people like Page really hate in other races are their ability to have rhythm, the ease with which they express deep emotion, and the way their music swings.