- I sometimes wonder why I bother, but a gig in Brunswick on the 71st anniversary of the Spanish Revolution is a gig too far…
In three weeks, on July 19, 2008, a gig is scheduled to take place at the East Brunswick Hotel (280 Lygon Street, East Brunswick). The headline act is Sham 69, with support from Bastard Squad, Sin City and T.H.U.G.. The tour is being organised by Faultline Records & Touring, a Melbourne-based heavy metal label, established in 1998 by DW Norton, current CEO and former member of nu metal outfit Superheist.*
Unlike Superheist (1993–2004), T.H.U.G. is a relatively-new, Sydney-based oi! band. Importantly, two of its members — Chumley, vocals, and Simon, drums — last graced the world’s stage as members of White Lightning (c.1986–1988), an Australian neo-Nazi band. White Lightning released one album, We Rule, the title track of which T.H.U.G. still performs. The opening track is ‘Australian Youth’: “Make a stand for your great nation / Against the scum who are going to die”.
The album was subsequently re-recorded and released as ‘Destiny’ on French RAC label Rebelles Européens (1987–1994) in 1990 (RE332190). Although apparently collapsing in 1994, in 1995 Rebelles Européens made a short-lived recovery assisted by an Australian label, White League. White League released a handful of CD recordings before it too dissolved. In addition, another former member of White Lightning, ‘Aussie’ Nigel Brown (No Remorse, Celtic Warrior, Raven’s Wing, Wolfseye), together with a wanker called Billy, re-recorded and re-released We Rule on Welsh label ‘Independent Voice Records’ in 1998.
T.H.U.G. is thus one of a tiny clutch of bands with roots in the neo-Nazi rock ‘n’ roll of the ’80s and ’90s; another is the UK band Tattooed Mother Fuckers (TMF), whose vocalist is Steve “Jonesy” Jones, formerly of neo-Nazi band English Rose. Numerous other ‘patriotic’ bands attempt to hide their reactionary politics behind the flag: Ross of UK oi! band Scum, for example, has recently been outed as a Hitler fetishist by Benson & Hedges. Scum is, in turn, playing a gig with TMF in October, while Australian band The Corps is touring Europe with TMF and Retaliator. Retaliator, TMF, The Corps and Scum are all available through local mail-order Deadset Music (whose proprietor was a patron at the 2006 Ian Stuart Donaldson (ISD) memorial gig). Rock-O-Rama, the German neo-Nazi label, has re-located to Belgium, and re-invented itself as Pure Impact, selling both neo-Nazi and more straightforwardly ‘conservative’ and/or ‘apolitical’ titles.
Locally, Benson & Hedges have announced the impending disaster that will be the ISD memorial gig (2007 | 2006), *ing Douglas Schott’s Viking warriors from Newcastle Blood Red Eagle, a resurrected Ravenous (not to be confused with the Kiwi metalheads), and some schmucks from one of them foreign countries. BRE is available for purchase through local ‘punk’ mailorder Snapshot, along with Skrewdriver, Bound For Glory (UK not US), Fortress (AUS), Legion of St. George (UK), Retaliator (UK) and the incomparable Southern Storm (”Niggers, Jews and Communists / Look out scum, you’re on our list!”). Snapshot is also closely associated with ‘Class War’ in Sydney… which is odd.
Old whine in new bottles has as its concomitant the disembraining and yuppification of underground DIY punk (sub-)culture. In Perth, The Homicides have gladly shared a stage with Murray Holmes (ex-Quick & The Dead, Skrewdriver). Holmes had previously traveled to Melbourne (last year) to perform at the Melbourne Croatia Social Club with a handful of other neo-Nazi bands. The Homicides are planning a split release later this year with T.H.U.G..
As for T.H.U.G., in 2000, Simon was interviewed by a Dutch neo-Nazi zine Out of Order. Simon says:
All my mates were into oi! and white pride as well. I did not know any skinheads that were into oi! and were not white and proud of it. Lefty skinheads would never dare to show their face on the street for fear of getting severely beaten. And that’s the way it should always be…
Best memory was playing a gig in Melbourne, in some pub, can’t remember which, full swing into it and about 30 Maoris drinking in the front bar… I’m sure you can picture what happened. Bedlam. We managed to protect all our gear however. Mic stands make magnificent clubs…
Old time skinheads rule!
For these and other reasons, I thought it might be a good idea to contact the band and ask them a few questions. Here’s the first message:
Date:18 Jun 2008, 11:08 AM
Subject: upcoming gig in melbs / nazi schmazi
yr playing a gig in melb on july 19, and i’d like to know if the band supports the kinda views white lightning did.
if not, it’d be helpful if you said so, esp as yr still playing white lightning songs.
Simon, Out of Order (Dutch RAC zine), 2000:
What is your best memory of White Lightning?
Best memory was playing a gig in Melbourne, in some pub, can’t remember which, full swing into it and about 30 Maoris drinking in the front bar… I’m sure you can picture what happened. Bedlam. We managed to protect all our gear however. Mic stands make magnificent clubs.
Chumley, The Stormtroop (Australian RAC zine), 1988:
Do you have any opinion on the current crisis in the West Bank between the Jews and the Palestinians?
As everyone can see the ever troublesome Jews are up to their old tricks by causing mass disorder. So we think that the Palestinians should wipe the Jews out and take back Palestine, then we should go in and wipe the Arabs off the face of the Earth.
What do you think of the Australian Nationalists Movement?
It makes a lot of sense.
And here’s the second:
Date: 28 Jun 2008, 11:37 AM
Subject: nazi schmazi
it’s been well over a week since i wrote you, and no reply. i’m therefore assuming that the band is happy for chumley and simon’s previous views and affiliations to remain in force, and will continue to do so until such time as they (and t.h.u.g.) makes a public statement disavowing racism and fascism.
Hopefully, the band will declare some of its members support for neo-Nazism an unhappy memory.
In the meantime, some not-so-nu metal:
- *”Our goal today is the same as when we started,” states Superheist founder/guitarist/producer DW Norton firmly. “To be one of the biggest bands in the world.” Given that Superheist formed in Melbourne in 1993 as a brutal grindcore outfit, their plans for world domination could, back then at least, have been placed safely in the file marked “wishful thinking”. After all, Top 40 success rarely follows bands with vocalists who sound like they gargle acid for kicks. But then Superheist have never been a band afraid to aim high. “We wanted to play extreme, fast and heavy, scary music, and we did that,” continues DW of the band’s early intentions. “All we want to do now is play good, solid, heavy rock with great songs. We’ve decided that it’s not playing fast and aggressive that counts, it’s getting the right songs and making us happy and satisfied and accomplished as songwriters.”