March 02, 2009

DEPT. OF JUS' SAYIN' (UPDATED)

Update on some things we were discussing about Black Metal here last spring. A press release that just arrived:

NACHTMYSTIUM Booted From The Scion Rock Fest Bill

In a statement made on Friday, February 27, 2009: "NACHTMYSTIUM has sad news today with a once-again recurring issue surfacing from the wake of our past. We've been forced, at the request of the promoters and the folks at Scion / Toyota, to pull out of the Scion Rock Fest, scheduled for Saturday, February 28. This news came to us just this past Tuesday and was very disheartening to say the least. A troubling, and unjustly-applied notion that we are, or ever have been, in any way, a 'Nazi' band or a political band on any level, is completely absurd and we are disgusted that there is someone out there who really believes we are of this ilk. It made it as far as the sponsors of this event's desks, and now we are forced to pull out of it after some political threatening on the part of these ridiculously uneducated person/people who have caused this ruckus.

"We'd like to make light of at least one aspect of this situation and use the opportunity to once again clear the air — we are, IN NO WAY, a 'Nazi' band. We do NOT support such groups, political beliefs or bands that are affiliated with that world. We have canceled tours in the past and dodged working with bands and people BECAUSE they had these ideologies and we never wanted to be affiliated with it. Yet, here we are, a metal band whose members are more like hippies than your typical leather-clad metal maniacs, and we're being falsely accused of this association once again. We will be taking legal action against the people who slandered us in this situation, and in the future will file defamation / slander charges against any person or organization who attempts to prevent us from performing anywhere, especially in the United States. We are as offended by this as someone might be at the notion of a Nazi band playing a big corporate-sponsored festival. So — let it be known loud and clear for the LAST TIME, we ARE NOT a Nazi band, ARE NOT political, are certainly NOT racists and DO NOT support that world or any band, person or business affiliated with it.

"My deepest apologies to all of our friends, fans and people who have worked on and supported us being a part of this festival, we are sorry for these awful circumstances and you can be certain this will not defeat us." - Blake Judd

Maybe the people at Scion googled this interview with Blake from March 2005 where he calls MTV a Zionist plot repressing America teens and calls people fags? The band's wiki page recently went from


Nachtmystium’s first album, Reign of the Malicious, was released on Unholy Records, a National Socialist black metal label.[19] In 2006, Judd said that, “In the past, we’ve had some indirect ties to labels and bands that are part of the NS scene. At one point not too many years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for NS labels or bands to trade and work with non-politically motivated bands and labels because at the end of the day, we’re all trying to promote, release, and be involved with music—all politics aside. Today it seems like there’s less of a connection, at least for me and my label. We don’t oppose people’s right to be ‘NS’ or whatever—that’s a personal choice, and if you live in the USA, you have the right to that opinion. Even though I personally, my band(s) and my label have absolutely no interest in being a part of that scene, I will ALWAYS take their side when it comes to their freedom of speech being imposed upon.”

to a hastily redacted mess.

Zach Baron at the Voice unpacks it here: "Still, there are many people who will take a certain satisfaction in throwing Judd's blasé attitude about having had very real dealings with some very bad people back in his face, and that's what the Scion thing was about, most likely. The inverse point--that black metal has a complicated relationship to 'NS' stuff that doesn't reduce neatly down to the PC dictates of, say, indie-rock; and that this fact is what keeps it dangerous and real to whole large group of people who do not otherwise consider themselves to be racist in any way shape or form--is a common one in the USBM scene. "

Yeah, racism is certainly one way to keep music dangerous. I think what Zach is getting at here--that transgression is the fundamental appeal of black metal in general--the ookey/anti-PCness of liking something by corpsepainted elf-eared white power wizards-- but it doesn't just function to sort out the posers from the die-hards. Most everyone just says, well, it's just part and parcel of the genre, or they are toying with Nazi shit in a language we can't understand, am I'm not seig-heiling, so it's cool. But, really, in 2009, is RACISM really something we want to be copping as transgressive-cool? It's excuses all around, Nachtmystium included ("we're not a political band" is skirting the issue), and so fucking what if homophobia and racism are traditional in a genre of music, that shouldn't be a free pass.

I know a lot of people are not interested in moralizing this shit at all, I just think the band is skirting around it. If I contributed an article about say, Lily Allen to White Power Monthly, I don't think I could get away with claiming, well, you know those Nazi's just want credit in the straight world, I'm not down with that racism shit, I just wanted to do my Lily Allen story. It's not like tripping and falling in a hole.


Posted by jessica hopper at March 2, 2009 02:34 PM | TrackBack