TRUE TO THE SKINHEAD CULT
This is a translation of “Dem Skinhead-Kult treu”
For original text and photos go to http://www.antifainfoblatt.de/artikel/dem-skinhead-kult-treu
THE ARGUMENT ABOUT OI-BAND STOMPER 98
Sebi and his friends are constantly in trouble. They always have to explain themselves. “I’m really fed up with waffling,” he rants, “but if there’s a brawl with Nazis, I’m in the front row.” (Quotes from an interview in german newspaper “taz” http://www.taz.de/!33174/). Sebi plays in Skinhead-Band Stomper 98, who are often named as a fine example of cultural Greyzone. To blame is the internet, german newspaper “taz” believes, because there was a snapshot floating around the internet showing Sebi together with a Neonazi, posing for the camera. Indeed there’s more facts on and photographs of Stomper 98 that are worth being scrutinized.
Sebastian “Sebi” Walkenhorst comes from the extreme Right. Around 1990, at the age of 16, he joines the rightwing Skinheadscene in Delmenhorst (near Bremen). Two years later he’s the bass player of Naziband Boots Brothers and consequently an active Neonazi, spreading propaganda via music and interviews and helping to fashion the Neonazi world. Moving to Goettingen moves him away from the rightwing scene and lets him discover the multiethnic roots of the “Skinhead cult”. In 1998 he founds “anti-racist” Oi-band Stomper 98. Walkenhorst is a drop-out that doesn’t have to deliver what other drop-outs are expected to do: self-reflection on his way of life (which he seamlessly and almost unconfined transferred from right to anti-right), and, most of all: to break with and burn all bridges to his former scene.
A TIME TRIP BACK TO YOUNGER DAYS
April 12th 2008 was kind of a trip to the past, if only for a few hours. Boot Boys Hildesheim (see page 16) who are riddled with Neonazis organized a concert of rightwing rock band Indecent Exposure. Shortly after the event photos of the event were uploaded to a private website. One of these photographs shows Walkenhorst arm in arm with Jens Brandt, head of Germany’s senior Neonazi-band Endstufe, both raising their fists to the camera. Confronted with the photograph Walkenhorst explains the concert to him had been “like a time trip back to my younger days” – the time when he got to know Jens Brandt. “When the 4-Skins uncorked a surprise and played some of their old songs there was no stopping us, it got out of control”. And in this loose atmosphere, the snapshot “just happened”. Walkenhorst acts contrite, yet defiant: “Nevertheless we’ll do like the band that played the moment that snapshot happened: “We won’t say say sorry to anyone!”
In October 2008 79 page “Red agitation pamphlet” documented facts on and photos of Stomper 98 in order to prevent the band’s 10th birthday party on november 15th 2008 in cultural centre “Conne Island” in Leipzig. But Conne Island’s main booker vouched for the band, the concert took place, and Stomper 98 and the Templars played cover versions of “Boehse Onkelz” songs – their “old” songs. On stage next to Walkenhorst that evening: Michaela J. of Bootboys Hildesheim.
The liaison between members of Stomper 98 and Bootboys Hildesheim at that time was obviously much more intense than Stomper 98 are willing to admit. Bass player Tommy Toxpack posed for a photograph wearing a shirt of “Riot Crew Bootboys Hildesheim”. On november 1st 2008, two days after Stomper 98 had accused their critics of “contorting and manipulating things” the next Skinhead party took place in Hildesheim. Three members of Stomper 98 were present and so was Heidi S., then living in Goettingen and a member of the local Neonazis’s inner circle for years already. One party pic shows Stomper 98’s Tobias Flacke (git) in intimate togetherness with Heidi S. Everybody knew who she was or could have easily identified her as a Nazi by the triskeles (sort-of three-armed swastika, often used in place of the outlawed original) tattoed on her face in place of eyebrows. Few months after that party Flacke will declare: “Our band’s circle of friends and acquaintaces is free of rightwing vermin! We don’t even tolerate them ourselves.” (Ox magazine)
FUNDAMENTAL CONSENSUS: ANTI-RACISM
In April 2009, Tobias Flacke states in an article in left-wing newspaper “taz”: “There’s only one fundamental consensus (…) and that’s anti-racism.” To act as a referee, “taz” doesn’t fail to mention that Flacke was once a member of the green party and a member of the common borough of Bad Iburg, but left the party as a protest against the foreign deployment of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. They also mention his cousin being a member of the Linkspartei. “Guilty by asssociation” – they despise that line of argument when it’s used against them and embrace it when it serves to clear themselves of suspicion. In an interview with Ox magazine, Lars Iversen (bass) comes up with something even better: “Colour of skin doesn’t matter, what’s important is this: are you a Skinhead or not? Being a Skinhead alone is a sufficient statement against fascism and racism.” Question settled, full stop. Whenever it get’s hard to prove that Stomper 98 simply cannot be rightwing that’s a job for Phil Rigaud aka Phil Templar. Based in New York and working as a health professional he’s the drummer of Templars and Stomper 98 and, rumour has it, volunteers his time to care for the homeless. And he’s black. Still he could be compromised with pictures and stories very similar to those of Walkenhorst. A glance at Rigauds Bands shows why.
THE BLACK DRUMMER AND HIS BANDS
Stomper 98 is part of a close-knit circle of bands that share labels, splits, CD appearances, stages and musicians. Phil Rigaud plays a major role in this. Around 2000 he was the drummer of US-Band First Strike who in accordance with the US Right’s values sang: „Red scum, we say hang those bastards high (…) Red scum, soon you’re gonna fuckin die, you got no American Pride“. Rigaud disclaims any responsability for spreading rightwing ideology. After an interim breakup in october 2008 Rigaud masterminded the return of First Strike in a concert together with the Templars and spanish rightwing bands Ultimo Asalto and Glory Boys in New York. Rigaud is a founding member of the Templars (1991) and sat in on the release of “The glory it once was” in 1997, in which the band displays xenophobic, social Darwinist views: „Fuck the third world let them starve (…) Fuck trade wars, we’ll close our doors, Fuck immigration we’ve got our own population.“ The Templars and Stomper 98 cultivate their friendship since 1999 when they did a split-EP and played many gigs together. The Templars were also guests of honor at the band’s 10th birthday party which took place at the Conne Island.
“UNPOLITICAL” MADE EASY: BATTLE ZONE
Stomper 98 still cling to the Skinhead-cult and sucessfully work at becoming a cult band themselves. The extreme Right is an accepted part of that cult, as long as they’re authentic Skinheads and able to put their politics second – even if it’s only for one night. That’s the law that Stomper 98 have submitted to. That’s why they have arranged themselves with Heidi S. Apart from that, a merely formal commitment to be “unpolitical” is enough to prove integrity. Is there another way than this to explain their concert with the Templars and “cult band” Battle Zone june 2008 in New York? Battle Zone come from the hardcore english Neonazi-scene and broke up in 1994 after an internal disagreement in Blood & Honour’s network. Bandleader Alex Ellui left England under pressure of Combat 18 and emigrated to Peru in 1999 where he set up Battle Zone anew, only this time with peruvian musicians and as an unpolitical Oi-band that “only wants to make music”. Ellui pretended to have abandoned his racist views. When “his” musicians were unable to get a visa for a concert in the us in june 2008, he “borrowed” guest musicians from the Templars and Stomper 98. The gig was announced in gothic type as “ISP Blitzkrieg 08”. Battle Zone played under their old name and their old band logo, only their “old” Nazi lyrics were, according to their own statement, toned down. Rigaud had alredy played for Battle Zone in 2006 at a concert in legendary NY punk club CBGB. “Cult singer” Alex Ellui proved how serious he was about walking way from the extreme rightwing skinhead scene by playing a concert at “Skincore-Fest” in Rio de Janeiro with Endstufe and other extreme rightwing bands.
CULT ICONS TOO: INDECENT EXPOSURE AND 4SKINS
“The photo exists, it was a mistake and i have drawn my consequences. It’s not gonna happen to me again.” says Walkenhorst in an interview with Ox magazine about the Jens Brandt “snapshot”, but his answer is ambigous as to what exactly was the mistake and what consequences he will draw. Maybe he won’t attend another 4Skins concert, particularly because he doesn’t like their 2010 CD “The Return”. In a review Walkenhorst wrote for Ox magazine, he says the lyrics of the song “Take no more” are nothing but “a sequence of “shite, prejudices and waffling of old, unsatisfied barflys”. One line of the song reads: „Immigrants overrun our land, Benefits office with an outstretched hand. Competing for our homes and jobs, begging in their gypsy mobs. Our country is full, fear the worst. Shouldn’t we put our own people first?“ At first, any well-assorted punk mailorder stocked that CD, then it got weeded out by some after reading the booklet. Some do still sell it today. Bandworm records, one of the market leaders in the “Street Rock’n’roll” sector even advertises the album as a “very good job”. The return of Cult-band 4Skins is a side project of english band Indecent Exposure together with Gary Hodges, a member of the original 4Skins’ line-up in the early 80s. Indecent Exposure – the band that played the Hildesheim concert where Walkenhorst and Brandt had their little time trip back to their younger days – can be assigned to the extreme rightwing milieu of RAC (Rock against Communism), which raises the question why he attended at all. So far Walkenhorst has not voiced any criticism on Indecent Exposure, although their songs “Save the Nation” or “Rocking the Reds” are just as openly rightwing as for example “Take no more”.
MEET STOMPER AT THE REGULAR’S TABLE
The image of the male heterosexual fighter and the rejection of everything perceived as different or weak are the pillars of Stomper 98s construct of values. Even their attempts at taking up the topic “police” result in utter crap. In “Ochsensong”, a “man” accuses a “bull” (“the bulls”=”the fuzz”) of venting his frustration on others, cheating on his wife in brothel and warns the audience of the bull preying on their asses. The refrain is reminiscent of a popular terrace chant: “All bulls are gay, all bulls are gay, from Goettingen to Liverpool”. When real men party hard, the presence of others, Hippies for example , is undesired: “Hippie womens’ unshaved legs make us cry (…) Hippie-kids’ dirty faces make us puke (…) all the rest is chanting, the atmosphere is great, the Hippie’s got a bottle stuck up his ass.” The lyrics of Stomper 98’s 1999 song “Hippie Hit” mirrors the right wing’s prejudices of leftwing countercultures in form and content: it ridicules their diet, degrades women that don’t conform to society’s beauty standards aswell as the good old “Go and wash yourself, you make me sick”, combined with a fantasy of sexual humiliation of “the Other”. The subcultural regular’s table takes care of society’s problems and has solutions: “Bring back the pillory, death will come as a release (…) string the bastard up, let justice take its course” – excerpts from Stomper 98s song “Paederast”. Of course the song’s lyrics are being misunderstood once more: “We are explicitly AGAINST the death sentence! “string the bastard up” and “bring back the pillory” are only a metaphor for what’s going on inside of oneself”. That’s how Stomper 98 explain their eight year old song in october 2008 after being accused of supporting the death sentence. It’s remarkable how in all those years almost everyone seems to have failed to understand the alleged meaning of the song.
HE WHO PAYS THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE
Apart from their striking efforts to distance themselves from Nazis, racism or “the fuzz” and in spite of their antiracist and antifascist self-conception Stomper 98 subscribe to a canon of values reminiscent of the late hours of a party at the Schuetzenverein, when a regular grabs the mike for some ultraconservative stand-up comedy. The band’s links to the extreme Right are not just pardonable unthougtfulness, they’re inbuilt. However Stomper 98 have a lobby extending far into the allegedly leftwing cultural business. When the band came under pressure they started a large scale public image campaign on their own account. Ox magazine provided them with plenty of room for self-portrayal, meanwhile Walkenhorst has become an author. April 13th 2009 german newspaper “taz” printed an article titled “The pride of the working class”, a complimentary report that reads like a Stomper 98 statement. MAD tourbooking, rooted in Berlin Kreuzberg, champion them and so do others that regard them as a cashcow. Their tenor as usual: It’s only exaggerations, rumours, onesided viewpoints, the boys are alright.
If it wasn’t for that disastrous photograph of Walkenhorst and Brandt, many “leftwing” locations would not even have bothered to question a Stomper 98 concert on their premises. “The internet’s to blame for all this bullshit” taz and Stomper 98 announce unisono. Wrong. It’s Sebi and his friends who are to blame alone. But to accept responsibility for “all this bullshit”, to question their own values, to stop squirming their way out, to stop selft-victimization and shifting the blame to others would be a sign of personal development. And that wouldn’t sit well with the Cult.