3 September 2017

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Welcome to SeeDarkly Sunday DisCOVERies:
a weekly exploration of goth, industrial, & dark alternative cover songs!
First time here? Click here for details from first entry.

Foreword: If tl;dr? Nazis are evil. You can skip to the cover below now. Want more context? Continue reading...
Apparently last weekend there were some Nazis attending a well-known goth club, harassing its patrons, raising tensions and creating an unsafe environment. This club also reportedly had a prominent staff member wearing Nazi regalia and has been permissive of the style of dress for a long time despite the discomfort and dissatisfaction this caused its patrons & other staff. Due to a tremendous backlash on social media, this appears to have led to the cancellation of a major LARPing event scheduled to be there later this month that was drawing attendees nationwide.
Many in the greater goth community may be familiar with the specifics of the story, but rather than point out parties involved, I'll say this to anyone who happens to be reading: Whatever your "militaristic clothing fetish" may be, current events have made it clear that NOW is NOT the time to indulge in any such fashion that can even hint at the idea that you might be a Nazi, ESPECIALLY if you actually aren't! And if you aren't, don't make excuses for it. You surely have other fabulous clothing to wear. That imagery IS strongly associated to an ideology of hatred and bigotry. There is no debate. Maybe there was a time where indulging in the fetish was harmless, even ironic. If you're doing it now however, you might want to look deeply at your motivations and realize that your intent is less important than the safety of those around you and the respect they should be granted.

Why do I bring any of this up? Well, because our featured cover this week might just be brutally relevant on the matter:

Gaywire - Nazi Goths Fuck Off (Originally Nazi Punks Fuck Off by Dead Kennedys)

Nazi Punks Fuck Off was first released as a single by hardcore punkers Dead Kennedys in November 1981, and then included on their In God We Trust, Inc. EP the following month. Apart from the most obvious and direct meaning of the song, its origin is riddled with an endless array of the band's touring experiences, but one story seems significantly of interest. A recounting of one of their shows in Liverpool near the end of 1980 describes a moment during the song California Über Alles when the crowd simultaneously raised their arms in a Nazi salute. The account claims no harm was intended and that Liverpool itself had a strong multicultural community at the time, but lead singer and song writer Jello Biafra is said to have stopped the song cold to yell at the audience, "what are you doing? That's not what this is about, we ain't Nazis!"
Whether or not it was because of this incident, Biafra wrote Nazi Punks Fuck Off, clarifying where they stood and it drew a definitive line in the sand.
The single was sold with a free armband baring an "anti-swastika," a symbol that was later adopted by the Anti-Racist Action Network, the early punk predecessors of the group we know today as Antifa.
Last year Biafra stated that the song has taken on new meaning in our era, now targeting, "modern kinds of white supremacists who leave the white hood in the top drawer and think a four-hundred-fifty-grand-a-year combover will paper over the fact that a fucking racist is still a fucking racist fucking asshole." He still performs the song on tour (though lately he replaces "Punks" with the ever-prevalent last name of the Republican candidate in office.) Biafra also hosts a webcast on YouTube called What Would Jello Do where his views on the modern Nazi presence are as consistent as ever.

Nazi Punks Fuck Off has been covered a few times over the years, most notably by Napalm Death, and was also performed by the cast of protagonists in the 2015 film, Green Room.

One recent cover has its roots in some problematic issues that arose earlier this year dealing with Joe Letz of Combichrist, in which he was called out for racial insensitivity for his choice of touring costume and a number of bigoted, clearly indefensible remarks. Gaywire, a Philadelphia-based LGBT industrial/aggrotek project led by Jen Pallante, responded to the controversy with what she called "a simple but relevant position statement regarding Joe Letz." Pallante, herself a trans woman and inspired by the DK single, swapped "punks" with "goths" and quickly recorded this aggro-ebm cover, released online in late May. Letz admitted his behavior was wrong the very next day, though probably not directly on account of this song as much as the enormity of outrage on social media that was calling for his removal from several touring engagements. Following that apology, Pallante opined that too much focus was given to whether Letz should be welcome in a scene and not enough focus on making it inclusive for queer people or people of color, stating, "Seeing so many people defend him reminds us that even in alternative cultures the same hate we see daily in the world at large is present. Saying you disapprove of Letz is not enough. That should be default. We should expect that. But do some work to let us know you want us at the club, on your iPod, and in your lives. Let us know we're loved. And we will love you back."

In June, Gaywire included Nazi Goths Fuck Off on a rarities E.P. titled Doppelgänger, which also features an original anti-fascism song done in two parts and additional covers of tracks by Dirty Sanchez, Nine Inch Nails, The Kinks, and Dead or Alive. Pallante admits the DK cover was "spontaneous" but given the nature of the original, it may actually benefit from being a bit raw. As possibly the only known agrro/electronic version of the song, it is by that characteristic quite unique, making it more of a rhythmic floor stomper than an anarchic slamdance, but no less potent in its core meaning.

The Cover:

The Original:

Next week:
I'm celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the first time I spun as a DJ for an event that has become my longest running club gig. The New England event has run for over twice as long as I've been involved and ends most every night with one particular 80s new wave song, a downtempo cover of which will be the highlight of next week's Second Sunday Slowly feature!

Comments, suggestions, discussions, etc... welcome!
(You do NOT need a Dreamwidth account to comment, but all comments are screened for spam prevention. Please note if your comments on this topic are in any way abusive or signal your support for Nazi ideology, it will be dismissed without reply. Your right to free speech is protected. The right to use my platform for hatefulness is not. In other words, listen to the song above again. I also don't use the Republican candidate's name on my media, primarily as a means of reducing his ability to "trend," so keep that in mind.)

Two dates coming up in September. You can find details on my schedule if you'd like to join those events. ^_^

Explore the darkness,

Previous DisCOVERies

Aug 27 - Clan of Xymox - Venus (Shocking Blue)
Aug 20 - Dead or Alive - That's the Way I Like It (KC and the Sunshine Band)
Aug 13 - Beseech - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! [A Man After Midnight] (ABBA)
Aug 06 - Solar Fake - One Step Closer (Linkin Park)
Jul 30 - Black Nail Cabaret - Shouldn't Have Done That (Depeche Mode)

Directory of All Previous DisCOVERies


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DJ Xero, Operative of SeeDarkly™

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