Saturday, February 4, 2012

Death in June and NON/Boyd Rice: Fascism, Racism, and Misogyny in the Old School

content warning: nazis, white supremacry, the r-word, misogyny, beat proto-fascist dudes who hate women, etc

A commenter recently suggested writing about Death in June and Boyd Rice. I never got into either of them in my days when I was following goth, industrial, and noise more closely and I never followed neo-folk. I also had a lot more interest in the leftist politics of a lot of artists (though my tastes were not limited only to that).

Before I start, some reds over at libcom posted a very well-researched and convincing argument in 2006 against both death in june and boyd rice. I almost copied and pasted this into a post all by itself. It discusses in detail the racist, fascist, and misogynistic activities of both bands and how they are using the industrial and goth subcultures as a platform for white supremacy and misogyny. It has some extremely disturbing quotes from Rice especially in which he self identifies as a fascist, misogynist, and social darwinist.
Image: A marble plaque laying in a pile of brown leaves. Engraved in it is the Death in June symbol of the Nazi skull and cross bones, number 6, and upside down peace sign.
Reading more about Death in June, since I never got into them, I am realizing that I think they came to my city at one point and some anti-racist action folks were pissed about it and tried to get them cancelled. The venue owner refused and ended up with a shit reputation if memory serves me. Death in June is one of those bands that say "we are not nazis" and then put nazi symbols on t-shirts and sell them at shows. The image above was immediately recognizeable to me as the skull I once saw on a nazi unform hat I saw in a museum, but singer Douglas Pearce insists that they did not use it for that reason, even though their name refers to "The Night of Long Knives." Pearce has also said a lot of misogynistic shit in reference to his shows being canceled because of his fetishism of nazi imagery. Pearce is gay but says he prefers white cock and historically some nazis, ridiculous enough to want to side with people who hated them over the commonality of the social construct of the white race, were/are also queer.

It's actually very interesting to read about how hard some industrial musicians will hold onto this "free speech" stuff just because (so they say) nazi stuff looks cool to them. Stormfront- aka my go to site for "is this shitty?"- has a lot of Death in June fans which goes to show that even if you say you're not nazis, if you promote nazism, fascist ideals, nazi imagery, and gain a nazi following and make nazis feel empowered to do nazi shit, you bear a responsibility. I must note though that those ignorant white power fucks at stormfront also like Rammstein just bc they're German and white in spite of the fact they are anti-Americanization, anti-racist, and leftist (though have their own brand of misogyny- I am not lettin them off the hook).

Boyd Rice, well, he seems to be even more accepted as a known racist and misogynist.

Image: A picture of Boyd Rice standing with his arms crossed staring into the camera. He is wearing a necklace with a Nazi symbol on it and a black tshirt with large white letters that say "RAPE." Pehind him is a large cropped image of a troll doll.
In an old interview he was found talking about wanting to start an "aryan subculture among industrial fans." He and DIJ played a lot together. I also am not too familiar with him. The video was taken over 25 years ago so I am more than willing to say people can change but has he? All I can find is excuses like "he has a jewish acquaintance" online and that he is all about nazi salutes, is a self-identified misogynist, and so on. He also posed for a magazine photo as American Front with Bob Heick. Some claim this was a joke. Pardon me while I laugh. Or not.
Image: The text on the bottom of the image reads "American front (Nazi organization) members, Boyd Rice (left) and Bob Heick." Both men are light skinned and wearing shirts and ties. Their shirts have patches with the American Front symbol on the breast and both of them are holding up a knife and staring into the camera.

There also seems to be quite a bit of connection between the Church of Satan and neo-nazi dudes. This is something else I have learned today. I never had much opinion on Satanism, nor much knowledge, but it seems Boyd was in line after Anton LaVey and has a lot of ties or recognition in neo-nazi circles.

One of the more disturbing things for me personally researching this is that Boyd Rice and Peter Christopherson of Coil (and Psychic TV and many other things) worked together  under the alias Sickness of Snakes on an album called Nightmare Culture with Current 93- another band mentioned by Rice in his interview as a "racialist" band. Luckily, a commenter produced an interview with Sleazy where he discusses this stuff and how Coil separated from Rice due to his racist garbage. They also make some good comments about how it's not PC, it's common sense.

Doing research on this stuff is also leading me to realize how proto-fascist or worse so much of this music was and is. I knew that people had their military fetishism but I was willing to let that slide on grounds that I see little wrong with wearing tailored black or green. But it really is worse than I imagined and I am wondering how it escaped my radar. I guess there is just so much of it and it's all sort of underground so it's hard to keep track of it all.

This post will likely evolve over time as I research more and more. I highly suggest reading the aforementioned libcom essay on these guys. It was really informative. And scary.


  1. Schwule Nazis, totally exist. Here is a documentary if you want to stay on the internet forever.

    I remember an antifa bro from your city talking about organizing against that Death In June show there. Which I think is when I found out about the band's fash affiliations. Hilariously, the first time I heard of DIJ was cuz they were playing a show in my city many many years ago. I went to the internet and listened to a few clips to decide if it was worth paying to go to. I was like, 'Wow, this totally sucks. Fuck it.' Actually, now I'm remembering this Russian kid in my undergrad program saying that he'd gone to that show and that there were scuffles outside between pro and anti-fash folks.

    Also, I read the Satanic Bible in high school (when mom found it she burned it, natch) and it was really misogynist. If misogyny registered in my godly teenage brain, the shit in question is completely fucked.

    Also, everything is terrible.

    1. Hahahahaha I can't help but laugh. Everything IS terrible. And your mom burning the satanic bible- it must have been amazing.

      Are antifa and ara the same? I can never tell. I also feel like I should write about how antifa and ara can be hella misogynistic and even racist in some ways but I didn't want the boyd rice fans to come on and use it as an excuse to say Rice is suddenly the new candidate for a men-against-patriarchy group. lulz.

      This documentary is awesome.

  2. Sleazy discussed his collaboration with Boyd in a 2009 interview with The Wire.

    Full interview.

    PETER CHRISTOPHERSON: Boyd was kind of a pal of Jhonn and we collaborated quite early on with Coil [as Sickness Of Snakes] on an album called Nightmare Culture. And then Boyd became, as I understand it, more forthright in his right wing ideas in the press, and so consequently we rather drifted apart. Jhonn and I and Boyd met up a few times in the early part of the century. I think he’s interesting in the sense of being a maverick and actually not caring too much what people think, but with most people who make a public statement of their fascist views, it seems to me silly and unnecessary and distasteful.

    MIKE BARNES: You have said that you like to tell it like it is, but you also push boundaries.

    PETER CHRISTOPHERSON: I’m afraid truth often takes you outside boundaries, and that can cause embarrassment, which as we all know is more painful for us Englishmen than the worst torture. A long time after Coil and Boyd worked together, we fell out because of Boyd’s increasingly racist public image. It wasn’t because of political or social correctness. For us it was just common sense. Anyone who singles out a particular portion of any population for criticism just because they fit into a certain category, whether it be gay or black or Jewish or even female, to us was, and is, simply moronic. Clearly all humanity is filled with good people and bad people, and it’s got absolutely nothing to do with what colour shirt, or skin you’ve got on or even your aftershave. Back in 1982 or 83, Jhonn, Marc Almond and I were barred from a heavy gay New York fetish club late one night, because of the brand of aftershave one of us had used, which was a real drag because a group of horny Puerto Ricans had just gone in... [laughs]. That’s not racist is it? Those guys were hot! All too often you can judge a book by its cover, but as for people, no chance.
    There are a lot of those Death In June derivative, new fascist kind of bands, who just think if they bang a bass drum and intone some kind of rhetoric and play some horns and stuff... it’s just so boring. My politics now are more or less completely the opposite of that, so I wouldn’t be interested anyway, but musically there seem to be a lot of people now who think there is something clever about putting on a little moustache and wearing a grey mac.

    1. You are amazing! Thank you for finding this! I feel much better now.

    2. Bless you, Brad. I also feel a great deal better.

  3. Toadflakz, colorblindness is not anti-racism. In fact it actually often contributes to racism and white supremacy. Perhaps I need to do a whole article on that as it comes up a lot. I grew up on colorblindness, too. While it began with good intentions, it's really a way for white people to not have to think about racism and to ignore it even more, and pretend we are all on the same playing field after centuries of oppression. That oppression still affects people today. Being blind to it is not antiracist. And you bet most colorblind people are sure to enter in their opinion when someone of color does soemthing negatively stereotypical in my experience.
    Here are some examples:
    Endorsement of racial “color-blindness” is linked to racism:
    New Study: “Colorblindness” Reduces Kids’ Ability to See, Challenge Racism:
    With Friends Like These, Who Needs Glenn Beck? Racism and White Privilege on the Liberal-Left:
    and so on...
    Coming to a blog and telling people how to fight oppression is odd unless you are doing it yourself. Otherwise it seems a little bit like giving orders without doing the work. If you believe ignoring race and racism means being anti-racist, go ahead and write a blog about that. We do not believe that and both of us have done extensive research on it.

    1. You must have deleted your comment. Now mine makes little sense. But the links are still good so I'll leave it up.

  4. I'm really glad you ended up doing a piece on Boyd and Friends. Honestly I'm surprised no one has come out in his defence. Usually when these threads appears the ever-so ironically uniformed stormtroopers come out of the woodwork. To be totally honest I greatly enjoy Death in June, although I despise Boyd. His combination of imagery, lyrics and refusal to state his personal views I find intriguing and thought provoking. I have always interpreted his project as some sort of demented social experiment; an attempt to recreate the experience of Weimar Germany and confront us with a slickly uniformed "solution" to the modern world's woes. How we respond to this experiment is the listener's choice. Do we pin on our totenkopfs and jubilantly march in line? Do we reflect on the horrors of history and interpret DiJ as a warning? Or do we join the rank of antifa and kick some neofolk ass in the parking lot? Of course there are many many different ways to respond but I do find the whole phenomenon of neofolk very interesting.

    I was at the Amphi Fest in Cologne this past summer. Beyond the run of the mill combat boot wearing rivetheads were a small clique of very elite looking personnel. Crisp military suits, armbands, shoulder strap holsters, brilled creamed WWII era hair cuts. All fun and games until you start adding the iron crosses, oak leaves and smiling death's head pins. There is rebellion against your elders and then their is pure insensitivity to the death and suffering of millions. I asked a friend (also a big fan of neofolk) why this was happening. He said that probably none of them are out-and-out neo-nazis. They mostly are interested in uniform fetishism and rebelling against German culture. In a country where almost any reference to Nazism is banned there is a certain part of the population that likes to push their right to expression.

    In my personal experience neofolkers are rarely fascists, but the unconscious adoption of a style directly inspired by fascism is not to be taken lightly. Fascism in its most sophisticated form is able to convince the view/listener that it is all just fun and games (e.g. the rationale behind the Nuremburg Rallys), a place they can come together and feel at one with each other.

    Modern day fascism, like that of Boyd Rice, hides behind a calculated form of extreme libertarianism, where the selfishness of the ego rises above any concerns for the broader collective. In this context, hate, whether it be promoted through rape or holocaust denial, is just another means for the ego accumulating power over others. In the end I think it is the allure of power that attracts people to individuals like DiJ and Rice (and perhaps to the misogyny in today's industrial).

    Like I said, I like to listen to DiJ but not because he is harmless. Rather he, and others like him, are so dangerous they can't be just ignored. He forces me to respond to the fascism inside myself and contemplate fascism in world around me.

    1. Well, this blog may get loads of hits on certain posts but overall is not that popular yet, so give them time to hate onthis post ;-)

      I have thought of things like this as social experiments. I used to do psych research, and learned a lot about all kinds of group dynamics and human's obediency to authority in school. The Milgram experiments, the fact that people in groups do not help someone being attacked because they feel no responsibility in a group, the story of "the wave" and soon...

      As for the rebelling against German culture, that is one thing I try to shy away from criticizing as I am not German. Here, I have a radical friend who is a nazi uniform fetishist and is/was totally ashamed of it. I talked to them about it a bit (being of the bdsm variety myself) and they are coming to realize that fetishism in the bedroom is totally different than actually being a nazi. There are also bands like Hanzel und Gretyl that I think are doing something similar with Third Reich from the Sun and SS Deathstar- they seem to be making fun of the seriousness around words and also, hopefully, making fun of naziism. But I can't be sure. I think HuG is a bit different than Boyd Rice though. Although stupid ass stormfront dudes seem to enjoy Hanzel und Gretyl, too. So then I have the question, if no one gets the joke, and the joke leads to oppression, in what way are those making the joke responsible, if at all?

      I totally understand the desire to rebel against authoritarian culture and patriotism. BUT every time I watch a documentary on REAL neonazis, I hear that as a reason they joined. That is not to say that rebellion = naziism. But I do think fascist glorifying rebellion can lead to naziism.

      Lastly, I think making fun of nazis might be left up to those victimized and targeted by them most. I think German people fit in there as they are born into a country with a history forever altered by naziism. But I think it would be even more up to jews, queers, mad folks, disabled folks, etc to make fun of nazis because then it seems more obvious. But again, I am just throwing thoughts around.

      I think since DiJ has been around a long time, in the beginning they were doing something interesting, but nowadays the romanticism and coolness factor of hitlerian stuff no longer has that social experiment impact nor does it have an analysis, and we just end up with nachtmahrzis donning arm bands and talking about "more hot chicks" without thinking about this stuff. At least DiJ made some people think.

      Thanks for your comments. They got me thinking a lot. Especially about responding to internal fascism. It's critical. I just worry that there are few people doing that.

  5. This is satire, right? You had me going for a second. Cheers.

    1. Hi Jeffrey, thanks for stopping by. Care to elaborate and add to the conversation or did you just want to add your opinion? Either is fine with me.

  6. I watched the interview video, read the article and looked up this racialism thing because before this post I'd never honestly heard of any of this. I find it interesting that he deflected every question off onto somebody else - he'd talk about other bands that were racialist, but not his own or even really himself.
    It looked to me like he a tactic he was pulling to say, "don't look at my shit, look at these other peoples!" What he did say really sounded like a bunch of bullshit to me, and after looking at these photos and simply seeing how he was dressed in the video - well, to say the least I'm shocked.
    It amazes me that in the year 2012 people are still acting like this. I'm sure it probably shouldn't - I mean, I've experienced racism personally - but honestly, saying a racist comment and dressing like a Nazi and using their imagery are not the same. Now hear me out here before you get offended, please.
    While their both racist, the ones who do this neo-nazi shit are not only being racist but just insensitive and ignorant. Nazism wasn't just about racism.
    It was also anti-semetic, anti-mental illness, anti-feminism - pretty much an excuse to be anti about a lot. A lot of people lost their lives (physically as well as in other ways) and their families in WWII from those bastards, and to just gloss over that like it never happened is even more disgusting.
    So while I've never listened to any of those bands, I really don't want to. If the statement a band is making is that ignorant, I really have no interest in becoming a possible fan.
    As for Boyd, shame on him. Even if he's not educated enough to realize what exactly he's doing, he could've researched this stuff before going on television for Gods sake. It seems like a ploy to garner attention from people who disagree, and to get money from like-minded people to me. And I'm sorry, but there are other ways to get money and attention.


  7. Your implications against Death In June couldn't be further from the truth. Please educate yourself about the correct origin of the name:

    "Death In June was named after I thought I heard a colleague say those words during our first recording session in 1981. It was an accident of mishearing. I have said this in countless interviews over the years since. It is merely post-rationalization to assume it refers to any one particular event, historic or otherwise. A common interpretation was that it referred to the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914. It didn't, and doesn't refer to anything else than "Death In June!"


    1. This was about a lot more than the name. I'd prefer that if you wish to talk down to me, you address the far more disturbing things mentioned in the post than the name.

  8. I have a few bones to pick with this post.

    Firstly: don't tell people to go read that rubbish on Libcom. It's about as factual of a text on DIJ as the Bible is on science. There's a huge bunch of mistakes in there, for example the origin of the groups name and stuff that I will come back to later in my text. But in no way is it "a very well-researched and convincing argument".

    Secondly: like the Libcom article, you don't provide us with any quotes proving that there is any basis on your nazi accusations towards Douglas Pearce.

    I guess you can interpret it in any possible way, but for example when Douglas talks about Hitler being the most influential man of the century, so what? Isn't it true? Maybe he did influence the world in a horrible and destructive way, but influencing as the most evil is just as much influential as being influencing as the kindest, right? The quote gives no indication on what Doug thinks of the man on a moral or political level.

    Same goes pretty much for all the other quotes. There is nothing there that states that he would be a nazi or a fascist. He likes white cock, so? If he said he loves black cock would you blame him to be a black supremacist? Of course not.

    Thirdly: the symbols. Totenkopf can be considered as nazi a symbol, but if you would have done more resesarch you could have easily found the explanation of the totenkopf usage in their album covers etc.

    On the surface level it simply means Death In June. Totenkopf for death with the tiny number six (just like in the picture you linked) representing the sixth month, June. On a deeper level Doug has explained that since it's usage from the time it was worn by Russian soldiers and later by German troops, it has been a symbol for commitment as in "death do us apart" I guess you could say. Never has he stated that it would have any sort of nazi symphatizing purpose on their artworks.

    The Life rune and Schwarze Sonne (black sun) on the other hand can be linked to Nazi occultism, but also in interviews Doug has talked a lot about the signifigance of runes in his life and once again there is nothing that I've found that would link him to being a nazi.

    The black sun hasn't even been used a lot in DIJ art. There has been a red Schwarze Sonne, if you'll pardon the paradox, on a black background as a backdrop on their gigs and there is at least one shirt where there's a silver one, but other than that I can't recall.

    Fouthly: misogynistic shit? Where? When? He used the term fiswives once to explain how these PC politicians who ban bands like Death In June from playing gigs gossip like fishwives about Douglas and his supposed Nazi beliefs and sympathies. If you want to be firm about it, yes, it has a Coke Zero level sexist undertone, but that's it. Misogynistic is going a bit far, yes?

    Fiftly: you cannot seriously come to a conclusion that a band is somehow nazi if nazis listen to it. There is no sense in that. Whether Tom Metzger adores Cher or not won't make Cher a nazi. Just as you yourself said about Rammstein. The nazis seem to have a hard on for Rammstein for them being white germans with aggressive music and on the same basis I would imagine that some nazis have a hard on for DIJ because of the imagery, camouflage suits, war themes, etc.

    And obviously Death In June isn't reponsible if some white pride douche is gonna "do nazi shit". It's like blaming KMFDM for Columbine. Or do you justify stealing System of a Downs "Steal This Album" -album because the cover says so, or think that it should be kept responsible for shoplifting?

    And lastly: If you would even glimpse properly through the DIJ album discography you wouldn't find more than a handful of material that would "stick out".

    I would love to keep on going about Boyd Rice but I'm out of energy now. Some other time!

  9. Hi, many thanks for your post. Unfortunately, your YouTube link regarding gay nazis is down. I don’t know what the link referred to, but maybe it was the german documentation »Neonazis, die Männer lieben« Well, maybe not, there are several on that topic.

    As for Rammstein, I think you should follow your own position here and actually hold them responsible for Nazis liking them, just as you do with other artists.

  10. Did I not say that this was about Death In June? I said: "I would love to keep on going about Boyd Rice but I'm out of energy now. Some other time!" Although I now see that this could be taken wrongly, so I apologize for the confusion. Although I don't think I even mentioned Boyd anywhere else but in the very end and I mentioned Death In June everywhere, so I don't know how I could have been this misunderstood.

    I do not disagree with the fact that Boyd has said a lot of stuff that is misogynistic. I'm mainly pissed off about the fact that DI6 is always linked into having the same beliefs as Boyd Rice.

    I'm really waiting for you to debunk any of my claims about Death In June's nazism though.

    And I apologize for not giving you a more "hip" analogy than the SoaD one. But also you calling me a noob on the same line doesn't really do anything else than show me your ignorance. And if you could tell me why I failed, except on not giving you a more interesting analogy, I'd appreciate it.

    Also, Coke Zero = very light. If you catch my drift?

  11. I know Boyd and can tell you first hand -he is not a racist

    1. I bet you all have a black friend, too.

    2. Glad you asked yes I have black friends , some who like death in June too.Ive also collaborated with many hip hop artists - probably the most well known being Flatbush Zombies .But regardless I'd like to point out that Boyd mentioned in many interviews that he is not remotely interested in politics nor a racist - also if Douglas P prefers white cock then so what ? He also prefers old men he now discriminating against youth.Also Boyd wrote an article speaking about the Nazis in which he makes them out to be utter fantasists.Neither him nor Doug want a white ethnostate or are like Nazis - this is getting old,