By now most of you have heard of that terrible ambush on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in which a madman went on a killing spree on Sunday, killing six people before getting shot and killed himself.
The gunman's name is Wade Michael Page, an Army vet who was demoted and later given an administrative discharge. Page was frustrated and decided to take it out on people whom he felt was lower than he was. After all, he had neo-Nazi ties and even played in a number of "hate" rock bands including a band called Blue Eyed Devils (NSFW). You would think that these bands are generally isolated and not very common, but they are still very much active in their communities.
The movie American History X, which was about a neo-Nazi who was trying to clean his act up and get his life back together, briefly covered the popularity of these hate rock bands.
The difference in the music that I cover and the music these bands play is that this music is not about popularity contests or how much money the band makes. It's simply propaganda to fuel this unrelenting hatred for anyone who isn't pure, someone not of their profile.
By textbook definition, it is music. It is indeed making a lot of noise. However, its significance is in the minds of those who continue to play this music, those who continue to hate and nothing more.
It is an absolute shame that music, something that I love so dearly is twisted and contorted into this blind, empty hatred.
I have a personal story to share. When I was a high school senior, I participated in my high school's showtunes and jazz choirs (Are you NOT laughing yet? Though, that's not the point of this article.). One of the highlights of my entire life was the opportunity to fund a trip to Europe, specifically in Austria, Germany, and Italy.
We went to Munich, Germany and had a great time there, but one of the main reasons we were there was to learn about the history there and not very far from the city was one of the first WWII concentration camps built, Dachau.
I didn't have family directly affected by The Holocaust, but the experience at Dachau is one of the most emotionally gutwrenching experiences I've ever had. You listen to all of the stories and you see the pictures and the disturbing videos that were taken and you think to yourself: "Where did humanity go?" and "How could people deny the existence of such a prolonged, agonizing tragedy?" Over 30,000 people were reported killed at that camp and it's very likely that there were more. How could you not be affected by something like that?
Music is meant to spur feelings within you that may not always be positive, but pure hatred is not meant to be one of them and for that very reason, I will not classify the music that Page made as music.
In the same breath, I hope that the actions of this terrorist don't scapegoat hard rock music as a whole as violent. Not all hard rock and heavy metal music is violent, not all rap music is violent, and not all pop music is violent (although if I hear "Call Me Maybe" just one more time...).
We can't tell these neo-Nazi groups to stop playing their music. We can't tell Westboro Baptist Church to stop playing their music. They're going to keep spreading their messages of intolerance. This article is only meant to inform you that people like this exist in the world. Haters gon' hate. So love your neighbor, appreciate your differences, and hopefully, as a people, we will triumph over this.