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1995-03-29 Rahowa: Music Loved by Skinheads - Detroit Home of Neo-Nazi Sound

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Hate Music Loved by Skinheads - Detroit becomes home to the neo-Nazi sound

Author: Brian Lysaght: Reuters
The city that created the Motown sound in the 1960s is quietly becoming a recording mecca for a disturbing new musical genre -- white supremacist hate music favored by neo-Nazi skinheads.

Detroit-based Resistance Records, which produces and distributes music by bands such as Aryan, Berserkr and Aggravated Assault, is building a following among America's estimated 4,000 skinheads and their counterparts in Europe, experts say.

``They're very significant,'' Richard Lobenthal, Michigan director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, said of Resistance. ``They sort of provide the groove. They galvanize the movement, move them and entertain them.''

Resistance offers music with a thunderous heavy metal beat. Many lyrics are violently anti-African American and anti-Jewish.

``White people awake/Our future is at stake/Save the white race/Put you in your place,'' sings the band Centurion on ``Fourteen Words.'' The narrator in Aryan's ``Grandfather's Tale'' asks his grandfather ``. . . How it happened/How you overthrew the Jew/You sent the niggers running/I wanna hear that too.''

It was at a Detroit concert organized by Resistance that teenage skinheads Bryan and David Freeman, who are accused of murdering their parents and younger brother last month in Pennsylvania, met Frank and August Hesse of Michigan.

Police said the brothers and their cousin, Nelson Birdwell III, fled to the Hesses' farm in Hope, Mich., after the killings and were arrested there. The Freemans, who have Nazi slogans tattooed on their foreheads, are awaiting trial in Pennsylvania.


Resistance also bills itself as a multimedia company and distributes a well-produced, 32-page quarterly magazine in which it has said it is setting up access to the Internet and is working on a ``pro- white'' motion picture.

The group is trying to organize American skinheads nationally for the first time, according to Klanwatch, an Alabama-based organization that monitors hate groups.

A Klanwatch report claims that U.S. skinheads have committed 35 homicides and ``hundreds of brutal assaults'' since 1988.

Experts say the two men behind Resistance are George Burdi, 24, of Toronto, and Mark Wilson, formerly of Milwaukee, who now lives in suburban Detroit.

Burdi, using the name George Eric Hawthorne, performs with a band called RaHoWa , short for ``racial holy war.'' He wrote in Resistance magazine's winter issue that he hopes to boost its circulation to 65,000, from 12,000 currently.

``We must reach our people, concentrating on the youth, and convince them that we have the only plausible and real answer to the nightmare that multi-racialism has brought,'' he said.

Efforts to reach Burdi and Wilson were unsuccessful. A business address listed in Michigan is unoccupied.

`White Homeland'

Burdi, who faces an assault charge stemming from a 1993 brawl between skinheads and anti- racist activists in Ottawa, told the New York Times recently that ``we want a white homeland. We want to live separate from other races.''

Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan official who operates a white- supremacist computer bulletin board in West Palm Beach, Fla., said music is a good tool to attract young skinheads. ``Music is really important to any political and cultural movement, and Resistance has become the premier provider of that music,'' he said.

Mark Shearer, manager of Rock of Ages record store in suburban Garden City, Mich., said Resistance record sales picked up as a result of the Freeman killings.

``It's kind of an underground thing, and to be honest, I think a lot of people buy it out of curiousity more than anything else,'' Shearer said.
Section: NEWS
Page: A7
Index Terms: DETROIT ; SKINHEADS ; Resistance Records ; Anti-Defamation League ; B'nai B'rith ; Richard Lobenthal ; Frank Hesse ; August Hesse ; Nelson Birdwell III ; Klanwatch ; George Burdi ; Mark Wilson ; George Eric Hawthorne ; RaHoWa; Don Black ; HATE CRIMES ; MUSIC ; RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ; BUSINESS ; ORGANIZATIONS ; OFFICIALS ; NAZISM ; US ; ANTI-SEMITISM ; BLACKS
Dateline: Detroit, Mich.
Record Number: 10426
Copyright 1995 San Francisco Chronicle

I know this is an old post but it just sucks to hear anything George Burdi has to say, then and now. He is a fucken Jerk turned on himself. Meaning he turned on his own ethics just because the going got tough. FU Burdi. Just like a Jew.

I have heard rumor he wants to return to the movement. That is laughable. I certainly will have nothing to do with him or any organization that does. Dirt worshiping, sand nigger loving, traitor.

When I first joined the WCOTC, Burdi was emailing members, telling them that he is still on our side. Even used the excuse that his dot headed brown wife was an "Aryan." Burdi was rejected then, and will be rejected again if need be.

Why? It's not as if he just dropped out, changed his tune and moved on with his life and a new mud wife. It was the interviews he did denouncing us all. It's as if Burdi's petty existence - of his own making - in a mass of drunken, Sieg Heiling skinheads was all there ever was to Creativity and White Racial Activism. But, still, is that not what the White Racial Rock (or neo-Nazi RAC) scene is all about? If it wasn't for the music, the majority of those losers would be playing and singing along to whatever Jew-inspired Death Metal band. They are not White Racial Activists in any sense at all. They are either hobbyists with guitars, or immature followers of fads. That was the world of George "Eric Hawthorn" Burdi, and that world is as depressing as any technicolor nightmare from Hollywood's Semitic script writers.

See Text attached below ...

A picture can tell a thousand words, and this picture is certainly telling ...
Music is essential in any cause, but should never become the dominant force, otherwise the cause risks being lost in a wave of mediocrity - which to us translates to time wasting hobbyists! I'm sure you agree Reverend Hansen, as you have spent a considerable amount of your life brandishing the guitar on stage and avoiding the Burdi syndrome?


--- Quote from: George Burdi ---Interview with Acid Logic Ezine

 First off, I would like to commend you on your new project, Novacosm.


 How did this come about?

 The process has been ongoing since I got involved in the white power movement 12 years ago.

 Were you writing some of these songs during the days of Rahowa?

 Not in that sense, but in the sense that Novacosm represents an aspect of my individuality that was trying to emerge throughout my entire life. It's a duality.

 I have to tell you, I have owned both Rahowa albums in the past, and I must admit a certain fondness for "Cult of The Holy War". And I, like many others, was simply astounded by the leap in musical ability and production from the first to the second, and last, Rahowa album.

 Also, lyrically, the second Rahowa record is much more mature.

 Even in the midst of what some may consider an entirely unproductive, some would say, destructive, lifestyle and philosophy.

 We really do create our own reality. Deep inside the movement, sequestered from the world, I saw a vision of what racialism could do for the world. Like many radical ideologies, there is a tremendous gap between the theory and practice.

 Yes, lyrically, I found Cult of the Holy War to be quite brilliant, as if you really did believe in your heart and soul, that what you were trying to achieve was nothing short of cultural revolution, the idea that there was and still is something beautiful and noble in the ideas of Europe, and that to forget these ideas, would be nothing short of cultural suicide.

 Yes. Ironically, the people who profess to be fighting for European culture are actually the most ignorant as to what that culture is.


 The movement seeks to identify being "white" with being a barbarian.

 Which, of course, is a convenient excuse of boorish and loutish behavior.

 And the argument of white supremacy actually fits quite well. If you are busy drinking and fighting all the time, you accomplish nothing, so then need to attach yourself vicariously to the success of other white people as a source of your "pride". But it is utter hypocrisy.

 And the same argument regarding black people. Some wish to only acknowledge the fact that since black folk tend to be able to dance and play sports really well, that there is their identity, which totally ignores the fact that black folk have composed beautiful operas, ballet, and stunning works of art.

 Yes, indeed. And nowhere is the black so victimized this way as he is in America ... he is reduced to a minstrel instead of a prince.

 Too true. Even much of black America seems to accept this fact, rather than actually study his history, he is content to accept the commercialization of his soul. Or, just as the White Power movement, reduce history to a series of conveniently worded historical half truths and revisions, such as the whole controversy surrounding the Mozart and Brahms were black phenomenon.

 All of it is part of a gross identification with the material/biological self, rather than with a deeper self-realization. I AM NOT MY DNA!

 Yes. Very well put. There seems to be a large proliferation of this thinking, from the historically oppressed peoples, to the lost and confused young white person. I think that commercialization can be partly blamed for this, but not entirely. Whatever happened to introspection, and the thirst for knowledge?

 The corporate machine is so interested in making children into consumers as quick as possible, that the traditional process of becoming an adult has been abandoned.

As a result, we have a society of overgrown children, halfway between child and adult, but already busy raising children themselves, which makes it self-perpetuating.

 To loosely quote Frank Zappa, it seems as if the Media conglomerates want to freeze you at High School mentality, so as to have a society full of non questioning consumers.

 Yes, exactly. Except it was not a conscious effort, in my opinion. There is no Dr. Evil hiding behind levers of control. Instead, corporations are the collective will of the people, and the masses want to be amused.

What we see happening socially are just the ramifications of a society with no goal higher than the worship of man.

 Now, to get back to Novacosm, how did you meet the members of the band, and did you find any skepticism from them regarding your notoriety in the White Power scene?

 I met B. Valentine, who is a UK expatriate living in Toronto, through an ad in a local entertainment zine. I talked to him on the phone about producing my record, and he didn't "sound" black. So I went down to see him, and was just going to leave, assuming he wouldn't want to work with me. But over our conversation, I realized that I really liked him, so I told him my story.
 His was filled with mixed emotions, but he felt that working with me was an important thing to do for a lot of reasons.
 In our 20 minute documentary, entitled "NOVACOSM: The Power of Music", he talks about this first meeting.

 And is the local music scene receiving you well?

 We have played only twice so far, so we are yet to find out.
 We videotaped both shows, and are going to be making footage available on our web site soon.

 I could see you guys becoming quite popular. "Blood like Wine", in particular, is a nice piece of work. I can't see why any radio station would pass up your music, at least the ones that tend to play music in the Alternative, Gothic, and electronic vein.

 It will take some time for people to warm up to us. Many think that I view my past as something that will help attract attention to the band's music, but in reality, it is more of a hindrance. Really good music always gets heard. One A&R guy from a major was jazzed about the music until he heard the story. Then he just said "see ya". My past needs to be overcome.

This lineup is so deep with talent, we could record ten albums together and still be bursting.
 with ideas.

 Are you planning on releasing your music yourself, or through a small indie label?

 Our attitude is that no one in the world will help us but ourselves. No one is going to ride in on a white horse and take all the struggle away.

 Indeed. This is why, in some form or another, the Punk Rock scene has always thrived, even the White Power music scene takes this approach. Now you have artists around the world relying on themselves to get their music out there to the masses.

 I remember an interview you did with Michael Moynihan, of Blood Axis, which appeared in an issue of The Church of Satan's magazine, The Black Flame. How did that come about, and have you kept in touch with him?

 Michael and I have had many conversations over the years, and occasionally touch base. We met while he was freelancing for (now defunct New York magazine) Seconds, amongst other publications. We developed a friendship.
 He is one of the most remarkable people I have ever had the pleasure of "knowing", if I can say I truly know him.

 I agree. I think you and he should collaborate on music sometime. It could be quite stunning. On the other hand, though, he is still branded as a "Nazi", even though without consulting him on the matter. I had to miss a Blood Axis show in Seattle because of this spoon fed morality.

 Moynihan is definitely not a Nazi. But he is quite Faustian in his approach to ideas, and like a modern Dadaist, sparks a polemic that embraces heresy as a means to an end.

 Yes. Sometimes, you must simply ignore the dominant culture, or in this case "anti culture", and do what comes naturally.

 People need to partake in a dialectic to arrive at truth.

It is not enough for me that someone says "this idea is forbidden and unpopular, that is why you must not espouse it."

 What has been the reaction of your evolution in character by the other members in the White Power scene?

 Understandably, they are angry and disappointed. But over time, those with open minds will see that I am being honest, not trying to get attention or cash in on the drama of my story.

 I imagine the taunts of "Race Traitor" and "sell out" are common. But, as the old saying goes "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."

 It would have been far easier for me to just make more RAHOWA records, play gigs around the world, and maintain my position as one of the kings of the hill of beans. But instead, I feel compelled to share my story for my own needs, and to serve those who may be led out of their ignorance by having the courage to say "I was wrong".

 Yes, sometimes humility is the hallmark of an intelligent mind.


 Alright, since we are already on the subject of music, can you name me some of your influences?

 I grew up on Zeppelin and Pink Floyd's The Wall.
 I had Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell at the age of seven, and listened to - get this - a lot of Motown as a kid.

 Ironic, no?

 You bet.

Then, in the 80s I was into New Wave music, some metal, and loved U2. I had a Beatles anthology that I played to death.

 You know, it's funny, I remember reading Tom Metzger's bio on his site, and he says that he loves the Blues. Is this a common thing? I have even run into WP Skins who just can't get enough of Ska and, I have even heard some White Power Hip Hop. Talk about contradictions!!

 The whole thing is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Basically, different types of music reflect a different aspect of the personality

 To quote Homer Simpson : "Ummmmm, Eniigma wrapped Mystery!! (slobberrrrrr)


 Is there a defining moment in your life, school, home life, etc, which was the catalyst for where you have arrived today?

 My defining moment came while in jail. I was surrounded by white trash, who were griping and moaning about the system, trying to appropriate blame on anyone but themselves for the state of their sorry lives. Listening to them talk, I could see myself in them.

 It dawned on me that they were just skinheads without the thin veneer of idealism.

 The great mirror of self-revelation was thrust in front of you, with no means to turn away?

 Yes .... and I only wish it stopped there. Suddenly, everywhere I looked, I began to see reflections of myself, in different moods, at different points in my life.

The whole mass of humanity began to appear as one gross machine, enslaving the higher self.

Does it really matter which delusion I fell for?

 That's why I have never cared for the standard religious idea that when you die, some bearded fellow on a cloud sits and judges you. It's far too easy that way,
 I think. It's far better, though at times more painful, to judge yourself. You actually get to learn from it.

 The Hindu teaches that you will be judged, but that you must make progress on the earthly plane.

Most human misery is conceived and perpetuated by the mind.
 Suffering is the human experience.
 The higher man seeks to alleviate this suffering.

 Interesting. That's something that I have always believed, that we ourselves have the means to stop misery, and to end pain and suffering.

 I need to stress that I have not just traded dogmas. But I have, through researching and carefully considering alternative perspectives, arrived at a perspective that works better for me personally.

But wisdom is experiential, not theoretical. You cannot learn about life by intellectualizing it.

 I totally understand. We find that philosophy which works best for us, then discard the old dogmas.

 Exactly. And beware that "ideologies" are prisons for the mind.

 Ideology. Is it any wonder that "idiot" could be drawn from the first part of the word?


 I have heard that you have a fiancee'. You lucky duck!! How did you two meet?

 We were at a night club, dancing.

 Shock!! A white guy dancing!!! (You heard it here first!!!)

 When I left the movement, I learned that I loved dancing. It is an incredible means of self-expression ... to dance like no one is watching.

 Yes. Very liberating. Did she know your reputation?

 She knew nothing about my past, at first. A couple of weeks later, I had "the talk" with her.

 And did she take it well?

 She was actually a bit relieved. When I started out by saying, "I have something to tell you, and it's going to be a pretty big shock," she thought I was going to tell her something worse.
 She had worked for anti-racist groups before, and is very well educated, so we had quite a long chat after that.

 Wow!! I don't recall them being too active here, but I know that Toronto has a thriving Anti Racist Action group.

 She had nothing to do with the radical anarchist-type ARA people, though. She was a member of the police services board on racism.

 We don't have anything nearly that comprehensive here in the US. Is it an effective group?

 The ARA were quite effective in demonstrating outside Rahowa concerts ... sometimes 600 strong.

 Damn. That's a lot of people. How many people did Rahowa concerts draw?

 The largest show we played was to 500 people in Montreal.

 I guess that's pretty big for a White Power show, then?

 The police sequestered the whole neighborhood and turned away another 400 people.
 in Europe, the concerts reach 2,500 at times.

 2500? I don't even think Skrewdriver drew that many people, did they?

 i don't think so. But the first racist EP by Skrewdriver, White Power, sold over 300,000 copies worldwide since it's release in approx. 1979.
 Rahowa's Cult of the Holy War has sold an estimated 40,000 copies, which is the best selling Resistance title so far.

 Sort of a bittersweet victory, then?

 It is a testimony to the music, not the political content, as there have been many more controversial albums in the Resistance catalog that didn't sell as many.
 But now I am going to find out if my music can stand independently of the lyrics.

 "In the fires of 1945" stands out to me. It is by all accounts a beautifully stunning song. What was the reaction from the scene when this album was released?

 People didn't know how to take it, at first. It took a while to digest the album, because it is so complex. A lot of people wanted us to just release a follow-up to Declaration of War, our first album, staying safely in the skinhead rock genre. But we explore other directions.

 As an artist, you can ultimately only listen to your muse.

 Yes, and that is what Novacosm is about, primarily, always finding my own voice, just like I tried to do with Rahowa at one time.
 I just could no longer lie to myself that anything worthwhile was going to come from the movement. It is really just another scene in a great big human tragedy.

 A friend of mine, contacted me the other day, intrigued by this interview, and had a question. He related the story of Greg Withrow, former White Power Skinhead, who was famous for leaving the movement, and then being crucified by other WP Skins. Except, it is starting to come out that he possibly faked the incident, and is supposedly now admitting to his conversion being nothing more than an attempt to infiltrate the left wing.

I know that you don't owe anyone anything other than your word, and actions, but, for the skeptic, what would you say to those who would claim, "Aww, this Burdi fellow is just full of it, he went to jail and got scared"?

 That sounds like a reasonable scenario, except for one glaring seam in the argument: jail wasn't scary. It was vacation. I was in an Ottawa jail, and for those who have never been there, they are filled with the sons and daughters of clerical staff for the federal government.
 But I had four months to think about my life, and that is what made me decide to leave the cause.

In the beginning, I left out of defeat, not because I disagreed with the ideas. But the longer I was away from the groupthink of the movement, the more I came to look at things differently.

 Lots of time to think, I did the same thing in the early 90's, after a fairly big Anarchist action that I participated in, I could have been killed, should have done a year or more in prison, but I was lucky that I had people who gave a damn enough to testify on my behalf.
 Perspective is always a good thing.

 Everything is everything. We are all a reflection of each other.

 As Seattle's namesake, Chief Sealth once said, and I paraphrase here ; "We are all part of a giant web of life. Each action has an effect on all of us, whether or not it is readily apparent."

 That's Buddhist/Hindu metaphysics.

 It really is a small world after all!


 I heard that a fellow by the name of Bernie Farber has in some degree supported you. Would you care to elaborate?

 He has not supported me, just met with me and talked on three seperate occasions, all about ten months apart. I initiated it, and he was very generous with his time and treated me warm-heartedly.

I was going through a bit of a dialectical process, and wanted to see what I could learn about myself from getting to know him more. Walking into his big, fortified office was intimidating. I went where I feared to go the most at the time.


Do you have any parting words for the people out there in InternetLand?



 Ciao, brother.

 It has been an immense pleasure, George, I look forward to hearing from you in a big way!

 Thanks for the opportunity to speak about my strange life.

--- End quote ---

I used to get on well with George but he is a different person now, so much so that I would even suggest he was experimented on with mind altering drugs whilst in prison. Such is the cruelty and sadism of the North  american system. there are drugs that can do this


--- Quote from: Rev.Hansen on 01 January 2013 at 17:56 ---I have heard rumor he wants to return to the movement. That is laughable. I certainly will have nothing to do with him or any organization that does. Dirt worshiping, sand nigger loving, traitor.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: George Burdi on Stormfront ---Novacosm November 4, 2011

I, George Burdi, respectfully request the right to post on the Stormfront forum again

I am not sure why my account was denied posting privileges. I would like to post replies to a few comments. It has been many years since I posted last, and never have I been disrespectful.

--- End quote ---

--- Quote from: George Burdi with the SPLC ---Interview with the SPLC, 2001

In 1993, Canadian George Burdi started Resistance Records in Detroit, Mich., and quickly turned it into the largest distributor of racist music in North America, a firm that did as much as any other to spread the music that has also become known as "hatecore."

Along the way, Burdi, a member of the U.S.-based, neo-Nazi Church of the Creator (COTC), edited Resistance magazine, sang for the band Rahowa (short for "racial holy war," the slogan of COTC), and became one of the world's most visible racists.

Burdi was imprisoned in 1997 in connection with the beating of a female anti-racist activist following a fiery Burdi speech in Ottawa. Burdi says he did not personally kick the woman during the assault. After Burdi's release from prison, he cut all ties with the white power movement.

Today, Burdi, 31, plays in a band with two black members and is engaged to an East Indian woman. The Intelligence Report spoke to Burdi about his past, his own experiences with racism, and the white power music industry he helped to create.

INTELLIGENCE REPORT: What was your life like growing up?

GEORGE BURDI: I was born in 1970, and I grew up in a small, middle-class suburb of Toronto. I had a good relationship with my parents and was an altar boy at the parish.

In high school, I was the vice president of the student council and organized the dances. I was a popular kid, a straight-A student. I was on the football team, and I started a bodybuilding club. Everything was great.

IR: What were racial attitudes like in your family?

BURDI: My parents were Christians and accepting of everybody. I don't ever recall a discussion of race. My brother and I had black friends, and my parents fed them and treated them as if they were their own kids.

I was in the Chocolate Cake Club, a multicultural group of black kids and white kids. One of my best friends was Filipino. Until the end of high school, I had no racist leanings at all.

IR: So how did you get into racism?

BURDI: I was 18 years old. My girlfriend's father was into the movement, and I wanted his approval because I thought I was in love with his daughter.

He was really focused on World War II. He thought the Allies were unfair to Germany and that the Holocaust was wartime propaganda. At first, he wasn't talking to me about race or national socialism at all. He used to quote Napoleon, who said history is bunk; it is merely a version of a story written by the victors.

But racial literature isn't too far from Holocaust revisionist history, and eventually I came across it.

IR: How did that happen?

BURDI: I found a book in his house, White Power, by [assassinated American Nazi Party founder] George Lincoln Rockwell, and it shocked the hell out of me. I read it in a day.

I didn't start hating people right away; I was more looking for meaning in life. And here was this heroic challenge, in which my blood was calling me to rise up and save my people from destruction. That kind of epic theme really appealed to me.

When I was younger, I had liked playing Dungeons and Dragons and reading fantasy books like Lord of the Rings.

When you're young, you think you understand everything, and you want to share what you're thinking and get feedback. But I would bring up race and people would threaten me and call me a Nazi. They said that I wasn't allowed to think this, or that only bad people think this. I wanted an explanation.

People would say 6 million died in the Holocaust. I'd say, 30 million died under Stalin, but it's okay to be a communist. I had an argument for everything, but no one would listen to me or discuss it. It just galvanized my will.

It's funny, at the same moment that I was starting to read White Power, one of my black friends loaned me a tape of [black nationalist Louis] Farrakhan speaking.

I thought it was great! Here's this guy doing the same thing as Rockwell. He's looking after his people and promoting separation of the races, because higher culture [supposedly] is produced through homogenous nations.

IR: What did your family think of your new racial interest?

BURDI: My parents were passionate about saying it was wrong, but they never had any reasons. I wanted reasons. Our relationship really suffered. They saw I was on a slippery slope to jail or maybe death.

Once I got involved in Church of the Creator [the predecessor organization to WCOTC], I'd see them every few weeks, tell them how they didn't know anything and then leave. We tried to keep politics out of our relationship as much as possible.

IR: When did you connect with the Church of the Creator?

BURDI: During my first year at university, somebody who had worked for [long-time Canadian resident and Holocaust denier Ernst] Zündel gave me The White Man's Bible [by COTC founder Ben Klassen].

I couldn't believe that that type of stuff even existed. I was turned off by it. The White Man's Bible makes Rockwell's White Power look like an Aesop fable.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it. It said Jews and every other race look after their own interests first and foremost, and that it should be your responsibility as a young white person to promote your race first and foremost.

Klassen was arguing that white people are the creators of civilization; that's why it's called the Church of the Creator.

IR: What was your involvement in COTC?

BURDI: I traveled to the States a few times to meet people, and to Montreal and Ottawa. I answered a lot of letters. I worked for two months on Klassen's church compound in North Carolina.

Klassen was a reclusive guy who lived in a separate house up on the hill. He would come down every morning, put his hand on your shoulder, say a couple of inspiring things to the three of us who were there, and then leave. I produced the newspaper Racial Loyalty, wrote letters, stuffed envelopes, that kind of thing.

People have this impression that there is a large, well-organized, brooding underground. In reality all these P.O. boxes are just P.O. boxes.

It's a glass tiger.

There are a few people in each town who get together once in a while, drink some beers, use racial epithets and then go home feeling good about themselves. Maybe they subscribe to a couple of publications.

There are a very small number of them, and it's not well organized.

IR: Tell me about your band Rahowa.

BURDI: I started Rahowa with some local skinheads in 1989, and we split up in 1997. We released two discs; the most famous was the second, Cult of the Holy War, released in 1995.

Gigs were very rare. If a [white power] band plays four or five times a year that's a lot. We probably played 15 to 20 gigs in eight years.

Only two of us were with the band the whole time; everyone else came and went.

IR: What were concerts like?

BURDI: They almost never made money. But the concerts were crazy. Friends would beat each other up and then laugh about it afterwards, with their eyes swollen shut and their noses broken and picking their teeth up off the ground.

A large percentage of skinheads, especially in North America, are really hard-core alcoholics. It's too much to expect them to put fliers on cars, but they'll jump at the chance to buy beer.

There's a real irony in the fact that Hitler would have exterminated most of these guys as social deviants.

IR: What problems were there with violence at concerts?

BURDI: I must have been in at least 15 riot situations with police and anti-racist groups. The worst one was in London at an Ian Stuart [Donaldson, a Briton who played a seminal role in the first stages of the white power music scene] memorial concert, probably in 1994 or 1995. I wasn't playing, but I flew over there with the band Bound for Glory.

The police shut down the venue, and the concert was canceled so we hit the pubs with maybe 2,000, skinheads from all over Europe. On one main street of pubs, we filled every pub — 300 or 400 in one pub, 150 in another, 500 in another.

There were about 500 or 600 people in the pub I was at. A skinhead was standing outside having a cigarette, and the cops told him to go back inside. They were worried about a conflict between the skinheads and the 2,000 anti-racists traveling all over London looking for us. He wouldn't go inside, and when the police tried to arrest him, he tore free and ran into the bar.

The police followed him in, pinned him down and beat him with their billy clubs. Here's five or six policemen, without guns, beating a skinhead, with billy clubs, in front of 500 or 600 drunk skinheads. Not a good decision, huh? Suddenly full pints of beer come flying from the back of the room at the police, and skinheads start attacking them.

The police got out, shut the doors and called in the riot squad to surround the place. The skinheads were going completely crazy. Suddenly the doors burst open and 70 or 80 police in full riot gear with helmets and shields and body armor came in and just started clubbing everybody in their path. They were just grabbing them and clubbing them, cracking their heads open.

I saw so much violence it was unbelievable. Guys ripped the giant chandelier out of the ceiling to throw it at the cops. The police were dragging people out like rag dolls, unconscious with their heads split open. It was unbelievable.

Apparently, some skinheads met anti-racists on the subway going home. One skinhead had his face carved with a knife, another ended up in the hospital with his jaw wired shut.

IR: How are skinheads different in Europe?

BURDI: German skinheads are smarter than the Americans, and they're often in it for different reasons. They have a stronger sense of national identity; they have been living there for centuries. Americans get involved more from a purely racial standpoint.

The Swedish skinheads were all raised hearing about warrior Viking mythology. The Swedes have the most going for them outside of the movement: they are the most educated, the healthiest, the best looking.

It makes a difference when skinheads don't look like social misfits. Most Americans Skinheads are totally isolated from the rest of society. They're not nearly as isolated in Sweden.

IR: How did you start Resistance Records and the magazine?

BURDI: It was 1993, and I was 23. I felt artistic expression was more important for the movement than political organizing, and I had always had the most success with the band. A French label called Rebelles Européens had sent us money to record an album but then folded.

So we had the disc recorded and had nobody to release it, and fate kind of pushed me to start my own label. I printed up some mailers and let people know.

The intention was only to release Rahowa stuff, but I started getting demo tapes like crazy from other bands. I thought, hey, maybe I can release some of these as well. It cost only $2,000, to record a skinhead band, and it was easy to flip the profits from one into the next one.

Soon we had a magazine, five or six people working for us, and 12 or 15 bands signed. There have been all kinds of rumors about different people giving seed money to start Resistance, but in fact there was no one.

We established a viable model that other skinheads could follow, and the whole music scene grew from that. We explained it to anyone who would listen. Suddenly, it went from a couple of white power labels to a couple of hundred. I'm sure many were just a P.O. box and a guy living at his mom's house, but it worked.

IR: Was Resistance based in the Detroit area to avoid Canada's hate speech laws and take advantage of the American First Amendment?

BURDI: That's what people always thought, and we weren't ignorant of that benefit. But we would not have put it in Detroit if it had not been for the involvement of [American COTC member] Mark Wilson and some other original people from the Michigan area.

We were working jointly with COTC people from Wisconsin and Michigan, and the idea was to have a central location. Michigan was perfect because it was an equal distance between Milwaukee and Toronto.

IR: Did Resistance in the 1990s have a lot of licensing agreements with European labels?

BURDI: Yes, there were about 40 European labels we kept in contact with — labels in Poland, the Czech Republic, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, France, England, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Lithuania, Russia.

I think there were even Bulgarian and Hungarian labels, plus there was the neo-Nazi Afrikaner Resistance Movement in South Africa. There were Australians and others, too.

We sent a lot of CDs to Japan, of all places. It might sound strange, but it was enough for us that Hitler had a relationship with Japan. They called themselves the white men of the east.

IR: Did you have contact with other organized racist groups?

BURDI: Yes, absolutely every single group in the U.S. and around the world would contact us for CDs. We got tons of mail, bags of it sometimes. There was no time for me to read it all.

IR: How did the finances work?

BURDI: If we sold CDs in bulk wholesale, profit would range from $3 to $6 [U.S.] on each disc. A CD cost $2.20 to produce, including a dollar for the band. They would retail for $15 and you wholesale them at $6 or $8 or $10. Small distributors could get a second income by buying 50 discs from us wholesale, and turning a $10 profit on each one.

From 1994 to early 1997 we sold more than 60,000 CDs and tapes, maybe as many as 100,000. The vast majority of sales were wholesale, and every quarter was twice the sales volume of the previous quarter. Our Web site went up in 1994, and each month we would profit a couple thousand dollars from that.

I lived on Resistance income almost exclusively. I still worked the odd part-time job, but I didn't keep them for too long. Every time a big media piece would come out about me, I would get fired.

IR: What about manufacturing the discs?

BURDI: When it came to pressing the discs, we had plants all over the world. Resistance had a regular pressing plant in Buffalo called ESP, but they haven't pressed Resistance for years.

The white power thing usually became a problem. A pressing plant would press our stuff for a while, then the volume would start going up and they would start getting concerned. They'd see something on TV about us and then quit pressing our stuff.

But there was always another plant available, always, and so that was never a problem. It works exactly as you might imagine. People think, "If I don't do it, somebody else will. So why shouldn't I make the profit?" Well, when plants rejected us, someone else always did make the profit.

IR: What was your relationship with Nordland [the Swedish white power music label and magazine]?

BURDI: I never actually met them, but I spoke to them on the phone and e-mailed them. They followed the successful model right down to the letter. I would have done anything they asked of me. We helped them with software training and setting up their Web site. We shared photos and all the little details of laying out a magazine.

We were doing it for altruistic reasons, and we weren't concerned with protecting our ideas. Even with the other American white power music magazine, Blood & Honor, there was no sense of competition.

IR: You became quite well known in the white power music world. What was it like when you went out in public?

BURDI: I wasn't the type of person to make a scene. I didn't dress shockingly or wear swastikas or try to upset people. I was more into writing letters and reading books. You will never find one person saying I called them a name or was rude to them or punched them in the nose.

Even so, I was recognized all the time. People thought I was evil, but I was still a celebrity. People would come and shake my hand and I'd think I had a recruit here. Then they would tell me, "I totally disagree with your views." I'd wonder, "Well, why are you shaking my hand and smiling like you are so happy to meet me?" TV has a strange effect on people. But no one ever started a fight with me.

In fact, just the opposite. I remember a two-hour live interview I gave to an all-black radio station in Detroit. After about an hour, the ratings were going through the roof. Television news crews came down to broadcast our interview live on TV. The phone lines were lit up continuously. It was pretty dramatic.

I told this guy how American blacks had it better under segregation, how they could control their communities and education more. The black music and culture was better then. I was really expounding Farrakhan's ideas. I said the reason I'm promoting this is because I want the same thing for white people.

A lot of Farrakhan supporters were phoning in and a lot of black people were really supportive.

IR: How did you come to leave the movement?

BURDI: It started during my time in prison. I had given a speech in 1993, and after the speech some skinheads attacked some of the anti-racists. In 1995, I was convicted of assault [in Canada] for my part in what became a riot. I was sentenced to a year in prison, but I was released on appeal after a month.

That month inside just made me more bitter and served to galvanize my will. For the next two years, I worked harder than ever before.

My conviction was upheld in 1997, and I had to finish my sentence. I was reaching burnout before I even went in. I felt my direction was pretty pointless. All the media exposure was tough on my parents. Things were really rolling, sales were going wild, but it was tough.

I would lay out the magazine until 7 o'clock in the morning and wake up in front of my computer at 10. I didn't have a life.

IR: What happened when you went back into prison?

BURDI: When a week seems like an eternity and you've got months ahead of you, it's easy to sit back and think about your life. I decided I was going to get out of the movement when I left prison.

The three biggest things for my decision were the pain I gave my parents, the futility of my cause, and the judgment of the 12 jurors [in the assault case], who were all whites.

I can't tell you what I did to my parents. My father had worked for 17 years at the same company, and they fired him because of me. My parents finally moved out of Toronto because my father couldn't get a job with me as his son. Every time he would get close to getting a job somewhere, it would fall through. They wouldn't return his calls. My time in jail was just a little bit too much for them to swallow, and I don't know if they will ever fully recover from it.

As for the jury, they convicted me not on the facts of the case [Burdi says he never physically attacked the activist], but because they disagreed with my views. And here I was, supposedly fighting this fight for white people like them. I started thinking that there must be something to their perspective.

When I got out in June of 1997, I started developing new ways of looking at life.

IR: Tell me about that process.

BURDI: I didn't want to think about anything political. I didn't want to think too much at all. I didn't try to reason through the issues and form a counter-argument to each one. Instead, I went soul searching.

I got into fitness and started eating healthy, organic foods. I started to practice fasting and meditation, and I went on a spiritual discovery. When we are children, we study every leaf and flower and insect and animal and every question. I reopened that process for myself. I had a total shift in paradigm.

If I go back to the movement now, and you can be my witness for this, then somebody should lobotomize me.

IR: What did people in the movement say?

BURDI: I visited the Rahowa guitarist. I told him it was futile and that I was leaving.

He said, "You're right, it is futile. But you might as well stay in the movement, it's all you've got."

But I completely separated myself from everyone I had known before. I didn't call Resistance down in Michigan, and they didn't call me. Some people tried every way to contact me, wanting to know if I was all right. I just ignored them all.

Eventually, the letters got fewer and fewer until they just stopped altogether. I have no idea where any of those people are now.

My friends today have only known me since I left the movement. I'm just George to them. As for my parents, every month our relationship is better than the month before.

IR: What's your perspective on "white pride" now?

BURDI: People find meaning for their lives in many different places. Some join Star Trek fan clubs, others join the booster club for their local sports team, and other people become [North American Free Trade Agreement] protesters.

The white power movement was a way for me to find purpose and meaning in my life.

IR: In what sense do you now feel racism is wrong?

BURDI: Racism is wrong because ... I should probably say hatred is wrong, anger is wrong. Hatred and anger are wrong because they consume what is good in you. They smother your ability to appreciate love and peace.

Another reason that racism is wrong is that you attach yourself to the accomplishments of white Europeans, instead of developing yourself and actually contributing to the society you live in.

IR: You didn't mention anything about racism hurting other people.

BURDI: Naturally, because I'm answering the question from a totally different perspective.

Have I spoken out against racism in the politically correct terminology that people would expect me to use? Maybe not. But am I against it? Completely and wholeheartedly. You've got your reasons why it's wrong, and I've got mine.

The biggest problem with racism is that it promotes fear and lack of understanding between communities.

IR: You sang a song called "Third Reich" that includes these lyrics: "You kill all the niggers, and you gas all the Jews; kill a gypsy and a commie, too. You just killed a kike, don't it feel right; goodness gracious, Third Reich." How does that song make you feel today?

BURDI: I didn't write the music or the lyrics for that song, I should say.

The lyrics are incredibly negative, incredibly destructive to everyone mentioned in the song. They do a total disservice to anybody who thinks that the white power movement has any ideals beyond guttural hate.

Frankly, I am quite ashamed that I ever participated in singing those lyrics. It would be impossible for me to make a personal apology to everyone who was ever affected by that song.

But the people who bought it, they wanted to listen to it and probably already had those ideas in their heads.,0
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