Youngland’s music structure pays homage to classic punk: jagged guitar riffs, wild drums and raging vocals.
The lyrics, however, reveal a more sinister agenda, with hymns about oppressed white men and vicious slurs against blacks and Jews.
Ten years ago, Wade Michael Page was the bassist for Youngland.
Page, a white supremacist and former military veteran, on Sunday shot dead six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., Before taking his own life, officials said. He lived in Orange County for about two years, from 2001 to 2003, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks extremist groups. While here, Page recorded at least one album with Youngland and performed in concerts that served as recruiting events for young people who shared their views.
A series of high profile protests during this period drove many hate metal groups underground, leading them to organize rallies on private land in rural areas, or secretly in dark rooms. But the groups continue to thrive, beyond the sight of most of the public, says the ADL.
“There is a large population of white supremacists in Southern California and a huge number of racist skinheads,” said Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research for the group. “Orange County has this kind of historic association with the white power music scene that continues to this day,” he added, citing groups ADL has followed online.
After Page left Orange County, he joined other groups including Intimidation One, Definite Hate, and End Apathy. The ADL became aware of him around 2010, Pitcavage said, due to his association with these groups, as well as his participation in several concerts of the Hammerskins, a white power group that has a “long association with violence and hate crimes “. But there is little evidence that Page was progressing towards the kind of massacre he committed. Jason Stevens of Portland, Ore., The former leader of Intimidation One, told AP he had never seen Page fight, “even when riots broke out at the shows.”
“It wasn’t someone who sounded the alarm for us,” Pitcavage said of Page. “We didn’t know he was heading in that direction.”
Page, 40, performed on Youngland’s “Winter Wind” album in 2003. He is credited with the lead vocals on one song, “Activist or Terrorist,” a Holocaust denial screed. A stanza says:
How did you already find six million
There is no precise account
Secure your own nation
That was what it was about
In April 2002, Youngland was scheduled to perform at Moose Lodge in La Habra, in honor of Adolf Hitler’s birthday, until the alternative newspaper OC Weekly published word of the event and he was canceled. The lodge said people who booked the room misrepresented the event as a fundraiser.
The bait-and-swap tactic is still commonplace, Pitcavage said. Last month, an event called Summer of Hate, featuring White Knuckle Driver and other white power groups, drew around 70 people to the VFW station in El Cajon, Pitcavage said.
Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles Division, which includes Orange County, said law enforcement must strike a balance between free speech and the need to investigate d ‘possible criminal activity.
“We do not monitor groups exercising their First Amendment rights,” she said. “When a group crosses the line of criminal activity, that’s what we want to know and prosecute.
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