Until our daily news budget meeting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday I wasn’t very familiar with the term “hate rock.”
Turns out, I should have been.
We talked about hate rock, a subculture of rock’n’roll music that appeals to neo-Nazis, skinheads, Klan members and their ilk because of an Associated Press story about mass killer Wade Michael Page, a former Fort Bragg soldier who killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin Sunday before being taken down by police. Page was apparently linked to hate rock bands as a member. The AP described the hate rock scene as “a shadowy world of hundreds of performers in the U.S. and Europe, most of them playing metal or hardcore punk. Some also play country, folk and other genres.” Their lyrics and attitudes are singed with racism and sometimes threats of violence.
According to the AP, Page once played guitar and bass with Intimidation One, as well as in bands called Definite Hate and End Apathy. Apparently there’s a lot of crossover among band members in the hate rock world.
None of that stood out for me until later Tuesday night when I got a call at home from Brad Coville, a former photographer here who is now with the Wilson Daily Times. Page is a former resident of Nashville, N.C., which is in their area. While doing some research, Brad came across a GQ article from 2001 about the band Definite Hate.
Turns out, they have a connection to Alamance County but don’t seem to have been based here, as Brad originally thought.
The September 2001 GQ story written by Geoff Edgers describes a day in Alamance County that begins in Graham at the Civil War memorial event and ends at the Ossipee Ski Lodge, a notorious bar that operated for years out Old Highway 87 and was pretty much a kind of ground zero for racism in our community. Today it looks like a far more tranquil hangout for bikers and calls itself the Old Ski Lodge. It has new owners and none of the trappings or attitudes of the former Ossipee Ski Lodge, I’m told.
Edgers follows Definite Hate throughout the action-packed day, including their performance at the former Ossipee Ski Lodge, which drew a nasty assortment of white supremacists from varying groups. The headline on the story was this:
“White Trash: The inside story on the making of a hate band. Or how five impressionable skinheads learned that being a bigot is the quickest way to a record deal and a loyal following the world over”
Edgers’ piece contains this description of the Ossipee Ski Lodge in 2001.
“The Ossipee Ski Lodge sits in one of the ever shrinking pockets of Klan country in the American South. There was a time when blacks wouldn’t dare approach these parts. Now they drive by, sometimes honking in protest as they pass. The lodge is a low cinder-block building with booths and pool tables inside, a concrete patio outside. The walls are decorated with Confederate flags and NASCAR photos. Above the bar hangs a noose around the mask of a black woman with oversize bogeyman features. Outside, a few dozen skinheads mingle with fifty or so older Ossipee regulars, drinking beer and sifting through … a table of Resistance products. A Johnny Rebel tape from the 1970s plays over the PA. His racist rebel songs provided a white-power fix for an older generation.”
The Ossipee Ski Lodge first flashed across my radar screen when I worked for the Times-News in the 1980s. Intrigued by the name, it was mentioned in passing occasionally by the newspaper. My old sports editor Bill Hunter once mused that the Winter Olympics would be held there one year. Reporter Mark Kemp, a longtime friend and former colleague wrote a story about the place in 1987, characterizing it as a spot where good ol’ boys hang out, drink frosty mugs of beer and watch hunting and fishing shows on TV. Later a colleague dropped by there for a cold beer and reported seeing racist posters and other items. When questions were raised about it, the owners at that time were steadfast: Black people were not welcome there.
My policy in such instances is simple. Then I’m not welcome there either. So I bid good riddance to the Ossipee Ski Lodge without ever setting foot in the place more than two decades ago.
Sadly, others didn’t do the same.
Anyway, the Wisconsin shooter isn’t mentioned in the GQ article and probably drifted from band to band. That seems to be the hate rock profile based on my very rudimentary research. It also seems that performing hate rock is a way for otherwise crappy bands to find whatever sadly marginal success they can attain.
And I’m not sure how many gigs Definite Hate or other hate rock bands have performed in Alamance County. But I’d say one is too many.