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Obviously the most important feature in this week's edition of the Reader is the photo essay documenting how Chicago parties when the motherfucking Blackhawks win the motherfucking Stanley Cup. Let's just say there are cops involved. Tons and tons of cops. For good reason.
But the title of this post isn't This Week in the Chicago Blackhawks Being the Best Hockey Team in the World, so let's talk music. The new Gossip Wolf dishes about Steve Albini's preference for poker over fanboys and disses Kanye's taste buds, the List recommends Milwaukee soul revivalists Kings Go Forth and still-recuperating local popsters Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, Brian Leli gets deep in a Q&A with misanthropic New Orleans sludge lords Eyehategod, the Secret History of Chicago Music profiles "Chicago's answer to the Grateful Dead" Mountain Bus, and festival season rolls on with guides to the Taste of Randolph Street and Takin' It to the Streets, as well as a Photo Pit from Ribfest. Also I wrote a column that will probably have people calling me a Nazi any minute now.
More on that after the jump.
One of the biggest hassles of being a black-metal fan is having to do due diligence on bands whose music you like. I personally don't want to support or promote a band that espouses intolerant beliefs (beyond a straightforward, fuck-humanity form of misanthropy, which is an equal-opportunity intolerance). I don't even want to get involved if band members hold those beliefs but don't put them into their music. It can be complicated to make the call, though, because even black-metal bands who are absolutely not racist still sometimes appropriate fascist imagery for shock value. Speaking of which: Seriously, guys, it's 2010. That shit is tired and there have been lots of evil things to happen in the world since the Nazis. Appropriate the BP logo or something.
My decision to profile Nachtmystium didn't come easily or quickly. I spent a lot of time talking to people in the metal scene—some who are friends with Blake Judd, some who aren't. I had a journalist friend who's also a total metal freak pass along bits of info that some people have taken as proof that Blake's a Nazi sympathizer, but each one either didn't check out or didn't add up to a solid case. I also got to know the guy, so that when he opened up to me in a long discussion of the Nazi rumors that have plagued him for years, I believed him. I continue to believe him.
Blake admits to having used some hateful words in the past. He seems to genuinely regret doing so, and not just because they cost him a gig at a corporate metal fest. As I see it, he was a naive kid trying to fit in with a scene where hate speech and intolerance are seen in some quarters as signs of legitimacy. Then he wised up and ditched that bullshit. I don't think Blake Judd deserves a medal for making the entirely sane and obvious decision to stop using hate speech to look cool, but I think that any instance of someone confronting and abandoning his own ignorance is a good thing.