One of many causes of death was violence between different factions of youth culture. The main schism was nazi skinheads vs. everyone else.
I haven’t talked about this aspect of things because:
1)It still exists to some extent
2)writing about things on here seems to coincide with things coming back to life.
All that being said, I thought this article was relevant in discussing this time:
Chaos broke out at Airport Music Hall in Allentown during a Saturday night concert that was shut down after only one of six bands that attract hard-core punk rockers and neo-Nazi skinheads got through its show.
I attended this show, I was 16. Agnostic Front hadn’t played on the East Coast for a few months. There had been a few major flare-ups between factions at different shows, in Philly, Trenton, Pottstown, and in Bethlehem all around that spring/summer. Tensions were high. Antagonism and violence were common place. I wore my Burn shirt, it was a statement. There was violence in the line. Some skinheads grabbed a white dude’s hair and cut off his dreadlocks with a knife. A horrible, racist skinhead girl chucked a beer can at a black cop’s head and got her face smashed into the asphalt and some tight handcuffs for the effort. “My dad’s a cop! Fuck you n—-!”.
“Now you’re going to jail.”
Ignorant, hateful, violent kids…and there was so many of them. If you were attending a show in the Lehigh Valley or surrounding areas in that time period chances were you’d be outnumbered by nazi skinheads. Chances also were that someone was getting fucked up on either side of the aisle. Yes that is correct, we are talking about the beautiful, rural area surrounding the T-Town velodrome and Bicycling Magazine that somehow in the mid 1980’s became a breeding and meeting ground for white power skinheads.
One band played, Vison got on the stage next and talked a bunch of shit to the Nazis. (See Kyle? Who’s Kyle? Can someone get me an Aryan girl?” etc) The Nazis seig heiled more and stomped around waving their nazi flag and then the fights started. I got maced by the biker security guards. Someone had their 10 year old little brother in full skin regalia sitting on their shoulders shaking that dumb flag around. (I’ve thought about that kid a few times over the years. Where do you go from being a 10 year old nazi skinhead? This kid went to 4th grade in boots and braces thinking about white nationalism. What the fuck? He’s got to be around 34 or 35 now. )
The nazis chained the door shut and were going around asking people if they were white power and then dumping on them if they weren’t. Little skirmishes kept popping up. Info travelled fast in the crowd. All the straight edge kids migrated to each other and formed a circle with their backs facing in. The idea was if skins came from any side we were all fighting. Eventually someone threw a chair through the door and the cops raided the place. (Where were the people that worked there? Hiding in the office? The bouncers held down the stage and protected the bands but definitely not the crowd. It’s kind of funny when you think about it. Biker gang bouncers protecting Agnostic Front from nazi skinheads while suburban straight edge kids are getting mauled in the crowd. I’m not by any means saying AF and crew needed any protection or that the nazis would want to attack them, but those bouncers definitely weren’t trying to step over the barrier into the fray to break it up. The paycheck wasn’t worth getting stabbed over. ) Everyone scattered and there was more violence in the parking lot and surrounding neighborhood.
This is what some big suburban shows were like…and one of the reasons things ended. All of this shit was in the newspaper and on TV. Skinhead Violence. Suburban parents see this stuff, do you think they’re letting their 13 year old go to the shows? “No Johnny you stick to Lollapalooza”
To be honest I had a good time at this one. I liked the adventure and the danger of it, and the us vs them, wrong vs right mentality that was part of the scene at the time. A lot of people did and a lot of people didn’t.
Bonus Record Review from Allentown Morning Call:
New York City’s Sick Of It All is currently promoting a new album, “Blood, Sweat And No Tears” (In-Effect). The record is, at best, the aural equivalent of a mugging. Hoarse, indecipherable vocals rise over pummeling guitar work and musical structures which are brief, severe and ugly.
“In a recent telephone interview from Flushing, N.Y., Sick Of It All guitarist Pete Koller matter-of-factly noted that the band sometimes comes into contact with what he called “Nazi skinheads” — ultra-violent, youthful white-power supremacists who often are in the news for involvement in racially-motivated beatings. “Some skinheads are Nazis,” he said. “We recently played a show in North Carolina and a lot of them came out. They were all under 15.
“They talked to us after the show — and they liked us. What would you do if someone who was a Nazi said they liked what you did and didn’t cause any trouble? Anyway, they didn’t even understand what they stood for … They had no idea. They were just followers.
“Our music is hard and brutal,” said Koller, “and the outcasts, the meaner side comes to see us.””
“Any man can shave his head, don a bomber jacket, cuff his pants at mid-calf and call himself a skinhead. The look bespeaks fascistic militarism: combat regalia, arcane insignias, shiny Doc Marten jump boots.
But by one twist of teenage logic, the accessories favored by white-power skinheads are also trendy among rocking anti-racist youth.
“A lot do it for the fashion,” explains Karolyn D——-, manager of Zipperhead’s clothing store in Ardmore, where not every adolescent rebel is a rebel with a cause.
But there’s little doubt commitment lies behind the looks of __________ and ___________ – the one, a Berks County skinhead emblazoned with symbols of racial supremacy, the other, a Delaware County “skinhead against racial prejudice,” a “SHARP.””