White supremacists received a very cold welcome at White Oak Music Hall on Sunday, July 22. At least, as cold as a thrown beer according to James McDowell II, lead vocalist and guitarist of Gen Why, who described the incident on his Facebook page:
“I see three…THREE fucking white denim vests with ‘good night left side’ on the back in 3 piece biker style patches, on the front “white pride” “MAGA” and other German WWII symbolism.
Pissed off that no one had handled this shit trio, I talked to some friends and we handled the situation. Yeah. I threw a beer in one of their faces, and a fight almost ensued but the staff at White Oak broke it up before it started and they escorted the white pride kids out. We almost got 86d too because ‘they didn’t do anything. They didn’t start shit’ well motherfucker showing up to a punk show in white pride gear is automatically starting shit. Fuck that. I will never in my life allow this type of scum to walk the same halls as us.”
McDowell identified the three people sporting the white power apparel. One, Charles Alan Prudhomme, is known locally as Crusty Chuck. In the past, Chuck has been accused by Jacqi Kill of The Bad Drugs of shoving her at Catbirds back in 2011. He’s also in the sex offender registry for lewd molestation of teenage girls. Another is Amanda Moen, who defended the clothing and her intentions on Facebook.
“Everyone seems to be misinformed about this entire situation. We don’t stand for racism, whatsoever. In fact, quite the opposite. If people would just educate themselves and stop yelling Nazi they would realize that’s not the case whatsoever and that we don’t condone these types of things. If people want to listen and then disagree with us then that’s fine and we can respect that, but otherwise everyone who’s agreeing with this stupid shit about Nazis is stupid. Please, the Nazis hate us the worst.”
Moen goes on to declare the club she is part of as dedicated to sobriety and pride in whatever culture people happen to belong to. In a further conversation with a concerned party, she claims that white people are ashamed of being white, and disavows any racist accusations aimed at her because of family members who are Filipino and Honduran.
Two other people involved in the incident are allegedly James McCarty, a man who appears on the Texas Sex Offender registry for indecency with a child, and Herber Martinez. The latter was not wearing white power clothing, but according to McDowell was associating with the trio. Martinez was charged with cruelty to animals in 2016 for hanging a cat inside a Metro train.
This author has nothing but praise for McDowell, who employed the only known effective manner of keeping white supremacists and Nazis out of the music scene: make them uncomfortable and afraid. Robert Pursell of Los Angeles Magazine laid out the necessity in an article earlier this year.
He interviewed Heath Mattioli (Disco’s Out…Murder’s In!).
“Wearing a swastika like Sid Vicious or doing the sieg heil, they did that. But even with that caveat, none of them would ever try something like that in Los Angeles. They would have gotten their asses handed to them. They would have gotten beat back to their cars, if they even made it that far.”
The Houston music scene has no place for the “different ideas” that make up white pride and white supremacy. We have too diverse a scene and too many marginalized people under threat in their everyday life to allow hatemongers any place at the table. Some, like Moen, can give lip service to the idea that they are counteracting an oppressive white guilt that has shamed Caucasians into silence, but that is bullshit deep enough to sail a ship on. It’s a soft form of white supremacy used to weasel in systemic oppression under the guise of hurt feelings, truly the most un-punk rock thing that has ever dared to slither spinelessly across the floors of Houston clubs.
Showing up to a gig in Houston sporting white pride and white power clothing is a statement. That statement is, “I want others to be afraid of me.” White people, particularly those accused of abusing women and animals, make up the disproportionate number of shooters in America. Racial violence perpetuated by whites in the name of white power is a growing terrorist movement.
The roots of that movement cannot take hold in Houston clubs. They can’t be allowed to recruit or “just talk” or even exist unmolested. To do so is to side against all the people most likely to be in their crosshairs on the day their bigoted madness and America’s loose gun laws meet at the crossroads.
To love what Houston is you have to reject what Houston isn’t. The second a musician or artist exhibits behavior that indicates sympathy to white supremacy, I take them off my coverage list. The same goes for people accused of sexual assault or domestic abuse. An unmoderated forum always cedes ground to the most toxic. Absolute free speech is the unlocked window that monsters crawl in through.
McDowell did the right thing. I hope more will follow. Open Nazis don’t deserve something as amazing as the bands that come through the White Oak Music Hall. Keep on keeping their asses out. If the personal histories of the trio and Martinez are any indication, we aren’t missing much at all.