Monday, 27 September 2010

Gary Smith on Manoeuvres

No Remorse
Smith on left, Browning second from right
While the facts are hard to come by, given the conspiracy of silence that surrounds the issue, it seems that Gary Smith played bass on the album Songs of the Wolf by Above the Ruins, the band Wakeford formed on leaving Death in June in 1986, and also on the 1987 debut Sol Invictus album, Against the Modern World. One curious connection between the groups, other than personnel (thought to be Smith, Ian Read and the mysterious Liz Grey), is the choice of names and titles: Above the Ruins was named after the book Man Against the Ruins, by Italian traditionalist and 'super-fascist' Julius Evola, while the album Against the Modern World can similarly be assumed to be named for his book Revolt Against the Modern World. Evola was a major influence on the faction of the National Front (NF) Wakeford associated with during his time as an open fascist. In any case, clearly there was a strong ideological continuity between the two groups to parallel the continuity of personnel.

Smith was also a member of No Remorse,  one of the most extreme and explicit of the White Power / Blood and Honour skinhead groups. No Remorse also featured Will 'The Beast' Browning, leader (alongside Charlie Sargent) of the ultra-violent Nazi street-fighting group Combat 18. No Remorse subsequently gained a degree of notoriety for their recording Barbecue in Rostock, which celebrated the 1992 riots and  arson attack on an apartment block housing asylum seekers in that city. Above the Ruins, on the other hand, revealed similar allegiances when they contributed a track to the National Front benefit album No Surrender vol 1 alongside the Nazi groups Skrewdriver and Brutal Attack. Clearly Above the Ruins were part of the same general movement as those Blood and Honour groups even if their music was just as clearly aimed at a different audience (ie. not the usual Nazi boneheads but those who prefer their racist claptrap served up with a drum machine and some moody synthesiser on the side).

The following two images are stills taken from a 1991 Panorama TV report entitled 'Race Hate UK', an expose of the racist British National Party (BNP). A person who appears to be Gary Smith is filmed marching on a BNP demo through through the East End of London chanting 'Rights for Whites' and giving the Nazi salute to bystanders.

Gary Smith with the BNP

Sieg Heil

As the commentator says, the BNP at that time were an openly racist party concerned explicitly not with nationality but race. In the course of the film barking, swivel-eyed BNP spokesman Richard Edmonds calls for "a final solution to the racial problems in this country". Gary Smith is precisely the kind of person Wakeford worked with and befriended when he was an open fascist.

These days Wakeford claims to have broken with the ideas he held at that time, but refuses to say exactly what those ideas were. In particular he refuses to say whether they included notions, taken in part from Evola, about 'metapolitical fascism', in which openly fascist politics are abandoned in favour of cultural / artistic work aimed at expanding the influence of anti-democratic, traditionalist and fascist ideas, preparing the ground for a future fascist resurgence - and these are the sort of ideas associated with the neo-folk scene and groups such as Wakeford's own Sol Invictus. He certainly seems to have been thinking in that direction at the time, saying at one point that "In the end economics, even politics, doesn't matter and only a living culture can guarantee a people's, a nation's future."1 While I am quite prepared to believe that Wakeford has long ago dropped active membership of the NF (forerunner to the BNP as the party of choice for Britain's racists) the cultural themes he learned during his time with them, as aspects of their ideology ('Eurocentrism', Paganism, etc.) remain central to his work as a musician. 

Another member of Above the Ruins and the original Sol Invictus was Ian Read, a Nazi Odinist who continues to be active with his band Fire + Ice, and who we'll no doubt talk about in future. As Stewart Home has already discussed this period of Wakeford's life at some length, I'll say no more for now other than to comment, first and most obviously, that these images and the film they are taken from offer a close-up view of the kind of world Wakeford immersed himself in before going all 'metapolitical' and obtuse on everyone. The other point concerns the dishonest nature of Wakeford's halting and half-hearted repudiation of his own past. First he denied making music as a fascist at all, then details of his involvement in Above the Ruins began to emerge. He has been known to say that the first incarnation of Sol Invictus was after his association with fascism, but then the evidence emerged that the first Sol Invictus line-up was in fact the same line-up as Above the Ruins, who were clearly identified with the NF through the No Surrender release mentioned above. Not only that but, according to the official version of the story, Wakeford was jettisoned from Death in June when he became a hardcore NF activist, yet a photograph we recently unearthed would seem to suggest that he'd been active for some years in both Death in June and the NF simultaneously before the parting of the ways. Other questions remain: was Wakeford working with David Tibet on the Current 93 album Imperium2 at the same time as he was working with Read and Smith? What role, if any, did Mark Sutherland (Skrewdriver drummer) play in these early bands?

The story keeps on changing. No wonder Wakeford says that he no longer wants to talk about that period: every time he's done so in the past it has turned out later either that he'd lied or had left gaping holes in his story to cover up the extent of his (and other people's?) active involvement in fascist politics. It looks very much as though there may be a lot more to be discovered about the history of Tony Wakeford's fascism and his political relations with other players in the neo-folk 'scene'.


1. Tony Wakeford, Scorpion # 9, Spring 1986, p 31
2. whose title, incidentally, is probably taken from Francis Parker Yockey or (more likely in my opinion) Evola again

12 comments:

  1. Gary Smith is credited as being on the first Sol Invictus album "Against The Modern World". No one I know of disputes this. Wakeford won't name the line-up for the Above The Ruins album "Songs Of The Wolf" but Nazi sites say it is the same as for the first Sol Invictus LP. Supposedly the same people (Tony Wakeford, Gary Smith and Ian Read) stand jackboot to jackboot with fellow Nazis Freya Aswynn AKA Elizabeth Hooijschuur, Boyd Rice, Douglas Pearce (of Death In June) and others on the 1988 David Tibet AKA David Bunting AKA Current 93 album "Earth Covers Earth". Bizarrely various anarchists including Steve Ignorant (ex-Crass) and Lu Bell AKA Louise Bell (of Flux of Pink Indians) also appear on the same record. While Read stopped his activities as A Nazi street activist after the early 1990s, he was still organising security for Nazi conferences in the early 1990s - so although Gary Smith's involvement is hard to confirm (but seems likely given his involvement with Read and Wakeford at the time), 1988's "Earth Covers Earth" can still very much be seen as an instance of convergence orchestrated by David Tibet due to the broad range of active Nazis and anarchists involved in it.

    Incidentally, Gary Smith has a strange history of involvement in the anarcho-punk scene. As well as being a Combat 18/BNP activist (and bass player for Nazi bands like Sol Invictus and No Remorse) - he played in Decadent Few who contributed the track 'Metamorphobia' to the compilation "We Don't Want Your Fucking War" on Fight Back Records (an imprint of Mortarhate - the label of top eighties anarcho-punk band Conflict). So despite being an unreconstructed Nazi, Smith clearly shared Read and Wakeford's interest in convergence - conning the left to unite with the right on the completely ridiculous grounds they had a common enemy in the form of the capitalist system.

    It should also be stressed that Gary Smith was playing in hardcore Nazi band No Remorse at the time Sol Invictus made their "Against The Modern World" album. The involvement was simultaneous.

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  2. Freya Aswynn is performing at their old venue SLIMELIGHT with Patrick Leagas (O'Kill) on 25th June 2011. So it looks like that mob is still in contact. This is well advertised on her new website, and elsewhere on the internet. It would be interesting to see who else turns up. Same old same old..................

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  3. Hello Anonymus,
    Thanks for the plug!

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  4. Ernst Rum-Baba20 Apr 2011 12:43:00

    Just a note - Smith wasn´t just a Combat 18 man - he was a Combat 18 man who was pleased to be playing in a band with Will "The Beast" Browning (secod right, Black an white photo above) - who was, ignoring the useless turd now languishing in prison for murder (and his brother) - the true 'boss' of Combat 18 - and a failed letter-bomber to boot - and don´t forget, whilst we´re here - that Richard Moult of Tony Wakeford Ltd. enterprises is the best buddy and fellow-traveller of the OTHER ex-boss of Combat 18 - David M. Myatt - now sitting cross-legged in a field somewhere near you...

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  5. Where are all the comments on this thread, post 20/4/2011?

    Where is the Andrew King post, and the comments that followed?

    This has become an important anti-fascist resource. Please reinstate all comments as soon as possible.

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  6. Tupper Gore Wear4 Jul 2011 01:16:00

    Yes, has the curse of Hitlers birthday struck? didn't there used to be some really good comments on here?
    What goes? was that a censorship thing also?

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  7. About a months worth of comments have simply disappeared. They certainly weren't deleted by the admins. Maybe it's a technical problem. I shall try and find out.

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  8. Seems that you are really obsessed with this issue as a jealous child who never had the balls to become like them? You talking of 30 years ago.. They have moved on, How about you? just stop this crap and get a life! you are really sad - ignorant individuals. fight the real problems!
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jun/30/odd-future-domestic-violence-protest

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  9. Biffo Alcatraz4 Jul 2011 12:00:00

    Anonymous - you are one of these stupid people who talk with an upward lift so that something intended to be a statement becomes a question? like that? and it has crept into your writing too?
    a sad indictment of wherever it was that was supposed to supply you with an education - or enough backbone to avoid the problem of emulating speech patterns of your peers to 'fit in'.
    Secondly - yes, the guardian article [so you read? were you just pretending to be incompetent in relation to the written word?]
    Then again I suspect that I may be being unkind to one who doesn't have english as their native tongue.
    Well, that is not something I am going to lose sleep over - because when some halfwit comes wading into a blog and posts some idiot comment simply because they have detected that it was the last place that the Blog owner may have visited - and berates them in a mindless and predictable way - hey! i'll tell you what - why don't you go to a gardening forum and tell them to get a life and stop worrying about greenfly when there are people disappearing from the streets of wherever.
    YOU get a life! yes, the people talked of in the Guardian article are evil and stupid - that is accepted and yes - something needs to be done about it. Therefore, why don't you go and do a blog about it - rather than run into this particular sandpit and demand that all the other children play with you. He who smelt it dealt it.

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  10. I Am Aussie Nige ex Guitarist of No Remnorse 1992- 1995. Just a bit of inside gossip, Gary was known as the one string wonder & couldn't play in time or in tune & was always horribly drunk at rehearsals in London & at gigs we played! I covered the Bass on recordinfgs I Did with Paul B as Gary was too incompetent. The Czech Poland tour we did in early 90's was secretly named the 'Bum Gravy tour' by Paul behind Gary's back due to the fact that he lost control of his bowels in the cabin our czech hosts had housed us in the night before the first concert we played in Czech, due to the large quantity of alcohol he had consumed that night. He lost his bowels ontop of Pauls bed whilst Paul sleeping under the covers at about 4 am i witnessed it! Its all in my book (& many more stories) I am writing about my time with N.R.that i will eventually Publish...Gary was a drunken idiot & no musician for the record! - Aussie Nige...

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    1. What you fail to mention is that you were all in on spiking Garry's drink behind his back, filling his pint with spirits. Nice. I'm glad he shat on you all!

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    2. What you fail to tell everyone is that you all thought it was funny to spike Garry's drink behind his back, tipping almost a pint of jack daniels into his drink then all did a "down in one" competition. You all knowing this, Garry being the only one kept in the dark - nice, you could of killed him or done him serious damage so I'm glad he shat on you all! You have the nerve to take the piss out of him & slag him off after that, telling one side of the story, you cunt. Coming from the bloke everyone thought was an oddball & slagged him off behind his back.....har har, you're a joke.

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Please at least use a pseudonym so it's possible to follow your argument if you make multiple posts