TV REVIEWS : MTV News Explores ‘Hate Rock’ Trend


A lot of music fans figured rock ‘n’ roll reached its nadir in the last decade with the proliferation of pop songs as advertising jingles. They were close, but wrong.

The music that not all that long ago represented some kind of liberation has come to be melded with its seeming antithesis, the Fascist jackboot philosophy, in a new wave of proudly racist, far-right rock. It’s the bizarre focus of a fascinating MTV News special report, “Hate Rock” (tonight at 10).

Instances of this mind-boggling trend still tend to be fairly isolated--at least in America--so there’s probably no need to get hysterical just yet. And host Kurt Loder doesn’t. Instead, he offers a sober assessment of the forces that have combined to create a league of race-baiting, post-punk skinheads, most of them in Europe, most of them lunkheads.


Loder points out that not all skinheads or aficionados of the thrashy, punky “Oi!” music are neo-Nazis--although the association has become so widespread you have to wonder why any kid who doesn’t have a Hitler poster in his room would shave his head at this late date.

Loder has found some truly distressing human beings to film, all the way down to whippersnappers who earnestly explain why Adolf was “right” in his quest for “purity.”

The American band Aggravated Assault performs in front of a swastika and leads a “united white power” refrain. A lesser-known group, Rahowa!, covers an old Nancy Sinatra hit but makes the lyrics more S.S.-friendly: “These boots are made for stompin’ . . . and one of these days these boots are gonna stomp all over Jews.”

A good portion of the special was filmed in Germany, where this movement is less a novelty than a clear and present danger. But beware: Loder brings it to a close in Orlando, Fla., apparently a minor hotbed of racist hotheads, and not the only American one.

Be grateful the special lasts only a half-hour, because--well-made as it is--any more might be unduly depressing. Still, there’s comic relief, if you look for it. One unwitting German skinhead racist, looking for love in all the wrong places, laments, “I don’t know why there aren’t many girls in the scene. . . . They don’t come. They don’t like it.” As almost any teen-ager would instinctively respond: Duh .