Ideological Intersections? White Power Music Scene, lateral thinkers and militant right-wing extremists: “The Zillertal Virus Hunters”
Autor: Maximilian Kreter
Diese Reihe bietet einmal im Monat einen Einblick in die Forschungsprojekte, die aktuell am HAIT bearbeitet werden. Hierbei können projektbezogene, aber auch themen- und fächerübergreifende Fragestellungen behandelt werden. So bietet die Reihe Raum für Aspekte, die quer zu den Forschungsschwerpunkten am HAIT liegen oder darüber hinausgehen. Dabei reicht die inhaltliche Spannbreite der Berichte von Impressionen aus der Feldforschung über den Einblick in einzelne Quellen bis hin zu Auszügen aus Interviewvorhaben. Im folgenden Beitrag setzt sich Maximilian Kreter mit inhaltlichen Verarbeitung der Coronakrise im Bereich des Rechtsrock am Beispiel der Band “Zillertaler Virenjäger” auseinander.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the German White Power Music Scene at least as hard as all other music scenes, but as a political scene there was a particular need to quickly develop a corresponding attitude to the issue of the pandemic. After a short phase of consolidation the scene reacted and moved concerts online, focused on production of new material as well as releasing old records again to keep the business alive. The same is true for the search of a stance on COVID-19: the scene followed most far right actors in their harsh opposition to the measures to contain the pandemic and regarding the assessment of the danger of the virus. Due to the highly ideologically motivated belief in conspiracies it was easy for most actors to adopt the narrative of the Great Reset and combine it with more common far right conspiracy narratives such as the Great Exchange or the Zionistic Occupied Government (ZOG). But even after nearly two years of the outbreak of the pandemic on European soil, the topic is not dominating the lyrics of the German White Power bands as much as the “refugee crisis” or the “euro crisis” did.
Some bands, such as the “Sturmrebellen” (Storm Rebels), dedicated the album (title) “- (C’neunzehn) -“ (C’nineteen) to this topic, or the Cottbus-based rapper “Bloody32” who picked up on it. But besides the cooperation of the lead singer of the far right German hooligan band “Kategorie C” (“Category C”) and German soul and R&B singer/songwriter Xavier Naidoo producing the song “Heimat” (home), it was another band from the White Power Music Scene who delivered the soundtrack to a lot of protest marches for example in Kassel, Stuttgart, Oldenburg or in Regensburg: “Die Zillertaler Virenjäger” (“The Zillertal Virus Hunters”) with their song “Fahrt zur Hölle” (“Ride to Hell”). As follows, the example of “Die Zillertaler Virenjäger” will be used to demonstrate how the combination of the various conspiracies works or has respectively been carried out on the basis of the current state of society during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The band name is a variation of the original name “Die Zillertaler Türkenjäger/Die lustigen Zillertaler“ (“The Zillertal Turk Hunters/The Merry Zillertalers”, hereafter “Zillertaler”), originally referring to the Austrian Volksmusik respectively schlager band “Die Zillertaler Schürzenjäger” (“The Zillertal Skirt-Hunters”). In 1997, the album “12 Doitsche Stimmungshits” (“Twelve German Mood Hits”) was released, on which twelve White Power Music adaptations of well-known schlager and pop music songs can be heard. Despite its prompt ban and the subsequent confiscation, the album achieved previously unimaginable reach as well as new target groups. The 2009 follow-up “Wir lassen uns das Singen nicht verbieten” (“We will not be banned from singing”) was released and follows the similar linguistical, ideological and musical patterns as the first album. Daniel “Gigi” Giese, was suspected of being the voice of “Zillertaler”. Due to the criminal statements in the lyrics, a lawsuit was brought to prove Giese’s involvement by means of voice matching. Giese’s involvement could not be proven in court, although he openly alludes to his involvement in interviews. Likewise, the band “Gigi & Die Braunen Stadtmusikanten” (“Gigi & The Brown Town Musicians”), which is musically very similar to the “Zillertaler” as well as in terms of content, was founded by Giese in 2004.”Gigi” gained some notoriety with his “Döner-Killer” song with “Gigi & Die Braunen Stadtmusikanten”, as he allegedly had perpetrator knowledge about the NSU murder series: As with “Gigi & Die Braunen Stadtmusikanten”, the “Zillertaler” draw on the instrumental versions of German schlager and pop songs and partially also use the original lyrics for the cover or adapt them to charge them with extreme right content. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia assumes “that at least partly the same musicians were involved in the production”. Due to their practical anonymity the “Zillertaler” do not hold back, combining not only racism, the open endorsement of dictatorial forms of government, the trivialization and justification of National Socialism as well as chauvinistic attitudes, especially towards ethnic and non-heteronormative individuals and groups, meaning in most cases: male white German.
The goal is to show that on the basis of an extreme right ideology it is possible to fit conspiracies into the pursued ideology, or vice versa: it means that by believing in a certain conspiracy, an extreme right ideology functions as a plausible, suitable ideological framework. Therefore the analysis builds on Michael Barkun’s three-tier typology of conspiracies, which distinguishes between event conspiracies, such as 9/11 or the Kennedy assassination, systemic conspiracies, such as BigPharma or ClimateGate and super conspiracies such as the New World Order (NWO) or ZOG.
Contrary to other efforts at demarcation from the extreme right to uphold a bourgeois-democratic appearance the “Querdenken” (lateral thinking) movement has used that song at various rallies. The melody of the song here is provided by the Scottish folk song “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”. In the lyrics of the song all types and forms of conspiracies are loosely combined – without regard to logic, business interests and an explicit political strategy – maybe except for calculated provocation: Thus systemic conspiracies, here BigPharma, Fake Media, The Great Reset, QAnon, are wildly combined with a denial of science. The super conspiracies play the central role in the lyrics of the song of the “Zillertaler”. The pivotal point is the Covid-19 pandemic which is utilized to communicate that this pandemic is an alleged vehicle to enforce the “NWO of a ZOG” that intends to suppress the “free people” and control them through chipped vaccinations. This would also provide the global elite with the financial means to control large parts of the economy and politics as part of the massive profit increases of the pharmaceutical industry, described as BigPharma. The song line that this so-called “Coronadiktatur” (corona dictatorship) is part of a “satanisch-kabbalistischer Plan” (satanic-cabalistic plan) forms the conclusion of a – even for White Power Music – superficially relatively absurd string of largely inconsistent and incompatible conspiracies. These are, as already pointed out at the beginning, presumably used for calculated provocation – a pattern which is very similar to the “argumentation” present on the “Querdenken” demonstrations. On closer examination, two central elements can be identified: the conceptual reinterpretation of certain key words and guilt reversal through keyword-like references interwoven with conspiracies. The requirement for the lyrics was apparently to process as many conspiracies as possible in one song for it to rhyme and harmonize with the melody: buzz- and keywords as a strategy of political communication.
Summing up the case of the “Zillertaler”: In addition to the basic linguistic and argumentative patterns of all “Zillertaler” songs predominantly extremist thought and argumentation structures can be recognized, such as friend-enemy distinction, dogmatic claim to absoluteness, exclusive claim to knowledge, identitarian conception of society, anti-empirical traditionalism and a deterministic understanding of history. Populist elements such as the media focus and the selective choice of topics can also be identified. All these structural features cannot only be found in the title “Ride to Hell” but throughout the entire discography of the “Zillertaler”. While other White Power Music bands deliberately keep their statements vague, strongly camouflaged or even embed their “critical” songs in a bunch of apolitical ones, so that publicly these songs can be sold as an extraordinary political statement, the “Zillertaler” pursue a different strategy. The songs and statements are aimed at the core target group of established right-wing extremists by means of the lyrics. But by means of cover versions or adaptations of popular songs, the clearly identifiable content is made accessible to broader target groups. Especially adaptations and the cover versions have huge potential to catch the target audience because already familiar melodies are just way catchier than new ones. Overall, one can observe that it is not only through the COVID-19 pandemic that the topic of conspiracies has taken a prominent place in the lyrics of “White Power Music” bands, but that these songs are an occasion and result of ideological productivity and thus the basis of new, further developed or new patchwork conspiracy narratives.
Zitiervorschlag: Maximilian Kreter, “Ideological Intersections? White Power Music Scene, lateral thinkers and militant right-wing extremists: “The Zillertal Virus Hunters”” In: Denken ohne Geländer. Der Blog des Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung e.V. vom 08.03.2023: https://haitblog.hypotheses.org/3996
Bild 1: Ein Teil von Kai Schwerdt unter CC BY-NC 2.0
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haitblog (2023, 8. März). Ideological Intersections? White Power Music Scene, lateral thinkers and militant right-wing extremists: “The Zillertal Virus Hunters”. Denken ohne Geländer. Abgerufen am 24. Februar 2024, von https://doi.org/10.58079/pf24