Due to the interest in the international aspects of the white power music scene generated by the murder and mayhem alleged committed by white power musician Wade Michael Page, IREHR publishes here an investigative look back from our archives to further understanding of the nature of this international cooperation.
Inside the International White Power Music Underground
By Devin Burghart
Landser was a German white power music band popular across Europe. In December 2003, members of the band were sentenced to prison for “forming a criminal gang organization” under laws that forbid publishing materials that defame the deaths of World War II or incite race hatred. The information produced at their trial revealed some fascinating aspects of the “internationalization” of the white power music underground, namely how the transnational enterprise works and how the money flows.
Back in 1998, Landser began work on their CD “German Anger – Rock Against Authorities” (translated). Michael Regener, lead singer of Landser decided that the place to record their new CD was in the United States, so they made an agreement to use the production studio of Bound For Glory (BFG) in St. Paul, MN. They made contact with members to do so. Regener spoke with Jens Og in 1997 about the production process.
On April 7, 1998 Landser members flew from Berlin Tegel airport via Chicago, to Minneapolis, then headed to the BFG recording studio. The contact person was Ed from BFG –whom they talked with about the pressing of CD’s and the shipping of them to Europe. To produce a master, they needed 2-3 days of technical support from members of BFG. Landser didn’t have to pay for this technical support, however, because Landser had lent their music to that “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” CD compilation with BFG.
After recording, the band spent several days in the United States celebrating. A DAT master tape with a Viking Motif remained behind after Landser members returned to Germany. The DAT was kept by Ed, who organized the mixing of each track and the pressing of the CD’s. The CD was pressed at Cinram International Inc. in Alabama. They pressed 10,000 CDs, paid for by a money transfer from Germany arranged by Jens Og.
For the CD cover art, the band wanted to use a Viking drawing by Canadian white power musician, “Griffin” (David Allen Surette). Griffin is a personal friend of Regener. Griffin visited the studio during the recording session to present the draft of the Viking drawing. Griffin then handed over the drawing to the layout person recommended by Ed from BFG. Griffin then sent the picture via email to Joachim Bratz in Berlin. Because Og and Bratz were afraid that the picture would connect them to the production of the CD, Og and Bratz decided not to use Griffin or the Viking drawing. They printed the cover booklets on May 15, 1998 in Frankfurt. But given the contents of the booklets, the printer got cold feet and handed the master over to the police.
In April 1998, Regener talked to Ed about how to ship the CD’s to Germany. The concern was that direct mail to Germany would get the CD’s seized by German customs. To prevent this from happening, they chose to go through middle persons in the Netherlands, who would then smuggle them into Germany.
Ed turned to Ben Oreel, who owns Viking Sounds mail order in the Netherlands. Oreel told Ed about several people who could receive packages of 50 CDs. But this only took place after several calls from Regener.
The process worked like this: after each delivery arrived in the Netherlands, each contacted Regener. He then contacted the United States, at which time the next package would be sent. This was the demand of Regener, who also demanded a conspiratorial way of talking about the transactions on the phone. German contact people would then be given addresses in the Netherlands where they would have to go to pick up CD’s. For example: one neo-Nazi from Berlin drove to the Netherlands to pick up CD’s, he paid 5000 marks ($2500 at the time) for 500 CDs.
So, in this case the initial distributor, Regener, would easily have grossed at least $50,000 (wholesale cost) of the 10,000 CDs (10,000 is a fairly average run for an established band), though the profit margin was likely much higher. Aside from shipping, much of the cost is negligible – absorbed by the movement support system.
If he’d also been selling them retail, his profits would be even higher as the CD was selling for upwards of 40-50 marks ($20-25+) because of the controversial nature of the contraband CD. In the case of the Berlin bonehead, after paying for the CDs, he was still set to make 15,000 – 20,000 Marks ($7,500-10,000) on the sale of those 500 CDs. Undoubtedly, some of that money also flowed back to Regener, some flowed back into the movement.
If the entire run had gotten through, and been sold at the “retail price” that works out to a total gross of around 400,000-500,000 Marks ($200,000-250,000). That money is divvied up over multiple sources, and there are lots of little things bringing down the net profit, but there was good money in white noise.