Scott Creney

Iceage | an open letter to Louis Pattison

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By Scott Creney

So Louis, let me see if I’ve got this straight. Iceage are the ones with access to every music writer in the world, and somehow it’s MY fault their message isn’t clear? I went off as much information as someone living in a small US college town could find. Jesus, if Iceage hates people questioning this shit so much, shouldn’t I be able to find it without FLYING TO ENGLAND? It’s not my fault the first 20 pages of internet search terms involving combinations of —

  • Iceage
  • Race
  • Racism
  • Racist
  • Denmark
  • Inteview
  • 2013

— only brings back articles from people attacking/defending them (pretty poorly on both sides, I think, which is why I wrote the article. I’m sorry Google didn’t bring up your interview (which even you admit isn’t available on the web). Personally, I blame Das Racist for skewing the results.

But come on, Iceage has a blog, they have a website, they don’t live in a fucking cave. This band is in a position to get out whatever message they want to. Maybe the fact that their publicist (golly!) explicitly told US journalists on their last tour not to ask about the Fascism stuff, maybe THAT’S why I’m uninformed? Maybe it isn’t because I’m lazy?

Oh yeah, a friend of mine asked them anyway. Elias, driven mad by his desire to set the record straight, blamed it all on the media. So I guess it is all my fault then.

Oh and for what it’s worth, I got one of those Nook e-readers for Christmas. NME subscriptions were being offered for $3.99 a month so I said why the hell not, and subscribed. But then less than a month later they jacked it up to $15.99 and I cancelled my subscription, probably just in time to miss your article. However, based on my brief NME experience I can see how — in the wake of Haim and Palma Violets — why you might mistake Iceage as tough and edgy.

Also I think you’re getting Nazism and xenophobia confused, otherwise why would you mention the drummer’s ethnicity? Or to put it another way, the sentence “The fact that they have a Jewish drummer proves they aren’t anti-Muslim” makes no earthly sense. You were right when you said it wasn’t relevant, but you were wrong when you tried to make it relevant anyway.

But I’m glad all my questions had already been answered to your satisfaction. Regardless, there’s still a question lingering in the air like a damp fart at a Laibach comedy show, one that I didn’t see answered in your response. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to ask Elias next time you see him.

Why?… Like why the fuck do it in the first place? Come on Louis, the five journalistic questions? I know you’re a stickler for good journalism. So why’d they do it? What were they hoping to accomplish? You know as well as I do that EVERYTHING a band does — artwork/videos/T-shirts/interviews/etc — makes a statement about itself. So why did they make the statement?

I say they’re idiots. You say they’re naïve. But aren’t we really just splitting synonyms here? Aren’t you really just saying Iceage aren’t bashful; they’re just shy? But fine, I’ll buy that they were naïve about how this imagery might be perceived (in Europe? in Denmark? in 2013? Really?) but come on man, I didn’t break into the band’s goddamn houses and put this shit out into the world. They did. After all, the facts in my article aren’t really in question, it’s just the conclusions we’re arguing over, right? They’re the ones who posted this video on their Tumblr.

(A reminder to everyone — you really need to watch the ENTIRE thing before you comment on it.)

Now I personally would like to believe that had I been in their position I would’ve stopped playing instantly once the sieg-heiling started. I definitely would’ve been bothered by it, but (and I think all of us can agree with this ) I DEFINITELY WOULD NOT HAVE PUT IT ON MY TUMBLR.

And hey Lou, you’re pretty good at interpreting lyrics, but how are you at visuals? Let’s watch the new Iceage video together. I’m sure, since all that stuff in my article was from a couple of years ago when they were young and naïve, there won’t be anything problematic in this one.

So tell me, what’s your opinion on dog-fighting? Pro? Con? Do you find it exciting? A daring artistic statement?

And I assume that they were selling these flick knives on their last US tour (about six months ago — the one where you weren’t allowed to ask them about fascism) because they’re big fans of whittling.

iceage knife

Here’s an edgy thought for you — selling knives at your shows is a sign of weakness.

And that’s the worst thing about all of this. The only thing more pathetic than a bunch of teenage boys engaging in (at best) wannabe tough guy posturing is grown men thinking it somehow makes those boys cool. I think their bullshit is stupid, cruel and has real world consequences whether Iceage intends it or not, because, you know, ALL YOUR ACTIONS HAVE REAL WORLD CONSEQUENCES WHETHER YOU INTEND THEM OR NOT.

But I don’t hate Iceage. I don’t hate people for listening to them. I don’t hate people for putting out their records. I don’t even hate journalists who don’t write about this. And I respect you for asking them about this stuff at all.

Slavoj Zizek once said that even if people keep their ironical distance, even if they demonstrate that they do not take what they’re saying seriously, they are still complying, and compliance is what ultimately counts politically. Would you agree or disagree?

But at least we’ve all learned one thing in the past few days.

The only thing worse than a band deliberately putting violent/racist/fascist imagery out there is a writer like myself taking exception to it.

Related posts:
This blog kills fascists.
THE ALTERNATIVE REVIEW | Iceage – You’re Nothing (Matador)
Iceage | smart and naive can be a dangerous combination too – Louis Pattison answers Iceage’s critics
Iceage | Who makes the Nazis?
the interview | Iceage want you to know that they’re not fascists

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