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Digging Graves

Proud Boys at Confederate protest with Fred Perry polo ( Anthony Crider)

When reports emerged last week that former Misfits vocalist Michale Graves had testified in defense of white supremacist and misogynist douche-nozzles the Proud Boys, few could honestly say that they were surprised. 

In 2021, Reuters interviewed Graves and confirmed that he is indeed a member of the Proud Boys. But long before that, Graves was contributing to the wretched Conservative Punk website in the early 2000s. That site was an early gathering place, a hive mind, for the most vile of individuals. Dressing racism up as “freedom,” bigotry as “a desire for strong borders and a love for our country.” It was a fucking cesspool.

Graves was also in Washington on January 6 because, of course, he fucking was. His profile absolutely fits: white guy feigning macheese-mo to compensate for his crippling inferiority complex. If he ever reads this, he would probably scream at his screen. “Yeah, I bet you won’t say that to my face, huh, Mr. Writer Man?” Because that’s how their minds work.

By the way, I should note at this point that I have interviewed Graves once, a few years ago. The interview was never used, because the concert was cancelled or postponed or something. He was undeniably charming and likable at the time. 

“I think I use the same tools that I’ve always used when I write music,” Graves said in December 2017. “I think that now as I gain in age, I’m in better control of my emotions, I’m more able to focus my brain and my emotions and the things that I’m going through in a way that a 42-year-old man can, as opposed to a much younger man. So I’ve grown spiritually, [and] emotionally, so I believe that makes me a better songwriter because I’m more skilled at putting those emotions in the music that I’m writing.”

“I’m only really a mediocre player when it comes to guitar and piano. There’s nothing I’m really great at. It’s like the Ramones. Three chords and melody. And so extracting the melody from all those things I described is really the key to everything, and I think that I’ve grown in my ability to do that.”

See? He seemed cool. Not so.

On Monday of last week, the sedition trial against five Proud Boys saw the prosecution rest its case and the defense get started. They called Graves as a witness.

As reported by PunkNews.org, “According to Graves, the proud boys were not an organized group, but a loose, disorganized collection of people with terrible internal structure. Graves testified that he said traveled to D.C. with the plan of performing for members of the group at an Airbnb on January 5. But that performance was moved to January 6 because of how disorganized the group was.

A day earlier, former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio had been arrested in connection with the burning of a church’s Black Lives Matter banner and ordered to leave the District of Columbia. Graves stated, “Enrique usually coordinated everything, and now it was up to [Nordeabn] to fill that gap. Nobody knew what was going on or where anyone was.”

The story continues: “Graves’ testimony contrasted that of former Proud Boys Matthew Greene and Jeremy Bertino, both of whom pleaded guilty and testified as government witnesses earlier in the trial. Greene had stated that the group was expecting a civil war to break out due to their actions.”


That whole “building the modern world” bullshit is something of a Proud Boys dog whistle. Like, “everything good in the world is because of straight white western men.” Fuck right off with that racist, xenophobic crap.

So anyway, Graves walked into court last week and, as reported by Reuters, said to the 12-man jury: ”I know for a fact there was not some elaborate plan to take over the Capitol that day on Jan 6.”

“Graves said one of the five, Ethan Nordean, had invited him to play a concert at a home the Proud Boys had rented in Washington,” reads the Reuters story. “The concert ultimately never happened, but defense lawyers hope Graves’ testimony will help prove their clients had no intention of attacking the Capitol. Graves said the group believed a concert would, ‘keep people off the streets, and keep people out of trouble.’”

Sorry, what? The Proud Boys were playing peacemakers on January 6? That doesn’t sound like those nasty bastards at all. 

Former Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, and fellow fuckwits Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Dominic Pezzola and Zachary Rehl are accused by the government of “plotting to use force to block Congress from certifying Biden’s election win.”

“The government accuses Tarrio and four other group members, some of whom led state chapters, of purchasing paramilitary gear for the attack and urging members of the self-described “Western chauvinist group” to descend on Washington,” reads the Reuters story.

Yeah, that sounds a lot more like them. Graves is expecting us, the jury and the judge to believe that the Proud Boys, dressed like GI Joe extras, were in Washington acting like the sensible exceptions. Graves was there to play his music like a hippy at Burning Man, strumming latter-day Misfits songs and getting fellow white supremacists to sing along. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Graves and his super-smart Proud Boys, things could have been a lot worse.

I call bullshit.

They were there to start shit. They were there to attempt a coup. The fact that they failed doesn’t make the insurrection any less an insurrection. 


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