In this modern age, we see transformation on a daily basis. The way we interact with technology, and each other, has been to a large degree forever altered by the conglomeration of an unprecedented advance in communication and innovation in the means of providing it.

Of course, the Internet is at the heart of this transformation. Yet, while millions use this wonderful tool as a means to keep in touch with family and friends, conduct business, and learn new things, many others have taken advantage of the obvious distribution channels online to spread and disseminate ideas popular and hated, profane and delightful, negative and positive alike, channels which have traditionally been either closed or cost prohibitive.

If one were to make a case study in this modern phenomenon, you would need to look no further than the White Nationalist movement, and, in particular, a fellow by the name of George Burdi.

Born in a Toronto suburb in 1971, George had what some would call an almost idyllic upbringing. The son of an insurance salesman, he excelled in sport and civic endeavors at school, where he became Vice President of his student council. At age 18, he became interested in the White Power movement through contact with his girlfriend's father.

By age 23, he was to start a revolution in the White Power scene with the founding of Resistance Records, in Detroit, Michigan, at one time the most talked about record label in America. With a catalog including bands with such names as Aggravated Assault, Aryan, and Berserkr, you would be hard pressed to find many sympathetic ears in the industry, and, outside of a few thousand, diehard skinheads, they didn't gain much mainstream acceptance.

One band in particular, Rahowa, which is an acronym for "Racial Holy War," sought to change the game. Rahowa were fronted by George Burdi, an intelligent, charismatic person, the kind of person one could imagine being the leader of something big.

Rahowa's music at first was just as silly and bombastic as the rest of the bands on the label, until they released "Cult of the Holy War", which, upon first listen, bears no resemblance to anything before it either in the white power scene, or even mainstream music as a whole. The album, which sold, at last count, 40,000 copies world wide, is a stunning mix of hard rock, the heaviest of metal, and goth, with strains of neo classicism throughout.

The centerpiece, however, is the voice of George Burdi. With a rich baritone, he would deliver his lyrics with the heartfelt enthusiasm of a man with a passion, a cause he believed to be noble and worthwhile, nothing less than the resurrection of a lost and dying culture.

 

George Burdi and B. Valentine

The George Burdi of the 21st century still sings like no one else in the industry, but with a radically altered perspective. Gone are the calls to arms, the Roman Salutes, and the aesthetic trappings of a cultural revolutionary. Once known as George Eric Hawthorne, in an homage to author Nathaniel Hawthorne, he has since reverted to using his given name.

His new band, Novacosm, is a definite study in contrast to the stark idealism and overbearing ideology of his former band.

The lineup itself is testament to the true power of music, featuring multi talented Producer/Instrumentalist B. Valentine (who just happens to be a black fellow from England) and Guitarist Sy Sylver, who is Jewish.

The message is loud and clear to those who would listen. Instead of battle cries like "White Power!!" "Sieg Heil" and "Rahowa!!", a simple, yet eloquent statement from George says all that need be said; "I am not my DNA!"

I spoke with George at length recently from the comfy confines of Acid Logic HQ, nestled in the subterranean fortress of FORBISBERG in the North Pole.*

* Editor's Note - I'm really not sure what Anthony is referring to here. Everyone knows that the Acid Logic HQ is located inside a volcano in the Bahamas.

 

AP
First off, I would like to commend you on your new project, Novacosm.

GB
Thanks.

AP
How did this come about?

GB
The process has been ongoing since I got involved in the white power movement 12 years ago.

AP
Were you writing some of these songs during the days of Rahowa?

GB
Not in that sense, but in the sense that Novacosm represents an aspect of my individuality that was trying to emerge throughout my entire life. It's a duality.

AP
I have to tell you, I have owned both Rahowa albums in the past, and I must admit a certain fondness for "Cult of The Holy War". And I, like many others, was simply astounded by the leap in musical ability and production from the first to the second, and last, Rahowa album.

GB
Also, lyrically, the second Rahowa record is much more mature.

AP
Even in the midst of what some may consider an entirely unproductive, some would say, destructive, lifestyle and philosophy.

GB
We really do create our own reality. Deep inside the movement, sequestered from the world, I saw a vision of what racialism could do for the world. Like many radical ideologies, there is a tremendous gap between the theory and practice.

AP
Yes, lyrically, I found Cult of the Holy War to be quite brilliant, as if you really did believe in your heart and soul, that what you were trying to achieve was nothing short of cultural revolution, the idea that there was and still is something beautiful and noble in the ideas of Europe, and that to forget these ideas, would be nothing short of cultural suicide.

GB
Yes. Ironically, the people who profess to be fighting for European culture are actually the most ignorant as to what that culture is.

AP
Agreed.

GB
The movement seeks to identify being "white" with being a barbarian.

AP
Which, of course, is a convenient excuse of boorish and loutish behavior.

GB
And the argument of white supremacy actually fits quite well. If you are busy drinking and fighting all the time, you accomplish nothing, so then need to attach yourself vicariously to the success of other white people as a source of your "pride". But it is utter hypocrisy.

AP
And the same argument regarding black people. Some wish to only acknowledge the fact that since black folk tend to be able to dance and play sports really well, that there is their identity, which totally ignores the fact that black folk have composed beautiful operas, ballet, and stunning works of art.

GB
Yes, indeed. And nowhere is the black so victimized this way as he is in America ... he is reduced to a minstrel instead of a prince.

AP
Too true. Even much of black America seems to accept this fact, rather than actually study his history, he is content to accept the commercialization of his soul. Or, just as the White Power movement, reduce history to a series of conveniently worded historical half truths and revisions, such as the whole controversy surrounding the Mozart and Brahms were black phenomenon.

GB
All of it is part of a gross identification with the material/biological self, rather than with a deeper self-realization. I AM NOT MY DNA!

AP
Yes. Very well put. There seems to be a large proliferation of this thinking, from the historically oppressed peoples, to the lost and confused young white person. I think that commercialization can be partly blamed for this, but not entirely. Whatever happened to introspection, and the thirst for knowledge?

GB
The corporate machine is so interested in making children into consumers as quick as possible, that the traditional process of becoming an adult has been abandoned.

As a result, we have a society of overgrown children, halfway between child and adult, but already busy raising children themselves, which makes it self-perpetuating.

AP
To loosely quote Frank Zappa, it seems as if the Media conglomerates want to freeze you at High School mentality, so as to have a society full of non questioning consumers.

GB
Yes, exactly. Except it was not a conscious effort, in my opinion. There is no Dr. Evil hiding behind levers of control. Instead, corporations are the collective will of the people, and the masses want to be amused.

What we see happening socially are just the ramifications of a society with no goal higher than the worship of man.

AP
Now, to get back to Novacosm, how did you meet the members of the band, and did you find any skepticism from them regarding your notoriety in the White Power scene?

GB
I met B. Valentine, who is a UK expatriate living in Toronto, through an ad in a local entertainment zine. I talked to him on the phone about producing my record, and he didn't "sound" black. So I went down to see him, and was just going to leave, assuming he wouldn't want to work with me. But over our conversation, I realized that I really liked him, so I told him my story.
His was filled with mixed emotions, but he felt that working with me was an important thing to do for a lot of reasons.
In our 20 minute documentary, entitled "NOVACOSM: The Power of Music", he talks about this first meeting.

AP
And is the local music scene receiving you well?

GB
We have played only twice so far, so we are yet to find out.
We videotaped both shows, and are going to be making footage available on our web site soon.

AP
I could see you guys becoming quite popular. "Blood like Wine", in particular, is a nice piece of work. I can't see why any radio station would pass up your music, at least the ones that tend to play music in the Alternative, Gothic, and electronic vein.

GB
It will take some time for people to warm up to us. Many think that I view my past as something that will help attract attention to the band's music, but in reality, it is more of a hindrance. Really good music always gets heard. One A&R guy from a major was jazzed about the music until he heard the story. Then he just said "see ya". My past needs to be overcome.

This lineup is so deep with talent, we could record ten albums together and still be bursting.
with ideas.

AP
Are you planning on releasing your music yourself, or through a small indie label?

GB
Our attitude is that no one in the world will help us but ourselves. No one is going to ride in on a white horse and take all the struggle away.


AP
Indeed. This is why, in some form or another, the Punk Rock scene has always thrived, even the White Power music scene takes this approach. Now you have artists around the world relying on themselves to get their music out there to the masses.

AP
I remember an interview you did with Michael Moynihan, of Blood Axis, which appeared in an issue of The Church of Satan's magazine, The Black Flame. How did that come about, and have you kept in touch with him?

GB
Michael and I have had many conversations over the years, and occasionally touch base. We met while he was freelancing for (now defunct New York magazine) Seconds, amongst other publications. We developed a friendship.
He is one of the most remarkable people I have ever had the pleasure of "knowing", if I can say I truly know him.


AP
I agree. I think you and he should collaborate on music sometime. It could be quite stunning. On the other hand, though, he is still branded as a "Nazi", even though without consulting him on the matter. I had to miss a Blood Axis show in Seattle because of this spoon fed morality.

GB
Moynihan is definitely not a Nazi. But he is quite Faustian in his approach to ideas, and like a modern Dadaist, sparks a polemic that embraces heresy as a means to an end.

AP
Yes. Sometimes, you must simply ignore the dominant culture, or in this case "anti culture", and do what comes naturally.

GB
People need to partake in a dialectic to arrive at truth.

It is not enough for me that someone says "this idea is forbidden and unpopular, that is why you must not espouse it."

AP
What has been the reaction of your evolution in character by the other members in the White Power scene?

GB
Understandably, they are angry and disappointed. But over time, those with open minds will see that I am being honest, not trying to get attention or cash in on the drama of my story.

AP
I imagine the taunts of "Race Traitor" and "sell out" are common. But, as the old saying goes "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."

GB
It would have been far easier for me to just make more RAHOWA records, play gigs around the world, and maintain my position as one of the kings of the hill of beans. But instead, I feel compelled to share my story for my own needs, and to serve those who may be led out of their ignorance by having the courage to say "I was wrong".

AP
Yes, sometimes humility is the hallmark of an intelligent mind.

 

AP
Alright, since we are already on the subject of music, can you name me some of your influences?

GB
I grew up on Zeppelin and Pink Floyd's The Wall.
I had Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell at the age of seven, and listened to - get this - a lot of Motown as a kid.

AP
Ironic, no?

GB
You bet.

Then, in the 80s I was into New Wave music, some metal, and loved U2. I had a Beatles anthology that I played to death.

AP
You know, it's funny, I remember reading Tom Metzger's bio on his site, and he says that he loves the Blues. Is this a common thing? I have even run into WP Skins who just can't get enough of Ska and, I have even heard some White Power Hip Hop. Talk about contradictions!!

GB
The whole thing is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Basically, different types of music reflect a different aspect of the personality

AP
To quote Homer Simpson : "Ummmmm, Eniigma wrapped Mystery!! (slobberrrrrr)

GB
LOL

AP
Is there a defining moment in your life, school, home life, etc, which was the catalyst for where you have arrived today?

GB
My defining moment came while in jail. I was surrounded by white trash, who were griping and moaning about the system, trying to appropriate blame on anyone but themselves for the state of their sorry lives. Listening to them talk, I could see myself in them.


It dawned on me that they were just skinheads without the thin veneer of idealism.

AP
The great mirror of self-revelation was thrust in front of you, with no means to turn away?

GB
Yes .... and I only wish it stopped there. Suddenly, everywhere I looked, I began to see reflections of myself, in different moods, at different points in my life.

The whole mass of humanity began to appear as one gross machine, enslaving the higher self.

Does it really matter which delusion I fell for?

AP
That's why I have never cared for the standard religious idea that when you die, some bearded fellow on a cloud sits and judges you. It's far too easy that way,
I think. It's far better, though at times more painful, to judge yourself. You actually get to learn from it.

GB
The Hindu teaches that you will be judged, but that you must make progress on the earthly plane.

Most human misery is conceived and perpetuated by the mind.
Suffering is the human experience.
The higher man seeks to alleviate this suffering.

AP
Interesting. That's something that I have always believed, that we ourselves have the means to stop misery, and to end pain and suffering.

GB
I need to stress that I have not just traded dogmas. But I have, through researching and carefully considering alternative perspectives, arrived at a perspective that works better for me personally.

But wisdom is experiential, not theoretical. You cannot learn about life by intellectualizing it.

AP
I totally understand. We find that philosophy which works best for us, then discard the old dogmas.

GB
Exactly. And beware that "ideologies" are prisons for the mind.

AP
Ideology. Is it any wonder that "idiot" could be drawn from the first part of the word?

GB
LOL

AP
I have heard that you have a fiancee'. You lucky duck!! How did you two meet?

GB
We were at a night club, dancing.

AP
Shock!! A white guy dancing!!! (You heard it here first!!!)

GB
When I left the movement, I learned that I loved dancing. It is an incredible means of self-expression ... to dance like no one is watching.

AP
Yes. Very liberating. Did she know your reputation?


GB
She knew nothing about my past, at first. A couple of weeks later, I had "the talk" with her.

AP
And did she take it well?

GB
She was actually a bit relieved. When I started out by saying, "I have something to tell you, and it's going to be a pretty big shock," she thought I was going to tell her something worse.
She had worked for anti-racist groups before, and is very well educated, so we had quite a long chat after that.

AP
Wow!! I don't recall them being too active here, but I know that Toronto has a thriving Anti Racist Action group.

GB
She had nothing to do with the radical anarchist-type ARA people, though. She was a member of the police services board on racism.

AP
We don't have anything nearly that comprehensive here in the US. Is it an effective group?

GB
The ARA were quite effective in demonstrating outside Rahowa concerts ... sometimes 600 strong.

AP
Damn. That's a lot of people. How many people did Rahowa concerts draw?

GB
The largest show we played was to 500 people in Montreal.

AP
I guess that's pretty big for a White Power show, then?

GB
The police sequestered the whole neighborhood and turned away another 400 people.
in Europe, the concerts reach 2,500 at times.

AP
2500? I don't even think Skrewdriver drew that many people, did they?

GB
i don't think so. But the first racist EP by Skrewdriver, White Power, sold over 300,000 copies worldwide since it's release in approx. 1979.
Rahowa's Cult of the Holy War has sold an estimated 40,000 copies, which is the best selling Resistance title so far.

AP
Sort of a bittersweet victory, then?

GB
It is a testimony to the music, not the political content, as there have been many more controversial albums in the Resistance catalog that didn't sell as many.
But now I am going to find out if my music can stand independently of the lyrics.

AP
"In the fires of 1945" stands out to me. It is by all accounts a beautifully stunning song. What was the reaction from the scene when this album was released?

GB
People didn't know how to take it, at first. It took a while to digest the album, because it is so complex. A lot of people wanted us to just release a follow-up to Declaration of War, our first album, staying safely in the skinhead rock genre. But we explore other directions.

AP
As an artist, you can ultimately only listen to your muse.

GB
Yes, and that is what Novacosm is about, primarily, always finding my own voice, just like I tried to do with Rahowa at one time.
I just could no longer lie to myself that anything worthwhile was going to come from the movement. It is really just another scene in a great big human tragedy.

AP
A friend of mine, contacted me the other day, intrigued by this interview, and had a question. He related the story of Greg Withrow, former White Power Skinhead, who was famous for leaving the movement, and then being crucified by other WP Skins. Except, it is starting to come out that he possibly faked the incident, and is supposedly now admitting to his conversion being nothing more than an attempt to infiltrate the left wing.

I know that you don't owe anyone anything other than your word, and actions, but, for the skeptic, what would you say to those who would claim, "Aww, this Burdi fellow is just full of it, he went to jail and got scared"?

GB
That sounds like a reasonable scenario, except for one glaring seam in the argument: jail wasn't scary. It was vacation. I was in an Ottawa jail, and for those who have never been there, they are filled with the sons and daughters of clerical staff for the federal government.
But I had four months to think about my life, and that is what made me decide to leave the cause.

In the beginning, I left out of defeat, not because I disagreed with the ideas. But the longer I was away from the groupthink of the movement, the more I came to look at things differently.

AP
Lots of time to think, I did the same thing in the early 90's, after a fairly big Anarchist action that I participated in, I could have been killed, should have done a year or more in prison, but I was lucky that I had people who gave a damn enough to testify on my behalf.
Perspective is always a good thing.

GB
Everything is everything. We are all a reflection of each other.

AP
As Seattle's namesake, Chief Sealth once said, and I paraphrase here ; "We are all part of a giant web of life. Each action has an effect on all of us, whether or not it is readily apparent."

GB
That's Buddhist/Hindu metaphysics.

AP
It really is a small world after all!

GB
lol!

AP
I heard that a fellow by the name of Bernie Farber has in some degree supported you. Would you care to elaborate?

GB
He has not supported me, just met with me and talked on three seperate occasions, all about ten months apart. I initiated it, and he was very generous with his time and treated me warm-heartedly.

I was going through a bit of a dialectical process, and wanted to see what I could learn about myself from getting to know him more. Walking into his big, fortified office was intimidating. I went where I feared to go the most at the time.


AP

Do you have any parting words for the people out there in InternetLand?

GB
I AM NOT MY D.N.A.

AP
Beautiful!!!!

GB
Ciao, brother.

AP
It has been an immense pleasure, George, I look forward to hearing from you in a big way!

GB
Thanks for the opportunity to speak about my strange life.

AP
LOL, No prob.

For further info, check out www.novacosm.com


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