King Dude was scheduled to tour with Norwegian black metal band Taake, whose frontman Hoest performed with a swastika on his chest during a 2007 concert in Germany.
What once seemed like a tour only on the radar of select metal fans has suddenly become a national flashpoint for anti-fascist protesters. Norwegian black metal band Taake, which has long been dogged by accusations of racism, is scheduled to begin a North American tour next month, but clubs in New York and Chicago have already canceled their shows amid mounting pressure.
Antifa groups and other social-media users have lobbied venues in several cities to drop the tour, which was set to include Seattle’s King Dude as the opening act. The controversy intensified this week when rapper Talib Kweli backed out of a Kansas City concert at a club scheduled to host Taake in March. On Monday, King Dude announced that he will not take part in the tour.
“For reasons out of my control, and frankly out of my realm of understanding, I will be removing myself from the tour with Taake,” the dark-folk songwriter wrote on Facebook. “It must be made clear that I am a Luciferian and do not preach hate, nor would I endorse a setting that allows hate to happen.”
King Dude, aka TJ Cowgill, was not available for comment Wednesday.
The allegations against Taake largely stem from a 2007 incident in which lead singer and main songwriter Hoest performed in Germany with a swastika painted on his chest. The band has also been criticized for allegedly anti-Muslim lyrics, though Hoest has repeatedly stated that he does not support Nazism and that Taake is not a racist band (though his explanation was less than convincing to some.)
“I have clearly explained many times throughout the years that me wearing a swastika once at a German concert was not meant to show support for nazi ideology,” Hoest wrote in a statement last week, noting he has performed in Israel. “It was about doing something extreme for the sake of it, which certainly backfired. … But certain parties seem to find this cold case unforgivable nonetheless, insisting on wilful [sic] misunderstanding. So, once and for all, Taake is not a racist band. Never has been, never will be.”
When asked about allegedly Islamaphobic lyrics in the song “Orkan,” Taake’s manager Bjornar Erevik Nilson told Newsweek “The band is a black metal band, so by nature it is anti-religious. There are also similar lines in the same song regarding the church and Christianity.”
Taake is scheduled to perform in Seattle on April 10 at El Corazon. The club did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.