The Nazi Fronted Band I Saw the Day My Mom Died

A flyer for a Buttress show at the “Down Below Lounge” on July 7, 1992 in Madison, WI.

On the night of May 29, 1993 my mom — a Holocaust survivor — died. Earlier that day I flew out to Madison, Wisconsin to visit friends and to take a break from weeks of going to Coney Island Hospital — pretty much daily — to visit and care for her.

When I arrived that night, we all headed out to O’Cayz Corral on East Wilson Street to see some local bands: One of the bands on the bill was Buttress, a local spazz-rock noise band.

I remember standing outside waiting to get in and looking at the logo: The word “Buttress” had two crucifixes replacing the two “T”s in the name and the “S”’s were replaced by the Nazi SS symbol. Flyer for another show below for reference.

I made some comment about it, but everyone was in full “It’s ironic… Don’t worry…” mode. So we went in to see the band, and honestly they were okay. Soon someone in the house I was staying in came to the bar and told me I had to call home immediately.went to the payphone in the foyer of the nearby Cardinal Bar, called my family, heard the bad news and then ran back to my friends in O’Cayz. We all left and headed back to their place. I basically just had a beer, slept and then headed back to Brooklyn the next morning.

Flash forward to September 2000. I was working at the wacky weekly newspaper since 1995 and a lot of us were going to move to New York. Todd — one of the writers on staff — invited me over to check out his new 32” TV and the new PlayStation and recently released “Spider-Man” game he scored.

The TV and video game was a big deal because this guy was a loser who never had a decent paying job. But now — thanks to the wacky weekly newspaper’s 1990s rise to fame — was able to have more disposable money. So he “splurged” on a TV set and a video game.

Just as I was about to leave, one of this Todd’s pals came by: Greg P. the lead singer of the band with the Nazi SS symbol in their logo. I was introduced to Greg P. and he gave me a weak, tepid handshake and simply said, “Oh… You’re the Jew, right?”

“I guess?” I responded as I said goodbye and left myself out.

“The Jew?” where did this a-hole get that from? Could only be from my loser writer colleague Todd who gossiped to his pals — like Greg P. — about me and somehow “The Jew” summarized it.

There’s a lot I can say about this Todd’s persona: If any of his behavior — not just this thing — happened during the “MeToo” era, he would have been cancelled in a flash. But in the shadows of a pre-social media world, he was able to grow a sad, barely viable, career while being an utter creep.

And as for Greg P. and Buttress… Little to nothing about the band really exists online. Good for him!

The band logo was one thing… But when Greg P. in Buttress referred to me as “The Jew” that just sealed the deal. That band was just a bunch of Midwest redneck racists.

Oh, and here’s another flyer I found for reference; they sure as hell loved fascist imagery!

A flyer for a Buttress show at the “Down Below Lounge” on July 7, 1992 in Madison, WI.

An acute perception does not make you crazy. However, sometimes it drives you crazy.

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Jack Szwergold

Jack Szwergold

An acute perception does not make you crazy. However, sometimes it drives you crazy.

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