In the afterglow of their co-headlining tour of Canada, Fucked Up and The Halluci Nation have teamed up once again, this time for a cover of M.D.C.’s “John Wayne Was a Nazi.”
A searing critique of conservative propaganda and hero worship, the anthem is transformed by the chemistry of Fucked Up and The Halluci Nation into a blast of aggressive, bass-rattling dubstep, further pushing both groups into new sonic territory. For The Halluci Nation’s Ehren “Bear Witness” Thomas and Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham, the decision to collaborate on this classic track was grounded in how the original flipped the mythmaking around John Wayne on its head.
“The song has been with me since high school,” explains Bear Witness. “The song and M.D.C. have stuck with me over the years. It’s got rage to it and that message, but I love that there’s a dark humor to it as well. It really fits in with the way we make music and visuals, with the message that we try to put forward about confronting one-dimensional misrepresentations of indigenous people in the media. John Wayne becomes a stand-in for the entire colonial project.”
“For me,” says Abraham, “it’s like this: you watch The Searchers in school, and John Wayne is presented very much as an iconic North American type of figure. As a young punk kid hearing this song for the first time, it did change the way I looked at him—it subverted it to where all of a sudden the hero is the villain, and you can see what’s going on in pop culture. As a young punk kid, this song was one of the first that showed the cracks in that veneer.”