Michael Moynihan (journalist)

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Michael Moynihan (born January 17, 1969) is an American journalist, publisher and musician. He is best known for co-writing the book Lords of Chaos, about black metal. Moynihan is founder of the music group Blood Axis, the music label Storm Records and publishing company Dominion Press.[1] Moynihan has interviewed numerous musical figures and has published several books, translations and essays. In the 1990s, Moynihan was frequently identified as a fascist or neo-fascist by some critics and fans. Moynihan accepted these descriptions with reservations in the 1990s,[2] but in the 2000s dismissed them as inapplicable buzzwords used by "anti-this and anti-that activist types" and denounced the far right.[3][4]

Biography[edit]

Moynihan was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a lawyer father. Moynihan identifies his background as entirely Northern European: Irish, English, Welsh, and German.[5] He is involved in a long standing collaborative and romantic relationship with musician Annabel Lee, with whom he has fathered a child.[1] He became active in experimental music from 1984, forming Blood Axis in 1989 and releasing his first album under the name in 1995.

Moynihan attended Buckingham Browne & Nichols, a private day school in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Moynihan collaborated with Boyd Rice from 1989, and in 1990 the two moved into an apartment in Denver.[6] Like Rice and Thomas Thorn, Moynihan was a member of the Church of Satan at this time.[7] Moynihan appeared as a guest with Rice on Bob Larson's "Manson Maniacs", a special for Larson's Christian radio talk show. During the summer of 1991, Moynihan states that he was visited at his apartment by agents of the United States Secret Service about an alleged plot to assassinate then President of the United States George H. W. Bush.[5]

Moynihan agreed to a polygraph test and no charges were filed. Moynihan stated that it was a simple case of intimidation stemming from his correspondence with Charles Manson and visits to Sandra Good. Moynihan stated that he felt that he had been monitored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation since 1984, that they had taken his luggage on an occasion, and that they had once called his father, admitting to him that they had taken a parcel from his mail. Moynihan cited his then-friendship with Peter Sotos as a potential cause.[5]

Differences between Boyd Rice and Michael Moynihan led to an acrimonious split between the two in the mid-1990s,[5] though Rice would later remember their time together fondly and refer positively to Moynihan.[6] After the split, Moynihan disassociated himself with Rice and was no longer involved with the Abraxas Foundation.[5] Moynihan has been a member of the small Asatru collective Wulfing Kindred since 1994.

In 1995, Moynihan released the first full length album by Blood Axis, The Gospel of Inhumanity and moved from Denver to Portland, Oregon where he became an editor at Feral House, a publishing company owned by Adam Parfrey.[7] After studying language and history at the University of Colorado and Portland State University, Moynihan received his B.A. in German language in 2001.[8]

Publishing[edit]

Moynihan is one of the editors of TYR: Myth – Culture – Tradition and the North American editor of Rûna.[8]

In 1992, Moynihan edited and published a collection of writings by ex-National Socialist Mansonite James N. Mason into a book entitled Siege: The Collected Writings of James Mason.[4][9] Published by Feral House, he co-authored the 1998 book Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground with Norwegian journalist Didrik Søderlind won the 1998 Firecracker Alternative Press Award.[4]

During this period Moynihan contributed to various magazines and journals, including Seconds and The Scorpion,[10] and has interviewed artists and figures such as power electronics founder Whitehouse,[11] Unleashed,[12] Bathory,[13] In the Nursery,[13] Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey,[14] convicted murderer Charles Manson,[15] Peter Steele of Type O Negative, discussing Social Darwinism,[16] Misfits founder Glenn Danzig,[17] Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV founder Genesis P-Orridge,[18] and Swans founder Michael Gira.[19]

In 2001, Moynihan co-authored The Secret King with Stephen Flowers. 2001 also saw Moynihan also editing a reprint of Introduction to Magic, originally published in 1929, and in 2002 edited the first English language translation of the 1953 book Men Among the Ruins, both by Julius Evola and both published by Inner Traditions - Bear & Company. In 2005 Moynihan edited and published a collection of essays by British writer John Michell (selected from Michell's contributions toThe Oldie) entitled Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist.[20]

Lords of Chaos[edit]

Moynihan is best known for his 1998 account of the early Norwegian Black Metal scene. Reviews of Lords of Chaos have been mixed, with several critics praising the book for offering an informative or at least interesting view on a relatively obscure sub-culture, winning the 1998 Firecracker Alternative Press Award.[4] The publication was sometimes criticized for a perceived lack of distance towards its subject matter. This was considered especially alarming to groups and figures that had accused Moynihan of right-wing sympathies,[21] charges which Moynihan has dismissed as inapplicable due to the "intricacies of such subjects".[3]

Tyr[edit]

Tyr: Myth—Culture—Tradition is a journal edited by Moynihan together with Joshua Buckley.[22] The publication is named after Tyr, the Germanic god. The editors state that it "celebrates the traditional myths, culture, and social institutions of pre-Christian, pre-modern Europe." The first issue was published in 2002 under the ULTRA imprint in Atlanta, Georgia.

The editorial preface of Tyr, vol. 1 defines an anti-modern, anti-capitalist ideal of "Radical Traditionalism" encompassing:

  1. Resacralization of the world versus materialism.
  2. Natural social hierarchy versus an artificial hierarchy based on wealth.
  3. The tribal community versus the nation-state.
  4. Stewardship of the earth versus the "maximization of resources."
  5. A harmonious relationship between men and women versus the "war between the sexes."
  6. Handicraft and artisanship versus industrial mass-production.

Music[edit]

Influenced by first wave Industrial music artists such as SPK and Throbbing Gristle,[23] Moynihan started his first musical project in 1984, a power electronics project named Coup de Grace, for which he produced cassettes, image booklets, essays and performed live. In 1988, at the age of 18, Moynihan published an edition of Friedrich Nietzsche's The Antichrist featuring artwork by Trevor Brown.[24]

According to Moynihan, a cassette from his project Coupe de Grace was received by a group called Club Moral in Belgium, resulting in a positive review in an art and music magazine called Force Mental. This resulted in an invitation for Moynihan to come to Europe, which he accepted, and resulted in a small European tour for Coup de Grace. Here, he came in contact with Cthulhu Records. Upon returning to Boston in the United States, he was invited to join the experimental music group Sleep Chamber.[23]

While a member of Sleep Chamber, Moynihan met Thomas Thorn. According to Moynihan, a falling out occurred between Thorn and John Zewizz, founder of Sleep Chamber,[23] resulting in Moynihan leaving Sleep Chamber and moving to Belgium, where he lived in a warehouse on invitation by Club Moral. During this time, Moynihan described himself as a Skinhead. Living without electricity, a low monthly fee and illegally in Belgium, Moynihan stated it was "worth the risk" but had to install many of his own utilities.[23]

Thorn, who had formed a new group called Slave State, visited Moynihan in Belgium and the two played in a room beneath the warehouse where Moynihan was staying at this time. After the show, Moynihan became displeased with his illegal status and visited the founders of Cthulhu Records in Germany for a few days.[23] After returning to the US in 1989, Moynihan formed the musical group Blood Axis and no longer produced music under the name of Coup de Grace.

Experimental musician Boyd Rice invited Moynihan to go to Japan and collaborate with him on some NON performances there in 1989. Moynihan performed in concert with the various musical groups rotating around Tony Wakeford, Douglas P., and Rose McDowall who were also performing. His performance in Japan with NON was later released as the "Live in Osaka" DVD. That year, an album entitled Music, Martinis, and Misanthropy grew out of these collaborations.

In 1995, Moynihan also released the first full length album by Blood Axis, The Gospel of Inhumanity and has seen several subsequent re-issues on various labels. It was followed by a second Blood Axis album in 1997 entitled Blot: Sacrifice in Sweden for the Swedish post-industrial music label Cold Meat Industry.

In 2001, Moynihan released a musical collaboration with French artist Les Joyaux De La Princesse entitled Absinthe: La Folie Verte themed around absinthe, a beverage Moynihan has expressed fondness for,[4] and collaborated with Portland natives B'eirth of In Gowan Ring, his partner Annabel Lee and Markus Wolff of Waldteufel for a project dubbed Witch-Hunt. Largely playing traditional acoustic Irish folk music, the group played various local shows in Portland and also, in 2001, performed in Portugal, where the album Witch-Hunt: The Rites of Samhain was released. In 2008, Moynihan appeared on the album "Hoodwinked" by The Lindbergh Baby[25] and an Italian language book entitled Day of Blood was published focusing on the musical group.[26]

Reception and controversy[edit]

Due to interpretations of particular comments that Moynihan has made and some of the imagery he has employed, Michael Moynihan has been a controversial figure.

Matthias Gardell[edit]

Swedish professor Matthias Gardell writes in his Gods of the Blood: "Featured in different contexts, Moynihan projects many different faces and has been classified as an "extreme rightist" (Coogan 1999)[27] an "extreme leftist", (Wulfing One 1995)[28] a Nazi, a fascist, and an anarchist."[29]

Gardell also writes about Moynihan, that he had "developed an early interest in things beyond the ordinary, from extremist politics to occult sciences. Intelligent, energetic, and creative, his inquisitiveness soon began to manifest in music, art and writings."[30] As people to whom Moynihan is attracted in his ideas, Gardell lists Charles Manson, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Michael Bakunin, Julius Evola, James Mason and Miguel Serrano.[31]

In accordance with one of the main theses of his book (that "the conventional left wing-right wing binary has become increasingly insufficient to map out the scene of contemporary politics"),[32] Gardell concludes that Moynihan may "best be described as a heathen anarchofascist, with all the paradoxes and ambiguities that follow from such a categorization."[33]

Mattias Gardell further writes that: "While certainly [Moynihan] does not care about the majority of mankind, he cares even less about building gas chambers" and that "Moynihan is hardly anti-Semitic or a White Supremacist and is definitely not a radical right 'leader' of anything".[34]

Kevin Coogan[edit]

The investigative journalist Kevin Coogan has linked Moynihan more explicitly with the extreme right but states that Moynihan does not fit into a "conventional definitions of fascism". Coogan has classified Moynihan unspecifically as an "extreme rightist".[27] Coogan states about Lords of Chaos:

Yet what really makes the book fascinating is that its main author, Michael Moynihan, is himself an extreme rightist whose fusion of politics and aesthetic violence shapes a not-so-hidden sub current that runs throughout LOC.[27]

Coogan states that Lords of Chaos "itself, however, is not a "fascist" tract in the strict sense", since Moynihan co-wrote it with Didrik Søderlind and Feral House editor Adam Parfrey wanted to publish a popular book on black metal, not a "political polemic."[27] Coogan then points out: "Nor does Moynihan himself fit easily into the more conventional definitions of fascism."[27]

Coogan continues with an account of Moynihan's biography and mentions "rumours" about Moynihan having a "blood fetish" and that he was suspected "of setting fire to a manger scene on the Cambridge Commons" in 1987,[27] and further gives an account of Moynihan's involvement with the Church of Satan and industrial music. Coogan views certain tendencies of the industrial music subculture as similar to a phenomenon of the time before World War II: "The sense of despair felt by industrial culture was not unique. A similar heroic/pessimistic worldview appeared in Europe after World War I."[27] Coogan describes this worldview as "counter-cultural fascism," and in this milieu he says Moynihan is said to have operated, too.[27]

Further accounts[edit]

Schobert (1998) considers Moynihan a musical lightweight who profited from association with Rice and successfully managed to style himself as a provocative "cult figure". Examples for such provocative behaviour include a 1994 interview with No Longer a Fanzine (no. 5, p. 8) which led to activist allegations that he was "a major purveyor of Neo-Nazism, occult fascism and international industrial black metal music."[35]

The controversies stirred Moynihan as a topic of interest in industrial music, experimental music,[36] metal music,[37] Satanic, Neo-Nazi, and Neo-völkisch movements, and the album The Gospel of Inhumanity released at the same time met with favourable reception from an amount of these quarters; the US Nazi skin journal Resistance (no. 6, 38) praised it as a "fascist symphony". The album also brought Moynihan to the attention of the German Neo-Nazi scene, a favourable review appearing in Einheit und Kampf. Das revolutionäre Magazin für Nationalisten (no. 18, p. 29, Aufruhr-Verlag, Bremen). As a consequence, Moynihan was targeted by anti-fascist activists in the late 1990s. Blood Axis performances attracted protesters, on one occasion in 1998, "about 75" San Francisco protesters mobilized by a flyer denouncing Moynihan as "a fascist and a hatemonger" succeeded in preventing his appearance.[38] Moynihan dismissed activists labeling him a Nazi or a Fascist as misinformed hysterical alarmism.[39]

German social scientist Christian Dornbusch remarks that Moynihan's work "evokes a mindset which wants to design a future based on völkisch and fascist respectively national socialist thinkers. It's the same goal that the British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley rants about for minutes in the sample at the beginning of the live album Blot – Sacrifice in Sweden: »... we are fighting for nothing less than the revolution of the spirit of our people ...«".[40]

SPLC report[edit]

Consequently, Moynihan was listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center's 1999 Intelligence Report as a "leader of new a generation of hate mongerers" amongst convicted felons and right wing activists. The section in the report regarding Moynihan was criticized by Decibel Magazine in 2006, who stated that:

The main problem with this particular part of the article—besides being totally misleading—is that Blood Axis is not a black metal band. Rather than interview Moynihan, the authors of the article excerpted quotes from an issue of Compulsion zine published in 1998.[41]

Moynihan responded to the report:

“Regarding their attacks on me, these too have been packed with misinformation and outright errors,” Moynihan adds. “They ignore my artistic work as whole—it’s clear they’ve never even listened to the records they’re condemning—and merely focus on a few provocative statements selectively culled from interviews done nearly 15 years ago. These statements become far more ambiguous when contextualized into everything I’ve said and done over the years. From the very beginning I have said that Blood Axis represents a grey area of Nietzschean amorality and paradox; the inability of people to handle it, or even grasp it on these terms, only proves how successfully it embodies this.”[41]

Moynihan's response[edit]

Moynihan has repeatedly denied political ties.[42][43] In response to the various political accusations leveled against him, Moynihan calls the Far right "a bunch of isolated losers" and further that:

Whether they're the Marxist/Communist/Socialist people who think that humans want to get along on a grand scale, or whether it's the Nazis, who think that if everyone was just of the same race, they'd all get along perfectly, or the anarchists, who think everyone would love to live this way if you just took away the police.

They're all deluded. People should worry about what happens on their block. They should get along with their neighbors before they worry about the great ills of society and about telling someone who lives 200 miles away what to do.[4]

Bibliography[edit]

Co-authored by Moynihan
Edited by Moynihan

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Michael Moynihan Interview, at Heathen Harvest (May 24, 2005)
  2. ^ interview in the "Heretic" magazine, nr. 10, October 1994: "I would not say fascism wraps up my worldview completely, but it is a step in the right direction"; interview in "Compulsion Online": "if fascism returns to this world a sense for order, discipline and responsibility, I am absolutely in favour"[unreliable source?]
  3. ^ a b Dundas, Zach. "The Notorious Michael Moynihan
  4. ^ a b c d e f Zach Dundas. Willamette Week culture feature: "Lord of Chaos: ACTIVISTS ACCUSE PORTLAND WRITER AND MUSICIAN MICHAEL MOYNIHAN OF SPREADING EXTREMIST PROPAGANDA, BUT THEY'RE NOT TELLING THE WHOLE STORY. Available online: [1]
  5. ^ a b c d e Bruun, Jan R. MICHAEL MOYNIHAN / BLOOD AXIS Interview, "Helter Skealter" magazine (1995) Available online: [2]
  6. ^ a b Pingelton, Kathleen. "Boyd Rice Interview", Filth Forge webzine, 2006. Online: [3]
  7. ^ a b Not Like Most magazine #4, 1996. "Blood Axis – An Interview With Michael Moynihan" Available online: [4]
  8. ^ a b "About the author" in The Secret King: Karl Maria Wiligut, Himmler's Lord of the Runes ISBN 0-9712044-0-3
  9. ^ Hampshire, Dominic. "Siege Mentality" Available online
  10. ^ Moynihan, Michael. "Dry and Brown Greens" Available online
  11. ^ Seconds no. 28, 60–62
  12. ^ Seconds no. 30, 9–11
  13. ^ a b The Fifth Path magazine, issue 5. Reprinted in Vor trú issue 53
  14. ^ Seconds no. 25, pages 56–60
  15. ^ Seconds no. 32, 64–74)
  16. ^ Junge Freiheit 47/94, p. 20
  17. ^ Seconds magazine, issue 44. (1997)
  18. ^ Metzger, Richard. Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult (2003) ISBN 0-9713942-7-X
  19. ^ Seconds magazine, 1996. Available online
  20. ^ Michell, John. Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist (2005) ISBN 0-9712044-4-6
  21. ^ Coogan, Kevin (1999), "How Black Is Black Metal?", Hitlist 
  22. ^ Tyr official website, "About the Editors". Online
  23. ^ a b c d e Wulfing One (Robert N. Taylor), The Storm Before the Calm An Interview with Blood Axis, "Esoterra" magazine #5, 1995. Interview with Michael Moynihan. Available online: [5]
  24. ^ The Heretic No.10, Oct 1994
  25. ^ "The Lindbergh Baby (feat. Blood Axis) launches 'Hoodwinked' debut ," Sideline webzine. Online: [6]
  26. ^ "Day of Blood," Occidental Congress webzine. Online
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h Coogan, Kevin. How Black Is Black Metal?
  28. ^ by fellow-Wulfing Robert N. Taylor in the 1995 Esoterra interview.
  29. ^ Gardell, Mattias. Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism (2003) Duke publishing press ISBN 0-8223-3071-7 Portion of section regarding Moynihan available online:[7]
  30. ^ Gardell 2003:299.
  31. ^ Gardell 2003:303.
  32. ^ Gardell 2003:335.
  33. ^ Gardell 2003:304.
  34. ^ Gardell 2003:301.
  35. ^ "Responding to a direct question, Moynihan stated that he would have 'more lenient entry requirements' than the Nazis had had if he were given the opportunity to start up the next Holocaust" (Gardell, p. 301f.)
  36. ^ "Evening of Light" webzine "Gospel of Inhumanity" review. Online
  37. ^ Chronicles of Chaos "Gospel of Inhumanity" review. Online
  38. ^ SF weekly.com 14 October 1998
  39. ^ Moynihan's reply to Schobert (1997)
  40. ^ Christian Dornbusch (2002): Von Landsertrommeln und Lärmorgien – Death In June und Kollaborateure. In: Andreas Speit (ed.): Ästhetische Mobilmachung. Dark Wave, Neofolk und Industrial im Spannungsfeld rechter Ideologien. Münster: Unrast, ISBN 3-89771-804-9, p. 145
  41. ^ a b Bennet, J. Decibel Magazine NSBM Special Report (2006)
  42. ^ Zach Dundas. Willamette Week culture feature: "Lord of Chaos: ACTIVISTS ACCUSE PORTLAND WRITER AND MUSICIAN MICHAEL MOYNIHAN OF SPREADING EXTREMIST PROPAGANDA, BUT THEY'RE NOT TELLING THE WHOLE STORY. Available online: [8] "They (both Nazis and Communists) [a]re all deluded. People should worry about what happens on their block. They should get along with their neighbors before they worry about the great ills of society and about telling someone who lives 200 miles away what to do."
  43. ^ Schobert, Alfred. (German) Heidentum, Musik und Terror (Junge Welt 1997, Duisburger Institut für Sprach- und Sozialforschung 2000, with Moynihan's reply: "No member of Blood Axis has ever been a member of a political party or group, left or right."