Video: Winds of Plague Dressed in Blackface at Halloween Show in 2005
Deathcore act Winds of Plague are the latest band from the metal scene to have an embarrassing incident from their past surface in light of the Black Lives Matter protests currently roiling America: video from a Halloween show back in 2005 has re-surfaced showing the band wearing blackface, dressed as members of Wu-Tang Clan.
Video of the band performing the song “Anthems of Apocalypse” at the show has been on YouTube since 2009, but has only been viewed approximately 13,000 times over the past 11 years. A Facebook post by Worldwide Underground in September, 2017 of the same video only has 15,000 views, but that post has begun to make the rounds again in recent days with issues pertaining to racial relations in America very much on the forefront of everyone’s minds.
The show took place on October 29, 2005, at the Flipside Church in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Vocalist and band founder Johnny Plague (neé Jonathan Cooke) is the only member seen performing here that is still in the band. Longtime guitarists Nick Eash and Nick Piunno were both in this lineup (both left in 2015) while the band’s best-known drummer, Art Cruz, who now plays in Lamb of God, was not in the band yet at the time of this show; that’s Jeff Tenney behind the kit. Bassist Kevin Grant and keyboardist Chris Cooke rounded out the lineup at this time. Piunno, Grant and Tenney were not wearing blackface, although by no means does that let them off the hook for appearing on stage with half the band sporting makeup that embodies a deeply racist practice from America’s past.
Surely Johnny Plague (and to a lesser extent, Eash and Piunno) have been aware of this video’s existence for some time now, hoping it’d never be noticed by the metal world at large. That time has come, and while it’d be easy to “cancel” the band outright as a result of this video, I think everything hinges on how they respond (from what we can tell, the band has never addressed the issue publicly). The only way we can move forward with race issues in America is by using incidents like this one as an opportunity for growth… and I say that as someone who not only finds their use of blackface despicable, but who has always thought this band fucking stinks. On the other hand, if you decide to cancel them, well, I certainly can’t blame you.
You can watch the upsetting video of “Anthems of Apocalypse” below, along with some others from the same show.