First released on M.D.C.’s 1982 debut album Millions of Dead Cops, “John Wayne Was a Nazi” is quite the trip. Fucked Up’s grisly punk layered with The Halluci Nation’s electro-hip-hop makes the new rendition of the hardcore classic something entirely their own, swapping out the original’s breakneck drums and skittering guitar riffs for heavy, dubstep-like synths.
“The song has been with me since high school,” The Halluci Nation’s Bear Witness said in a statement. “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.”
Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham adds: “For me, 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.”
And even now, over 40 years later, “John Wayne Was a Nazi” still feels extremely relevant. Stream The Halluci Nation and Fucked Up’s cover of it below.
Fucked Up shared their most recent studio album One Day back in January.