As the story of Wade Michael Page, a drunk, loner asshole who shot and killed six innocent people and himself at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee on Sunday, starts to unfold along with his Orange County connection, media have successfully dug up what seems to be another mass murderer cliche. Breaking down Page's past produces a picture of a disillusioned guy who drank too much, sponged off his friends, couldn't hack it in the army, was fired from just about every job in his recent history and, on top of everything else, listened to Rush.
We recently spoke with Pete Simi, a criminology professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, who was once a grad student who talked his way into staying with Page and a his housemate to study them and their scene for a dissertation on white supremacist groups back when Page lived in Old Town Orange. From 2001 to 2003, Simi's contact with Wade included everything from interviews and crashing on his couch to late night hangout sessions watching him play in OC white supremacist band Youngland. Simi says that Page, though not the greatest guitar player, was virtually always playing in a different hate rock band as either a bass or guitar player since the local hate scene was so small, virtually devoid of skinhead fret talent.
However, Simi says, Page and other members of white supremacist bands were studied con artists when it came to getting unwitting club owners to let them play gigs. Back in 2001 the Shack talked to the Weekly about a white power rally that had come disguised as a wedding reception to their venue and quickly overwhelmed the place.
“The first thing bands like that try to do is ingratiate themselves with an owner or a bartender that worked there,” Simi says. “When they asked about playing shows at these places they'd just say they played 'pro-American' music.”