Aside from actual Nazi skinheads (and those petulant, “ironic” listeners who fancy themselves “edgy”), Skrewdriver presents one of the more divisive ethical conundrums in punk. There are those who abstain entirely from their music, arguing that even their pre-Nazi album is tainted by an eventual embrace of fascism, there are fans who maintain that all non-Nazi material is fair game, and there is the camp who argues that—providing you’re not actually putting cash in Nazi pockets—no art should be off-limits. I tend to agree with the third philosophy, and while I don’t really listen to Skrewdriver anyway (and certainly wouldn’t crank it outside the privacy of my own home), I don’t see how critically listening to Nazi punk is any more an endorsement of Nazism than listening to Wagner is (though it’s a bit of a moot point anyway, since unlike Wagner, Nazi punk pretty much all sucks, and isn’t really worth listening to for anything other than educational purposes or curiosity).
But what if you’re really, really in the mood for the infectious meathead Oi! that only Skrewdriver provides, minus the revolting white nationalism? Enter Jewdriver, an all-Jewish Skrewdriver cover band—sort of. The brainchild of 90s Oakland punks, Skrewdriver was formed with the express purpose of ripping off Nazi licks while ridiculing Nazi dicks, with songs like “Hail the Jew Dawn"and “Our Blame is Goyim Glee”, the band mimics Skrewdriver’s sound really well. They’ve had a few line-ups over the years, but they keep popping up for the odd show—they even have a following in Germany (these days, the country tends toward a certain redemptive Judeophilia, embracing all things of “the Tribe”)! It can be hard to find their records, but you can hear their EP below.
As far as I’m concerned, Jewdriver is a win-win. First of all, you can’t really understand most of Skrewdriver’s lyrics anyway, so it’s not like you’re distracted by parody kitsch (thought the odd joke about circumcision does bring a smile to one’s face). Also, you can now listen to a reasonable facsimile of Skrewdriver in public! Most importantly though, the band probably really pisses off some Nazis, and isn’t that a valiant pursuit in its own right?