• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Row over abuse charity chief's violent 'Femi-nazi' song lyrics

THE leader of a Scottish rock band which sings about hitting women and rages about "Femi-nazis" is in charge of a charity that helps the victims of childhood abuse.

Bruce Hotchkies, frontman of Thunderf**k and the Deadly Romantics, has taken over as chairman of Falkirk-based Open Secret, a member of the Scottish Parliament's cross-party group on Men's Violence Against Women and Children.

The 45-year-old's appointment at the troubled charity, which is facing an independent review by the local council, comes despite his most recent video featuring a rant against feminists and the lyric: "You keep up this s**t, you're going to get hit."

Hotchkies, who is married with children and is from Falkirk, admits his music is on the "seedy side of rock". His videos feature young women in bondage gear, and one song refers to a female groupie as "piece of meat". But Hotchkies insists that his work is not misogynistic.

However, the Sunday Herald understands his alternative career has been flagged up to authorities looking in to Open Secret, which is in a dispute with its core funder, Falkirk Council.

A spokesman for the local authority said: "We are aware of a number of concerns regarding Open Secret and we are currently in the process of arranging an independent review of their operations."

Hotchkies has fronted his band for some years. His most recent video features him being cut and gagged by women in a fictional club called Golddiggers. Called This One Is For You, the track is said to be a response to internet critics of his music.

"If you are a feminist, fine/but your s**t's out of line," he sings. "This one is for you. You're a Femi-nazi/a f***ing patsy. If you keep up this s**t/you're going to get hit." There is then a reference to a sexual act.

Another song, F**ked By Rock And Roll, features the lyric "Your dad ain't gonna save you from a guy like me." There then follows another reference to a sexual act. A third track, Starf**ker, is sung from the point of view of a rock star expressing contempt for a "piece of meat" groupie he is having sex with. The songs are from the band's album, Sexploitation.

Canadian-born Hotchkies was previously a drummer in a group called Britney's Krack, which styled itself as the most hated band in his home town of Hamilton, Ontario. The nearest thing it had to a hit was a video featuring a prostitute being slapped in a New York underpass to a cover of Ricky Martin's La Vida Loca.

Hotchkies, who formerly ran the short-lived Scottish New Music Awards, last night said he did not condone in any sense rape or violence against women.

He stressed Thunderf**k was his "stage persona" and that his part-time band was a "joke". All performances and recordings, he said, featured a warning that they contained offensive material.

He said: "I come from the shock rock background of things like Kiss and Alice Cooper. Every band has to have a bit of an angle to get noticed. We're are not doing anything new. AC/DC was doing it in the 70s. With us, every thing is taken as a joke. We are self-deprecating. We are a bunch of 45-year-old men singing about sex, drugs and rock and roll and we are too old to do any of it. It's an entertainment thing."

Hotchkies said his video, This Is For You - which railed against "Femi-nazis" - was not sexist but a "F**k you to the mainstream". He said it was for all those who were the victims of cyberbullies for the way they looked or acted. He insisted Femi-nazis - a term that has been used in the 1990s as a slur on feminists - actually referred to men.

He said: "The whole video is about free women killing me. The Femi-nazis are the guys always bashing other people."

He added: "I know we are not to everyone's taste. I don't think the band or anything I do promotes violence against women. Rhianna, Madonna, Puff Daddy, Kanye West, all of these guys do worse than what I am doing and they are involved in charities of a similar nature."

Janine Rennie, chief executive of Open Secret, said she had never heard Hotchkies' music. "What Mr Hotchkies does in his private life is none of our business. However, I understand his work is ironic, tongue-in-cheek and he is trying to challenge some of the 1970s rock culture. The music is not connected to his work. He was brought in because of his business expertise."

She added: "Falkirk Council has gone forward with its review without any evidence of impropriety within Open Secret."

Hotchkies became chairman of the charity two months ago but has been involved for some years. He signed off its last annual accounts in 2013, showing income of £735,000, much from Falkirk Council and other statutory bodies. Hotchkies is unpaid.

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie, the Co-Convener of the Cross Party Group on Men's Violence Against Women and Children, has heard Hotchkies' music and seen his videos. She wants his charity suspended from the group, which meets on Wednesday.

She said: "Mr Hotchkies's involvement with the charity should be seriously looked at as it seems inconceivable for him to continue in the position he currently occupies.

"The charity's recruitment practices, outcomes and funding streams must be given a complete audit as soon as possible.

"The protection and safeguarding of vulnerable adults and young people who may have been victims of abuse should be paramount at all times and every effort should be made to maintain the highest of standards.

"It goes without saying that his membership of the Cross Party Group should be suspended until a full investigation has been completed."

A spokeswoman for Rape Crisis Scotland said: "Popular culture exerts a powerful influence over the attitudes and behaviours we see played out in real life.

"Rape Crisis Scotland has real concerns when 'creative' enterprises, whether they be songs, music videos or anything else, promote woman-hating messages and glorify violence against women and girls."

Contextual targeting label: 
Block list

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

253623