HOPE not hate can reveal that Graham Cushway, Brexit Party candidate for Brighton Kemptown, co-founded a vampire and Luftwaffe-themed metal band, and has performed wearing SS insignia.

Former UKIP candidate and ex-soldier Cushway, who goes by the alias “Graham Lord Pyre”, is the bassist in the band Stuka Squadron, which performs from the perspective of a troupe of vampiric Nazis (“Stuka” refers to the Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber planes used in World War II). The band has performed in Gestapo-style outfits, and Cushway has been photographed wearing the SS Totenkopf insignia on his tie.

The band’s page on Encyclopedia Metallum states “Stuka Squadron is not an “NS” [National Socialist] band and shares no affiliation or beliefs with the white supremacy movement”. However, the band has engaged in a deeply inappropriate fetishization of the Third Reich.

For example, the fictional biography for Cushway’s character on the band’s website claims he met another band member in the Thule Society in 1935, an extreme racist, proto-Nazi occultist group which counted Rudolf Hess as a member. 

Cushway, back right. Photo: Stuka Squadron Facebook

The title track of the album “Tales of the Ost”, named in apparent reference to the Eastern Front, contains the lyrics “Flying high above them all, the saviours of the Reich, the Stuka Squadron vampires head into the fight […] An Iron Cross on every chest, the Squadron dwindled fast”. The track One Eyed God King, written from the perspective of the Norse god Odin, contains the lyrics  “Hear my words that I implant, of blood crusade and racial war, the heathens you invented, the wolves inside the door, you rinse in blood the party’s name, fly your banners high”.

Graham Cushway (right) alongside Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage

The “Our Legend” section of their website outlines the band’s fictional history as a troupe of immortal vampires, claiming that “The name celebrates our most recent wartime incarnation, but our bloody bootprints echo through the pages of history”, and includes the rallying cry “SQUADRONEERS, LEGIONNAIRES, DENIZENS OF THE SUBTERRANEAN REICH. ARISE!” The section also makes reference to “the renegade vampire and our greatest adversary ZABULON”, a name also referred to in the band’s song “Zabulon’s Inferno”. Zabulon is the name of a biblical founder of an Israelite tribe.

Despite being founded over a decade ago, just days ago the band posted a long message on Facebook, claiming that it was “not intended to convey any political message”, and that the project was “intended to be shocking and un-PC at the outset”. Despite admitting that their “intention was to portray Luftwaffe pilots”, the band also claims that “Any appearance of genuine World War II-era symbols on accessories […] is purely accidental”.

Cushway, who describes himself as an “intelligence professional”, claims he signed up for Brexit Party candidacy after the party’s success in the European Elections. He attended the party’s candidate launch party on Monday. 

You can find out more about the Brexit Party – and how to beat them – by reading our factsheet here.