Descendents react to ex-Oath Keeper testifying at Jan 6 committee in band t-shirt

“We completely disavow groups like the Oath Keepers and in no way condone their hateful ideology"

Descendents have responded to photos being shared online of former Oath Keepers spokesman Jason Van Tatenhove wearing one of their t-shirts at the January 6 committee.

Van Tatenhove began working for the far-right paramilitary group in 2014, but has since distanced himself. He testified before the House committee, who are investigating the attack on the US Capitol, yesterday (July 12), sharing information about the group and its founder Stewart Rhodes.

“I spent a few years with the Oath Keepers and I can tell you that they may not like to call themselves a militia but they are,” he commented.

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Many people took note of Van Tatenhove’s attire during the testimony, including comedian Chris Gethard, who wrote on Twitter: “Am I hallucinating that this Oath Keeper testifying before congress is wearing a Descendents t-shirt? I just had hernia surgery so this may be the painkillers.”

Critic James Poniewozik also tweeted: “I am going to guess that this is the first appearance of a Descendents T-shirt at a congressional hearing.”

Van Tatenhove wore a t-shirt featuring the cover art for ‘Everything Sucks’, the band’s 1996 album, plus a Deftones pin. The Californian hardcore punk group are known for political songs like ”Merican’, which critiques slavery, the Ku Klux Klan and the Vietnam War, which many pointed out conflicts with the Oath Keepers extremist views.

In response to the reactions, Descendents wrote on Twitter: “We completely disavow groups like the Oath Keepers and in no way condone their hateful ideology.”

The band, which formed in 1977, released their eighth studio album ‘9th & Walnut’ last year. It includes some of their earliest-written material, from their formation up to 1980.

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The unique project was primarily recorded in 2002, and features the classic line-up of the band – guitarist Frank Navetta, bassist Tony Lombardo and drummer Bill Stevenson. The sessions were among the last Navetta recorded prior to his passing in 2008. Lead vocalist Milo Aukerman recorded his vocals in 2020 from his home in Delaware.

On the release of the third taster from the album ‘Like The Way I Know’ last June, drummer and founding member Bill Stevenson explained that it was “one of the very first Descendents songs”.

“[It was] written in 1977 by [founding member] David Nolte, about how living in Hermosa Beach made him feel like a freak,” he said.

The group have a number of dates coming up in Europe, including in Austria and Germany, before they head back to the US for shows at This Ain’t No Picnic festival in Pasadena and Four Chord Music Festival in Pittsburgh.

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