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Lions Roar : May 2018
LION’S ROAR | MAY 2018 37 F ROM THE OUTSIDE, Arno Michaelis’ 1970s childhood was idyllic—two parents still married, a nice house with a big yard in a middle-class Milwaukee neighborhood, lots of love and positive affirmation. Yet inside his home, his father’s drinking led to his mother’s misery, and, caught in the turmoil of emotional violence, Michaelis developed his own addiction—to adrenaline. A constant thrill-seeker, Michaelis craved chaos, and created it through lashing out and hurting others. “I started out bullying on the school bus,” says Michaelis. “I got thrills from other kids fearing me. I would fight in the schoolyard and on the streets.” By middle school, Michaelis was ramping up his antisocial behavior to get an even big- ger rush, moving to vandalism and breaking and entering. By age sixteen, Michaelis was an alcoholic himself. Music had always been Michaelis’ passion and a refuge from his parents’ fighting. He started with the Beatles and AC/DC and then moved into punk, with The Clash, Dead Kennedys, and Fear providing an outlet for his aggression. He got an even bigger hit of musical adrenaline when he found music that gave a context to his violence— white power skinhead music. PHOTOBYMARKSELIGER From Hate to Love An ex-neo-Nazi’s journey to Buddhism Arno Michaelis founded a white supremacist gang and was frontman for a white-power metal band. Yet, as he tells LINDSAY KYTE, his ideology could not hold up when those he hated met him with love.