THE EARLY WORD: Boyd Rice Is A Very Bad Boy




boydricestanding_in_two_circles.jpgSTANDING IN TWO CIRCLES is the first definitive and comprehensive compendium of the works of BOYD RICE, one of the most provocative and controversial underground figures of the post-punk era. A pioneering noise musician and countercultural maven, from the late 1970s to the present Rice has worked in an array of capacities, playing the roles of: musician, performer, artist, photographer, essayist, interviewer, editor, occult researcher, filmmaker, actor, orator, deejay, gallery curator and tiki bar designer, among others. First coming to prominence as an avant-garde audio experimentalist (recording under the moniker NON), Rice was a seminal founder of the first wave of industrial music in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, through collaborations with Re/Search Publications, Rice further established his position in the underground with recountings of his uproarious pranks and the promotion of “incredibly strange” cult films and “industrial” culture. Rice’s influence on subculture was further exerted through his vanguard exhibition of found photographs and readymade thrift store art, as well as his adamant endorsements of outsider music, tiki culture and bygone pop culture in general. Rice is also notorious for his public associations with nefarious figures both infamous and obscure, including friendships and ideological collusions with the likes of cult leader Charles Manson and Church Of Satan founder Anton LaVey, among others. His work continues to profoundly affect the countercultural underground at large, inspiring and enraging in equal measure.

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WIKIPEDIA:  Rice became widely known through his involvement in V. Vale‘s RE/Search Books. He is profiled in RE/Search #6/7: Industrial Culture Handbook and Pranks!. In Pranks, Rice described his experience in 1976 when he tried to give President Ford‘s wife, Betty Ford, a skinned sheep‘s head on a silver platter. In this interview, he emphasized the consensus nature of reality and the havoc that can be wreaked by refusing to play by the collective boyd_rice3.jpgrules that dictate most people’s perception of the external world.

In the mid-1980s Rice became close friends with Anton LaVey, founder and High Priest of the Church of Satan, and was made a Priest, then later a Magister in the Council of Nine of the Church. The two mutually admired much of the same music and shared a similar misanthropic outlook. Rice’s involvement with the Church of Satan largely diminished after LaVey’s death in 1997.

Rice’s Social Darwinist outlook eventually led to him founding the Social Darwinist think tank called The Abraxas Foundation, named after the ancient Gnostic god Abraxas. The organization promotes authoritarianism, totalitarianism, misanthropism, elitism, is antidemocratic, and has some philosophical overlap with the Church of Satan. During an interview with Christian talk show host Bob Larson, Boyd Rice described the basic philosophy of the foundation as being “The strong rule the weak, and the clever rule the strong” MORE

RIVERFRONT TIMES: The Japanese have a saying along the lines of “the nail that stands out the highest will be hammered down the hardest.” Musician/writer Boyd Rice has experienced more than his share of hammering over the course of his career, but he refuses to bend to the pressure. He has been vilified by the Religious Right for his position as a magister in Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan, pilloried by the liberal left for his support of “aesthetic” (nonpolitical) fascism, criticized by the music press for a perceived lack of musical talent and his interest in unhip artists like Tiny Tim and the Partridge Family, and labeled a “bad influence” in general by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

hatesville_1.jpgThese attacks on his character and philosophy overshadow the fact that as an artist, Rice has created a body of work that is as iconoclastic and intellectually broad as anything written by the Beats, free-jazz impresarios, Oscar Wilde, the Marquis de Sade or the authors of the Declaration of Independence. His artistic output exemplifies the American ideal of rugged individualism while proving that nonconformity inspires the same amount of suspicion and ignorant violence in the Land of the Free as it does in the Land of the Rising Sun. Of course, if you write a song titled “Let’s Hear It for Violence Towards Women,” as Rice did on his Hatesville album, well, folks are bound to react with a little hostility. But that particular number is just one moment from a career that has simultaneously plumbed the depths of lovely hate songs and expanded the horizon of hateful love songs.

Since the late 1970s, Rice’s albums –many released under the name Non — have explored wildly diverse avenues of personal expression. From the austere, martial power-drones of Blood and Flame (1986) through Music, Martinis and Misanthropy’s unlikely marriage of lounge music and social-Darwinist lyrics (1989) to his collaboration with Rose McDowall on an album of emotionally charged cover songs of ’60s-era pop (Season in the Sun), Boyd Rice has seemingly defied both convention and common sense. How can a musician attract an audience if he leaps from genre to genre? The truth is, Rice has maintained a thematic focus in his music that both carefully cultivates and remains true to his original audience — himself. MORE

Children of the Black Sun

Non is the nom de noise of industrial music pioneer Boyd Rice. A thinly veiled crypto-fascist and avowed Satanist with a weakness for ’60s girl groups, Partridge Family ephemera and the kitschy big-eyed paintings of Walter Keane, Rice raises a number of uncomfortable questions along the lines of: Can you separate Hitler’s paintings from his crimes? Rice is a cultural hustler who plays fast and loose with Third Reich imagery and social Darwinist philosophy, but the music he makes–velvet-hammer noise constructs that resonate endlessly on the dark side of the ambient moon–is a guilty pleasure. As for his motivation, well, consider this quote: “I feel lucky. I have the perfect forum to exorcise all my innate misanthropy. Instead of giving every idiot who tries my patience a punch on the nose, I can go into a recording studio and vent my rage. Not every person has that luxury. There was a guy in the news here who got really pissed off and stole a tank from the National Guard Armory and went on a rampage through the suburbs, destroying everything in his path. He smashed into houses, crushed parked cars and just kept going till they killed him. I don’t know if making a record would have helped this guy, but it’s sure kept me out of the headlines.” — JONATHAN VALANIA

BOYD RICE: Total War

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. — Nietszche, The Dawn, 1881

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