The words repugnant, misogynistic , and iconoclastic have all be used to describe artist/musician/writer/photographer Boyd Rice, but I think one word is a far better description-genius.
The Iconoclast documentary is the most in-depth exploration of his views, life, and music I have ever seen. His connection with Anton LaVey, along with Boyd’s ties with Charles Manson are also spoken about at length. Most stones are flipped over and examined . It’s rather lengthy, but it’s worth the watch. (last time this was on You Tube, it was taken down in a matter of days)
I can remember the first time I came across the name Boyd Rice: I was up late one night at a friend’s house thumbing through a bound collection of issues of Answer Me! ,a fanzine that only ran for 4 issues, and its publishers Jim and Debbie Goad were eventually taken to court on obscenity charges or something like that.
Years later I started investigating Boyd Rice’s music, which led me to a favorite album–Music, Martinis, and Misanthropy.
A friend says he doesn’t consider the album to contain “songs.” The same friend said it was just spoken word with instrumentation. The album defies clear classification, which is brilliant and a rarity. The things Boyd says on the album, the way he says them, combined with the instrumentation is like noting I had ever heard. The juxtaposition of having this soothing calm voice combined with mostly folk tunes and statements of pure misanthropy was so striking Of course, I would like something like that.
“As For The Fools” is the most striking commentary I’ve ever heard on societal decay and human devolution. In the song, Boyd reminds me of Dr. Manhattan from the Watchmen, totally emotionally detached from the issue he is discussing, and in doing so, it’s as if he has a clearer, more honest vision, admitting what others can not bear to face.
One aspect of Boyd’s life that I thought might have been explored or explained was his friendship with Bob Heick, founder of the American Front, but it’s not even mentioned. The picture above is part of Boyd’s claim to infamy. It was published in Sassy and Rolling Stone in the late ’80s. To this very day, some people still call Boyd Rice a “Nazi.” In numerous interviews Rice has explained the photo was a prank on his part, pulling an Andy Kaufman.
Rice was never a member of the American Front, but he was friends with Bob Heick. But Boyd was also friends with Jello Biafra, lead singer of the Dead Kennedys, who is about as left-wing as you can get. (this side of Noam Chomksy and Karl Marx) He was also friends with Adam Parfery, who is Jewish and Douglas Pearce, of Death In June, who is gay. Portions of Music, Martinis, and Misanthropy were recorded in Tokyo. What self-respecting “White supremacist” would record an album in a non-White country like Japan?
Either you get Boyd Rice’s material or you don’t. I think a lot of people couldn’t, so when exposed to it, they resort to knee-jerk, Pavlovian reactions.