Review Revue: Boyd Rice & Friends - Music, Martinis, and Misanthropy

Perhaps the first artist I’ve researched for this particular column whose web site warns me that I must be over 18 to view it (don’t worry, I clicked through and it all looks fairly safe, though I haven’t investigated the photos and videos), Boyd Rice appears to be no stranger to controversy. In fact, you could probably safely say he is a stranger to whatever its opposite would be. Let’s start with the most recent update on his web site, where he announces that he has, “after thirteen years of introspection,” decided to accept the role of High Priest of the Church of Satan bestowed upon him by its founder and his longtime friend Anton LaVey. There have been many rumors about Mr. Rice over the years (some of which will be gotten into below), and it seems rather difficult to sort out the true from the false, but it’s safe to say he is a misanthropist who seems not to be afraid of offending people and living at the extremes.

As far as his musical output goes, it’s usually filed under the “experimental/noise” label, although this particular album seems to be a bit more musical and easy on the ears (if not the soul) than what he is generally known for. The fine people at KCMU had a lot to say about this one, so let’s get right into it, shall we?

H. Flawless. Soundwise this LP is a real change for Boyd Rice. It seems like (musically) he can do no wrong. Be sure to read everything on the back of the record jacket. The ‘surf zither’ is amazing. Right now my favorite cut is ‘Disney Land Can Wait.’”

“From what I understand this guy’s a Nazi. Tower Records almost didn’t carry this LP for that reason. I do think we should play this -- but I am offended if what I heard was true. Yuck!”

“I think he just wants to make people say ‘Yuck’ (at least I hope so!)”

“Very amusing, especially ‘People.’”

“Isn’t he just an absolute sweetheart?”

“Too good!”

“Good listener response.”

“A perverse good time.”

“‘Every woman adores a fascist.’ -- Sylvia Plath”

“Speak for yourself, Sylvia. This is BORING musically, lyrically, and in every other way. MOVE IT DOWN. This has been in H far, far, too long. What is the point of playing this SHIT?”

“What a lovable Nazi he is. He’s got great fashion sense too. I think this could set a spell in H.”

“I usually don’t go for the progressivist, ‘new,’ ‘interesting,’ ‘different’ stuff that is popular around here (Insect comp, Cocteau Twins, Nocturnal Emissions, Dead Can Dance, Chumbawamba), BUT this is ‘different’ that also happens to be very good.”

“This is amusing, entertaining, disturbing. Some cuts are very good (esp 1-2, 1-4, 1-1, 2-5). Some of the Naziesque rhetoric frightens me, but I think TAR is right - there is a tongue-in-cheek quality here (read liner notes; they get progressively more ridiculous). However, I don’t think this is wholly a joke. I think Rice is trying to show us how appealing some aspects of fascism/Nazism can be. (Wouldn’t you sometimes like to be rid of really annoying, stupid people.) This frightens me even more. I like to think that this LP is deeper & more meaningful than it appears at first.”

“Hazel Motes says officially now, March 15, 1991: This LP was a joke. Boyd Rice is not a fascist. He was just pulling your leg. HA HA HA HA HA HA”

“This is a non-debate.”

“Even if he is a Nazi, should we suppress his opinion because we don’t agree with it? Isn’t that what a Nazi might do?”

“Of course not! That’s not what I said. It’s in H after all -- is it not? I like this & even if I didn’t who cares! Please don’t misinterpret me.”

“Creed, if an Assembly of God evangelist came up to you, handed you a stack of Jesus pamphlets and told you to hand them out, would you? Even if the graphics were nifty?”

“This just isn’t worth the controversy we’ve generated. Dullsville.”

“‘People’ scares the shit out of me, but, hey, let’s not suppress fascists using the current anti-censorship movement as a vehicle for their own stupidity.”

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