Monday, 5 January 2009

Filling the BOYD/NON

Boyd Rice is one of the most provocative and debatable underground figures of the post-punk era. A pioneering noise musician and countercultural maven, from the late 1970s to the present he 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 endeared himself to the underground with recountings of his uproarious pranks and the promotion of "incredibly strange" cult films. Rice's influence on subculture was further exerted through his forerunning 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.
By the 1990s, however, Rice's underground acclaim had been turned on its ear as a result of his public associations with nefarious figures both infamous and obscure. These included friendships and ideological collusion with the likes of cult leader Charles Manson and Church Of Satan founder Anton LaVey, among others. Rice sparked further controversy through public flirtations with "Nazi" aesthetics and fascist ideology, a flaunted disregard for political correctness, and an espousal of antisocial doctrines such as Satanism, Social Darwinism and elitist misanthropy. The culmination of these affiliations and endorsements established Rice as one of the 1990s' foremost countercultural antagonists and provocateurs, alienating many of his erstwhile fans.
The 2000s saw Rice turning away from the culturally proscribed (and its attendant controversy), and instead to esoteric occult research, the co-founding of an art movement and the design of his own tiki bar. Rice continues to explore these and other realms of artistic and musical expression as the decade nears its end.
Alternately amusing, insightful, confrontational and offensive, Boyd Rice has proven one of the most consistently influential and contentious characters of the last 30 years of American counterculture. He's covered an incredibly prolific amount of artistic, conceptual and ideological ground, and his work continues to profoundly affect the countercultural underground at large, inspiring and enraging in equal measure.