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Articles and thoughts by Peter Holslin

Nightgeist: View from a stool

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View from a stool

At Radio Room last Wednesday, Boyd Rice wore a black leather cap, black aviators, a well-manicured black beard, a black button-up, a black T-shirt, black leather pants and black combat boots.

Neo-Nazi? Leather-daddy? Maybe a little bit of both. A noise-music pioneer who’s performed under the moniker NON since the mid-’70s, Rice has associated with the likes of Anton LaVey (founder of the Church of Satan) and Tom Metzger (founder of White Aryan Resistance). Reportedly, the Lemon Grove native has also collected Barbie dolls and designed a tiki bar.

Upon closer examination, Rice’s provocative views don’t seem racist so much as fascist, or maybe just misanthropic. In any case, the black-clad rivetheads at Radio Room didn’t seem interested in debate. Rather, like the adoring followers of some charismatic autocrat, they clapped and cheered—one even screamed “Boyd Rice!” over and over—as Rice sipped Miller Lite and thrashed their eardrums.

While Saddam Hussein’s “instrument of yearning” (his ironically named torture program) consisted of electric shocks and acid baths, Rice’s was comparatively more satisfying, albeit in a painful kind of way.

Using a slim black sampler / loop processor, he generated washes of shrieking electronics interspersed with a spurt of high-pitched feedback. “That was an oldie from 1979,” he explained.

As the frontman of opener Cult of Youth strummed his acoustic guitar, Rice read a poem culminating with a list of famous tyrants that included Adolph Hitler. “Come back!” he yelled. “We need you now more than ever!”

Finally, the audience watched eagerly as Rice interrogated a bass, running a drill-mounted paint stripper with long bristles against the fret-board, drawing a hideous grumble from the poor instrument.

After the show, as he stood at the bar in the packed dive, the benevolent misanthrope happily obliged to having his picture taken with some of his adoring fans. Just as any good authoritarian would.

—Peter Holslin

To read the entire feature, which appeared in this week’s issue of CityBeat, click here.

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