Boyd Blake Rice (born December 16, 1956) is an American experimental sound/noise musician using the name of NON since the mid-1970s, archivist, actor, photographer, author, member of the Partridge Family Temple religious group, co-founder of the UNPOP art movement and current staff writer for Modern Drunkard magazine.
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 rules 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 admired much of the same music and shared a similar misanthropic outlook. Each had been inspired by Might is Right in fashioning various works: LaVey in his seminal Satanic Bible and Rice in several recordings.
Rice's Social Darwinist outlook eventually led to him founding the Social Darwinist think tank called The Abraxas Foundation, along with co-founder Nikolas Schreck, named after the ancient Gnostic god Abraxas. The organization promotes authoritarianism, totalitarianism, misanthropism, and elitism, is antidemocratic, and has some philosophical overlap with the Church of Satan. During an interview with Christian talk show host Bob Larson, Rice described the basic philosophy of the foundation as being "The strong rule the weak, and the clever rule the strong".
Rice has documented the writings of Charles Manson in his role as contributing editor of The Manson File. Rice was a featured guest on Talk Back, a radio program hosted by the Evangelical Christian Bob Larson. In total, Rice made five appearances on Larson's program.
Although Rice was sometimes reported to possess the world's largest Barbie collection, he confessed in a 2003 interview with Brian M. Clark to owning only a few.
In 2000, along with Tracy Twyman, editor of Dagobert's Revenge, Rice filmed a special on the Rennes-le-Chateau for the program In Search of... on Fox television. (The segment was later included in the 2002 version of In Search of... on the Sci Fi Channel.) Rice has done extensive research into Gnosticism as well as Grail legends and Merovingian lore, sharing this research in Dagobert's Revenge and The Vessel of God.
Rice was involved in creating a Tiki bar called Tiki Boyd's at the East Coast Bar in Denver, Colorado. Rice decorated the entire establishment out of his own pocket due to his fondness of Tiki culture, asking an open tab at the bar in return. Boyd has long expressed a love of Tiki culture, in contrast to the other elements of his public persona.
Tiki Boyd's was given its name in his honor. Due to disagreements between Rice and the owners, Rice pulled out of the deal and reclaimed all of his Tiki decorations. The future of the bar as it remains now is uncertain. Rice plans to re-establish another Tiki Bar elsewhere in Denver.
Rice creates music under his own name, as well as under the moniker of NON and with contributors under various other project names.
Early sound experiments:
Rice started creating experimental noise recordings in 1975, drawing on his interest in tape machines and bubblegum pop sung by female vocalists such as Little Peggy March and Ginny Arnell. One of his earliest efforts consisted entirely of a loop of every time Lesley Gore sang the word "cry". After initially creating recordings simply for his own listening, he later started to give performances, and eventually make records. His musical project NON grew out of these early experiments; he reportedly selected the name because "it implies everything and nothing".
Techniques and implementations:
From his earliest recordings, Rice has experimented with both sound and the medium through which that sound is conveyed. His methods of expanding upon the listening possibilities for recorded music were simple. On his second seven-inch, he had 2-4 extra holes punched into the record for "multi axial rotation". Another early LP was titled Play at Any Speed. While working exclusively with vinyl, he employed locked grooves that allowed listeners to create their own music. He was one of the first artists, after John Cage, to treat turntables as instruments and developed various techniques for scratching. Rice has been treating sounds from vinyl recordings as early as 1975.
Under the name NON, originally with second member Robert Turman, Rice has recorded several seminal noise music albums, and collaborated with experimental music/dark folk artists like Current 93, Death in June and Rose McDowall. Most of his music has been released on the Mute Records label. Rice has also collaborated with Frank Tovey of Fad Gadget, Tony Wakeford of Sol Invictus and Michael Moynihan of Blood Axis. His later albums have often been explicitly conceptual.
On Might! (1995), Rice layers portions of "Ragnar Redbeard"'s Social Darwinist harangue, Might is Right over sound beds of looped noise and manipulated frequencies. 1997's God and Beast explores the intersection in the soul of man's physical and spiritual natures over the course of an album that alternates abrasive soundscapes with passages of tranquility.
In 2006, Rice returned to the studio to record raw vocal sound sources for a collaboration with Industrial, modern primitive percussionist/ethnomusicologist Z'EV. In addition, he and long-time friend of twenty years Giddle Partridge planned an album titled LOVE/LOVE-BANG/BANG!, under the band name of Giddle & Boyd. After the limited edition release of a bubblegum pink, heart-shaped vinyl E.P. titled, Going Steady With Peggy Moffitt. In early 2010, Rice announced that he and Giddle Partridge would focus on solo projects/albums for the time being.
Early NON performances were designed to offer choice to audience members who might otherwise expect only a prefabricated and totally passive entertainment experience. Rice has stated that he considers his performances to be "de-indoctrination rites". Rice has performed using a shoe polisher, the "rotoguitar" (an electric guitar with an electric fan on it), and other homemade instruments. He has also used found sounds, played at a volume just below the threshold of pain, to entice his audiences to endure his high decibel sound experiments.
Rice coupled his aural assaults with psychological torture on audiences in Den Haag, the Netherlands, by shining exceedingly bright lights in their faces that were deliberately placed just out of reach. As their frustration mounted, Rice states that he:
..continued to be friendly to the audience, which made them even madder, because they were so mad and I didn't care! They were shaking their fists at me, and I thought that at any minute there'd be a riot. So I took it as far as I thought I could, and then thanked them and left.
After dropping out of high school at the age of 17, Rice began an in-depth study of early 20th-century art movements, producing his own abstract black and white paintings and experimental photographs. Early on, he met European art historian and gallery owner, Arturo Schwarz, with whom he began a long correspondence. Schwarz, a biographer of Duchamp and Man Ray, encouraged Rice to pursue his art, no matter what. And he did. Though he would later shift his focus to sound, he has never stopped creating visual art and has given a number of one man shows over the years.
In the mid-1970s Rice devoted a great deal of time to experimental photography, developing a process by which he could produce "photographs of things which don't exist". He had a one man show of the photos in the early 1980s at Richard Peterson's Pink & Pearl Gallery in San Diego, which was documented in the local press, the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune. He has never revealed the means by which he made these photos, and has stated publicly that the secret will go to the grave with him. Some of these photos can be seen in his book Standing in Two Circles (Creation Press, 2008).
Over the years, Boyd Rice's writings have been translated into at least six languages. His collected writings were published in 2008 by Creation Press. A French language edition followed on Camion Noir.
In 2009, his book No was published. This was widely regarded as a book defining Rice's personal philosophy. Rice defined the book as merely a "laundry list" of things he didn't believe in. He later stated in an interview with WFMU's Beware of the Blog, "sometimes the things you don't believe are more important than what you do believe".
In October 2011, Heartworm Press published Rice's Twilight Man, a noir memoir about his life in 1980's San Francisco.
In 1989, Rice and Bob Heick of the American Front were photographed for Sassy Magazine wearing uniforms and brandishing knives. While Rice would later recall it as a prank, the photo has caused boycotts and protests at many of Rice's appearances. When asked if he regrets the photo, Rice stated, "I don't care. I don't think I ever made a wrong move. The bad stuff is just good. America loves its villains".
This photograph was additionally published in the book Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture by James Ridgeway.
More controversy has resulted because of Rice's appearance on Race and Reason, a public-access television cable TV show hosted by white nationalist Tom Metzger. Rice has claimed not to be a Nazi in numerous interviews whilst his friend Rose McDowall has claimed he has never said anything racist nor endorsed Nazism to her. However Stewart Home has claimed that Rice is a supporter of Nazism. Boyd Rice is associated with Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey and has collaborated with Adam Parfrey who is Jewish.
On August 8, 1988, Boyd Rice was among the organizers and performers at 8/8/88, a Satanic rally organized at the Strand Theater in San Francisco, which was locally heavily advertised and sold out, billed as the largest gathering of Satanists ever recorded. Rice appeared with the band Radio Werewolf as well as Zeena Lavey of the Church of Satan, and with the Secret Chiefs and Kris Force.