I was thinking about Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s famous opening words to his 1830 novel Paul Clifford as I arrived to the Helsinki railway station around 6 PM. It was a dark night and sonically it was going to be pretty stormy too. Boyd Rice, who I had interviewed recently, was in Finland, for the first time ever.
I met Halthan, a darkly dressed gentleman, at the station. There were about two hours till doors of Kuudes linja opened so we had plenty of time to talk about the States, far right, Finnish police, growing chilis, noise music, Finnish punk and metal scene’s history, Leila K., Camilla Henemark of the Army of Lovers, Pekka Siitoin, nazis in general, anal sex and golden showers in Kauko Röyhkä’s novels, languages, recent Merzbow gig and Halthan’s forthcoming Siitoin-themed album over a cup of coffee.
I ordered a glass of cranberry juice. Halthan joyously informed me that it was good for the health of a urinary tract – we are not that young anymore, you know! Yes, time flies.
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We were early at Kuudes linja. People started to flood in pretty soon after doors opened. Lots of old and new friends. Some asked me if I had copies of Nauravat natsit to sell. I needed to inform them that I didn’t have any extra copies anymore and that it looked like that also the publisher had run out of his copies. Apparently also distributors were running out of their copies very soon. The release has become an instant collectors item in less than two weeks.
I was glad to receive positive feedback about the blog from people I knew as well as from complete strangers – sober, drunk, and very drunk. Thanks again.
It was evident, not surprisingly, that many who find past Pekka Siitoin as an intriguing figure are interested in Boyd Rice’s doings as well. There certainly are certain common themes and elements of provocation here, regardless of many differences between these men. I was in good company.
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The group that did warm up to Boyd’s gig was called Sink. I had not heard of them before and I missed most of their gig due to talking with people. Based on what I saw and heard they weren’t that bad. You can find them from here.
Boyd’s gig started with some intro music and film, which was followed by Total war. I guess I was not alone being surprised to hear it as the opening track for the whole gig, but well, some artists do things differently and break the common rules. The normal way would of course have been to place the big hit as the last one or as an encore in the set. Looking at the gig now later, we were lucky that Boyd placed the track in the beginning and not in the end of the set due to technical trouble that took place later.
We heard old songs and new songs. Overall, I think the gig reflected Boyd’s new release Back to Mono. In the CD’s insert Boyd tells that:
Back to Mono represents a return to my roots. It represents a re-exploration of my first love: noise. I was intrigued to see if after thirty years I could revisit my original source of inspiration and still bring something new to the table. I think I have.
If in the past Boyd has used instruments like rotoguitar, this time he brought to the stage some fairly large electronic construction tool. I wouldn’t be too surprised to hear if that instrument ended up on the stage because Boyd saw some construction workers using it outside the venue earlier during the day and asked them if he could lend it for the show. That is more than plausible.
Pekka Siitoin fans in the audience were heard between some tracks. If my memory does not fail me, I heard someone shouting Helllvetin hyvä!, Jawohl, katkase! and Jaska, parveke auki! Guys from Kuolleen Musiikin Yhdistys claimed later that I could be considered responsible for these interruptions due to my Siitoin related “cultural work”.
At some point someone cut the cheese in front of me in the packed audience. Next two guys next to me took poppers. I wondered what would happen next… and then Boyd’s equipment said kaput. Boyd stepped out from the stage leaving sound waving fairly loud upon the audience. I was thinking that the sound would develope into feedback mode soon and that this was all intentional part of the show. It wouldn’t have been the first time Boyd would have tested audiences ears. But well, it soon became clear that there was some serious technical problem. I was instantly reminded of what I had read about Boyd’s gig in Moscow just three days earlier. There were some trouble with microphones and such.
Boyd didn’t stop the gig there, though. He told that he could still read us some poetry. The audience cheered. We heard Nursery rhymes from mother goose, Two little blackbirds, Birds of a feather, Alone with the calm, How God makes little girls and Silence is golden. The gig was over.
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I had an honor to meet the man already before the gig and I got invited backstage afterwards. There were some people shaking hands with Boyd and asking records and copies of Twilight Man autographed. Albert Witchfinder from the past Reverend Bizarre was one among them. He was a bit tipsy and told Boyd he looks much better nowadays than in his youth. Boyd seemed amused.
I had noticed during the gig that someone was filming the event with professional equipment. The same guy was now backstage starting an interview with Boyd. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I realized that the guy was from YLE, Finland’s national public service broadcasting company. Some parts of the interview could be summarized somewhat like this:
YLE: Do you want to total war?
Boyd: No, no, I was young when I wrote the lyrics…
YLE: You are very interested in satanism…
Boyd: No, no…
YLE: You are very political…
Boyd: NOOOO! No, no!
The rest of the interview dealed with Boyd’s style, American politics, and so on. The whole interview wasn’t so bad as it sounds like from the above summarization. I hope YLE will actually air that interview some day. Here is a little sample I filmed of it.
When the interview was finished the YLE journalist asked me to take a photo of him with Boyd. Instead of saying “smile” before pressing the button I said ”why the feminist crossed the street?”… to which Boyd replied ”…to suck my dick!” The journalist looked a bit perplexed but I think the photo turned out nice.
I didn’t do an interview with Boyd this time but we talked of lots of things. Australian cover bands, such as Björn Again, time before the internet, handwritten letters, rare movies, San Francisco and it’s Chinatown and mafia, Boyd’s Moscow gig. He told he had not had time to visit the architect Saarinen museum, something which he would have liked. Instead he had just slept in his hotel room after arriving to Finland. His next stop is Poland and London follows after that.
Two gentlemen from Kuolleen Musiikin Yhdistys who had promised me a ride back to Turku entered the room. Our driver told me that we should be going soon. Around that time a girl who had handled Boyd’s merchandice brought Boyd a new bottle of wine because the previous one was stolen. At this point the other gentleman from Kuolleen Musiikin Yhdistys, not the driver, somewhat under the influence of alcohol, asked from Boyd pointing towards the fridge: Are you going to drink these beers now too that you got a bottle of wine?
Boyd smiled, made a graceful hand gesture and said: No, so please, have Boyd’s beer if you want some! Well, we did and the discussion continued…
Thanks for the gig, talks and beer, Boyd!
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Boyd Rice live at Kuudes Linja 6th November 2012 photos:
Video and photos by Mesikämmenen blogi.