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Posts Tagged ‘Marilyn Manson’

Laibach on tulossa jälleen Suomeen. Tämän lisäksi pian bändin 27. maaliskuuta olevan Nosturin keikan jälkeen elokuvateattereihin saapuu Iron Sky-elokuva, jonka soundtrackistä bändi vastaa.

Näiden ajankohtaisten aiheiden tiimoilta Mesikämmenelle tuli mieleen julkaista suomeksi Alan Cabalin Gallery-lehdelle maaliskuussa 2000 kirjoittama artikkeli, josta selviää, onko nyt kuunatsi-scifistely-komediaan musiikkia tehnyt bändi itse hiukkaakaan natsahtava.

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Onko Laibach natsibändi?

Mielikuva vapaudesta muuttuu ajan myötä… Meille vapaus on kanssamme samalla lailla ajattelevien vapautta – Laibach, 1985.

Alan Cabal

Näin Laibachin ensimmäistä kertaa kesäkuussa 1992. Paikka oli Limelight New Yorkissa. Kieroon kasvaneet ystäväni olivat vuosien ajan koettaneet saada minua kiinnostumaan tästä bändistä, mutta minusta oli tullut vanha kyynikko joka ajatteli, että rock-musiikista oli tullut täysin korporatiivista. Oli vaikea löytää mitään syytä Tower Recordsin labyrintissä haahuiluun, etsien joidenkin nuorien pseudo-kapinallisten musiikkia, joka vain apinoi keski-ikäisten itsensä myyneiden muusikoiden juttuja. Mietitäänpä nyt. Oli aika, jolloin G.G. Allin nousi lavalle, paskansi lavalle ja viskasi tuotoksensa sitten yleisön niskaan – tästä transgressiivisestä aktista tuli suurimmalle osalle rock-muusikoita täysin tavoittamaton tavoite. Marilyn Manson on ainoastaan Alice Cooper steroideilla. Mieluummin hankin Hoagy Carmichaelin kokoelmaani kaikki hänen levynsä kuin alan kuuntelemaan Marilyn Mansonia. No, mitä tuohon Laibachin keikkaan tulee, niin sisäänpääsy ei maksanut paljoa eikä minulla ollut tuona iltana muutakaan tekemistä.

Keikka oli varsin huvittava. Paikalla oli paljon riidanhaluisia nuoria skinheadeja punaisissa Doc Martenseissaan. He näyttivät pahantuulisilta ja valmiilta pistämään hösseliksi. Laibach oli kiertueella Kapital-levynsä merkeissä. Konsertti alkoi karskilla Burundi-rumpaleiden soiton tulkinnalla sekä sellaisella seinälle heijastetulla taiteella, jota natsit olivat aikoinaan julistaneet kielletyksi. Tämä sisälsi Kahe Kollwtiziä, John Heartfieldiä, sekä Entarte Kunstia. Bändin jäsenet nousivat lavalle univormuissaan ja he onnistuivat kuorimaan pääni auki kaikkein mielettömimmältä kuulostavalla industriaalimelskeellä mitä olin koskaan kuullut. Paikalla olleilla nuorilla natsipunkkareilla ei ollut lainkaan asiaan kuuluvaa kielitaitoa tai taidehistorian tuntemusta, ja he olivat täysin tietämättömiä siitä mitä oikein tapahtui. Tämän bändin jäsenet eivät olleet natseja. He näyttävät sen sijaan pilkkaavan natseja. Heidän konseptinsa on melkoinen. Saksassa uusnatsit hyökkäsivät heidän kimppuunsa ja laittoivat lavan tuleen. Heidän totalitaarisen oloinen konseptinsa voi hyvin olla viimeinen transgressiivinen akti mitä rock-musiikissa saattaa olla jäljellä – ja sellaisena se on todellinen Fin de siècle rock ‘n’ roll-akti.

Tämän bändin jäsenet eivät olleet natseja. He näyttävät sen sijaan pilkkaavan natseja.

Laibach on hieman kuin Itä-Eurooppalainen versio Devosta, mutta siinä missä Devo parodioi amerikkalaista korporatiivifasismia, niin Laibach menee suoraan asian historialliseen ytimeen ja manipuloi natsitaidetta ja Neuvostoliiton realistista propagandaa. Devo oli hauskaa sanan “ha ha”-mielessä. Laibach taas on yhtä hauska kuin joku kadulla elävä tyyppi joka harrastaa täytettyjä eläimiä. Laibachin taiteessa on paljon vähemmän ilmiselvää ironiaa kuin Devon taiteessa. Asia on itseasiassa niin, että jos kuuntelet ainoastaan mitä he sanovat, niin heidän taiteessaan ei näytä olevan minkäänlaista ironiaa.

Laibach perustettiin Trbovljessä, Sloveniassa 1979, missä kaivostyöläisten lakko sotien välissä laukaisi Jugoslavian vallankumouksen. Bändin nimi tulee slovenialaisen kaupungin Ljubljanan saksankielisestä versiosta, mikä on jo itsessään provokaatiota. Ljubljanaa on kutsuttu Laibachiksi kahdesti historiassa, ensimmäisen kerran Itävallan miehityksen aikana noin tuhat vuotta sitten, toisen kerran natsivuosina, jolloin Hitlerin joukot piirittivät kaupunkia heikoin tuloksin. Josef Titon hallinnon aikaan vanhassa yhdistyneessä Jugoslaviassa bändiä kiellettiin käyttämästä nimeään esiintymisiensä yhteydessä. Bändin situationistinen natsi-estetiikan omiminen yhdistettynä univormu- ja lippumieltymyksiin sopivat huonosti Jugoslavian viranomaisten käsityksiin siitä, mikä oli sopivaa.

Vuonna 1984 Laibach oli perustamassa kollektiivia nimeltä NSK, Neue Slowenische Kunst (Uusi Slovenialainen Taide). Kun Jugoslavia romahti, NSK julisti itsensä “virtuaaliseksi valtioksi”. Seuraavassa on ote NSK:n informaatiopamfletista:

MIKÄ ON NSK?

“NSK:n perusinformaatiota kysytään usein: mistä siinä on kyse, koska se perustettiin, mikä on Laibachin ja NSK:n filosofia, jne. Pähkinänkuoressa, NSK on rakenteeltaan yksinkertainen mutta monimutkainen mekanismi, jonka täsmällinen selittäminen muutamin sanoin on mahdotonta. NSK aloitti toimintansa suurena kollektiivina 1984. Kollektiivin muodostivat useat eri ryhmät, joita yhdisti heidän ajattelunsa ja samankaltainen itseilmaisunsa erilaisten medioiden kautta. Keskeisimmät NSK:n muodostavat ryhmät ovat Laibach, Irwin, Noordung, New Collectivism Studio ja Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy. Näiden lisäksi on olemassa eräitä joustavia alaosastoja, jotka nousevat esiin kun tarve niin vaatii, ja jotka sitten katoavat oman inertiansa voimasta. Jokainen edellämainituista ryhmistä toimii omana yksikkönään, vaikkakin ryhmien siteet ovat lujat ja hedelmälliset. Ryhmien jäsenet tapaavat toisiaan säännöllisesti, he puhuvat ja suunnittelevat suurempia yhteisiä kampanjoita, testaavat keskenään esteettisiä ja muita preferenssejä, vaihtavat ideoita ja konteksteja, matkustelevat yhdessä, jne.

Mitä näiden ryhmien filosofiaan tulee – sitä voidaan sanoa mahdottomaksi laittaa sanoiksi, mikä tarkoittaa tietysti sitä, että sen ymmärtävät ne ketkä sen ymmärtävät. Kyseessä on tietynlainen runous, joka heijastuu kaikessa Laibachin taiteessa, mikä pitää sisällään haastattelut, ja mikä voidaan tulkita monin eri tavoin.

Taide ja totalitarismi eivät ole toisiaan poissulkevia. Totalitaariset hallinnot tuhoavat illuusion vallankumouksellisesta, yksilöllisestä taiteellisesta vapaudesta. NSK perustuu yksilöllisen maun, arvioiden, ja vakaumuksien tietoisen hylkäämisen periaatteelle, vapaaehtoisiin depersoonallisuuksiin, sekä tahdonalaiseen ideologian omaksumiseen ja “ultramodernin” hallinnon naamioistariisumiseen ja päätökseen viemiseen.”

Oliko kyllin selvää tekstiä? Todennäköisesti ei, ellei taidehistoria ja Guy DeBordin ja Situationalist Internationalin työt ole sinulle tuttuja. Pieni Jugoslavian historian tunteminen ei sekään ole pahitteeksi. Jos palataan vielä bändin vertailuun Devoon, niin oli aina ilmiselvää, että Devo laski asioista vain leikkiä. NSK/Laibach taas on yhtä vakavasti otettava kuin sydänkohtaus. Asiaan liittyy huumoriakin, mutta se on hyvin Itä-Eurooppalaista ja sävyltään synkkää.

NSK on alkanut laskea liikkeelle omia passeja ja omaa valuuttaa. Tämän lisäksi he myyvät monenlaisia korkealaatuisia tuotteita aina solmioista, solmioneuloista, videonauhoista, huiveista, kirjoista, nallekarhuista, mukeista ja tuhkakupeista alkaen. Nallekarhujakin? Kyllä vain, kauniilla pikkukarhulla on asiaan kuuluvasti myös pahaenteinen Laibachin käsivarsinauha.

Laibach julkaisi 1994 NATO-nimisen albumin ja aloitti Occupied Europe NATO-kiertueensa. Kiertue kattoi 31 kaupunkia ja kesti vuodesta 1994 vuoteen 1995, kiertueen viimeisen konsertin sijoittuen sodan keskellä olevaan Sarajevoon. Laibach saapui kaupunkiin kaksi päivää aikaisemmin kuin NATO:n joukot ja he julistivat Sarajevon NSK:n alueeksi, myöntäen samalla satoja NSK:n passeja. Monet onnistuivat pakenemaan maasta näiden passien avulla. Tällainen kumouksellisuus yltää sellaiselle tasolle, mistä mikään aikaisempi rockbändi ei ole osannut edes unelmoida. Se on myös tuhannesti radikaalimpaa kuin happolappujen jakaminen tie-dyed-vaatteisiin pukeutuneille hemmotelluille urpoille, jotka kuluttavat pikkutuntejaan parkkipaikalla Birkenstock-kengilleen yrjöillen. Mute Records julkaisi 1996 pienilevikkisen video/CD-paketin, joka dokumentoi tätä kiertuetta ja tuolloisia Sarajevon tapahtumia. Näitä paketteja ei ole jakelussa kuin 2000 kappaletta.

Laibach saapui kaupunkiin kaksi päivää aikaisemmin kuin NATO:n joukot ja he julistivat Sarajevon NSK:n alueeksi, myöntäen samalla satoja NSK:n passeja. Monet onnistuivat pakenemaan maasta näiden passien avulla. Tällainen kumouksellisuus yltää sellaiselle tasolle, mistä mikään aikaisempi rockbändi ei ole osannut edes unelmoida.

Laibachin discografia on valtava ja vaikuttava. Omiin suosikkeihini kuuluvat heidän tekemänsä soundtrack Noodrungin tuottamaan Macbethiin, huomattavan fasistiselta kuulostava Opus Dei (joka sisältää Ezra Poundin vanhan sodanvastaisen puheen), sekä heidän Sympathy for the Devil ja Let it Be -coverinsa. Bändi äänitti ei enempää eikä vähempää kuin 18 erilaista versiota Sympathy for the Devil:stä ja laittoi The Beatlesin koko Let it be -albumin aivan uuteen muottiin. Aikaisempi inhottavan siirappinen ja sokerinen The Beatlesin kuolinhenkäys on Laibachin versiona laitettu tiukaksi ja äänekkääksi oluttupabakkanaaliksi. Kapital-levy miellyttää sellaisia industrial-musiikin kuuntelijoita jotka pitävät myös hip hopista. Bändin viimeisin levy Jesus Christ Superstars taas pitää sisällään sellaista oivaa metallista ulottuvuutta, joka sopii loistavasti pitkiin automatkoihin tai huoliteltuihin fantasioihin kaupunkielämän tuhoutumisesta.

Laibachin haastattelut ovat kinkkisiä tilanteita: bändin jäsenet tiukasti karttavat julkisuuden henkilöiden kulttia ja kieltäytyvät vastaamasta kysymyksiin yksilöinä. Jos bändiä haluaa haastatella, on varauduttava tähän: He tulevat vastaamaan kollektiivina. NSK on julkaissut suurikokoisen, kauniisti toteutetun kovakantisen kirjan joka pitää sisällään taidetta, runoja, manifesteja, sekä otteita haastatteluista, joita bändi on antanut vuosien 1985 ja 1989 välillä. Bändin haastatteluissa antamat vastaukset ovat hyvin osuvia ja huvittavia. Kun bändiltä kysyttiin “kiehtooko teitä fasistinen vaatetus?”, he vastasivat että “fasismi on seksikästä! – tämä on täsmälleen sama kaupallinen slogan, jota länsimaissa käytetään Carnaby-street-tyylisille tuotteille. Meidän näkökulmastamme natsi-fasismissa on kyse avoimen terroristisesta diktatuurista, jossa ilmenee finanssikapitaali kaikessa konservatiivisuudessaan, nationalismissaan ja imperialismissaan. Demokratiaan naamioidussa natsi-fasismissa on kyse FINASSIKAPITAALIN ITSENSÄ VALLASTA.” Kun bändiltä kysyttiin suoraan, ovatko he fasisteja, he vastasivat: “Me olemme samassa määrin fasisteja kuin Hitler oli taidemaalari”, minkä jälkeen he jatkoivat itsensä kuvailua “maailman ulkopuolella olevan Hengen tiiliskivinä”.

Me olemme samassa määrin fasisteja kuin Hitler oli taidemaalari.

On rohkaisevaa tietää, että rock-musiikissa on edelleen olemassa älyllisen elämän merkkejä, ja jollain tavalla tähän kuvaan sopii, että nuo merkit tulevat Balkanin niemimaalta. Winston Churchill totesi kerran, että “balkanialaiset tuottavat enemmän historiaa kuin he pystyvät sitä kuluttamaan”.

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Sitten tämän artikkelin kirjoittamisen (maaliskuu 2000) on Laibach ja NSK saaneet aikaan yhtä ja toista, mitä artikkelista ei tietenkään selviä. Niiden, ja Laibachin historian suhteen muutenkin, kannattaa tutustua seuraaviin linkkeihin:

Laibachin viralliset sivut.

NSK:n viralliset sivut.

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Dokumenettielokuvia:

Laibach: Victory under the Sun.

Laibach: Predictions of Fire.

Laibach: A Film from Slovenia.

Laibach: A film about WAT.

Laibach: Divided States of America.

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Aiheesta aikaisemmin Mesikämmenen blogissa:

Art is fanaticism that demands diplomacy.

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Boyd Rice: An Embodiment of the Wolf’s Hook

As many of you know, I wrote an article “Church of Satan is dead” some time ago. That article got me in touch with a documentary movie maker Larry Wessel, who’s interview “Larry Wessel speaks!” I then made. Wessel’s latest movie, Iconoclast, was six years in making. The result is a four hour long ride that goes through Boyd Rice’s life in three parts. This includes a good deal of history of pop culture and art too. After watching the movie I knew I wanted to write a review of it. However, after reading Carl Abrahamsson’s excellent review I thought I would have nothing to add to what he had said, because he put it all so well. You can find Abrahamsson’s review from here. Well, I thougth I could still write something about the documentary. If nothing else, I could write down my notes of the contents of the film and some of my rambling notes in between. What follows might be boring reading as it pretty much just lists the contents of the film. For those who are interested in Boyd’s art, life, and persona and have not seen the film yet, my notes and ramblings might still be interesting. So, with this note, or warning, let me begin.

Part One: Lemon Grove

Part one of the movie starts with Boyd reading his poem Secrets:

That is most powerful which remains unknown

Except unto you, and to you alone

There are secrets that slumber behind these eyes

And I stand by my secrets, my truths and my lies

There are secrets that soar where the eagle flies

Above man’s truths and beyond his lies

There are secrets that slither like snakes in the night

Coiled in shadows, far distant from light

There are secrets that confront you in the midday sun

Yet remain unknown to everyone

A secret burns bright when its law is obeyed

But is doomed to fade when that law is betrayed

For that is most powerful which remains unknown

Except unto you, and to you alone.

It seems to me that in some poetical way the ethos of this poem carries through the whole documentary. I don’t know Boyd but it seems to me that the poem carries the spirit that is present in all that Boyd has done and what he is like. He is difficult to label, he is multidimensional. He is often labeled this and that, often as something sinister and suspicious. But the truth probably lies somewhere between the lines, one could say between the opposites. I was reminded already at this point of the film of the wolf’s hook rune and how it really well seems to symbolize the essence of Boyd and his work.

After that Bob Larson does exorcism, Boyd goes to a tobacco store and buys a whole box of Samuel Gawith snuff. Wait! Is that that nasal tobacco? Yes it is, you can see Boyd taking it later in the film, in part three of the documentary, at the Absinthe studios. I have never tried nasal snuff, but I enjoy a lot the kind of snuss (especially portioned General) that you can buy in Sweden (I am having one portion under my lip right now while writing this).

A family history follows. A whole bunch of old pics. A story of a neighbohour average man’s everyday routine and how Boyd decided he will never be like that. We hear of a tv prank and a good deal of a tiki-culture. Already at this point my idea of Boyd starts to get new dimensions. I did not know that much of his interest in tiki and of things related. My idea of Boyd had previously been formed pretty much through some of his NON-recordings and his association with the Church of Satan. I think I am not the only one  like that. Much more interesting new dimensions to Boyd and his works is about to follow. This is getting really interesting.

We hear what happened in 1969. We hear of a Dark Shadows character who said: “Two natures have always existed in man, one good the other evil, perhaps with this we can bridge the gap in man’s divided nature”. Boyd comments on this: “And like a portal opened in my soul”. I am again reminded of the wolf’s hook rune and its essence. It is becoming apparent that the symbol has found a resonance within Boyd very early and that he has ever since worked to unfold the symbol’s mystery.

“Two natures have always existed in man, one good the other evil, perhaps with this we can bridge the gap in man’s divided nature”.

We hear of Strange paradise. We hear of Anton LaVey, Charles Manson, and Tiny Tim – how they were totally different and still much alike. We hear a story about Martin Denny. We hear a story about a man who lost his keys in Italy and found them from Florida. We hear about decadent Hollywood and its coolness. Rodney Bingenheimer. Glamrock. Principal in a nazi uniform poster prank. We hear a story about Boyd making a life size cross in high school and his work at Taco Bell – and of eating a moth there every now and then. Bean-qhr-qwr-qhr. We hear about how to make photos of things that does not exist, St. Jean Cocteau and Captain Beefheart’s nightly calls. Then Boyd tells about dada, surrealism, alchemy. I like it all, I can totally relate to what I hear. An image of Boyd as an artist starts to surface, an image that is new to me. The guy starts to get more and more interesting, minute by minute.

Boyd tells us how “women like it weird”. He tells us of his open-ended paintings, and again the wolf’s hook rune comes to my mind. The principle is there again. Skinned sheep’s head gift to the first lady is pure gold. A priceless prank, instant art performance. Next we hear how Boyd was living dada real. Steve Hitchcock illuminates us about how magic and alchemy is part of what Boyd does: “Boyd was someone who introduced me to the idea of alchemy of thought, where by you take negative or valueless proposition and turn it to your own advantage, by sort of inverted perception of it, which can be done, it takes a disciplined mind, a disciplined mentality if you want to make use of that, but it certainly is a valid principle”. Do you see the wolf’s hook and its principle at work again here? I do.

We hear of Boyd meeting Genesis P-Orridge. We hear of 1977 and the famous The Black Album, Boyd’s deal with Mute records, the birth of NON, and why punk was just glam rock with harder edge. Next we hear of something in which Boyd was again ahead of the time: Pagan muzak record that can be played with different speeds. This happened years, years ago. The first time I heard of such a record was when Butthole Surfers’ Hairway to Steven came out in 1988. Before of that I had for my own amusement listened to lots of records with different speeds – pretty much with the perspective of “open-ended paintings” of which Boyd spoke about earlier in the documentary. You can find the same thing interesting with different angles, perspectives. Things are most of the time not black and white, but composed of many colors and shades.

Who invented tape-loops? It was Boyd. He tells us how nothing in the world is fixed. We hear of “the world’s weirdest record”. We hear of the first NON show, which was “louder than Led Zeppelin”. There is a note of music as sounds, not so much as songs. Iitywimwybmad. Roto-guitar. Stuff ahead of the time. Live sounds from that part of the documentary remind me of some amazing underground noise gigs that I attended at Some Place Else in Turku, South-West of Finland around 2004 and 2005. Boyd did that kind of stuff about 30 years earlier. I find that rather impressive.

Part two: San Francisco

Part two of the movie deals with Boyd’s years in San Francisco area. We hear of Incredible strange films and research involved. Director Ray Dennis Steckler is revealed to be also actor Cash Flagg. The amazing scopitone machines are introduced. Boyd tells us of “close-ups of tits shaking a few seconds too long” and girls doing dances in bright colors. Sounds and looks good to me.

Then comes something I knew there was going to be covered, Boyd’s association with Anton LaVey. “Living in San Francisco it was inevitable that our paths would cross”. Blanche Barton tells about getting to know Boyd and why Boyd and Anton got so well along. “Role of the Devil has to be… one that challenges”. Barton also tells that Boyd also understood the trickster, prankster side of satanism… which is something that not everyone understands. Coop, the artist, tells about “making it hot for them”… and that “of course that applies to Boyd, perfectly”. We hear of Blinky the friendly hen’s funeral and resurrection. Vampire aesthetics. There is a note about romance and cultured gentleman in a vampire – and how below that side is a beast. A perfect wolf’s hook principle at work again.

Stanton LaVey, Anton LaVey’s more known daughter’s son, appears briefly in the film too. His first sentence in the film is “Boyd did fuck my mother!” which is followed with a warm laugh. He clearly has positive thoughts of Boyd. It seems that Boyd has had much warmer relationship with Zeena than I had. Back in the late 90’s and early 2000 I met Zeena few times, corresponded with her and it was an ongoing argument. Zeena and her husband Nikolas thought that I was trying to put too much love into the left hand path. They even called me “Jesus of darkness”. But that is another story.

Beth Moore-Love is an artist who I was not familiar with earlier. We see some of her amazing paintings. She says of Boyd: “He’s very intelligent. I like people who not only think outside of the box, but outside of the entire packeting industry… Boyd is one of them”. Boyd tells a chilling story of San Francisco’s Chinatown and its rats. It is very easy to believe. I lived in the city for some time in 2004 and Chinatown was one of my favorite places there. I visited it quite often and wondered about the smell of the place. Rats fit in the picture well.

“He’s very intelligent. I like people who not only think outside of the box, but outside of the entire packeting industry… Boyd is one of them”.

Next Boyd tells us how all the women who he brought to LaVey’s house had the next night a dream of having sex with LaVey. Boyd tells of LaVey’s different alter egos, the crime boss, the china man, and how LaVey could keep with a role for hours. The stories are hilarious and Boyd cracks up telling them. To readers of LaVey’s works it comes as no surprise that LaVey was living in a sort of alternative reality or realities he chose to live in. We hear very interesting angles on the subject. The famous Johnson & Smith’s catalogue is covered, and how “consternation” is the word related to it. Whoopee cushion. Remote controlled fart machine. How Anton programmed his keyboard with different fart sounds. The movie has been very fun already from the beginning, not just at this point. Barton tells how she and Boyd got Anton to record his music. It is very much likely that without them there would be no recorded music of LaVey.

Then comes the part dealing with Charles Manson. “Two minutes after meeting him he is giving me this you-are-me-and-I-am-you -routine”. Boyd tells us how Manson has one feet in the world of a fantasy, another in reality. We hear a story of Charlie telling to Boyd about taking a helicopter and visiting Ajatollah Khomeini. We hear that there are secrets Manson has told to Boyd – and which Boyd has promised to not tell to anyone while Manson is still alive (this reminds me of Boyd’s poem Secrets, with which the movie begins). Why Boyd got in touch with Manson in the first place? Why he seems to have interest in individuals who have been labeled very “sinister”? Some of Boyd’s associates gives a perspective on this: “Boyd has always been sort of attracted to those people who disrupt society in some way, that cause, that show the limitations of what we pretend to be civilized, I don’t want to put words into Boyd’s mouth but I know that’s part of what attracts him to this stuff”. I think this is a good angle to the question. The documentary gives a broad context where one can reflect on that. I think the documentary also gives an idea of the wolf’s hook rune, its essence and principle in artistic action – pursued by a questioning mind that does not see things in black and white but as “an open ended paintings”. Things are not fixed. In his pursuit Boyd is not afraid of putting himself in positions where he can easily get misunderstood. He is not so much afraid of social pressure as most of the people are.  Such a courage in looking at the human equation is hardly a bad thing. I would rather argue that seeing things in black and white is a bad thing. Finally, we hear of how Manson got into a solitary confinement for two weeks because of a bullet that happened to be in Boyd’s pocket – and how that ruined their relationship.

“Boyd has always been sort of attracted to those people who disrupt society in some way, that cause, that show the limitations of what we pretend to be civilized, I don’t want to put words into Boyd’s mouth but I know that’s part of what attracts him to this stuff”.

Then the documentary comes to the symbol that I’ve already mentioned few times, the wolf’s hook rune. We hear of the balance point between creation and destruction, “exactly the meaning that has been the guiding force in my life”. Adam Parfrey enters the picture – the guy is “on the same wavelenght “with Boyd. We are informed about the Apocalypse culture, 8-8-88 at Strand Theatre, San Francisco. We hear of the nazi accusations Boyd has been thrown with. “Boyd was not, is not, and will never be a nazi… you could take it as seriously as the Producers movie”. Anyone who has watched the documentary thus far must agree with that.  To say that Boyd is a nazi is absurd. We hear about the victim culture that likes to whine about everything. We learn of a mexican poster and ABBA-book that was stolen from Boyd (whoa – I did not know that Boyd likes ABBA. I have always liked them too. In my article “Church of Satan is dead” I pondered how much common ground I might have with Boyd. It seems there is much more than I thought). The San Francisco part of the movie ends with a story of Boyd moving to Denver. We hear why the place is cool. We hear that the building Boyd lives in was built in 1890. We hear how Boyd had a Carnival of souls welcome to Denver.

“Boyd was not, is not, and will never be a nazi… You could take it as seriously as the Producers movie”.

Part three: Denver

Part three deals with Boyd’s time in Denver and the stuff he has done since moving there. There is a recording session at Absinthe studios. Fredrik Nilsen gives another perspective on Boyd that tells of his wolf’s hook nature and approach to things: “He is a scholar of evil. He’s not evil. In fact, he’s a very sweet, loving, guy. But he seems to have an incredible knowledge of the nature of evil and he seems to be willing to chronicle and look at it in a sort of… empirical way, I’m not sure it is empirical… aesthetic way. And I think he is pretty great”. We see a footage of Boyd’s guest lecture “Regarding evil” at Massachusetts institute of technology. We hear of Oswald Mosley and his ralleys – and how his symbolism influenced Throbbing Gristle and David Bowie. We hear how Marilyn Manson (who has called Boyd his mentor) also used the Mosley symbolism after Boyd noted to him about it and about “a cross between glam rock and Nürenberg rally”. We hear about how to manipulate archetypes – how to step into a role you want to be in and how it then flows into you. There is a funny anti-fascism demonstrators talk with Boyd. After that there starts a really interesting part where Bob Larson talks with Boyd. He says with a big smile: “Bob has been working with me for the past 14 years… he doesn’t give up”. Boyd’s sense of humor is great and a watcher of the documentary is blessed with tons of it.

“He is a scholar of evil. He’s not evil. In fact, he’s a very sweet, loving, guy. But he seems to have an incredible knowledge of the nature of evil and he seems to be willing to chronicle and look at it in a sort of… empirical way, I’m not sure it is empirical… aesthetic way. And I think he is pretty great”.

We hear of the Partridge family & Partridge family temple: “Our religion is based on fun”. We hear of archetypes on TV. Giddle Partridge speaks. A story of Boyd as a catholic priest “blessing” kids rosery beads is pure prankster Boyd. Gidget Gein speaks how his idea of Boyd went up and down. The subject of social darwinism is touched upon. Another angle to wolf’s hook is given: Abraxas – an entity that is good and evil at the same time. We learn that Boyd has Charles Manson’s copy of the Bible. Bob Larson tells Boyd that “maybe you need an exorcism”. Boyd and Bob talk about paradigms of reality, good and evil. All in a very good spirit, pretty different from what it was like in Bob Larson’s radio show in the early 90’s. Boyd tells about Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard and about Lions Lair and women who got spontaneously naked for him there. We hear of Tiny Tim and his phonecalls, talk about women. Nutcase letters LaVey got. LaVey’s guns. We hear a hilarious prank that Boyd did with “Got milk?”-campaign’s billboard that featured David Copperfield. The billboard had  a picture of Copperfield’s face with some milk on his upper lip and a text saying “What’s the magic word? Calsium”. Boyd changed “Calsium” with some paint into ”Cum”. I once made a similar prank with Canal plus billboard… maybe you guess what I painted it to be? Margaret Radnick tells about Boyd’s love letters to her. Boyd’s friendship with Rozz Williams is covered. Douglas P. tells an amazing story about nazi-monkeys attacking old German men with bananas. Boyd’s bar Tiki-Boyd as an alternative reality is covered.

The talk between Boyd and Bob Larson continues. If there has been lots of interesting, even surprising turns in the film thus far, it gets even more such at this point. Boyd and Bob talk about some kind of possibility to survive death, and Boyd even tells that he nowadays thinks that some kind of reincarnation of consciousness might be possilbe. Bob comments: “You may have to turn back your Church of Satan card!” Boyd: “I tried and they wouldn’t take it!” Bob: “What happened to your old misanthropic idea of things? Obviously you must have mellowed in your hatred for humanity”. Boyd: “I’m still fairly misanthropic, I just don’t think I’m not actively misanthropic. Because I’m a very happy individual and I just find it if I treat everybody with a certain degree of civility they usually treat me with civility so generally they’ve used to people treating rotly and when somebody comes along who is nice to them it is big change for them and I gotta see the best sides of everybody if I treat everybody decently and they in turn are nice to me”. Bob says back in amazement: “Do you realize what you just said? You have just recited a part of Sermon of the Mount. You have just articulated one of the most important ethics that Jesus taught! Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you”. Bob continues: “At least you’re not at this point trying to bring back Thor and declare total war!” Boyd says smilingly: “Yea, I need to change the lyrics…” We hear “People” with improvised lyrics. The movie ends with Boyd’s poem, just like it started. The ending poem is Boyd’s Gift:

On my own

Hour after hour

Sipping cocktails

And reading Schopenhauer

Living in a world

Without imagination

I see that hope

Is a lack of information

I turn my back

I shut the door

I lock the key

A prisoner in my home

But it’s lovely to be free.

After that we hear Boyd singing Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun. The film ends.

As I said, the movie is multidimensional. It covers a lot. It is funny as hell. It is thought provoking. It is surprising. It gives a picture of Boyd that one might not expect. Anton LaVey said once that “Boyd is a true iconoclast” and one cannot but agree. As it has most likely become clear, I would like to add that Boyd is an embodiment of the wolf’s hook rune, the symbol he has carried with him since his childhood.

Larry Wessel has made one hell of a film and I highly recommend it to everyone who is even cursorily interested in Boyd and his art. This documentary is a classic.

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One thing leads to another. After writing my post Church of Satan is dead I got in contact with Larry Wessel who has made a documentary Iconoclast about Boyd Rice.

Who is Larry Wessel? If you don’t know him already his website Wesselmania is a good source to learn more:

“The impact of Larry Wessel’s style can be seen everywhere from the advertising campaigns of Madison Avenue, to the proliferation of ‘Reality Television.’ Larry is known for his original, colorful and highly graphic collages. His artwork has been exhibited at museums and galleries including the Laguna Art Museum, La Luz de Jesus, Mark Moore Gallery, and Outré Gallery. Collectors of his collages include Adam Parfrey, Nick Bougas, Anton Szandor LaVey, Coop, Rev. Steven Johnson Leyba, Martin McIntosh and Johanna Went. Wessel’s collages have also appeared in the pages of magazines such as HUSTLER, Answer Me!, CHIC and MALEFACT, and Martin McIntosh’s books Taboo: The Art Of Tiki and Beatsville, as well as the cover of Adam Parfrey’s Cult Rapture & Gene Gregorits’s Midnight Mavericks.

In addition to collage, Larry Wessel is well known for his extensive documentary film work. He produces, directs, writes, shoots and edits profoundly twisted and provocative video work. Bloody bullfights, cool artists, obsessed collectors, way-out writers, the transgender underground and the dark side of Los Angeles, are just a few of the subjects of this wild man’s throught-provoking documentaries. Academic discussions of Wessel’s films can be found in the books Killing For Culture, by David Kerekes and David Slater, and Psychotropedia by Russ Kick. Interviews with Larry Wessel have appeared in numerous publications, such as Headpress and PANIK, as well as the book Sex & Guts 4, by Gene Gregorits and Lydia Lunch and the book MIDNIGHT MAVERICKS by Gene Gregorits.”

I was more than happy to get a chance to interview the man. Here, ladies and gentlemen, Larry Wessel speaks!

 

If this interview could take place anywhere, real or fictional place, in any period of time, where you’d like us to sit and talk of things? At your homebase in Los Angeles?

On the outskirts of Stockholm, Sweden where my wife Tora and I plan on moving.

Iconoclast has finally come out. It’s a four hour film that was six years in the making. Quite a project. How do you feel about it? Are you happy with the outcome? What has the response been like?

I am very happy with Iconoclast! The response has been 100% positive. Many who have seen it use the word “Masterpiece” in describing it.

You’ve made 16 films previously. How does Iconoclast differ from your previous work?

6 years is the longest I have spent working on any previous film. I also believe that Iconoclast is more epic in scope than my other films. More than just about Boyd Rice, Iconoclast covers 50 years of American Pop Culture history.

How did the whole documentary get started?

I received an email from Boyd Rice declaring that he was a fan of my documentaries and he said that my films were more than just mere documentaries, that they were like “experiencing a phenomenon”! He asked if I would like to do a documentary about him and of course I said, “Yes”!

Was it a smooth process to do the documentary, were there any special challenges in making it?

It went real smooth and was a lot of fun all the way!!

Setbacks, happy surprises, interesting and funny turns?

No real setbacks that I can think of. Lots of happy surprises, interesting and funny turns all the way through! It was a lot of fun for me to look up people from Boyd’s past and interview them. They all had very amusing stories to tell that reveal a lot about Boyd Rice.

You interviewed lots of people for the documentary. Did you get all the people interviewed you wanted to?

Mostly. There were very few people who refused to be in it.

How was Bob Larson?

Bob Larson was fantastic!! He and Boyd engage in deep philosophical discussions throughout Iconoclast and Bob allowed me to film him performing an exorcism as well!!

You’ve known Boyd well before making the documentary. How did you get to know Boyd in the first place?

I met Boyd in 1997 at a concert he was supposed to perform at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles with Death In June. A group of protestors succeeded in getting the nightclub to prevent Boyd from performing that night.

Did making the documentary change your view of Boyd and his work somehow?

I really got to know Boyd very well during the making of Iconoclast and gained a keen understanding of how much of his work is rooted in humor. He is absolutely one of the funniest people I have ever met. I have had the pleasure of seeing Iconoclast in crowded cinemas in Los Angeles and San Francisco and people laugh their asses off and applaud throughout the entire film from beginning to end!! I think that perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of Iconoclast is how very funny it is!!

What is Boyd really like in person when one gets to know him better?

He is extremely charming, funny and infinitely mysterious. He constantly challenges one’s ideas. A true iconoclast.

How does his public image differ from his private personality?

He is very much like Anton LaVey in this way. His public image is widely perceived as very harsh whereas his private personality reveals a very intelligent, soft spoken gentleman with an intense sense of humor.

What do you most like in Boyd and his work?

His sense of humor.

Both you and Boyd have a long association with the Church of Satan and Anton LaVey. LaVey was a big fan of certain kinds of movies and he also really enjoyed your works. What part does LaVeyan satanism play in your movies? Do you consider your movies to be acts of magic? If so, what kind of results do you aim to gain from your magical films?

Anton was one of my closest and best friends that I have had the good fortune of having in my life. He has always been infinitely inspiring to me and always will be. I don’t want to sound pretentious but I consider creativity to be a very magical act. To create something from nothing by definition makes one a God. I like to think of my films as magical spells that inspire people to think for themselves. One can learn from and grow from experiencing my films. People tell me that they get a lot of inspiration from my work.

Iconoclast is out there on DVD. Can you tell us something about the DVD?

Here is the description from the back of The Iconoclast 3 Disc DVD Set…

ICONOCLAST is a 3 DVD Set:

Disc One: LEMON GROVE 1 Hr. 25 Min.

Disc Two: SAN FRANCISCO 1 Hr. 02 Min.

Disc Three: DENVER 1 Hr. 26 Min.

ABOUT ICONOCLAST:

Boyd Rice may well be the only person alive who’s been on a first name basis with both Charlie Manson and Marilyn Manson. His career has spanned more than three decades, during which time he has remained at the epicenter of underground culture and controversy. Rice first came to prominence in the 70’s as one of the founders of the genre known as Industrial Music, and soon gained a reputation for live shows that were deemed the most abrasive, minamalist and loudest concerts ever staged (his shows regularly clocked in at 130 decibels, whereas a jet plane taking off was a mere 113 decibels). As early as 1980, he was already hailed as The Godfather of Noise Music.

Since then, Rice has extended his creative pursuits to numerous fields, even lecturing at The Massachusettes Institute of Technology, despite being a high-school dropout. “My life”, says Rice, “is a testament to the idea that you can achieve whatever the hell you want if you posess a modicum of creativity, and a certain amount of naivete concerning what is and isn’t possible in this world. I’ve had one man shows of my paintings in New York, but I’m not a painter. I’ve authored several books, but I’m not a writer. I’ve made a living as a recording artist for the last 30 years, but I can’t read a note of music or play an instrument. I’ve somehow managed to make a career out of doing a great number of things I’m in no way qualified to do”.

Larry Wessel’s documentary, ICONOCLAST is a 4 hour long tour de force, 6 years in the making; an in depth expose of Boyd Rice’s life, career, and personal obsessions. No mere documentary, ICONOCLAST is more of a roller coaster ride through the fevered mindscape of one of the most controversial and unique artists of the modern age.

The ICONOCLAST 3 DISC DVD Set is available for purchase for $30 (includes free shipping worldwide!) at WWW.ICONOCLASTMOVIE.COM

Are there plans to show the film at some film festivals? Other plans related to Iconoclast?

Although I have had many offers, there are no current plans to screen Iconoclast at film festivals. There are plans for theatrical screenings coming this Spring, 2011 or Summer 2011 at The Anthology Film Archives in New York.

You have a Swedish wife, Tora.

Yes! Tora and I have been married since 2006 and our love grows for each other every day!! Among her many talents, Tora is starting to be known as one of the most talented photographers working in the world today! She has a website in the works called WWW.WESSELMANIAPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

Have you been in scandinavia or Finland?

I have been to Sweden and Denmark. I am looking forward to visiting both Finland and Norway as well.

Anything you’d like to say to your Finnish fans?

Thank you very much to all of the many Finnish fans who have purchased Iconoclast!! I am very grateful to all of you and have enjoyed the Rave Reviews you have given Iconoclast .

Do you have plans for the next film already in mind? What can we expect from Larry Wessel next?

Yes…there are 3. The first is about collectors and the obscure objects of their desires featuring artist extraordinaire, Jason Mecier! The second is a documentary about another artist extraordinaire, Beth Moore-Love. The third one is Pt. 3 of a trilogy about Los Angeles.

What makes you happy?

My marriage to my one and only true love…The love of my life, Tora Wessel.

 

Thank you for the interview, Larry! Mesikämmen blog wishes you success with Iconoclast!

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