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Posts Tagged ‘Peter H. Gilmore’

Boyd Rice 2012. Photo: Mute Records.

I had my first contact with Boyd Rice in the early 90’s after hearing his appearance in Bob Larson’s radio show. I wrote a letter to Boyd (there were no emails or internet in general use back then) who replied and kindly sent me a copy of Abraxas newsletter.

Years passed. The last year Boyd declared that the Church of Satan was dead. Soon after that I made an interview with Larry Wessel who had made a documentary film called Iconoclast about Boyd. At this point I was already thinking that an interview with Boyd would be great and the idea was cooking up.

Finally, after some 20 years since my first contact with Boyd, I contacted him again. He was fine about an interview to the blog and I started to make questions. The interview was made one question at a time over some two months. When the interview began I had no idea about Boyd’s upcoming gig in Helsinki, Finland – that created a whole new dimension to the interview!

In the interview Boyd talks about his current projects, the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey, Bob Larson, Iconoclast, pranks, reincarnation, Scandinavia, ABBA, Finland, architect Eero Saarinen and many other things.

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, Boyd Rice speaks!

– – –

Present

Hi Boyd, how are you doing?

I couldn’t be better. Just redecorated my apartment and painted my black walls metallic silver. It took weeks, but it’s amazing! Life is good. My girlfriend is moving in with me and we’re making room for her shoes.

If this interview could take place anywhere, anytime, where would you take us to talk?

I used to know a french scholar who had the keys to Jean Cocteaus apartment in Paris, and it hadn’t been touched since Cocteau died and this guy really wanted me to see it. That would be the fetishistic fantasy place. Unfortunately this guy got some deadly disease and ended up killing himself. So I guess my modern answer would be my own apartment here in Denver. Or perhaps The Madonna Inn.

There is a new book out from you, Twilight Man. Tell us about the book, what is it about, where to get a copy?

It is about my life in 80’s San Francisco and how I came to develop a sense of “cultural pessimism”, I guess. It hasn’t gotten a bad review insofar as I know. People find it a fun read, even though it is ugly and brutal.

You can get it on the internet or just ask God for a copy…

There is also a biography under work about you. Who is the author, when can we expect to get the book into our hands?

Nina Antonia. Her Johnny Thunders bio is being made into a movie in Hollywood, so maybe someday when I’m dead there will be a movie too. We can hope…

Talking a bit more about books, you are one of the authors who have been ripped off by Creation Books. What do you think, will there be any chance of getting “James Williamson” to court to face justice for the fraud he has committed?

I seriously doubt it.

What is the most interesting book you have read lately? Why it was interesting?

The last book I read was the Nina Antonia bio of Johnny Thunders. It was interesting because his life was interesting and because Nina’s a great writer and brings a lot of insight to her subject-matter.

– – –

Boyd with Anton LaVey. Photo: Carl Abrahamsson.

Church of Satan

How your first meeting with past Anton LaVey went? Where did you meet, any special jokes, wisdoms, or other notes about the meeting to share with us?

Anton met me at a film festival I was associated with and invited me to his house. I went over the following week and went back every week until I left the city. The stories he told me are all in his bio, which was essentially dictated to Blanche as he told them to me.

You wrote the last year a text where you declared yourself a High Priest of the Church of Satan and in the same text you also declared that the Church of Satan doesn’t exist anymore. This naturally caused some talk. I haven’t seen any reply from the Church to you regarding the text anywhere but I guess you have been receiving some feedback privately. What kind of feedback you have received? Has Peter H. Gilmore said anything about your text?

Of course not. Gilmore is a pussy. Everyone in the C.o.S. loves me and are bored to death of him and he knows it. Anton had a very dark heart and it sickens me to see people whitewash him and present his creed as pure rationalism. He was larger than that.

Rationalism and mysticism cannot co-exist. The latter speaks to soul oriented values and to the unknown (which man is trying to fathom). The former is a conceit that lets man think he has a handle on everything (he doesn’t). I would go so far as to say rationalism is the ultimate lack of logic. It certainly has no place in “occult” doctrine.

I think it’s easy for Gilmore to misrepresent LaVey because he didn’t really know him too well. I was at the Blackhouse all the time.

I think it’s easy for Gilmore to misrepresent LaVey because he didn’t really know him too well. I was at the Blackhouse all the time. That’s why I will defend Anton till the day I die, and that’s why I take the stance I do on the modern C.o.S…

I heard from a scholar of comparative religions the last year that Gilmore works or has been working in a Walmart, in a not so high position, while holding the status of the High Priest of the Church of Satan. I think there is nothing that special in someone working in a Walmart per se, but if someone is a High Priest of a church that is, or gives an impression of being, all about “might is right” and power in this world, this seems a bit amusing. Do you know if the claim is true? What kind of thoughts this brings to your mind in general?

I seriously doubt that is true, but a lot of people with a power philosophy have to punch a time-clock, that’s just the nature of the world. At least they have the notion of rising above that and in time perhaps they will. But anyone wishing to criticise Gilmore needn’t tell lies about his job… but rather point out how he’s bastardizing ASLV’s thought.

What do you think Anton would think of Gilmore and others who run the Church of Satan nowadays? What would he say to them?

Much what he said to me when he was still alive – that they were what Stalin called “useful idiots”. He’d hate people trying to cast him in a “good light”. He often said to me that he wondered why Satanists wanted to present him as a Good Guy. “I’m not a good guy” he would yell, “I’m a miserable sonofabitch!” That’s the LaVey I knew.

And he was much darker, very much darker than anyone is willing to admit these days. He was brutal to the max. That’s why I still love him so much… he was maybe the last unapologetic figure of the 20th century.

Whether LaVey agreed or not Satanism was a cult of personality. C.o.S. sans LaVey is like fascism without Mussolini… and a cult of personality requires someone who has a personality. It currently lacks that.

Whether LaVey agreed or not Satanism was a cult of personality. C.o.S. sans LaVey is like fascism without Mussolini… and a cult of personality requires someone who has a personality. It currently lacks that.

I think LaVey’s big mistake was to violate one of his primary directives… to assume others are like unto you and capable of the same things as you are. And they’re not. Elitism is not something you should mass-market. You can of course and it will be very successful. But it will never work out. That to me, with certain notable exceptions, is The Church of Satan today. I hope this will be my last commentary on all this. And I’d be willing to bet they wish the same!

What do you think of satanism nowadays? Has it lost its potential it once had? Do you still consider yourself a satanist – or is there nowadays a better, more updated term to describe the same individual spirit?

I rarely ever “think of satanism” unless asked about it in interviews. But since you asked, I think it is fundamentally flawed in certain of it’s basic premises. I don’t agree with the primacy of individualism any more than I believe that all men were created equal. If individualism existed (which I seriously doubt) I’m not sure what function it would serve. This was an idea which had great appeal in the post-50’s decade of conformity, but has since then not produced much of value in real world terms — more especially in the C.o.S. where it is a fundamental principle. And within that group everyone dresses alike, speaks alike and thinks alike… all based on a mass-market paperback from, what, 40-some years ago?! Am I missing something?

I rarely ever “think of satanism” unless asked about it in interviews. But since you asked, I think it is fundamentally flawed in certain of it’s basic premises.

By the way, I said much the same thing to LaVey when he was still alive, and he had to concur with me. He found it rather depressing. His exact words were “I’ve created a monster”.

– – –

Iconoclast and things involved

Larry Wessel made a lenghty documentary Iconoclast about you that came out the last year. What do you think of the film?

Four hours of me me me has got to be great by anyones standards. But again, it was an attempt to whitewash me and present me as Mr. Fun. That is part of the story, but not the whole story. But most people seemed to like it.

I noticed that you bought and used in the film some nasal snuss. What is your favorite brand? How about the regular “under-your-lip”-type of snuss that you can get f.e. in Sweden and Norway?

I like Gawith Apricot Snuff, Dr. Rumneys, & McCrystals Violet Snuff. Don’t care for chewing tobacco or dental snuff.

I also like Al Capones Vanilla Snuff, which I’ve only ever found in the Leipzig train station.

One of the things that comes to mind from the film is the great spectrum of things where you have been involved with artistically and otherwise over the years. Is there something that you still would have liked been included in the film or excluded from it?

I’m not particularly bothered either way. That film is from two years ago at least and not me or anyone remembers what was or wasn’t in it. At least it wasn’t boring.

One of the more surprising things in the film were your thougths about reincarnation – you said in your talk with Bob Larson that you consider nowadays that a reincarnation might be possible. Do you still think that way? What has made you to consider that reincarnation might be possible?

I’ve always known things that I’ve never been taught. At a very young age my son said to me “when you were a child I was a man, now I’m a child and you’re my father”. This seemed quite odd to me at the time. When I visited my fathers sister a week later I told her of this conversation, and showed her a picture of my son. She said that the strange red marks my son was born with on his nose were identical to the scars on my grandfathers nose that he got when his model T truck was driven over a cliff. This sort of thing is very common in tales of reincarnation. As a child I had very specific memories of things and places I had never experienced. When I asked my parents why I had these memories they told me they were probably only dreams, but I knew they weren’t.

I’ve always known things that I’ve never been taught.

I still think ideas like genetic memory or ancestral recall are valid, at least in some cases, but my actual theories about reincarnation are too complex to explain in a format like this.

Bob Larson is featured in the film among many other persons. Your encounter with him in the film is pretty different from the early 90’s radio shows where he interviewed you. Has your view of Bob changed during this time? Do you think Bob really believes in the stuff he talks about or is he really like P.T. Barnum, as you once stated in his radio show?

Bob has been extremely consistent ever since he published his first book, in around 1970 or something. I don’t think you can fake something like that for over 40 years. I met his father one time and he was a True Believer. Of course Bob is a showman and understands how to play his audience. So was Anton LaVey… and P. T. Barnum. Nothing wrong with that!

What do you think of teenage girl exorcists Bob has apparently trained into the job? Is Bob a little bit dirty old man or is this just about the showman part you mentioned?

I think it’s pure showmanship. But it would make a good premise for a TV show — a sort or christian Charlies Angels.

In the film you tell about some of the pranks you have done, for example the famous goat head prank. What do you consider as your best pranks ever? Who are your favorite pranksters alive nowdays?

We snuck into a good friends house and left a bottle of maple syrup in his refrigeratator. It came in a bottle shaped like an old woman, and the incident totally freaked him out. He began carrying a gun with him everywhere the very next day. But the best pranks are when you draw someone into an absurd world of your own making and your fantasy becomes their reality, even if just for a short time. Therefore, the best pranksters now are mainstream politicians because that is their full time job. They are the best, because they’re the best conmen, but not necessarily my favorites.

– – –

Scandinavia, ABBA, Finland and the future

NON gave a live show in Norway the last year. How was it? 

It was great. A lot of people from Finland traveled there to see it and a lot came to my show at The Roundhouse in London. I am looking forward to my visit there. See you soon.

You are an ABBA fan. What’s cool about ABBA? Do you have a big ABBA collection?

I have enough obscure ABBA songs that I could put together an entire album… songs that the band didn’t really release because they considered them imperfect or too weird. But of course the worst ABBA song is better than the best songs from a lot of bands. I wanted to cover them and put out an album called ABBA LEAD (as opposed to ABBA GOLD). I pitched the idea to Rose McDowall, but she didn’t seem interested. Shame… because that could have been huge.

The worst ABBA song is better than the best songs from a lot of bands.

That is a shame, indeed! Maybe she will change her mind about the project one day… I think you would make a fabulous cover of “Waterloo” and “Does your mother know” with maybe a bit changed lyrics. What do you think of this in addition of making covers of ABBA’s more obscure songs?

Don’t ask. None of this will ever happen anyway.

You are going to have a concert in Helsinki on 6th of November this year. This is the first time you’ll have a concert in Finland. What are you expecting and hoping from your visit here? How long you’ll stay here, any places you plan to visit, etc.? What kind of associations Finland brings to your mind?

I met people in London who flew all the way from Finland to see my show at the Roundhouse, and more people in Norway who did the same. So I’m looking forward to my trip there and have wanted to see it for a long time.

I recently met the daughter of Saarinen, and found out there is some sort of Saarinen museum just outside Helsinki… I’d love to see that and anything connected with the man or his family. He’s my favorite architect.

What kind of projects you are working with nowadays? What can we expect from you in some near future?

Most of this year I’ve been working on a book of my art for a British publisher — paintings, photos, montages & graphic design. It’s nearly done. Later this year a number of my essays are coming out in Outre Journal out of Australia. I also just filmed some scenes for Richard Wolstencroft’s new film The Second Coming, which is based on the poem by William Butler Yeats. I just returned from NYC where I spent time in the studio recording some new stuff. So I keep busy…

What makes you happy?

Animals make me happy… prairie dogs, foxes, squirrels and cats… coatis, bunnies, capybaras and kiwis.

But I still love consternation. I still love pissing people off. I love knowing that my very existence causes certain people great discomfort. And they deserve it… in spades!

– – –

Thank you for the interview, Boyd!

Boyd Rice will perform at Kuudes Linja in Helsinki on 6th of November. You can buy tickets to the concert from Tiketti. Facebook page for the event can be found from here.

– – –

Related links:

Boyd Rice/NON official webpage.

Boyd Rice/NON official Facebook page.

– – –

Related previous posts:

Boyd Rice live at Kuudes linja, Helsinki, 6th November.

Church of Satan is dead.

Boyd Rice: An Embodiment of the Wolf’s Hook.

Larry Wessel speaks!

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I was going through my archives some time ago and found a handwritten letter from Boyd Rice to me. It’s from the early 90’s when I still considered myself a satanist. I was in my late teens. In the letter he replied to some of my questions regarding his appearance in Bob Larson’s radio show, made some notes about Music, martinis and misanthrophy CD, the Abraxas Foundation (he kindly sent me its newsletter WAKE! ), etc. Ahead of the time, years before the internet became a commonplace, Boyd also used a smiley in the letter, much like it is used commonly nowadays. I remember it amused me. Days after digging this letter from my archives I learned that a lenghty documentary about Boyd had finally came out. Iconoclast looks like something definitely worth seeing if you are even cursorily interested in all the stuff that Boyd has done over the years. Few days after learning of the documentary, I learned that Boyd had declared himself a high priest of the Church of Satan recently and interestingly enough, he also declared that the Church of Satan didn’t exist as an organization anymore.

I moved away from satanism to other ways to contextualise and experience myself and the universe few years after receiving that letter from Boyd. Around the time I made this paradigm shift I thought that not only I was not a satanist, but I also came to the conclusion that the Church of Satan was dead. It seemed to me that the Church of Satan had lost the certain genuinely fresh and dynamic substance it once had. I thought that even if one was a satanist, not just one playing one, one should have seen that as an organization the Church of Satan was gone. Even if you were a satanist you should have come up with something new carrying the genuine spark that made the Church of Satan what it once was. The organization was attracting all too much certain kind of pompous airheads and (post) teen-angst filled guys who made it look like that the whole LaVeyan satanism had become more a certain kind of aesthetic and attitude promoting subculture and lifestyle than a practical philosophy that could be taken seriously. Just looking how these guys were repeating LaVey’s words year after year word by word instead of developing the basic philosophy and its implications and making individually something really out of it in the world all spoke (and still speak) for itself to me. It didn’t (and still doesn’t) look very much like satanic individualism at its best to me. It all looks like Anton LaVey fan club with its members, and as such not essentially very different from other kinds of fan clubs.

There are of course exceptions, not all who associate themselves in one way or another with LaVeyan satanism are such airheads. But such persons seem to be rather rare. Boyd Rice has always appeared to me as one of those exceptions. He is smart, creative, complex, and in his own way he has seemed to truly practise satanism in his own individual way. No matter that my worldview is quite different from his, his works have continued to interest me because he has not been parroting LaVey but he has being doing his own thing.  It has been thought provoking and fun to see what he has been doing. The declaration that Boyd made recently affirmed that again.

I haven’t seen or heard an official comment from the Church of Satan to Boyd’s declaration yet. It might be that they have a difficult time thinking how to formulate a good answer to it. Among other things Boyd’s declaration includes this note: “True LaVeyan Satanism only exists insofar as it is manifested in deeds – in life and living. Never in mere words”. If the current “high priest” of the Church of Satan, Peter H. Gilmore, works or has been working in a not very high position at Wal-Mart while being a high priest of an organization that likes to give an impression that its higher degree members are in positions of power in the world, it might be difficult for him to reply to that note from Boyd. One academic scholar has indeed made that claim about Gilmore and Wal-Mart, I’ve heard, but I am not sure if it is true or not. Interestingly enough, there is not much information around how Gilmore makes his living.  I think there is nothing wrong or laughable about working at Wal-Mart per se, except if you happen to be a high priest of an organization that is all about might is right and exemplifying that  in the world. But well, maybe Gilmore is indeed in some position of power that matches with the nature of being a high priest of Satan, an entity emphatically of power in this material world. In any case, Gilmore gives an impression of having common sense and sense of humor in his interviews. He doesn’t seem like an airhead. It will be interesting to see what he will eventually reply to Boyd’s declaration.

When it comes to Boyd’s view of the world it is quite a bit more nihilistic and misanthropic than mine. I don’t share too much with Boyd’s view of the world, except that most of the people are idiots. The difference between me and Boyd seems to lie mostly in that I have more empathy towards people, idiots, but it might be that’s because I find an idiot pretty much from everybody. Myself included. I also do write a blog which is something Boyd would apparently never do. Nevertheless, I am not a mere blogger, I have done and do stuff out there in the world in my own small way, as some of you know. Anyway, words on screen are out of total living context. It might be that talking about all and everything with Boyd over a pint there could surface more common ground between me and Boyd than mere words on screen would indicate. I’d like to see if this is so. So, Boyd, if you happen to be around Finland sometime, I invite you to have  few beers with me. I’d offer. I agree with you about the main message of your declaration and would like to interview you about it.

Below is the declaration I’ve talked about. It’s worth reading thoughtfully if LaVeyan satanism interests you (be sure to have proper background music while reading it).

– – –

To whom it may concern,

As it is widely known, Anton Szandor LaVey repeatedly expressed his sincere desire to me that his mantle as leader of the Church of Satan pass to me upon his death. In his estimation, I was the sole person qualified to carry his tradition into a new era. At the time I demurred, explaining that I was a loner and not a team player or a people person.

Now I have changed my mind. After thirteen years of introspection, I have decided to step up to the plate and humbly accept the role bestowed upon me by my close friend and mentor. Why? Because remaining loyal to LaVey’s spirit and memory has come at the cost of distancing myself from the organization perpetuating itself in his name.

At one time, the sycophants and functionaries at the forefront of the CoS may have been called apparatchiks or pencil pushers. Today they are bloggers, whose sole arena of combat is the internet. When they employ “satanic” ideals, it’s in endless squabbles in cyberspace – rarely in real life or the real world. The LaVey I knew abhorred such types, and frequently told me as much.

I am told that many in the Church of Satan were offended by my book NO, and particularly by my essay on individuality; which they perceived as a potshot taken at them. How very perceptive – it was exactly that! If Anton were alive to read the text, he’d agree wholeheartedly; and laugh his ass off. He often lamented to me that his ideas vis-à-vis individualism were misguided and that he’d in effect “given birth to a monster”; or that such ideas applied to a few rare souls and not to everyone with the price of admission.

Consequently, my first official act as new leader and only truly ordained High Priest of the Church of Satan is to declare that the organization no longer exists. True LaVeyan Satanism only exists insofar as it is manifested in deeds – in life and living. Never in mere words. Elitism is self-defining, it is not a commodity that can be bought or sold for a few hundred dollars, or whatever the going rate is for a little, red membership card.

In the future, LaVey’s ideas can only survive in so much as they constitute a living reality, and never as mere platitudes on the printed page or computer screen; and in the future, such ideas must be taken to the next level. They must be recognized as purely foundational. Not an end point, but a starting point. LaVey expressed as much to me when he appointed me Grand Master of The Order of the Trapezoid. Satanism is an initiation into the wisdom of materiality, and the trapezoid represents the mastering of materiality – the pyramid sans its keystone. It is a foundation and a beginning.

In closing, I know my words will find resonance only amongst a rare few. That’s as it should be. I am not trying to “take over” the internet orthodoxy currently known as the Church of Satan, nor would I want to. I wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole.

I am simply telling you I am Anton LaVey’s handpicked replacement as High Priest. Do with that what you will. I will not ask you for money. I will not send you newsletters or post blogs. But I will never steer you wrong, nor ever disgrace the memory of my dear friend and mentor, Anton Szandor LaVey. He lives within each soul that manifests his ideas and worldview. He will remain forever dead to those who are content to pay mere lip service to them. For the former, a new era awaits; for the latter, an old error remains in play. Let the dead bury the dead – life is for the living.

Boyd Rice

High Priest, Church of Satan

Grand Master, Order of the Trapezoid

H.S.d.

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