Keith Boyd by BSD 07.20.06 by Eric Nielsen
The truth is we all need inspiration. Where we all find it is very personal. I find it in the monk and the octopus. I find it in the Phoenix. We all need rebirth. Some of us are reborn all the time some of us never and some of us are forced by the fire to change. God blew a breath of fate on my back when I saw Keith Boyd at the Acid Mothers Temple show at the Casbah recently. Having known Keith from SDSU and sharing the stage with him in bands from the mid and early 80's I knew this was going to be a good thing. His reappearance in my life has been a kind of rebirth. I've known the intensity of this artist for 20 years and he's only become a better craftsman in the 10 years I didn't see him. How often do we get to have a close close friend reappear after disappearing for 10 years? A handful of times in a lifetime? There is meaning here.
His credentials seem impeccable. Keith is heavily influenced by his time in the Peace Corp in Mauritania Africa. He got some kind of intense sickness there like in the Paul Bowles novel The Sheltering Sky and heard and saw art and music in a way that can only be explained for me through his near death experience and years in the shimmering desert of my imagination that is Mauritania. He's been doing etching, painting, music and books for the 20 years I've known him. He's also this year been christened the special educator of the year in North County. He does these special art shows for kids and helps them express themselves in a way that gives meaning to everyone who is touched by them, but especially the students. Sometimes only teachers can understand that when given a medium like art, a student can shine. I mean shine.
Now, I see Keith as a writer as well. The music that finds him (music does find you) is special. Only a few can be so blessed to understand so many unique kinds of music. He's also making a very unique brand of music nowadays. Here's how he explains it, "This morning I built a three hour long pyramid of powdery locust wings. It stacked up on itself and slowly began speaking to me. I heard the weathering effect of dry wind over what felt like a thousand years. I refused to let it converge into a riff or recognizable pattern. I just keep working on the masonry of sound until it got so big the walls hummed. After finally letting it seep away I stood up and realized that my chest was still vibrating to its frequency. I walked out into ancient Sumeria and now even an hour or so later I can still catch glimpses of it in the corners of my eyes. When we shun form we open up to the higher powers." If that doesn't make you want to play music then maybe you shouldn't, ever.
Click on any thumbnail to see larger versions.
Check out one of his reviews and how he uses his African experiences to describe heavy, hard music. "In Africa, the chieftains of many tribal groups maintain wooden sculptures depicting the power of their male aggression. These carvings are grimacing beasts out of whose penises sprout leering faces. The faces in turn often issue forth many more faces. These heads spring out of every orifice and with bared teeth, threaten in every direction. These forms are highly prized and fiercely protected. They are given offerings of food, millet beer, milk and even blood to ensure that their power remains intact and strong. It strikes me that this externalized embodiment of male energy and sexuality has many parallels in our own culture. Consider the SUV. These massive, barge-like vehicles are treated with the same deference and passion shown by the African chieftains towards their sculptures. We rub them and shine them. We feed them massive offerings of gasoline and accessorize them with everything from custom license plates to spinning rims. These vehicles have gone from being a conveyance to transport one from point A to point B into another type of conveyance altogether. These vehicles transport and transmit our status, energy and power to the outside world. From within their fortress-like environs we gaze out upon an inferior and diminished world. The message is clear, 'I have power! I have money! Look upon my mightiness and fear me!' I suppose that men have always fetishized vehicles. While it's an old joke that a large vehicle is a type of compensation for some lack in masculinity, I think that the opposite is actually the truth. Men love these outsized vehicles because they project and embody the power men have enjoyed and enforced throughout most of human history. The aggressive spirit of male energy is often Siamese-twinned with male sexuality. Rape is a male crime. Its prevalence in all societies, throughout all time is emblematic of the underlying frustration that males experience in trying to assert control and dominance over others. Of course we are speaking in generalities here. We're looking at a big picture scenario and trying to make sense of the symbols of male power and aggression so common in our world. By no means is every man a rapist. Not even owners of Hummers! Another vehicle for this same energy is music....."
(check out the rest of this review) He didn't much care for this Alien Ant Farm record. Neither did we. This is one of his only negative reviews for this site. Check out all of his reviews and features.
If you need inspiration look no further. Have a look at the paintings, start to dream, remember old friends, go deep underwater in your mind and experience the outer space that is Keith Boyd.
email Keith Boyd