CP Home | CPAOD #6 | CPAOD Catalogue | Contributors

This is an excerpt of about the first 1/4 of the interview from Cyber-Psychos AOD #6.

An Interview by R. Nicholas Taylor

Adam Parfrey: writer, actor, editor, publisher, and ranconteur, has for over a decade been a mainstay of the contemporary cultural underground in America. Brilliant, iconoclastic, revolutionary, reactionary, insightful, and fearless, in his pronouncements. He has become one of the leading figures of our times in challenging the cultural mediocrity and conformity of our made for TV culture. His opponents and detractors have labeled him more things than any one person could possibly ever be, all at one time; everything from a cultural-fascist and male-chauvenist, to a Satanist, and Nihilist. Parfrey has often played the role of the "enfant terriblé" to the cultural establishment and PC fanatics. His books and speaking engagements have often been the focal point of pickets and protests over his right to air his views and be heard. Reviled by segments of the politically right and left he has maintained his indivisibility and integrity throughout his often stormy career. Starting out as co-editor and founder, along with George Petros, of Exit, a magazine which broke new ground in the cultural mindscape, going on to being a book editor for Amok books, helping to bring you such off-the-wall books as Michael, a novel by Joseph Goebbels (1987), The Manson File (1988), Boxcar Bertha (1988), Disneyland of the Gods (1988), You Can't Win, The Autobiography of Jack Black (1988), and the 1st edition of Apocalypse Culture (1987), which has become an underground classic and mainstay, Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989) co-edited with Bob Black; and then founding his own publishing imprint, Feral House Books, he went on to publishing an expanded 2nd edition of Apocalypse Culture, The Devil's Notebook, and The Satanic Witch by Anton Lavey, I Cried You Didn't Listen (an indictment of child penelogy.) The Secret Life of a Satanist by Blanche Barton, Nightmare of Ecstasy -- the life and art of Edward D. Wood, Jr., the current Cosmic Retribution: the Infernal Art of Joe Coleman, Secret and Supressed (banned ideas and hidden history), and the list continues to expand. His publication of Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs was paralleled by an art exhibit of 35 artists and criminals! Now with plans for a new book and accompanying exhibit Cult Rapture to open in the Fall of 1994, a musical group The Tards with long-time friend and fellow iconoclast Boyd Rice, it may not be long before Parfrey is discovered as the talk show host of some future late night, syndicated, show... he certainly has more to say than all the talking heads put together. The following interview was conducted in Portland, OR's, Washington Park on a balmy, late Summer, afternoon. Parfrey, the penultimate host and gentile's gentleman, was both delightful and accomodating during the weekend I spent conversing and visiting with him.

Adam, how did you get started in all this? Your publishing and writing career?

Adam: I was interested in researching arcane subjects, things that took my interest that nobody else seemed much interested in looking into. I'd read something in an old book about eugenics, the idea of controlling the breeding of humans, and I'd go to the New York Public Library and spend a couple weeks trying to find anything I could about the subject. And I'd discover things that would amaze me, such as the fact that many states in this country sterilized what they'd consider the unfit, and that Hitler himself got his eugenic notions from the United States and sounded positively liberal and tolerant next to Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Supreme Court Justice whose face appears on a couple stamps, one of the most respected jurists of the 20th century. Holmes wrote a famous court decision applauding the use of eugenics to sterilize the unfit. When we rolled out the propaganda machinery against Germany during the 2nd world war, eugenics began to falter because we had to put on appearances of being a more benign and tolerant country. Anyhow, these arcane interests of mine led to some revelations about the hypocritical content of present-day sloganeering, and it was through Exit magazine that I first brought them up. I helped George Petros put together the first few issues of this very unpopular graphic magazine. It was unpopular because it went against the prevailing aesthetic of illustrative art, which was defined at that time by Art Spiegelman's magazine, Raw. Raw was slickly packaged and impressive in its way but both George and I felt that there was room for another sort of approach, one that hit on more raw nerve endings and taboo research. We entertained the idea of using a totalitarian art aesthetic, one that employed montage and an overtly political look to the content, even if the content was in itself ambiguous. This was before Laibach or Barbara Kruger was doing this kind of stuff, now it's almost commonplace. But at the time it was a risky thing to do. We purposefully went against being good little boys and sucking up to the prevailing power structure. We had ourselves some fun. From what I heard, Art Spiegelman wasn't happy with the magazine, and went so far as to demand that the manager of a comic store in New York City by the name of Sohozat take Exit out of circulation. This manager wanted to accomodate Spiegelman, so he put Exit out of sight behind the counter, like it was child pornography or something. Now this was interesting. A man who has made a very lucrative career about depicting himself as a victim of authoritarianism would go so far as to throw his weight around to remove an art project that he imagined was his competition. I could make a lot of money now writing screeds for Christian book publishers about the scourge of Satanism, or write a lucrative book about the children of Holocaust survivors for a New York publishing house, or write exposés about celebrities I have known, but there's no honor in being a fink or a panderer. And so I have chosen to be part of another sort of tribe, one that finds honor in the outlaw code, what William Burroughs called the code of the Johnson clan. Everything the establishment extols as comfortable and right and good makes me sick. They are like drug addicts. They want everyone to be like them, be on the same drug. The establishment phonies are beaten down, craven hypocritical momma's boys. A few of them wish me harm. Even though I have established one of the top cutting-edge publishing houses, even though Disney paid a quarter of a million dollars to one of my authors for rights to film the Feral House book, even though Apocalypse Culture has sold over 35,000 copies, even though bookstores across the country are establishing an "apocalyptic culture" section for new and trendy books, I cannot find a paying writing job outside the skin magazines and a couple alternative weeklies. Editors from Conde Nast magazines call me to pick my brain and offer to pay me "research fees," but they hem and haw when I bring up the possibility of publishing an article of mine. I believe that I am on some sort of blacklist. You can't believe how many times I have sold some editor on a story, but as soon as it is written or the proposal goes further upstairs, the axe falls. I am not trusted to write a Details sort of article or an Esquire sort of article. Perhaps they see that I'm not an establishment team player sort of guy. Perhaps they're right. I'll end up picking scabs.

CP Home | CPAOD #6 | CPAOD Catalogue | Contributors