Most of you have probably never heard of Boyd Rice, yet if you've listened to just about any form of electronic or avant-garde music made within the past few decades, you've likely heard his influence (and if you're the summer intern, you have, during brazen displays of nonchalant contrarianism, been forced to listen to his "non-music" - a coincidentally appropriate epithet given his usual nom-de-plume, "NON"). But I haven't come here to wax poetic about such classic obscurities as Cleanliness and Order, or Disneyland Can Wait, nor even the time he was detained for attempting to present a lamb's head to former First Lady Betty Ford. No. I'm here to discuss how he created, and, with the aid of the Denver Gentlemen's Pipe Smoking League, ultimately destroyed the only Tiki bar in the city of Denver, Colorado.
The Ramada Inn of Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood had long been home to an ill-conceived and conspicuously unsuccessful drinking hole, one whose management had inexplicably attempted to achieve financial solvency through the delicate blending of bland sports-bar and vaguely Southwestern themes with a highly incongruous and rather forgettable name: The East Coast Bar. However, once Denver Gentlemen's Pipe Smoker League member Lorin Partridge began tending bar there, things were destined to change; for with him came a gaggle of regular customers (the bar's only regular customers, at that time) - an assorted mix of other DGPSL members, as well as several staff writers from Modern Drunkard Magazine. Not the least of the latter was Boyd Rice, a man notorious for his disregard for the mundane, and, just as crucially, a man who loved Tiki. (Boyd Rice had not only written the introduction for Martin McIntosh's Taboo: The Art of Tiki, but had also acted as a consultant for the BBC's Tiki-culture documentary, Air-Conditioned Eden.)
When The East Coast Bar's desperate straights met Boyd Rice's burning desire to create his own Tiki bar (and, ultimately, mischief), a Faustian pact of urban-legend proportions was all but inevitable. And so it was that, in exchange for an open bar tab, Boyd Rice completely remade the blase East Coast Bar, working tirelessly to transform it into a lavish, life-sized diorama of colored lighting, wooden masks, hanging lanterns, and bamboo-covered... everything, all perpetually soaking in the tunes of Martin Denny, Authur Lyman, and other such founding figures of the Tiki/exotica genre. From the ashes of the East Coast Bar, "Tiki Boyd's" was born: A strange and exotic, never-ending beach party in the dead center of the Mile High City.
Well, perhaps not quite never-ending, for with Tiki came booming success, drawing not only droves of locals just looking for a lively night out, but various celebrities ranging from The Delphonics to the creators of South Park. Reviewers raved. Drinkers drank. Yet as is too often the case, from such sudden and unexpected success through the efforts of another, there was born a juggernaut ego-trip. To quote Lorin Partridge, "The manager went mad with hubris and paranoia," and, despite all evidence to the contrary, came to the conclusion that Tiki Boyd's explosive popularity was the result not of Boyd Rice's efforts and vision, but perhaps merely some strange aligning of the planets with his own, now much-inflated financial status. Rice perceived, it would appear, that an example had to be made, that such injustice would not stand... and who better to rectify the tyranny of narrow, grasping minds than a league of gentlemen? And what better a league of gentlemen can there be, than a league of pipe smoking gentlemen?
As has often been observed by men since antiquity immemorial, to create something beautiful takes great time and patience; to destroy such a thing, but a moment. In the case of Tiki Boyd's, it is said to have taken roughly forty minutes. With the aid of a crack team of well-dressed, pipe smoking gentlemen armed with hand tools, stylish facial hair, and impeccable manners, Boyd Rice infiltrated the bar which had for a year and a half born his namesake, and saw that every trace of Tiki-ness was well and thoroughly pillaged. Every slender reed of bamboo, every record, the drink menus, the lights, the wooden masks - every scrap of it had been Boyd's, and nothing of it was to be left to sustain the management's prideful, pedestrian avarice. He took with him even his name: Tiki Boyd's was no more.
From the cold, bland ashes of the East Coast Bar, Boyd Rice had created something strange and thriving, and when his hard work and vision were ultimately betrayed by shameless philistinism, it was none other than the Denver Gentlemen's Pipe Smoker League who answered the call to return it to those ashes once more.