Founder and Editor at Feral House publishing company Adam Parfrey has died at the age of 61.
Motherboard called him the "forerunner to Reddit and 4chan." He was an archivist of punk rock music, culture and art and a pop culture and occult historian among other things. Parfrey founded Feral House and Amok books and co-founded Process Media.
Tim Burton's film Ed Wood was based on a Feral House book, the upcoming biopic series about the rocket scientist acolyte of Alesteir Crowley, Jack Parsons is based on Feral House published and Parfrey co-written book Sex and Rockets. Chris Carter gives Feral House books credit for many episodes from the X-Files as well.
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His books were generally concerned with the unusual, the extreme, the taboo or forbidden, hidden and suppressed knowledge. Like Kenneth Anger, having grown up in the midst of it (son of a character actor in Hollywood, Woodrow Parfrey) Parfrey always had some of the greatest gossip from Hollywood Babylon, the art world and various subcultures of the underground and counterculture.
Conspiracies, secret societies, the occult, drugs, terrorism, extreme ideologies, cults, music and art, these topics have grown in popularity since the dawn and rise of internet subcultures making the world ever more interconnected, ever smaller. Parfrey was a first introductions to many hidden worlds for thousands.
The willingness to publish books related to Holocaust revisionism, the "Satanic Metal Underground," previously unpublished writings of Ted "the Unabomber" Kaczynski and other topics are part of what earned Parfrey a reputation as the "most dangerous publisher in the world." In a conversation with <a href="http://www.ptleader.com/arts/well-that-happened-parfrey-moved-to-pt/article_873533d4-8552-11e4-9b99-9700935328ab.html">Port Townsend Leader</a> he explained his practicum for choosing books for publication:
“I’m drawn to things that are not being done, that are off the track. Things I think are important but are being ignored,” said Adam Parfrey of Feral House books. “I’m not frightened off by political or conspiratorial books, or books that are ‘too much.’”
I once pitched an interview/profile of Parfrey to the magazine Fine Books & Collections, the publication specializes in rare and hard to find books and publishers who publish rare books. In addition to the original books commissioned and published by Feral House. The editors of FB&C declined saying that Parfrey was a bit too "edgy" for their crowd. Parfrey's response, with his trademark dry wit: 'I hate it when bores say "edgy."'
Parfrey also <a href="http://feralhouse.com/the-seattle-blow-up-against-charlie-krafft/">came to the aid of the artist Charles Krafft</a> when Krafft was being slurred as a white supremacist and Holocaust denier:
<blockquote>I’ve been friendly with Mr. Krafft since the mid-’80s when he published the first review of my book Apocalypse Culture when the bigger New York publications froze out reviews based on reactions to an article I had written called “Aesthetic Terrorism,” which appeared to step on sensitive toes of the New York art culture. The same publications who killed several reviews later referred to Apocalypse Culture as a “provocative,” “controversial,” and “best-selling phenomenon.” Early on, Charlie Krafft wrote a review in some friend’s art magazine. Unlike the art-cloistered New Yorkers, it was sophisticated in its open-mindedness.
Since I’ve known him, Krafft got bored with and dispensed with his Buddhist figurative art, taking up lowbrow parodies, and then moving into ceramic delftwere he learned at the hands of blue-haired grannies in the Netherlands. He called his pieces “Disasterware,” and they were often brilliant.
I exhibited Charlie’s work in an LA group show called “Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs,” and in the mid-90s, along with Larry Reid, Charlie helped me secure the exhibition space at The Center of Contemporary Art in Seattle across from the Seattle Art Museum for my “Cult Rapture” exhibition, which was both loved and hated for being more sociological than artistic.</blockquote>
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I'd corresponded with Mssr. Parfrey for years before I finally met him in person at Wacko bookstore/La Luz de Jesus Gallery (the birthplace). I introduced myself using my middle name because that's the name I was using while I lived in Los Angeles. "I know who you are Philip," he smirked. As I attempted to explain, I had looked up to the image of Feral House for over 20 years. Rest in peace, Mssr. Parfrey. You are missed.