By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
It’s why I’m now on the West Coast out in the desert. That’s a measure of being an aristocrat. It’s being able to afford to live in fresh air. You may be a trillionaire, making movies in Hollywood, but you’ve got to live in L.A. with the smog. There’s not many places left on the planet where you can be free of pollution. On television, when they show you a photograph of the Earth called “our blue planet” — I’m sure it’s not that blue anymore. But they use that standby NASA photograph to make you feel like it is.
What keeps your mind busy?
The world of conspiracy and the conspiracy nuts in this country. I guess I’m one of them. I won’t go into what I think is the biggest conspiracy hoax in the country because I value my life too much. But my father told me stuff when I was a kid. For a guy with no education — he was a simple electrician — he certainly had has finger on international politics. There are things he told me that came to pass, and he passed that onto me. I love stuff like the History Channel and educational channels. I’m seeing stuff now that I knew years ago.
When I was working in Germany during the ’80s, there was a full-on war by a group of terrorists called the Baader-Meinhof gang. I was imprisoned there out of guilt by association. That spurred me to start studying gangs and international money until I got to the point that I was able to predict stuff. It’s not like foreseeing the future. All you have to do read enough and assimilate it and you’ll realize, “Oh… this is the same set up as… let’s take the Big One. The greatest army in the world at the time, led by Napoleon, goes to Moscow and, it’s too cold. He turns around and comes back. You’re not going to tell me that Hitler didn’t study Napoleon at war.
This is my theory: There are people that are born in certain generations that are of the same DNA — a kind of similarity. There’s a certain stamp on their psyche. I think a lot of people are studying Hitler right now. It certainly looks that way. Look at the manipulation of religion and the use of religion as an excuse for war. It’s been done before. It’s never been about religion. It’s always been power and money. It’s a shame. It’s a sin.
What is your biggest regret?
One of my regrets is that Bruce Springsteen wanted to produce me at one point and I said no. I have a lot of respect for Bruce and what he stands for politically. You know what his politics are. You know what kind of a guy he is. It’s easy to see.
What’s the most worthy thing you’ve ever done?
I don’t know. I can’t deal with self-praise. I can’t deal with patting myself on the back. If I walk away from every show and see smiling faces, that’s rewarding.
When you perform as part of a ‘60s retrospective [like the recent K-EARTH-sponsored show at the Greek Theater], do you play any of your new songs?
Absolutely. Okay, this is what I resent: the fact that I have to play the Greek because it is a ’60s event and I was around then. It’s the same thing with Jimi Hendrix. This guy was in my life. I didn’t think he was going to be in my life forever — especially in death. He’s gone, but I can’t get the guy out of my life. It’s always, “Oh, you knew Hendrix?” [Looks up to the heavens and says] “Gee Jimi, I have my own life to lead.” I’ve known a lot of great people who have passed away.
Why do you think you survived?
Because I know the difference between right and wrong. I’m not saying I’m a goody two-shoes. I’ve stolen things. What I’ve stolen would seem ridiculous to you. I can’t even describe them. They’re just things most people would take without asking. It’s confusing.
My confusion is never-ending. For instance, I started to paint again for the first time in years. Then I went away on tour for a couple of months, and when I returned I looked at the unfinished stuff and I couldn’t continue. There’s a thing about being in the music business, which is based on rhythm and format. There’s no rhythm in my life. There’s no steady beat. I can’t explain it.
I have to travel by air. I put in more air-time per month than any professional stewardess or pilot. I wanted to make a T-shirt that said, “One year in the air,” but nobody understands it but me. Virtually, one year in the air.