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
You called Werner Herzog the last of the great hero artists. What is a hero artist?
It's probably an overstatement—
He did take that bullet.
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He charges right in — physically, emotionally, psychically — and does anything necessary to accomplish a goal. He looks at art as an existential necessity. Something that's urgent — not a diversionary thing that one does. That's what I find admirable. I've met and read about other people like that, but he's one of the characters that's most in the media.
Do you think art is a necessity?
It certainly is for me. I'd wither and die without making my own and experiencing literature, film and music. It certainly makes me alive in a very real way.
In Chronicles, Dylan is talking to MacLeish about the difference between the effects of art and propaganda, but he never reveals the difference. What do you think is the difference?
I'm not good about pontificating about large issues, but the thing that comes to mind is art requires active participation.
And what does propaganda demand?
You just receive it. Subliminally or otherwise. And you can choose to believe it or not. But you can squeeze the blood out of a piece of art if you actively participate in it.
That's a fantastic distinction. Did you make that up just now?
What is the difference when someone absorbs more propaganda than art?
It's the difference between North Korea and ... what can I say? Venice Beach? I grew up in Palos Verdes — well, I lived there till I was 13 — and I'd hitchhike down to Venice, with Hell's Angels and the hippies hanging around taking acid. Did you ever see that horrible movie The Doors? They filmed Venice Beach — kind of accurate. It was really a great place at one time. I used to see Sky Saxon babbling on the Sunset Strip.
What's the most you were ever wined and dined in your life?
Did they have a decadent deli tray?
I remember Diamanda Galas was backstage — that was the most important thing.
You said once you needed a religious experience to wipe your slate clean — what kind would you prefer?
One that didn't infringe on my nefarious behavior.
Swans (with Devendra Banhart and Wooden Wand) perform Wed., March 2, at El Rey, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.