Henry Rollins Column: The Weirdness of Auditioning as a Voice-Over Artist, the Joy of DJing, and a New Documentary Recommendation

Our eminent columnist, Mr. Henry Rollins!
Our eminent columnist, Mr. Henry Rollins!
Maura Lanahan

[The one and only Henry Rollins will be contributing a weekly column and far-reaching reportage to the music section of the LA Weekly. Look for your weekly Henry Rollins fix right here on West Coast Sound every Friday and make sure to tune in to Henry's KCRW radio show every Saturday evening, or online, or as a podcast, or however else you decided to listen to the most eclectic DJ on LA's airwaves.

This installment includes Henry's thoughts on Halloween DJing, voice-over auditioning and a strange new documentary, plus the awesomely annotated playlist for his KCRW BROADCAST #88 for tomorrow, Saturday 11-06-10. For more details please visit KCRW.com and HenryRollins.com]

I don't know what you need. I bet I know what you don't need. You don't need me to tell you what I think about last Tuesday's elections.

I just hope that you voted if you were eligible. I did. Great feeling, isn't it? Between the election and the Sanity/Fear Rally in Washington, DC last week, there certainly has been a lot to consider. The next two years of America will be a lot of things, dull will probably not be on the list.

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Last Saturday, I played an hour of music at the KCRW Halloween Masquerade party at the Park Plaza Hotel downtown. What a great time that was. The place was packed with costumed revelers. My single favorite participant was a man in a wheelchair costumed as Dr. Strangelove.

I came dressed up in a Superman outfit I used in a video a long time ago that amazingly, I still had and, even more amazing, still fit. [See photo here.]

Several days before the event, I had already put all the music I wanted to play together and with the help of a good engineer named X, put it all together into one seamless hour long track. Not having to do more than press play at the beginning the set allowed me to spend time doing things way more fun than wait for one record to end so I could play another. I got to jump around and yell like the spaztique I am. I had a great time and managed to sweat through my Superman suit and even the cape somehow. Everyone in the room seemed to have a good time. It sure was over fast.

In other Hollywood news, I went for a voice-over audition a few days ago. I do these auditions all the time. Sometimes there is direction at the top of the page, usually instructing you to not sound like you're selling anything. You see the non-word "announcery" a lot on these sheets as that which you don't want to be. So, you do what you can to try and sound like you're not, I repeat NOT trying to sell someone something, just like the instructions tell you to.

Of course, you don't get the work, but days later you see the advertisement on television and you hear some man with a sparkly, really announcery voice fairly sell you right out of your shoes. Anyway, I went in for audition #9856 at least the other day and the thing that stuck out was that the read was seventeen words and far less interesting than the direction at the top of the page. Dig it:

Male, 30-40, should have a voice quality, range and acting ability. He needs to sound unique, authentic, and believable. Disarmingly sincere. Intimate. Somebody who doesn't have to crank their level to register an impact. A cadence that doesn't feel commercial. Natural. Unaffected. Candid. Real-voice. Intimate with volume. Honest but not recessive. If it sounds like an ad, we're probably not interested.

Ok then. No pressure. Don't over think it. I read the copy a few different ways and soon enough, was in my car and heading back to my office. The outcome? Who the hell knows? They never tell me anything except for "Thanks for coming in."

Are any of you in your car fairly often, hustling to auditions?

 

These mortifying exercises in futility and humiliation? Is your car like mine, awash in a sea of half consumed bottles of water and Mapquest printouts? I've got a damn mountain of paper and bottles in there now. I have vintage documents, scrolls, Plato's cheat sheets, directions to Hierakonpolis written in henna on papyrus, a rough draft of the Emancipation Proclamation and enough water to last me for weeks. A few months and several hundred auditions from now, when I have the right amount of paper and plastic, I will build a nest and lay my eggs.

But seriously folks, I saw a documentary a few days ago that I wanted to suggest to you. It's called Marwencol (here's a site address for information: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1391092/).

Jeff Malmberg, Marwencol's director sent me a copy days ago and asked me to check it out and so I did. Wow. What an interesting piece of work this is. Here is the briefest of overviews: Marwencol is about a man named Mark Hogancamp. Several years ago, Mark was attacked outside of a bar by five men and beaten into a coma that lasted nine days. Money for rehabilitation ran out, so Mark came up with his own way of trying to get back to something resembling normality. He builds a small scale town he calls Marwencol in his backyard. The setting is in World War II. He has several dolls that he uses to make a storyline that continues to evolve as quickly as the line between reality and fantasy in Mark's mind starts to erode. It starts at the Nuart Theater on November 12 and I will introduce the first showing. Looking forward to seeing this one on a big screen.

I thank you for your kind letters and the hellos I get at the grocery store and other places around town. You make Los Angeles possible, if that makes any sense. Thank you so much.

If you look below, you will see the playlist for this coming Saturday's assault on good taste. I am bringing the standards of KCRW FM to an all time low every week for two solid hours. Tune in and amaze yourself at your capacity for indignation and injurious insult as we overload the mic and make the station rue the day they ever gave me a keycard. Tune in if you can.

DON'T MISS SATURDAY NIGHTS ON THA K, KCRW FM 89.9

6-8 PM - HENRY ROLLINS (FINC), ENGINEER X, WILL 'THE DOUBLE B' BENTLEY

8-10 PM - LIZA 'GROOVIN L' RICHARDSON

10-MIDNIGHT - MARIO 'COTTOSTROPIC' COTTO

GO TO KCRW.COM FOMOINFO

 

KCRW BROADCAST #88

11-06-10

Fanatics! How many of you were at the Park Plaza get down last week?! Good times, or what? What a blast, what a strange and cool universe we had going in that place. Did you catch Jammin' Jason Bentley of Morning Becomes Eclectic fame dressed as Caesar? What a night! I sweated through my leotard! I was Baryshikov on phencyclidine!

Tonight, we bring you the very best in the art of mix. It is one of our usual schizophrenic ricochet rabbit rocket rides around the record store. Not to get all political on you but I must confess that the first track of tonight's show is dedicated to one of America's dimmest bulbs, envelope please . . . Rand Paul, senator from the great state of Kentucky! A man whose hair screams 1980's and whose idea of Civil Rights bleats 1880's. Hey now!

Hello? Is this thing on? If the "Lux & Ivy's Favorites" title made you curious, here's a little information. As it was told to me by one Ian MacKaye, someone who went through every interview they could find of Lux Interior and Poison Ivy of The Cramps and sought out every song they mentioned. All you need to do is type in the title into your browser and you will find places to download all this amazing music. It's up to fifteen volumes now. I have burned them all onto CD and they are a blast to listen to. It's kind of like hanging out with Lux and Ivy, works for me. If you notice, Lux and Ivy's kind contribution to our show tonight is answered by the genius from Manchester, Mark E Smith and The Fall's cover of the song.

Remember when I told you how Engineer X turned me onto the Feenjon Group? The LP is rare but luckily, he has made a CDR of it and so we can bring it to you easily and tonight we feature one of the tracks. What else, recent Aids Wolf, a cut off drum beast Zach Hill's new album, Face Tat. That is a pretty hectic album, I think you might dig it. Tonight, we go back to the last album of guitar great Rowland Howard, who sadly passed away last year. Such a great album. The man understood tone!

Our Fugazi into Cheap Trick seg is completely happening. A lot of tracks on tonight's show were laid on me by Engineer X over the years, so we have to give credit to the music mullah for many of tonight's selections. XEX, Los Mismos, Comets On Fire at least. Probably about twenty more of tonight's jams were put in front of me by the man. I think tonight's stand out track for me, at least is the XEX track. What a lyric! Not an easy album to find, I recommend you try Gemm.com.

Yes, we're playing X-Ray Spex again for the millionth time. Check out how brilliant Poly Styrene's lyrics are in this song. She was so in the moment during the early UK Punk scene. What a talent. We end with perhaps my favorite Sham 69 song, a b-side no less.

LIVE GIG REVIEW ALERT!!! DEPT.: Marnie Stern rocked the Echo last Wednesday night! The Big Three, (yours truly, Will Bentley & Engineer X) were all in attendance digging her guitar prowess. Great set, very funny between song banter between Marnie and her bass player made the set even better. Damn, Marnie can play! She has three albums out and they're all excellent and live, the songs take on a whole different dynamic. It was good to see so many people at the show, especially on a Wednesday night. I am so glad I got to see her play.

I have been doing a lot listening this week: Zach Hill, Marnie Stern, Emeralds, Wolf Eyes, Keiji Haino, Excepter, Andrew Coltrane, Moth Drakula, Decaer Pinga, Stare Case, Spykes, Grinderman, The Fall to name but a few. I am going to overload on tunes this weekend. I can't wait.

We are going to have a good time on the radio this weekend. Rock over London! Rock on Chicago and STAY FANATIC!!! --Henry

E-Mail address for Henry: Henryontheradio@gmail.com

Set List:

 

01. DEVO - Jocko Homo / Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!

02. MC5 - Call Me Animal / Back In The USA

03. Bob McFadden - The Mummy / Lux & Ivy's Favorites Vol. 1

04. The Minutemen - Games / The Punch Line

05. Feenjon Group - Walla Dai / Cafe Feenjon

06. Slim Gaillard - Soony Roony (Song Of Yxabat) / Laughing In Rhythm

07. Aids Wolf - Pressing Graphite / Dustin' Off The Sphinx

08. Zach Hill - Ex-Ravers / Face Tat

09. Barbecue Bob - Black Skunk Blues / Complete Recorded Works, Vol 2

10. Dax Riggs - Truth In The Dark / We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love

11. Metabolist - Le Grande Prique / Hansten Klork

12. Rowland S. Howard - Life's What You Make It / Pop Crimes

13. Antelope - Dead Eye / Reflector

14. Sein Moota - Come to Taungbyone / Folk And Pop Music of Myanmar Vol. 3

15. The Fall - I'm A Mummy / Levitate

16. Fugazi - Cassavetes / In For The Killtaker

17. Cheap Trick - Hot Love / Cheap Trick

18. Amos Milburn - Chicken Shack / Loud Fast & Out Of Control

19. Serge Gainsbourg - La Bas C'est Naturel / Couleur Café

20. Young Marble Giants - Credit In The Straight World / Colossal Youth

21. XEX - Kitty / Group: Xex

22. The Misfits - London Dungeon (alt) / 12 Hits From Hell

23. Los Mismos - Jefe Ironside / Absolute Belter

24. Count Ossie - Poem / The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari

25. Comets On Fire - The Way Down / Comets On Fire

26. Cypress Hill - Insane In The Brain / Black Sunday

27. Marnie Stern - Nothing Left / Marnie Stern

28. Suicide - Ghost Rider (demo) / Punk Legends

29. Dee Dee Ramone (Lux Interior vocal) - Bad Horoscope / Zonked

30. X-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents / Germ Free Adolescents

31. Sham 69 - Give A Dong A Bone / Singles

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