Loading...
Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: Figuring It Out, All Over Again

Comments (0)

By

Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 4:00 AM
click to enlarge ROLLINSLEADFINALnewthumb.jpg

[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.]

See also Henry Rollins: Empowerment Through Libraries

For the last 30-plus years, I have been doing one long, uninterrupted improv. When I arrived in the adult world, I understood that, in order to eat, I would have to stay hungry, no irony intended. I mean I knew I would have to be relentless in order to hang in there. I would have to be fearless and be prepared for failure and setbacks.

I figured that since I had very little, I had about the same to lose. I worked hard at writing, did as many shows as I could (with and without a band) and went on auditions for acting and voice-over work.

I could hold my own onstage pretty well but bombed on the acting and voice-over front most of the time. It's not easy hearing "no" so much, and it defines insanity when you do the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result.

We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don't. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success.

My employment is, unfortunately, approval-based. I live by the numbers. Ticket sales go up, they go down -- I like to think of it as ebb and flow, far less painful, easier on the stomach and ego. No tour I embark on is a "sure thing" but rather, an Odyssean journey of "maybe" and "hopefully" until it's over. When the audience goes elsewhere, and it eventually will, I will have to figure it out all over again, and quickly.

I also live by the contract and dangle by the option. When a time period is over (as with voice-over work), I have to wonder if they will renew. Maybe. Hopefully.

As nerved up as all this can make me, and it does, it keeps things interesting. When I'm at a red light on Olive and see people emerge from the parking structure, cross the street and walk into Gate 2 at Warner Bros., it has a calming effect. It's good to see them, employed, somewhere to go. For a fleeting moment, I think to myself that it would be great to have a steady job. On the other hand, I wonder how long I would last. I don't have the strength or courage that kind of regularity requires. To face it, week after week, would take a great deal of adjustment. It is the real world and I don't think I could hack it.

This multidecade scrounge-athon I've been on has kept my blood thin, but mostly it's kept me on the move, looking for the next thing. I have learned to multi- and over-task. In my line of work, there is no such thing as too much, just not enough.

Currently I am stationed in Toronto, working in an independent film where I am the principal actor, as well as one of the executive producers. Basically, besides the acting, there are meetings to attend, notes to take and issues to weigh in on. It's going to be a busy and eventful experience.

Hours ago, at a production meeting, I sat in a room filled with highly skilled, talented people -- props, camera, effects, casting, script supervision, etc. We went through every scene so every aspect could be analyzed for everything from practicality to cost and even possibility. For instance, we have a car driving away from a building. To have it merely leave frame, not so difficult. To have it leave frame and drive onto a street, that's a whole other thing; traffic, cops, money. For more than two hours, this professional and imaginative group rationally discussed the orchestration and construction of an agreed-upon farce.

I find this environment to be incredibly liberating and exciting. In order to put the film across, all of us will have to give this completely unbelievable story all the effort and sincerity we have. Since it is a feat of fiction, we will all have to believe it completely when we are shooting the scenes. To make it really rock, you have to over-believe it.

Related Content

Related

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • Nico Vega's Album Release Party
    The Sunset Strip burned up the music scene as Nico Vega launched their Lead to Light record release bash Monday night at The Roxy. Dark Waves played an amazing debut performance, while Queen Caveat broke open the the jammed packed club. Nico Vegas frontwoman Aja Volkman danced in the crowd, brought the party on stage, and painted dots on fans foreheads. Good times as always on the Strip! All photos by Michele McManmon.
  • Air Guitar Championship Semifinals @ The Troubadour
    The Southwest Semifinals of the US Air Guitar Championship were held last Saturday at the historic Troubadour Club in West Hollywood. The event determined who would compete as regional representatives at the 2014 National Finals in Kansas City on August 9th. The colorful contestants (many of whom opted for elaborate codpieces) were judged by comedians Kristen Schaal and the Sklar Brothers. The top score was awarded to crowd-surfing guitarist Kingslayer, the mother of a teenage son who also competed wearing little more than an American flag bathing suit. All photos by Gustavo Turner.
  • Lina in L.A. -- Country in the City
    Greg Allman kicked off KCRW and the Annenberg Foundation's free concert series on Saturday evening in cool fashion. The series, in conjunction with Annenberg's current exhibit, "Country -- Portrait of An American Sound," features superstars and rising stars from the genre on an outdoor stage in Century Park, plus food trucks, beer gardens and museum entry. More info at kcrw.com.