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Henry Rollins: A Bloody Mess

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Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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[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: Making a Movie

What a week. Over the last several days, I have been repeatedly shot and stabbed, acquired bruises and scrapes whose origins are lost in the mist of adrenalized hours. It was a great time.

It is a marvelous thing to be working on this film, He Never Died, to be a part of this high-speed, incredibly kickass group of people all working with great focus and intensity. For me, it's like living in a dream.

I have always had a low tolerance for bullshit and being around people in a work environment who are not full-on. It's one of the reasons being in a band got stale for me. Often there would be someone in the lineup who was dragging the whole thing down. As life went screaming by, I had to downshift because of someone's chemical dependency or whatever bullshit drama they were starring in. At this point, life is too short for anything but a full burn.

We usually finish the day well past midnight. Last night, we wrapped at 0230 hrs. An hour later, I was staggering through a 24-hour market on a food-acquisition op, hunger overriding my exhaustion. I got a couple of long looks from some other early-morning shoppers as I was wandering the aisles and realized the right side of my head still had a considerable quantity of artificial blood stuck to it, left on by our exhausted hair guy, Anthony.

You have to be careful with this stuff. It reminded me of a couple of experiences I have had in the wild world of showbiz.

Many years ago, I was in a film called The Chase. I played a policeman who has, perhaps, less than a full deck, which seems to force some great one-liners out of him. My character is chasing Charlie Sheen's character down a highway in California, conveniently shot on a bit of unused highway in Houston.

It was very hot and, after a while, the makeup on my face would melt off and have to be reapplied. The bounce of the sun into my face required that eyeliner be used. By the end of the day, we would be drained from the heat and the work. I was determined to hit the gym near the hotel, no matter how exhausted I was. After a particularly hot and grueling day, I bypassed the makeup trailer and caught a crew van to the hotel, where I suited up and ran to the gym before I fell over asleep.

The size of the men working out in this gym was reflective of the size of the state itself. They were lifting insane amounts of weight. I was in the middle of them, struggling away, and they all started looking at me. At first, I thought it was the "Are you on MTV?" stare, but the looks on their faces had a uniformity of angry curiosity that made me wonder what I had done to insult them.

That's when I remembered my face and neck were covered with multiple coats of makeup and mascara. I looked into a mirror and it was as if I was made up in such a way that a thorough Texas ass whoopin' would be all but unavoidable. I went to the locker room and tried to scrape this stuff off me with hand soap and paper towels, which only made me look more insane. I went back out there to finish the workout, but it was too late for redemption. I got the "You're not from around here, are you, son?" look from all of them.

A few years ago, I was working on a show called Sons of Anarchy. I am told that it does pretty well. My character was several grades below decent and, of course, needed to get beat up now and then. OK, fairly frequently. For one of the more spectacular fight scenes, which took two very strenuous nights to shoot, we were out there beating the hell out of each other like it would never end. It seems that no matter how much you block this stuff out, rehearse it at half-speed and do your damnedest not to injure anyone, eventually you make a mistake.

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