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Henry Rollins: Keep it Moving

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Thu, May 22, 2014 at 3:43 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.]

As I write this, I am sitting in one of my favorite spots - my old neighborhood in Washington, D.C. I am in the area this week, working on the H2 show 10 Things You Don't Know About.

Several minutes ago, I called D.C. resident Ian MacKaye (Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Skewbald, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Evens) to let him know I had arrived. As I was speaking to him, I saw his brother Alec (Untouchables, Faith, Ignition, Warmers) crossing the street. I called him over and, for a few seconds there, I was with two people I have known for over 40 years, one in front of me and one in my ear. I appreciate the smallness of this place.

My time here is brief, as tomorrow I will be up and at it, predawn, back at work. But for a few hours, I can take my eye off the ball.

For me, this place, these streets and the people I know here are all intertwined with music. Before music was my obsession and inspiration for breathing, life wasn't all that interesting to me.

When I have the opportunity to walk around here without an early-morning obligation waiting or a ton of details to manage, I try to reinforce the lessons that these people, streets and years have taught me.

The information (if there is any) and how I interpret it (if I am not misreading the tea leaves) has become clearer and more important the further I go.

The operative word that rises to the top of all the data is "urgency." I love this noun. I live urgently. Most things I do, I do with urgency, and often a healthy dose of fury thrown in to keep the blood thin. Forward is the only direction I feel safe operating in. Whatever it takes, I must keep getting on to the next thing.

I use the past - that which I have achieved, the massive amount of things at which I have failed - as momentum and pressure to, if anything, go harder and more courageously onward. Failure, while not optimal, is often the result for me. I have learned to wipe the blood off my mouth and smile.

This is one of the things that makes the occasional visit to the old neighborhood worthwhile. I need constant reminders to stay with it, to keep throwing myself into the propellers. My instinct is to sleep too long and sit too still as life hurtles by like an express train. If I think it's a good idea, it is probably not the way to go. This being the case, I am in constant conflict with myself. The more I lose the argument, the better it is for me.

The last few days have been great. We are on location. We are working our asses off. We are making a great season of television. I am in my most favored state: employed. Six days a week, we get up at some awful hour and get out there. The day is what we make it and ours to screw up, so we make it great. I am kicking Time's ass as it kicks mine. Working at this capacity is existence on full.

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