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Henry Rollins!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: Not Keeping It Real

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Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 3:45 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.]

It’s 0607 hrs, which wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t in Washington, D.C., having just arrived from Los Angeles yesterday afternoon. I am operating on about three hours of sleep.

I’m sitting in the Starbucks at 1810 Wisconsin Ave., just blocks from the hotel where I am staying. This particular one distinguishes itself as the place where three employees were shot and killed in a robbery attempt in 1997. There is a sculpture on the wall with their names.

Today will be slightly blurred. Thankfully, I am not responsible for much besides being semi-coherent for some meetings a few hours from now. I have X-Ray Spex’s perfect, I mean without flaw, Germfree Adolescents album at a heroic volume in my Shure SE846s keeping me wired.

I will, over the next two weeks, drag you with me through different time zones and obligations, all filtered through varying degrees of sleep deprivation.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: Musical Elitism Is For Lightweights

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Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 3:45 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.]

A few days ago, I spent an afternoon with Lemmy. For the few who might not know that name, Lemmy is the bass player, vocalist and founding member of a band called Motörhead. The man has waged war on people’s hearing for decades.

Not only does Lemmy keep Motörhead alive and well, assaulting multigenerational audiences who possess brain cells yet to be obliterated, he was also in one of the greatest bands of all time, Hawkwind. They were true, visionary, sonic assassins.

Hawkwind has been around in one form or another since 1969, so not all of the band’s albums feature Lemmy, who eventually left to form Motörhead. But some of the ones he’s on, Doremi Fasol Latido, Space Ritual and Warrior on the Edge of Time, are incredible.

What makes things even better is that the new Motörhead album, Aftershock, is excellent. The riffs are ripping, the lyrics are sharp. It’s a dose of pure energy. Lemmy is almost 69 years old and still rockin’ hard.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: My Breakout From My Own Private Alcatraz

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Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 3:45 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.]

For many years, October has been my favorite month.

I can’t remember when it started, but I know I was young and living in Washington, D.C. October was a great combination of early sunset, dropping temperature and nights saturated in poignancy. Music sounded better; emotional swings were more meaningful. I was cooking on a cool flame of loneliness, confusion and severe social awkwardness. I had a few friends but, for the most part, I was weirdo solo.

I was raised in a fairly conformist environment, which strove for solid normality but felt like unimaginative, highly restrictive rigidity. For years, I tried to fit in. No, really, I tried. I went to school dances and watched cover bands play loose-tempo versions of songs I knew from the radio. The girls were from Earth. It wasn’t my scene. I went to a few parties and tried to hang out. The best I could ever do was try to act like the other people there and pass for normal. But the whole time, I knew it wasn’t my thing.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: The ISIS Quagmire

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Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 3:45 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, American forces have just conducted airstrikes in Syria. Syria is a sovereign nation that has never struck at America. The country’s president, Bashar Assad, is backed by Vladimir Putin’s government. Assad and Putin will have to address this action.

The attack was aimed at ISIS targets, not at the Assad regime — this is clear. But however you look at it, America just bombed Syria. Who knows how this will be perceived and spun by people and governments all over the world. If Putin says nothing, he will be seen as soft. So how does Putin stick up for Assad without coming across as somewhat complicit with the actions of ISIS? By committing Russian forces to join this anti-terror campaign? No way. Too humanitarian. (Weak.) In any case, it’s clear that America’s new chapter in the War on Terror is incredibly complex.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins Meets Pussy Riot

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Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 3:46 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.]

The last few days have been somewhat blurred and quite good. I am in Antwerp, Belgium, by way of Los Angeles and Chicago. After nine hours on the ground, I am emerging from the coma of jet lag.

What brought me here? As much as anything else, a total lack of confidence. I don’t have any, never had. I say yes to work opportunities, do what I hope is too much preparation and then throw myself into it with cold-sweat desperation to not fail. I spend a lot of time feeling grim.

Several months ago, I was approached to write a screenplay for a film. I was given the plot line and asked to fill it in. Somehow, the project got funded and is very much under way. The director/creator asked me to come here and be one of the characters. I said yes. I better not complain about the quality of my character’s lines. Talk about chickens coming home to roost.

To get here, I had to visit Illinois. A stress-inducing and great time I had.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: Public Space and Private Property

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Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 3:45 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.]

For the last few days, I have been driving a pal visiting from the United Kingdom to and from the Cinefamily theater on Fairfax for a film festival. Near Melrose is a massive billboard advertising the next season of Sons of Anarchy. I noticed that an artist (or artists) filled in the bottom of the billboard with multicolored spray paint. It’s hard to make out; it just looks like designs to me. If it’s words, I can’t read them, but it looks like it took a good deal of time.

Looking at this day after day has me thinking about public space and private property.

Does God exist? What happens after we die? Is there life on other planets? These questions are difficult to answer, but when it comes to the overwhelming confidence of billboards, there is no doubt. Is Dylan McDermott on a show called Stalker? As sure as death and litigation, yes.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: Why Joan Rivers Was a Champion

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Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 3:45 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.]

In 2010 I saw the Joan Rivers documentary, A Piece of Work. I was curious to learn what made her tick. I always admired her comedic posture, like a journeyman boxer who takes and delivers gut punches night after night. She never seemed to take it for granted and always seemed to be hard at work, like she was just starting out. It’s the kind of tenacity that many performers eventually shed — due to everything from failure, increased comfort, or great success.

Comedy, as far as I have seen, is one of the roughest rooms of entertainment. There are a lot of funny people out there, they all want to be big, they can be very assertive, and most of them are men. And then there was Joan Rivers, who had some allies but was for the most part on her own, slugging it out.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: Existing in the Moment

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Thu, Sep 4, 2014 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.]

I am still on the road, working on 10 Things You Don’t Know About for H2. We’re more than 140 days in, and a little more than half of those have been actual shoot days. The rest have been devoted to travel, voice-over, studio work and days off. It is a good show, and I am fortunate enough to have a great job, but let’s not oversell what this is. We are reporting stories that have already happened. We are not breaking new ground but merely rearranging very old ground in a way that our wonderful audience will hopefully find compelling.

To make 40-some minutes of content, which constitutes an episode, takes at least six long shooting days and countless hours of other work. At the end of all this, we will have made 10 episodes, which will air over a period of less than three months.

If you don’t think about it in the right way, this large amount of time spent can feel like a fool’s errand. If you are a goal-oriented person, it might feel a bit defeatist to have done so much to have achieved what might seem like so little.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: American Bigotry Is Alive in Ferguson

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Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 10:37 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.]

While most of America gets on with its business, Ferguson, Missouri, burns in archaic flames of exasperating, unresolved anger, for all to see. Once again, the world watches America roil in the mortifying echo of Jim Crow law brutality. Meanwhile, U.S. firepower explodes bodies of ISIS militia thousands of miles away. They and Boko Haram are seen as primitive, extremist scum that should be eradicated. Even the new liberal, socialist pope wants to see the American Shock ’n’ Awe Fire Revue focused on ISIS. Yet there’s Missouri, showing everyone where America’s at.Missouri has a history of despicable conduct. Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum Address in January 1838 was in response to the hangings and burnings of humans there.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Henry Rollins!

Henry Rollins: More Thoughts on Suicide

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Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 4:14 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 you might imagine, I got a few letters about my recent column about suicide. Actually, it was a lot of letters. For days. I read them. No matter how angry or instructive, I appreciate them all because they were written with complete sincerity, even if some had only two words, the second being “you.”

After reading carefully and responding as best I could, it was obvious that I had some work to do in order to educate myself further on this very complex and painful issue. I am quite thick-headed, but not so much that things don’t occasionally permeate.

In the piece, I said there are some things I obviously don’t get. So I would like to thank you for taking the time to let me know where you’re coming from. None of it was lost upon me.

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