You Can't Go Home Again: Henry Rollins on Being Back in the USA, Autumnal Feelings and his Favorite Thomas Wolfe Passage!
[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.
Maura Lanahan Our eminent columnist, Mr. Henry Rollins!
This installment includes Henry's return to the USA, his renewed appreciation for Rickie Lee Jones, his favorite Thomas Wolfe passage for the Fall season, plus the awesomely annotated playlist for his KCRW BROADCAST #84 for tomorrow, Saturday 10-9-10. For more details please visit KCRW.com and HenryRollins.com]
I think I am finally back on Earth.
The last few days have been busy and steeped in jet lag. Last Sunday, I returned from Vietnam to America. I went from Hanoi to Seoul to Tokyo and then finally to Los Angeles. I thought I was going to questioned about my stint in North Korea but the man at immigration didn't find that part of my trip of any interest or threat to national security and let me pass.
I got back to my utilitarian hovel with enough time to do my laundry, re-pack, finish this week's radio show, get a few hours of sleep, go back to the airport and fly to New York City early the next morning. One of these days, I will turn into an airplane. At least I haven't asked you to put your tray tables up.
Several weeks ago, I was asked to moderate a panel on addiction and recovery at the Zankel Hall, located in the Carnegie Hall building. I thought it would be interesting, so I said yes. The panelists were Ace Frehley of Kiss, Steven Adler of Guns N' Roses, Ricki Lee Jones and Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC. Years ago, I met Darryl briefly in Tokyo but past that, I had never met the others.
We met briefly pre-show and I briefed them on the schedule, which consisted of q&a segments interspersed with performances by each of the panelists. Everyone seemed into it and I reckoned we would have a good time up there. Panels are always tricky in that you don't always know what you're going to get. Moderating is harder than being a panelist for me, so I was a little nervous but eager to get it going.
At stage time, I went out and greeted the audience and briefly detailed some of the achievements of our panelists and brought them to the stage. The q&a segments were all really good. Steven and Darryl were very animated and expansive, Ricki didn't issue long comments but what she lacked in word count, she more than made up for in content. She is a very deep well and her insight is remarkable. Ace was right in the middle of the two extremes, honest, funny and on point.
As to the performances, Steven read a passage from his autobiography in which Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue had overdosed in front of him, causing Steven to have to revive him with cold water and several smacks to the face. Darryl spoke for a few minutes of recovering from his addiction to alcohol, Ace played two songs on guitar--both were really cool, but the performance highpoint was Ricki's performance of two songs. She did one on acoustic guitar and one on piano. Damn. You could have heard a pin drop in that place. She had 'em. Her voice is amazing. I know some of her albums but have never seen her live. Having seen her the other night, there is no way I would miss her in performance. Completely mesmerizing.
Before I knew it, the whole thing was over and we were saying goodnight to the audience of several hundred and heading towards an after-show gathering at a club down the street from Zankel. I met many people there and after about an hour, left. I got at least a few hours of sleep and then took the train to where I am now, Washington, DC.
I always try to spend at least one or two days in DC every October.