Is This The Real Life?: Henry Rollins on Feeling Lonely in LA, His Utilitarian Hovel and the Respective Geniuses of Fela Kuti, Marnie Stern and Keiji Heino
[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 musings about being restless in LA, his love for Fela Kuti and Keiji Haino, his endorsement of Marnie Stern's new album, plus the awesomely annotated playlist for his KCRW BROADCAST #85 for tomorrow, Saturday 10-16-10. For more details please visit KCRW.com and HenryRollins.com]
Perhaps you have had the same experience.
You leave Los Angeles for several days, weeks, maybe months. You return and within hours, it's like you never left. For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.
Within a day of being back here, I have been swallowed whole by the enormity and anonymity of this stucco wonderland, even though I utilize a very small part of it. So, within two trips to the grocery store, all the miles I have traveled in the last several months are so jammed into the corner of the rearview, it all could have been a dream.
My utilitarian hovel in which I dwell, is a warehouse for one middle-aged man. There is a microwave and a kettle. Defrost, brew, maintain. This is the place I store myself as I wait to get back out into what Mark Twain referred to as "The Territory."
That a few weeks from now I will be going to the grocery store to provision for another journey with enough uncertainty to keep things interesting allows me to remain focused and motivated.
Over the last three decades of my life, frequent travel has been the constant. I have in a way painted myself into a corner. It is increasingly difficult for me to maintain below a certain velocity and rate of speed. Life off the road is for me an approximation of life. Some days are challenging to say the least.
When I am off the road, the high point of the week is the radio show on KCRW. It is the fastest two hours of my life. I prep the show for hours, usually over several days, playing the songs over and over to make sure it's all it can be. I go to the station, meet up with the other two I work with and in what feels like twenty minutes, it's all over and I am back in my car.
Why am I telling you this? Because I wonder if Los Angeles makes you feel like it sometimes makes me feel.
I am not putting the place down, but living here can hollow one out. It is a hungry stranger of a city that fascinates, attracts, horrifies and repels minute to minute. It allows one to live in it for years and never feel like they have lived here for any period of time.
I have been all over the world and no place makes me feel so incredibly alone at times as LA does.
There is no way my take on this place is unique and I am throwing this out there so in the event it resonates with you, you know there's someone else out there.
Below is this week's radio notes for what I think is one of the best shows we have ever put together for hopefully your great enjoyment. I hope you get a chance to tune in live or via archive. Until next week.
DON'T MISS SATURDAY NIGHTS ON THA K, KCRW FM 89.9
6-8 PM - HENRY ROLLINS, ENGINEER X, WILL BENTLEY
8-10 PM - PEERLESS LIZA RICHARDSON
10-MIDNIGHT - MARIO 'QUICK DRAW' COTTO
GO TO KCRW.COM
PS: KCRW is going to pull a Halloween gitdown on the 30th of this month at the Park Plaza. http://www.kcrw.com/events/masquerade-2010. Among other great K jammers, I will be playing music from 2315 to 0115 hrs. at this event. Should be good until I go on.