Henry Rollins: The Column! The Time I Made a Punk Rocker Cry
[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 Saturday KCRW broadcast.]
Weeks ago, my L.A. Weekly super editor Ben Westhoff asked me about my plans for 2012. I told him I was about to start one of my typical tours where I would be spending several weeks on the road going from stage to stage, city after city, country after country.
He asked me how long this tour was. I told him that it would start to show signs of fatigue around the end of February 2013. "Would you write about some of the places you'll be, and perhaps send some old war stories from past deployments?" he asked.
Stories from the road? Moi?!
That's one thing I have. I have been touring for more than 30 years. It's what I do. My time off the road is full of anxiety and restlessness. The days in Los Angeles are only the countdown before I go back out into the world. I would rather be there, doing a show every night; the pressure of it keeps me tense and alert.
Some would say this is a crazy way to live your life. Out here, you have to earn everything and often learn the hard way. Years of dragging myself through cities all over the world have taught me more than I ever could have learned staying put. I no longer wonder why soldiers re-enlist or why sailors remain at sea.
As a journey of many miles starts with one step, a tour starts with the first show. For this one, it's Manchester, England. Tough town, great audience. Some of the best punk and post-punk music ever came from this city.
I got here two days ago, trying to beat the jet lag that, no matter how much I travel, I cannot beat. The first two days are complete misery. I stay outside to try to get on the new time schedule. I drink SmartWater and hit the gym in an attempt to acclimate myself.
I try to hit all the record stores I can, hoping to pick up something of interest, so when it finally finds its way to my shelves, I have a record that came all the way from Manchester, where the Fall, the Buzzcocks, Ludus and Joy Division come from.