Henry Rollins: The Column! Hands Are Groping Me, Breasts Are Pushed Into Me
[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.]
Time becomes fluid and is then smashed, compressed, elongated by miles and then slammed into a wall and rearranged. It is force-fed periodic sleep, border crossings, long nights onstage, visits to the gym and a never-ending series of small rooms to spend time in before and after the shows and told to keep going. Some of the venues I have been in and out of for literally decades, and the familiarity I feel in them is a hard-earned currency that, while worthless in the real world, is a valuable asset out here. I crossed the line of 10 shows a few shows ago and now I am officially on tour and there is no separation between me, the audience, the road -- it's all on all at once and it never closes. That's the number I have in my head. You have to do 10 to know you're doing it, and then from there you go deeper and deeper.
Onstage I try to fill the entire room with the stories, the moment, to make it as immediate as possible. North Korea, Haiti, Sudan, India, Cuba, Vietnam, Tibet, Bhutan, we go all over. It takes all I have, and when I am walking off of the stage, I feel myself start to sag. Two and a half hours have just passed by like a minute. I get to the small backstage room and drain a couple of bottles of water and catch my breath. I don't bring water out onstage. I think it's rude to drink in front of an audience. I don't want to move, I don't want to do anything for a few minutes except just sit there and let some of the electricity leave my body. After a few minutes of that, it's time to go. A shower, if the facility has one, and then out to the bus to meet with all the people who are waiting. They bring all kinds of things for me to sign. They show me photographs of myself from decades ago, which I have never seen. Others who have no interest in me whatsoever bring photographs that they took from the Internet and printed copies of and want them all signed, several of each, telling me the extras are for their friends who couldn't make it. I wonder if people like that really have friends; sometimes I ask them that, and they usually look at the ground. The photos will go on sale somewhere almost immediately. I tell them they won't get much for them. They smile at the ground and walk away with their dubious postinteraction merchandise.