Henry Rollins: The Column! The Necessary, Vulgar Awfulness of Politics
[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.]
Over the years, November has turned into a more adult version of what October used to represent to me; the deep introspection derived from colder mornings and the earlier arrival of the evening. The shortening light cycle and the greater opportunity for darkness has always been a welcome change for me. I get up earlier to enjoy the predawn coldness and, for prolonged periods, I forget there is a world I live in and a human population I exist amongst.
I will be on the road for all of this month and will not always be afforded these early morning and late evening stretches of solitude. I will be either on a tour bus, in a hotel or heading toward an airport in the mornings, and in the evenings I will be with my audience. I will do my best to find time for music and deep thought.
I am looking forward to the end of the presidential election cycle. I found myself disagreeing with pundits and journalists as to who "won" the "debates," as I am of the mind that governor Romney and congressman Ryan brought absolutely all of their astounding hollowness to bear and were shown out for the amateurs they are. As far as the election is concerned, I have already voted. I know what I know and whatever comes next, I will survive.
In the last several weeks, as usual on tour here in America, I have been meeting a lot of people. Some of them tell me their stories. I really like these people. When I hear of some of the ordeals they have been through and what challenges they face, it makes me like them even more.
A few nights ago, after the show, a guy told me that he summoned all the courage he had and came out to his parents. They didn't take the news very well. He told me that some of the books I had written and songs that I had put my voice to had been of great help to keep him brave and alive. He now goes to high schools, talks to gay students and helps them. I told him that it very well could be that he's saved a few lives along the way.
A lot of the young people I meet in some of these small capital cities are often wearing shirts with a band's name or have some group's patch on their jacket. It is their identification and shield. It is when I see this that I feel closest to them.
Some of these cities are remote and perhaps not the most progressive environments. It's easy to tell how hard some of the youth are holding onto the music and how much it means to them. When I see all the hand-drawn stuff on their clothes, how excited they get when they talk about a band they drove five hours each way to see, it is inspiring.