Henry Rollins: Christmacidal
[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.]
A few nights ago, I finished the last show of a tour that started in January. I have done 188 shows in 19 countries this year. I should be tired of being onstage, tired of the hustle, etc., but I am not. Quite the opposite, actually. The fact that it's all behind me now is the hardest part to deal with.
I was able to buffer my re-entry into our fair city with several sold-out nights at Largo, one of my favorite places to perform anywhere. The last show was a bummer, only because it was the last show.
Los Angeles can be a strange place to come back to, because no matter how many days or even months at a time I am gone, the familiarity of seeing places is too familiar, like I never left. This is why the Largo shows were such a great experience. To be able to connect with real people and not merely the L.A. sprawl was very helpful.
I came back to my office to columns of mailers leaning against the wall. It will take days to free the LPs therein, weeks to catalog them, months and years to get them all listened to. For me, there can never be enough music.
Now that the election is in the past, Americans are tasked with gearing up for Christmas. No matter what meaning this occasion holds for you or what your opinion is about it, you will be dealing with this often grotesque hybridization of religion and breathless consumerism for weeks to come. As the first signs of decorations make themselves noticeable on our streets, the stores are beyond ready. Fox News clowns are polishing their War on Christmas raps for their ever-diminishing audience as Americans brace for the annual barrage of peace on earth, good cheer and, of course, the savings.
Perhaps the first dehumanizing shot across the bow is Black Friday; the phrase alone says a lot about what you're potentially in for, and a lot about America. Consumerism is at once the engine of America and simultaneously one of the most revealing indicators of our collective shallowness. Right after you are done with your Thanksgiving meal, you are, if you choose to partake, given the opportunity to line up in front of retail outlets for hours and, when the time is right, go running through a store to aggressively grab what could soon be yours, that is if you are strong enough to take it and hold on.