Henry Rollins: The Day After Bowie's The Next Day
[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.]
It's already an interesting year for album releases, and it's not even Record Store Day yet.
Besides the excellent Nick Cave and Marnie Stern albums released this year, we have the new David Bowie album, The Next Day, and at the end of next month, Ready to Die by The Stooges.
Like many people, I have spent a lot of time listening to Bowie and The Stooges. When there is a new release by either, I am all over it.
Jan. 8 was Bowie's 66th birthday. He celebrated by releasing a song called "Where Are We Now" from the new album. It was then that I saw the cover of what was to be The Next Day, his first since 2003's Reality album. I was immediately angry. The cover, if you have not seen it, is the cover of his album Heroes with a huge white square in the middle with "The Next Day" written across it. The word "Heroes" from the original has been crossed out. What is the statement?
I might have been jumping to conclusions, but I thought it was completely defeatist bullshit. The more I looked at the image and played the song again, the more pissed off I got. Of course, I advance-ordered the album and eagerly awaited its arrival. I thought his last albums, Heathen and Reality, were good and was curious to hear what Bowie was going to bring after a decade of silence.
Several days ago, I saw the cover of the new Stooges album, set to come out April 30 on Fat Possum. It knocked me out. It's our man Iggy wearing a belt of explosives, wired to blow, à la Tamil Tigers, Hamas, Hezbollah. It is a strong image, to say the least.
I immediately thought of my afternoon at the Café Moment in Jerusalem in 2008. Nice place, good coffee. I had just come out of the men's room when someone I was sitting with called my name and pointed out the window at a train of black SUVs hurtling by. It was Condoleezza Rice's motorcade. I ran outside and flipped it off as vigorously as I could. On 03/09/02, a person walked into Café Moment and blew himself up, killing 11 people and wounding many others. The photos of the aftermath, the blood splatter and incredible carnage were hard to look at, but I did it.
I am not interested in censorship. There are a lot of things said and done that I don't like, but in the spirit of the First Amendment and fair play, it's all good to go. So, if the aforementioned imagery is what these two wildly talented men want to put on their album covers, that's for them to do. I plan to buy The Stooges' new album as soon as I can.