Henry Rollins: Remembering Ray Manzarek
[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 Sunday KCRW broadcast.]
After a month of living in Virginia and the D.C. area, we (myself, cameraman, producer and assistant producer) have made a company move to and are now living at the Pointe Plaza Hotel on Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn.
It is a fascinating neighborhood to walk around in. The streets are busy with Hasidic people. At one point, I looked around and noticed I was the only one not dressed in black. We will be based here for a few days of shooting before we return to Los Angeles for the last of the work.
Before we landed here, I was afforded a few days off as we transitioned. I got myself a hotel room in my old neighborhood and hit the streets, walking for hours at a time.
I don't do much walking in Los Angeles. I am sure there is a lot to enjoy as a pedestrian in our city, it just never occurs to me to do it. Years ago, when I lived in Silver Lake, I used to walk for miles all the time. As I would make these epic, biped journeys into Hollywood to see shows, I always had the same feeling that I wasn't really going anywhere except deeper into the seemingly endless sprawl of Sargassoid stucco.
In Washington, D.C., I walk for hours, take a break for food or writing and then set out again. Most of my walks are referential, having to do with music. Places I saw bands, places where bands used to practice, houses I used to hang out in and listen to records. I go to these places over and over again, decade after decade. I know that sounds strange and it probably is, but to me, it's like a Kata or a meditation. The walk, the arrival at the spot. A moment to dwell on the significance and then to walk elsewhere, is to me what it means to be "poetry in motion."
It is clear to me now that most of my life has been spent transfixed by an obsession with music. It is perhaps now pathological, or at least well out of my control. Who knows what I could have amounted to had not all these songs gotten in the way?
I grew up with some serious music mavens, writers, players, producers and collectors. During these recent days of walking all over, I visited two very full-on record collections, both decades in the making. Flipping through the boxes of singles is like visiting parts of my life. Pulling a record out, putting it on and looking at the picture sleeve as the song plays never gets old to me. Neither does talking about music with someone with the same points of interest. It's like two people's DNA conversing. Ian MacKaye and I have been doing this for almost forty years now, and there's never a lack of things to talk about, just never enough time to get it all said.
I tell you all of this so you can appreciate how sad it was to read that Ray Manzarek of The Doors had passed away.