Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Hank In The Bucket

Henry Rollins is non-stop...when describing his non-stop life. Kim and I saw him speak at the Met Cafe in Pawtucket tonight. We thought we'd get there a few minutes before doors opening to get a good spot. And we found a line at least 50 people long already waiting outside. But we still got pretty good seats (they set up dozens of folding stairs in this small rock club) three rows from the stage. And in Rollins tradition, he came out exactly on time and was in KEN mode all night.

What impresses me most about this man is how he can talk for extended periods of time (2 hours 15 minutes tonight) without even stopping to think about what story he'll tell next. Kim compared it to a choose-your-own-adventure book*--he's got all these stories from his world travels, the telling of one is bound to spark another. And they're all hilarious.

Tonight he steamrolled through a hundred topics, all of which I'd be hard-ass pressed to remember right now, but I will give you one quote I made sure to scrawl down on a square of brain tissue:

"After reading 5 to 7 pages of Sarah Palin's book a day, I became so depressed that listening to the second Joy Division album actually lifted me up." Okay, it was way smoother than that. And I realize that if you don't know Joy Division the joke makes no sense. So maybe I should have used a different quote. Trust me, he had us laughing our asses off all night. If he puts out an album based on this tour, get it.

Photo of two heads and Henry Rollins by me.

*she actually said "corn maze" but I knew what she meant, and changed it to a slightly different analogy

He's doing a show around here in a couple of days, at this really fancy renovated theater (Infinity Hall) which usually books oldie "Adult Lite" acts like Dave Mason, Aztec Two-Step, and shit like that... it's 50 bucks, so I really doubt I'll go.

He did a spoken-word thing just a couple blocks from my house a couple of years ago, I think that one was free but I didn't go to that one either. I think there was a show at Whitney House the same night, or something.
Yeah I saw that "Norfolk, Connecticut" show and I was like, "how is there a town in my home state that I've never heard of and how would a major act be playing there?"

I guess he's doing smaller venues for this 50th birthday tour. He said he'd be doing an 11 month tour next year so he wanted to go around and just "have some fun" with a smaller tour.
Norfolk is way up in the Northwest corner, towards the Albany NY/Pittsfield MA direction.
I briefly lived in New Milford, and I STILL hadn't heard of it
Video of HR doing a bit on Bush/Palin books, but does not mention Joy Division.
OMG -- this bit on NYC is so wonderful. His observation of the city 9/11 is dead-fucking-on. As is the kindness of most NYers.
Thanks. The Bush stuff was the same story, but it's so interesting to me to watch the same bit twice and see the differences.

And he did the NYC bit for the Providence crowd, too--it wasn't a "just for the NYC crowd" thing, or an "I'll tel a story in each city about how great IT is" thing.

I really wanted to record stuff, but, you never know where one story will end and the next will start, and it woulda led to me tiring my arm out holding the thing up only to cut off stories and not end up with a complete one.
Aztec Two-Step is still around?

How about Jonathan Edwards, Livingston Taylor, Pousette-Dart Band, Spyro Gyra, Strutt and Beaver Brown... are they still around, too?

I've been out of RI for 25+ years now.
The Aztec 2-Step type place he referred to is in northwest CT, not RI. (His "around here" is the Hartford-ish area. Whereas mine is Providence, but used to be western CT a while ago.)

But my gf (from New Bedford) says she remembers commercials for Strutt shows.
Mom here.

Norfolk is spectacularly beautiful in that, for some reason, many architects of the last two centuries chose to live there or have second homes there, and built the homes according to their creative whim.

There exists a book of Norfolk homes. I was invited to the library to sign books--I think you were, too, but couldn't make it for geographical reasons. The writer at my table was signing books on some aspect of football, and twice as many copies of Dirty Water sold as the football book. I think I bought a copy of the football book for you, but he didn't buy a copy of DW, the schmuck.

The best part for me was the stone owl over the library fireplace. It was the prototype for the owl sculpted for placement over the arched door of the new Hartford Public High School built, I think, in 1868. The newest HPHS now has the owl in a glass case just inside the front door.

Sorry for more information that you might be interested in, but I hope when you and Kim get to western MA again, you'll drop down for a little tour of Norfolk in the foothills of the Berkshires.

ps. I'd never heard of the town either till the book thing. A deliberately kept secret for all the New Yorkers who now own the archtects' homes.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States