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  3. Posted on Fri, 2 Mar, 2018 at 12:41 AM

Quotes by Henry Rollins

Quotes by Henry Rollins

Youths write me and tell me that their band will go nowhere because of all the bad bands in the world. I tell them there has always been awful music and that no great band ever wasted any time complaining, they just got it done. Their ropey ranting is just a way to get out of the hard work of making music that will do some lasting damage.
Young, gay and stuck in Arkansas? Sounds like a horror flick.
Young African-American males: Stop existing. It could get you killed.
You want to meet a bunch of really friendly people? Go to a Slayer concert. There’ll be some real psychos there, but most of those people will take care of each other.
You need a little bit of insanity to do great things.
You must never lower yourself to being a person you don’t like.
You might as well enjoy the day – you never know when and how painfully it could all end.
You don’t have to twist my arm to work.
You could split hairs and bring up words like ‘doo-wop’ and terms like ‘soul’ or ‘R&B’, but I think pop music is what you want it to be – that’s why it’s pop.
You can’t get your head around something if you’re yelling.
You can pass all the gun legislation you want. None of it will make me feel any more or less safe than I do right at this moment.
Yes, I guess you could say I am a loner, but I feel more lonely in a crowed room with boring people than I feel on my own.
Without the blues, modern music would be nothing like it is now – not remotely.
Without an education, you won’t have a future.
With any advent in technology, any technological innovation, there is the good and the bad.
With age, life becomes complex and difficult, often fraught with risk on several levels, from the practical to the fiscal.
With a book, there’s no volume to turn up. You’re very naked with a book.
Why do you think the old stories tell of men who set out on great journeys to impress the gods? Because trying to impress people just isn’t worth the time and effort.
While I have no empirical evidence to back this up, I bet that the number of homosexual people per thousand has not fluctuated all that much over the centuries. I do not believe the dented wisdom my father used to extol, that homosexuality was a sure sign of a civilization in decline.
Where there is young people and vitality, you’re going to find punk rock.
Whenever any great song or album gets lost in the ether, someone is deprived of the joy of hearing it, and the great effort of those who created and recorded the work is damaged.
When you’re kept out of the adult world, it’s a blessing in disguise.
When you’re holding people’s attention, I feel you must give them high-quality ingredients. They deserve nothing but your best. And if they need information, get it, cross-check it, and try to be right. Do not waste their time; do not enjoy the ego trip of being onstage.
When you’re going into an employment environment that looks pretty scary, it is easy to lose your moral compass, your decency, your sense of civility and your sense of community.
When you start to doubt yourself the real world will eat you alive.
When you hear about what someone else is going through, and you are unable to distance yourself from it or in any way muzzle your empathy and are inspired to actually do something, these are moments to learn from.
When you have to work with and exist amongst cynical, burned-out personnel on a set, it doesn’t matter what you’re shooting or how much you’re being paid – it’s not worth it.
When you are young, there is so much ahead of you, it’s like the Saharan desert. You can’t even see across it.
When the movie comes out, what anybody thinks of it doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t go to the wrap party. I don’t go to the premiere.
When someone asks you, ‘What’s punk?’ my reply is, ‘If you have to ask, you’re never going to know.’
When people make my country look bad, I can’t stand it.
When people hold you in high esteem, it’s very delicate relationship. When they meet you they’re putting all their chips up. It’s make or break.
When a young non-white male is stopped and searched at the whim of a police officer, his idea of personal space, privacy and self esteem are shattered, to say nothing of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment protections. The damage goes deep quickly and stays. Stop & frisk, as well as a tactic, is also an incitement.
When a band becomes as truly iconic as the Velvet Underground, there will often be a box set released, overburdened with mediocre material that dilutes what was fine left on its own.
When I’m off the road, and I can really control my diet down to the calorie, I juice seven days a week. Every afternoon, whatever I have at hand, beets, carrots, ginger, whatever. I juice, literally, every single day. And on the road, I try to find fresh juice wherever I can.
When I think of Mick Jagger still singing that he can’t get any satisfaction in over forty years of being in the Rolling Stones, I have to conclude that he’s either lying or not all that bright.
When I see the hatred exacted at Mr. Obama – you know, he lowered your taxes, killed your number one bad guy and got your guys out of Iraq – I don’t understand why he seems to inflame people so much. You know, unless, unless there’s a race problem.
When I read that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had disappeared – a state-of-the-art Boeing 777, said to be an incredibly safe way to travel – I waited patiently for the chance to learn what happened.
When I am in Africa, I realize I don’t know much, have not seen much, and there’s a lot to be done.
When I am in Africa, I always have the feeling that it’s where everything started. When I am in New York, I know it is where everything ended up.
What does New York sound like? For me, the Charlie Parker at the Royal Roost recordings on the Savoy label are the total embodiment of the New York music experience.
What I don’t want to do is go out there and not be able to mean it, you know?
Weakness is what brings ignorance, cheapness, racism, homophobia, desperation, cruelty, brutality, all these things that will keep a society chained to the ground, one foot nailed to the floor.
We’re at peak oil, peak water, peak resources, and so either we figure it out and let science lead or we head down a very bad, dark trail to where a lot of people aren’t going to make it.
We spend millions of dollars to remove pain from our lives. It’s why so many people get hooked on painkillers. The body becomes addicted to painlessness. That tells you a lot.
We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.
We humans are hard to deal with. We are a loud, complex and demanding bunch. Often, we are best dealt with from a safe distance and for only brief periods of time. This could be why a lot of marriages fail.
We city dwellers, we residents of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, are for the most part urbanized to some extent. We know deadlines, start times and traffic.
We are misery-making machines! Homo sapiens has perfected the art of causing suffering. Pain is humankind’s collective GDP.
We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don’t. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success.
We Californians can watch the Weather Channel for images of winter’s brutality unleashed upon our fellow Americans and thank our lucky stars we don’t have to contend with it.
We Americans are hard on almost everything. We are hard on our vehicles, our marriages and our heroes. Mostly, however, we are hard on ourselves.
Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.
War is very sad and small life is pathetically fragile at times.
Voting is completely important. People in America think democracy is a given. I think of it as an ecosystem, and what gets in the way of it is politicians and apathy.
Unsurprisingly, Nelson Mandela had and still has many detractors.
Trying to write music, be in a band and keep it all happening is one of the hardest, morale-destroying, heartbreaking things you will ever try to do – and that’s when it’s going well.
Try driving the streets of Los Angeles without seeing a billboard depicting a film with a lead actor holding a gun. It’s almost as if guns are harmless props used to bring out the cheekbones and jawline of the screen star.
Trayvon Martin did not need to die.
Too bad that Paul Ryan confessed to being a fan of Rage Against The Machine. By doing so, he not only begged for a bucketing by many of their fans but actually got one from the band’s guitar player, Tom Morello.
To this day, my haircut is the number two clippers, which I apply to myself every month.
To see change in your own area code is very powerful. There’s a little orphanage down the street from my company, and we donate $1 from the sale of each CD we sell to the orphanage.
To our enemies all over the world who plan America’s demise, please take my advice. Give up now. No matter what, you will lose. You will lose it all.
To my ears, jazz sounds better in warm weather and after the sun has gone down. While I will listen to some of my favorite jazz records in cooler weather, it’s the warmer nights that really make them come alive. Something about those sounds and the heat of the night really makes it happen for me.
To me, the real ‘state of the union’ is found in how Americans react to current events.
To me, getting muscular was the first thing I ever achieved by working at it, and it was a game changer for me, because it was the first time I ever had confidence.
To hate is to show you still care, who needs that, focus on what’s really important.
To get a human through a life, lives of broken bones, knock-me-over-with-a-feather susceptibility to myriad viruses, and whatever else might befall someone will cost money.
To combat the confusion and depression that assault me when I come off the road in the middle of a tour, I seek the most oblivionated music possible. When it’s the ‘way out there’ that I seek, I go right to my stash of amazing music from Japan.
To burn a CDR of music you like to give as a gift to someone you wish to become closer to is a cold, moist-palmed, mouth-breathing bummer.
To anger female voters in America is to tread on the tiger’s tail. Women turn out in huge numbers, and they are well aware of how their bodies work and what they need.
Those who seek to profit by division don’t stand a chance.
This is my own little rock theory: In my mind, Nirvana slayed the hair bands. They shot the top off the poodles.
This is my 25th year of being on stage. A lot of people who I kind of toed up to the starting line with are no longer in this position. I feel very, very lucky.
Think about it: No matter who you are, the past plays a large part in your life. I am all about living in the present as best as I can. Try as I might, there is only so much I am able to achieve on this front.
There’s tons of junk food for your mind on the Internet. You can sit there for three or 10 or 20 hours a day getting in online arguments with other people who also choose to waste their time.
There’s something about being under-rested and knowing that the situation is going to remain that way for quite some time that makes things more meaningful.
There’s no rule that you have to like Henry Rollins the musician or the actor.
There’s always going to be a need for activism; there’s always going to be a need for you and me doing the right thing, being very Lincoln-sonian in looking out for each other.
There’s a lot of mountain climbers trapped inside of bodies of people behind the counter at Kinko’s.
There is not one single police officer in America that I am not afraid of and not one that I would trust to tell the truth or obey the laws they are sworn to uphold. I do not believe they protect me in any way.
There is no way you are going to be forgiven for blowing up a village and killing a bunch of people.
There is no place in the world like Australia. Not even its beautiful neighbor New Zealand.
There is a lot to say about what Bikini Kill and other ‘riot grrrl’ bands were able to achieve when they first set out. They were not some momentary, convulsive, creative spasm of independent music. There was a very real, relevant point of view being expressed.
There are records that, in my opinion, only reach their full potential when the listener is disoriented.
The world’s a better place since I chose music.
The truth is an anti-war statement in itself.
The scarcity of the music not only makes the music itself enjoyable but it also gives the collector a strange sense of superiority.
The public library system of the United States is worth preserving.
The prison-industrial complex and the military-industrial complex are here with us and are multi-billion dollar enterprises. We can make more money off the kid in Compton if he’s a criminal instead of a scholar. It’s business.
The perpetrators of the actual bad stuff that does real and lasting harm to people, like leakage of industrial chemicals into water systems, seem to get not so much as a second glance; the bloviation from media pundits and think tanks creates false problems that waste time and energy debunking.
The opportunity to write for the ‘L.A. Weekly’ has been one of the better breaks that has come my way in a long time.
The only thing worse than the Pastor Terry Jones scheduled Koran burning is the fact that he canceled the proposed event.
The only thing about sanctions is that, like a lot of drone strikes, there are countless unintended victims. Cutting off aid to Uganda only increases the pain there.
The only difference between me and others is that they think they can change something with cute little poems, nice cards or embracing trees and being nice to little lapdogs.
The number of people who are actual supporters of Mr. Romney could very well be less than the Donner Party, whose members they sadly resemble in many ways.
The more I learn about Mr. Romney, the less there is to admire.
The month of November makes me feel that life is passing more quickly. In an effort to slow it down, I try to fill the hours more meaningfully.
The kid who throws his spaghetti from the high chair onto his father’s face, he’s pushing back. He’s sticking it to the man as he sees it. I like that. So that is punk.
The idea that any performer type is owed anything is a joke to me.
The history of apartheid-era South Africa is incredibly sad and at times infuriatingly incomprehensible.
The first several years of my life were used to upload incredible amounts of fear, and I just became afraid of everything. I was afraid of my parents, afraid of my classmates, afraid of the streets of Washington, D.C. I would flinch at every gesture.
The first Van Halen album makes Johnny Rotten out to be what he really was and still is: a hairdresser.
The fact is, in the minds of many, Trayvon Martin received the appropriate punishment for a true crime: He was black, male and dared to walk outside. In life, young Trayvon was just a teenager; in death, he has been transformed into a scary, lurking, suspicious, prone-to-violence spook.
The ecstatic insanity of romantic pursuit can be so enhanced by music that entire romantic conquests, victories and ruinous, crushing defeats can be tied to songs to such a degree that it’s almost unbearable to listen to them again, as they bring back the memories so vividly.
The blues is losing someone you love and not having enough money to immerse yourself in drink.
The best compliment I get every year is that a band will write me and say, ‘We were just on tour, and we had people coming to our show saying they had never heard us before they heard us on your show.’
The arts in America exist in spite of America, not because of America.
The Wacken festival started more than 20 years ago with just a few hundred people in attendance. Tickets now sell out before the lineup is announced.
The Ruts were a great punk rock band from England whose songs were as excellent as their time together was short.
The Internet, the camera cellphone and the like have not only sped up the world’s information uptake, but they have cheapened that which they capture.
The GOP grows more and more unpopular with female voters seemingly every time one of its leaders gets in front of a microphone. Misogynist is as misogynist does. The GOP and its bloviating pundits don’t like women and they are unable to hide it, nor do they seem to make much attempt to do so.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was vigorously and vociferously opposed by the Southern states. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law nonetheless.
The Bad Seeds are a band I will travel a great distance to see whenever possible.
That Newt Gingrich or any mainstream Republican has the nerve to look down from what they perceive as their moral mountaintop at anyone is laughable.
Texas is as odd as it is vast.
Texas is a hotbed of insanely good bands and musicians.
Technically speaking, there is no music whatsoever on a CD. Lots of information, but no music.
Spring and fall, those are very inspiring times of the year for me.
South Sudan is one of the most hard-put places in the world.
Songs sung under duress are often very powerful.
Sometimes when you meet a musician you are a fan of, and he or she isn’t the friendliest person, you walk away from the experience wondering if you will ever be able to listen to their music again.
Sometimes the truth hurts. And sometimes it feels real good.
Someone like Ashlee Simpson, she lip-synchs on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ gets totally called out la Milli Vanilli, and no one really cares that much. It doesn’t make me hate Ashlee; she’s just taking instructions.
Some people see Black Friday as a much-needed break for their wallet. I see it as retail outlets showing the customers the full weight of their contempt. The frenzy to buy cheap crap from China, the human downgrade of people fighting with each other over items they can probably live without, to me, is an insult.
Some music really does suck!
So, one way or another, I found myself in a few movies. I take it seriously when I’m on the set, but I don’t take myself seriously as an actor.
So I’m more at home with my backpack, sleeping in a hotel room or on a bus or on an airplane, than I am necessarily on a bed. It’s weird being here. It feels like I’m standing next to my real life.
Smart people make good choices. They dig science and say ‘no’ to the invasion of sovereign nations for the pleasure of corporations.
Sleep is for squares.
Shirley Sherrod seems like a good and dedicated person.
Seven-11 is the pulse-beat of America. I think that Bruce Springsteen should do a song about a 7-11 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, but write it in such a way that American’s youth can identify and slurp along with the Boss. Hail the Boss! Hail 7-11!
Seasonal change in Los Angeles is often a very subtle thing. It’s not as if we finally stop having to shovel the snow out of our driveways and can put our parkas back in the closet.
Scott Asheton was a brilliant drummer, a natural musician.
Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.
Sarah Palin embarrasses herself almost immediately upon opening her mouth to speak or upon moving her fingers to send messages to her dull flock.
Russia is tough. The history, the land, the people – brutal.
Rush Limbaugh makes money getting simpleminded people to feel good about their intellectually undernourished brain spasms. He’s very good at it, and I scarcely believe a fraction of what he says.
Rock n’ roll unchained a nation and revolutionized radio and the record industry, not to mention the motion picture business.
Rock is ironic in that, up to a certain point, you can get better and better at it if you don’t mind possibly looking more and more ridiculous.
Republicans just can’t help themselves. They get in front of a live microphone and within a few sentences are rocketing down the swiftest and most direct route to the all-you-can-eat comedian-and-talk-show-host buffet.
Rarely do I do film press because I’m so low on the food chain of the movie, and for me it’s just this thing I did for four weeks before the next tour started.
Ramones music has a Pavlovian effect on me – the song starts, and the world blurs around the sound.
Questioning anything and everything, to me, is punk rock.
Pride is a thing that I have tried to abandon completely. Try as I might, pride still creeps into many of the things I do.
Please don’t think that I am one of those squishy types who can’t handle reality. I have plenty of real-world things to deal with all the time. I have deadlines, meetings, I answer the phone, I get turned down, I wait in lines and am forced to pass for normal all the time.
Pizza makes me think that anything is possible.
People will remember that the Tea Party was co-opted and funded by billion-dollar corporations, and that it was supported by Fox News and other outlets with the same vigor with which they attempt to denigrate the Occupy protesters.
People like Jefferson, Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and M. L. K. are larger than life to me. I find myself staring at photographs of Lincoln almost in disbelief that he was a man who walked the earth and not merely some fiction writer’s creation.
One person’s roar is another’s whine, just as one person’s music is another’s unendurable noise.
One person’s disaster is another person’s talking point.
One of the odd enjoyments in life is to be alone in a room full of people. To have them there as unknowing human filler in your wide shot.
One of the nice things about a favorite pop song is that it’s an unconditional truce on judgment and musical snobbery. You like the song because you just do, and there need not be any further criticism.
One of the most prevalent and undermentioned genres of music is what is known as noise. You can find it all over the world happening in basements, small venues and even some festivals. Often blown off or belittled by critics, the form for the most part goes unheard and unnoticed.
One of the most insane environments I have ever spent time in is a gun range. There we are, all in a line, armed to the teeth, firing away.
Of course same sex marriage is constitutional! The right to be yourself, to pursue life, liberty, and property, is protected several ways over several amendments. John Boehner should know this.
Now, if someone wants to spit on me, I just roll up the window of my BMW 540i.
Now and then, someone is able to look at an empty space, conclude it would be a great place to start a revolution, and bravely go forward.
Nothing moves me more than the history of the United States.
Nothing brings people together more, then mutual hatred.
No one should die when they’re 50.
No matter how rough things can be at times, many Americans are optimistic and on the move.
Never once have I thought that Social Security would be something that would ever be available to me.
Nelson Mandela will always be the face of South Africa. The traveler passing through the country will see Mandela’s face almost everywhere he looks. Truly, the man is omnipresent.
My understanding of first-degree murder is that premeditation needs to be proven.
My unconditional sure thing is that I don’t have one.
My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.
My motto is, ‘Never quit.’
My mother, a very eclectic listener, had the first Doors album and gave it to me when I expressed interest in the band. It was one of the first records I ever had. As the years passed, the babysitters who used to look after me would bring their Doors albums to the apartment, and that’s how I got to hear their later work.
My laptop seems to know where I am, even if I don’t. My cellphone asks me if I want directions to anywhere from the spot I am standing in. I buy a record online and Amazon.com sends me letters, telling me that people who bought what I bought also bought these other records.
My first visit to West Berlin was in February 1983. The drive through East Berlin, the fact that West Berlin was surrounded by a wall that was more than 100 miles long – the absurdity and intensity of it really knocked me out.
My first introduction to African music was by my mother, who bought the ‘Pata Pata’ album by the great Miriam Makeba when it came out. Now that is an album. What a voice.
My father did not rock. He just earned and hated. Don’t end up like this man.
Musicians should not play music. Music should play musicians.
Music to me is mankind’s greatest possible achievement because look at all the good it does.
Music keeps you young. Having music in your life keeps you open to things.
Music files and downloading have indeed changed the currency of music to a great degree.
Mr. Christ, I read you as an infinitely patient entity who, as they say, often works in mysterious ways, a rebel unafraid to take the tougher, less traveled paths. Seems to me you’re playing the long game. Is that why more states are coming out in favor of marriage equality? Is that why the Affordable Care Act is now with us?
Motivation has always been a fascinating factor when considering a touring artist, especially when the years stack up. What keeps one out there year after year?
Most poets are elitist dregs more concerned with proving their skill with a dictionary than communicating ideas with impact.
Most of the people who call me a sellout were 7 when I was down face-first in the punk trenches.
Most Americans are very cool people.
More than 30 years ago, in Washington, D.C., I secured a copy of a single by a Los Angeles band called The Bags. The two-song 7-inch, released on Dangerhouse, had a girl on the cover who looked right at you with huge eyes. The songs, ‘Survive’ and ‘Babylonian Gorgon,’ were great and made many of my mix tapes.
More guns equaling more safety is a slippery slope, and what makes it so is human blood.
More and more, journalism seems to have hopped out of Truth’s pocket and crept into another.
Miles Davis would have this lineup of all these amazing musicians and one day would just say, ‘We’re done.’ After tons of great records and tickets sold, he said, ‘Now I’m going to grow my hair out and play my horn through a wah-wah pedal.’ Rather than play it safe, he went on.
Michele Bachmann is always a great person to go to for an opinion about anything. She has a very active and interesting mind.
Maybe I’m just a psycho, and the stage is a better place to go than either the loony bin or somewhere else.
Maybe I’m ego-tripping, but I don’t find myself a particularly horrible person, so I don’t think I need to hold back anything I think or feel.
Marriage equality is a term so ridiculous on its face that when you hear it mentioned, you would think you were in Riyadh. Years from now, perhaps we can lose the equality part, the same-sex part and call it what it is – marriage.
Luckily for me, I genuinely like my audience. They really are a good bunch.
Lou Reed’s music has been in the lives of millions of people all over the world for decades. He had a truly universal presence and was respected by musicians across all genres.
Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.
Live music is the cure for what ails ya.
Literally thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the NFL by retired players, many of whom say that information on brain injury in football was withheld from them.
Like a lot of inwardly drawn young people, I spent a lot of time in libraries. At my high school, I often spent my lunch breaks there.
Life will not break your heart. It’ll crush it.
Life is weird, great and dangerous.
Let’s pretend my career in music is a bell. Whether you like my music or not is up to you. But you’ve got to admit I rang that bell pretty hard and pretty often.
Kids need parents who love and support them unconditionally, full stop.
Keep your blood clean, your body lean, and your mind sharp.
Juan Williams is a very sharp guy.
Jazz music is as American as it gets, and so is the U.S. Postal Service. A Miles Davis stamp is a perfect marriage of two great American institutions.
It’s why real men just go out in the woods and howl. I must do it and get paid.
It’s sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew.
It’s one thing to buy a copy of ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ You actually have to read it to get anything out of it.
It’s not lost on me that everyone dies, but some people have a kind of immortality about them, and you can’t imagine that they will ever be gone.
It’s hard to judge literary merit.
It’s hard to get people at a record company to talk about music. They don’t seem to want to talk about music, it’s all marketing, and that’s part of a record, you gotta get it out there, people have gotta hear it, but you could do it in a way that’s not repulsive.
It’s easy for me to play bad guys because it’s a very linear acting. Bad guys aren’t empathetic. Being a bad guy is great because you’re not friendly and you don’t have to do much with your face.
It took me until my teenage years to realize that I was medicating with music. I was pushing back against my stupid school uniform, instructors who called me by my last name and my classmates, who, while friendly enough, were not at all inspiring.
It is very difficult to tell Americans that they can’t do something.
It is only our humanity that can deliver us from the brutality of our achievements.
It is just that I don’t want a wife and I don’t want kids.
It is instilled in thousands of American males from an early age that one of their requirements is to be able to both dish out and take a lot of pain. They are taught the rules of this road in gyms, rings, backyards and fields all over America.
It is amazing to hear grown-up people rationalize homophobia and discrimination. The lengths they go to trying to prove their points take reason to its breaking point.
It has been hard to get my head around how Justice Antonin Scalia rationalizes his decisions. His body blow to the Voting Rights Act was a head scratcher, but at least he was calm when he attempted to justify his odd logic.
In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.
In the summer of 1991, I was on the first Lollapalooza tour. Nightly, I would watch Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell go out in front of a sea of people and within minutes have all of them in the palm of his hand. I have never seen anything like it since.
In the summer of ’84, you just couldn’t escape the Born in the USA record.
In the late summer of 1986, the band I had been in for five years stopped playing. Suddenly, I was on my own. This new state of bandlessness was, at first, traumatic. When your group breaks up, a lot of broken parts hit the ground.
In the city of Pyongyang, you don’t have to look very far to see an image of the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung. They love the guy. He is responsible for the wonder that is North Korea.
In my many trips to South Africa, I have met and spoken to a lot of people there, and they all seem to find apartheid as repellent as you would.
In my bright, utopian future world, they will hand out college educations like cups of water at the end of the L.A. Marathon.
In many ways, America is on the receiving end of a pendulum that has been swung with great force, and for a long time, outward into the world. The impact is a wake-up call on every level.
In blues music, there’s a lot of borrowing, so it’s often difficult to identify the originator of a song.
In Israel, there’s a lot to learn from anyone, because to live there you’ve got to deal with the truth. Things happen real fast. Your day goes from cool to catastrophic in one second. Israelis know that the cafe you’re in could blow up, or the shopping mall, and they rock that.
Imagine someone so infatuated by a band that they have every different pressing of every album the band made. Most of the time, the only difference in the album is the matrix number or a different ‘made in’ notation on the back cover or label. This is enough to make some people extremely excited. Actually, much more than excited.
Imagine a 15-year-old kid saying, ‘I have two moms – it’s cool.’ I don’t fear that at all.
If you want to go the scorched-earth, Obamacare-is-like-slavery route and choose to stay uninsured, you will have the Palinesque guts, the Cruzian fortitude to wave off the ambulance that will appear to scoop you up should something bad happen to you, right?
If you want to believe that humans walked with dinosaurs and the planet is a few thousand years old, that is absolutely fine with me. If you want to teach this to your kids, I don’t care. If states want to teach creationism in their schools, there is nothing I can do about it, so I don’t sweat it.
If you think about it, every single species is endangered. Homo sapiens at the front of the line, mosquitoes and lawyers at the back.
If you paid Americans a living wage, they would be able to pay for products made by Americans in America.
If you listen to the way I speak and watch the way I conduct myself – there’s nothing about me that’s rock n’ roll. It’s like, ‘Hello, I’m in a rock n’ roll band’. ‘No, you’re a narc.’
If you listen to ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,’ by Gil Scott-Heron, that album is dripping with rage.
If you are a musician who has released albums, it would perhaps be morbidly interesting to know how much you would be owed if everyone who now has your music had actually bought your record.
If there is one set of laws, one Constitution for every citizen, its protections hopefully applied equally to all, then why do the results seem to differ so radically? What do you call that? Look around – you’re living in it.
If the death of Osama Bin Laden brings any peace to those who lost loved ones on that awful day in September 2001, that is a great thing. It is more likely, however, just a painful reminder of what was lost.
If the Constitution was a movie, the Preamble would be the trailer, the First Amendment the establishing shot, the 13th the crowd pleaser and the 14th the ultimate hero scene.
If some band sucks, you’re going to have to find out about it for yourself, because I don’t have the interest in issuing warnings.
If people are being upstanding citizens of the Republic, then you have to widen the net to incarcerate them. This explains why America’s prisons are full of nonviolent offenders – a perfect example of American exceptionalism.
If it’s a man’s world, as they say, then men, your world is a poorly run carnage fest.
If an American company has a drop of patriotic blood coursing through its system, then surely it would set up in America and employ Americans, right?
If I’m jetlagging, and I’ve missed some meals, and it gets to that point in a movie that you’re supposed to cry, I’ll let my defences down from around my inherent standing level of cynicism, and I’ll cry.
If I’m in L.A. for longer than 20 days, I’m looking for work, because I don’t do vacations.
If I were a doctor, I would prescribe that you addict yourself deeply and irrevocably to music and never, ever seek cure outside of more music. It really is the best drug available.
If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light, If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you.
If I hear, ‘Be afraid of Tehran,’ I’m like, ‘I’d better go to Tehran.’
If I had to perform in a comedy club I would bomb; I would be trying too hard.
If I had to live my life in anticipation of what others thought of me, little would get done.
If American forces leave Afghanistan, the Taliban is going to do what to America? Don’t say you’re worried about what they will do to the Afghan people. If that was America’s concern, America’s operational presence there would be much different.
I’ve never heard Daft Punk; I’ve never heard a track of theirs in my life. They’re the two guys with motorcycle helmets on?
I’ve made some great mistakes in my life, but, you know, they were honest mistakes.
I’ve been on ‘Jay Leno,’ and everyone likes Jay, but being on that show is a really boring afternoon. I sincerely like Jay, but I wouldn’t want his job, because I’d have to interview Kathy Ireland, and there’s nothing there I’d want to know.
I’ve been in Iraq, and it never occurred to me to go, ‘Hey, this war is bogus,’ to some guy who’s 24 hours a day trying not to get shot at or blown up.
I’ve always seen it as the role of an artist to drag his inside out, give the audience all you’ve got. Writers, actors, singers, all good artists do the same. It isn’t supposed to be easy.
I’m very boring.
I’m terrified of motorcycles. I’ve been on one a couple of times. I did not like it.
I’m pessimistic. I don’t think that justice always gets the right person.
I’m of the opinion that the Democrats have the ideas I agree with more often than not. Reenergizing the middle class and giving people a break.
I’m not into fame. I’m not into making money, outside of financing my books. I’m not into status. My thing is basically about time – not wasting it.
I’m not interested in censorship. I like the First Amendment very much.
I’m not in a position where I get to pick and choose roles. I usually go on auditions in long lines and embarrass myself in front of casting directors, and with a lump in my throat and my ears burning, I walk past reception and smirking actors as I go to the parking garage and go back on the highway.
I’m not harmful, just introspective. You can probably think I’m weird, but it’s not harmful weird.
I’m not exactly ambitious as much as I have a very good realization of what I am and what I am capable of.
I’m not artistic nor am I all that creative.
I’m not a very good writer. I’m working at it.
I’m most in my element on tour, with a gig that day, like today. I’m on the road where I am supposed to be. I will be where I’m supposed to be at nighttime, on stage, in front of people, doing my thing.
I’m most comfortable on stage.
I’m mellower now, I’m over 50. But I don’t think I’m too mellow. I’m still angry at a lot of things.
I’m disappointed by bands left and right, every day.
I’m actually on the Twitter like all those crazy young kids are, and if I’m going to do an in-store appearance or I post something on my website, I tweet these followers, a word I don’t like so much, and over 50,000 people go, like, ‘Okay, I got it.’
I’m a professional food eater.
I’m a good authoritarian figure; I don’t know why. ‘Can you be a cop?’ Sure. ‘Can you be a Marine?’ Absolutely. Well, at least in a movie.
I’m a big fan of the American Tapes label. But that’s very hard to keep a grip on that because you blink your eyes and they’ve released three records, all of which are limited edition, all sold at one show. So you have to follow in drips and drops on eBay, which I do.
I’m a big Germs fan; most people are.
I’m 36 and if I met a woman of my own age and married her, I’d also be marrying her former life, her past. It might be OK for some people – I don’t want to judge it or anything – but it’s not for me. It would destroy my creativity.
I’d love to talk to Janeane Garafalo or Randi Rhodes or Stephanie Miller from Air America. I’m an Air American junkie; I listen to them every day.
I’d like to talk to Sean Hannity in a controlled environment and say, ‘O.K., you can’t interrupt and jump up and down like a professional wrestler.’
I’d like to talk to Arnold Schwarzenegger, ’cause I live in California and I just want to see that canned, chemical filled body in my office.
I would like to become a better photographer. I’m working on that.
I would like go to Palestine and interview people there about what their lives are like; same thing in Iran.
I would hate to think that some people have found themselves in a musical cul-de-sac and have ceased to explore new music, or at least music that is new to them, because they are so glued to the past.
I wonder what it’s like to be from a state that is spread across a few islands way out in the Pacific Ocean, only added to the United States in 1959. Not only that but to be the birthplace of America’s first black president? Pretty cool, I bet.
I wonder if it is Australia’s great distance from more populated land masses that allows its inhabitants to be left to their own devices, to be incredibly creative and, at times, to be wonderfully weird.
I wonder how Colin Powell sleeps at night. I would like to have a word with him because he lied. He lied. He lied to me. He lied to my face through the camera at the U.N.
I wasn’t playing the music, the music was playing me… and once that went away, and I had the feeling I was playing music, I had to stop. The need to go onstage and get my brain flattened every night left me, and what I didn’t wanna do is go onstage and perpetrate a fraud… You cannot fool an audience.
I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to tour with the Beastie Boys and watched almost every set they played on all those dates. Why not? You do your set and then you get to see the Beasties play? Best deal in town.
I was in Pakistan in Islamabad when Bhutto was assassinated, and the next day, you know, there’s just plumes of smoke everywhere. I mean, Islamabad is on fire.
I was happy to find out that when on tour, Dolly Parton doesn’t use hotels but stays on her bus every night, to the point of having her buses shipped from Austria to Australia so she can tour the way she sees fit. I used one of her buses once – an honor.
I was at the first Minor Threat show, and you could tell, ‘This band is going to be the king of the town.’ It was obvious. They were so good.
I was a very repressed young person. I wasn’t good at school. I didn’t fit in.
I want to learn more about the world. It makes me want to get up and go.
I want to change things for the better, just like everybody else.
I urge you to read the Occupy Manifesto, written by the New York City General Assembly. It is unavoidably clear. This is not directionless action. If it were, the media would have moved on.
I try to get myself up and moving as early as possible. Optimum is to be on the treadmill while it is still dark outside.
I try to be well informed. I don’t know how well I do all the time, but I try nonetheless.
I thought I was gonna be in the minimum-wage working world all my life.
I think, to a great degree, we humans still divide ourselves into two species, even though we are monotypic. There are males and females. We see them as different and not equal.
I think young people should travel and travel often to other countries… like I do.
I think the U.K. is an amazing place and has been extremely good to me. Some of my favorite and most-listened-to bands are from England. I have met many good people there and have been in front of some of the most loyal audiences I have ever encountered.
I think that humans have a huge capacity to carry pain and sadness. There are things that haunt us our entire lives; we are unable to let them go. The good times seem almost effervescent and dreamlike in comparison with the times that didn’t go so well.
I think self-reliance and self-responsibility and self-accountability will help you as a parent, a teacher, as a citizen as a friend.
I think politicians get hamstrung by the nature of politics when the private sector can really do great things.
I think more tolerance, more people having more access to a chance to be literate, and a chance to stay healthy makes for a more peaceful planet.
I think more airtime should be given to Donald Trump and Orly Taitz. They should run for office together. They should open for Charlie Sheen.
I think marriage is a boring and fault-ridden contractual obligation.
I think it’s important to have some documentation of the past.
I think it’s fantastic when the young enrage their elders. I really do believe that if it’s too loud, you are indeed too old, and that if it has been standing for too long, it needs a thorough inspection.
I think it is incumbent on anyone who can to lift human dignity to the highest possible levels, maintaining one’s own and helping to raise that of others.
I think about the meaning of pain. Pain is personal. It really belongs to the one feeling it. Probably the only thing that is your own. I like mine.
I think a lot of Americans have never been all that hungry. They’ve never had war on their shore, and they’ve never suffered the way other cultures have suffered. I’m not saying we should go suffer. Not at all. I’m saying we should be more aware of how other cultures exist.
I think Perry Ferrell put independent music on a very good path with Lollapalooza.
I think Naomi Klein was very astute with her book ‘Shock Doctrine.’ We make money on disaster.
I tend to gravitate to the darkest or most obscure part of any venue in an effort to have my own space to experience the music on my own, free from unwanted conversations and other distractions.
I take the work seriously, just not myself in it.
I still have dreams about CBGB’s. I still miss the place.
I spend several days at a time without enough sleep. At first, normal activities become annoying. When you are too tired to eat, you really need some sleep. A few days later, things become strange. Loud noises become louder and more startling, familiar sounds become unfamiliar, and life reinvents itself as a surrealist dream.
I remember when Martin Luther King was assassinated. I was up early watching television and watched the announcement. I didn’t understand what the word ‘assassinated’ meant.
I read a bit of Ray Bradbury when I was a younger man. I don’t read a lot of fiction anymore… like, none.
I plan to be a part of Haiti’s reconstruction and future.
I once asked Ozzy Osbourne, truly one of my favorite people in the world, if he was cool with singing Black Sabbath songs year after year, whether he was performing with Black Sabbath or out on a solo tour. He said it was great.
I never thought about getting any tattoos removed.
I never thought I was right for TV or that TV was right for me.
I never had any interest in being involved with the Boy Scouts.
I need to do things on my own, need to be left alone.
I mean I appreciate fan mail and that the people like what I am doing but I can’t answer it. If I would answer 25 letters a day I would be just a guy answering mail and not an artist anymore.
I mean Black Flag happened. I was lucky. I don’t think I could have put together something with one percent of that oomph on my own.
I love to go on stage and sing.
I love capitalism. It rewards me for being brave – it awards me for being innovative and thinking out of the box.
I love being a storyteller. I love telling stories.
I like boring black and white films with subtitles. I’m basically a drip.
I know that collector types can be a pain in the neck and seem perpetually frozen in time – or at least in their parents’ basement – but someone has to look out for the past, lest it slip away forever.
I know I was a generic dysfunctional child, but I think a lot of people are.
I just travel the world with my backpack and my cameras and a bunch of Clif bars.
I just get things done instead of talking about getting them done. I don’t go out and party. I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs and I’m not married, that leaves a lot of time for my work.
I have to do things for myself, and if those standards are set high, then it’s up to me to pass or fail.
I have not the smarts or patience for political office.
I have never experienced anything like walking out onto the stage of an oversold venue and, before the first note is struck, realizing that there is not going to be enough oxygen for all of us.
I have lived in public as a somewhat recognizable person since I was a teenager. Emails I answer end up posted on sites; pictures of me and someone I just met, taken by a cellphone, literally number in the thousands and are easily accessed.
I have healthy disagreements with political parties I’m not aligned with, but I don’t think it should be to the point where we’re cursing and trying to strangle each other.
I have had a number of less-than-enviable moments in my life when dealing with other people. I won’t attempt to blunt that by saying I am not the only one.
I have come to the conclusion that it’s a waste of time to have too much pride in anything. Perhaps it’s good to have a sense of duty, a jealous zeal to protect or improve, but pride ultimately is only that which stands vulnerable to offense and degradation.
I have come to regard November as the older, harder man’s October. I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures. It puts my mind in a different place than October. It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer’s death as winter tightens its grip.
I have been restless for as long as I can remember.
I have been listening to the Stooges’ self-titled first album for well over half my life, and it remains one of the most exciting and essential records I have ever had the good fortune to come into contact with.
I have been curious about Haiti for many years. The history of the country is as fascinating as it is turbulent.
I have been an XL fan of Devo since I was in high school in the 1970s. Their records only sound better with time.
I have always thought that change you can see and feel is best.
I have always maintained that Iggy Pop is the Heavyweight Champion of Rock & Roll.
I have always identified with Joan Didion’s depiction of Los Angeles and Southern California, ever since reading ‘Play It As It Lays,’ ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’ and ‘The White Album.’
I have a lot of compact discs. I need them for radio play and convenience. Many bands and artists I am a fan of don’t always release their work on vinyl, so I take what they feel like giving me.
I hate painting with a broad brush, but I think the birther thing, at its root, is racist. The guy was born in Hawaii. A black guy is president. It’s cool. Get over it. Just deal with it. There’s nothing you could show these birther people that would shut them up.
I guess, topic to topic, you could consider me a left-leaning person.
I get letters from young people telling me that they’re broke and download my albums for free. They ask me what I think about that. I now have a standard line. I tell them, ‘I would rather be heard than paid.’
I get angry about stuff, I get very emotionally intense about stuff and that’s how I get it out – with books, with the band, on my own onstage, but it’s always kind of a wail.
I get along with Australians really well. Everyone’s usually really cool, and it’s always a drag to leave.
I forged myself out of a vacuum. I crawl along the highway on hacked off stumps year after year. Some wonder how and why. I never do.
I find it takes a lot of strength to endure myself.
I don’t want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride.
I don’t want to fail the audience. I don’t want to let them down.
I don’t think you’ll ever have a perfect world because we humans are prone to error, and so we’re always in search of an upgrade.
I don’t need to have my convictions confirmed by a show of numbers. However, being among people in front of a band leads me to believe that all is not lost, that humans, now and then, can communicate on a higher level than the political and the practical.
I don’t mind bees and think we are all the better for having them around. I like the taste of honey.
I don’t mind The Boss. I think he’s an honest guy. I have some of his records, not all of them. I’ve met a couple of the E-Street guys, and they seem really cool.
I don’t mean to be arrogant and I really appreciate my fans but talking about what I am doing is not something I’m good at. I do what I do and that’s it. I want to get back to my work and do more of it instead of talking about it.
I don’t know if you have ever seen the Woody Allen film ‘Annie Hall,’ but it is, in a way, to Los Angeles and ‘Hollywood’ what ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ is to many musicians.
I don’t know if music has ever achieved anything past appealing to the people that it appeals to. If a song could stop a war, then Bob Marley and Bob Dylan songs would have stopped one or two.
I don’t know how much you follow current events. For some, there’s not enough time to keep up on what’s happening; for others, the news is too depressing, and peering too deeply fills one with boiling frustration all too quickly.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m willing to bet one of my arms right now that as long as there’s electricity, Ramones music is going to be relevant.
I don’t hate the government. I don’t think the Second Amendment is being infringed upon.
I don’t cuss in songs. It’s too easy.
I don’t believe it mattered to Timothy McVeigh who was president or who his congressional representative was when he blew up the Murrah Building in 1995.
I don’t believe in fate or destiny. I believe in various degrees of hatred, paranoia, and abandonment. However much of that gets heaped upon you doesn’t matter – it’s only a matter of how much you can take and what it does to you.
I contribute a large amount of money to the Southern Poverty Law Center, so I’m on their mailing list for all their Klan Watch newsletters. I’m very well aware of White Power movements in America.
I consider any gun that can chamber a round and send a projectile down its barrel at a high rate of speed into my body – causing me injury or death – to be an assault weapon.
I come from a town of great musicians: Washington, D.C. It’s no joke, that history.
I can’t remember that I ever had just a minute of stage fright.
I can only write about personal stuff, about my point of view.
I can deal with people who watch me on stage but I am not good in communicating with people any other way than through my work.
I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.
I believe that contentment or any sustained period of joy that doesn’t inspire thought that leads to action almost immediately is useless.
I am on until I am dead, like a light bulb.
I am not immune to the lure of a signed record, flier or set list. The fact that your music heroes potentially had, in their own hands, the record you now have in yours is kind of cool. When the musician has departed, it can give the thing a unique power.
I am neither pro- nor anti-gun. I am gun-conscious.
I am an optimist because I want to change things for the better and I know that blood has to be spilled and disharmony and cruelty are necessary to do that.
I am an employment hyena. I am happy to make a meal of what the lions leave behind.
I am afforded a bit of easy wonderment in relative comfort as to how humans have lasted so long. Climate- and geography-wise, the planet seems to have little use for us.
I am a veteran of the War on Christmas. I am just emerging from a battlefield strewn with dead trees and torn shreds of brightly colored wrapping paper.
I always start tours with a great deal of anticipation.
I always found the Chicago audience to be a smart, fast-moving, violent and cheerful lot, and it’s always good to be back.
Humans are pretty crafty but will fold quickly in severe cold.
Hope is the last thing a person does before they are defeated.
Having an identity is one thing. Being born into an identity is quite a different matter.
Have you ever heard the expression ‘one hot mess?’ I think the term was custom-made for the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford.
Harmony is boring.
Guns are part of the American identity.
Giving a good performance, giving it all is what it’s all about. I love to perform.
George Zimmerman is a foot soldier in a rapidly privatizing country. He is a new centurion of 21st-century America. Law enforcement is tied down by the strictures of, well, the law. There is only ‘so much they can do’ to take care of the ‘problem.’
For the last 30-plus years, I have been doing one long, uninterrupted improv.
For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.
For me, jazz will always be the soundtrack of the civil rights movement.
For me, Memphis has always been a city that holds a great deal of meaning and also leads me to a lot of thinking. Besides Sun Studio, which helped put rock n’ roll on the map all over the world, the legendary Stax Studio also called Memphis home.
For many, an album is no longer a considerable feat of an artist but just sounds to be half-listened to while one is halfheartedly engaged in something else.
For many years, my favorite director has been the Japanese giant Akira Kurosawa.
For many years, I tried to make New Year’s resolutions. I made lists and shot for great heights: I would show altruism and exert moral strength, patience and all those other great attributes.
For a long time, when I was very young, I went to go see arena rock bands. I was 16, and it was all I could get in to see, legally. And I saw Led Zeppelin and Ted Nugent and Van Halen and all that.
Football is at least as ‘gay’ as rugby, Greco-Roman wrestling and the film ‘300.’
Florida is a crazy place, and I have played some of the wildest shows of my life here.
Fish is the only kind of respirating thing that I consume. Everything else I don’t want any part of.
Everything I do, writing, touring, travelling, it all comes from the punk and hardcore attitude, from that expression – from being open to try things but relying on yourself, taking what you have into the battle and making of it what you will, hoping you can figure it out as you go. Make some sense of it.
Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a hopeless romantic who listens to love ballads and doo-wop songs all the time.
Every year, August lashes out in volcanic fury, rising with the din of morning traffic, its great metallic wings smashing against the ground, heating the air with ever-increasing intensity.
Every summer, around late July and into August, I find myself in Europe, performing at any festival that will have me.
Every single record I have is a fossil.
Every politician, every president gets votes by getting people that don’t like him to like him. That’s why politicians are slippery: because they talk out of both sides of their mouth.
Even though I am not hungry when I get up, I try to eat to get me ready for the day. Within an hour of getting up.
Enough Americans saw fit to give president Obama a second term. I don’t think there will be many people keeping their Romney/Ryan bumper stickers on their cars.
Edward Snowden, who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, professes to have had access to whatever he wanted to know about anyone’s anything. If he’s telling the truth, why does he have such permeability without any government oversight? Is that OK with you?
Early spring is the time for vigorous change, a preparation for the heat-driven oppression that is to come.
Each year, every city in the world that can should have a multiday festival. More people meeting each other, digging new types of music, new foods, new ideas. You want to stop having so many wars? This could be a step in the right direction.
Don’t do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts.
Do you know why Albert Camus was so prolific? He wrote to keep from screaming.
Dinosaur Jr. in their live capacity are a band that put me in a state of such overwhelming rock that it often takes quite a while to come down.
Death metal uses a lot of white face paint and black hair dye to make its point. I quite enjoy this genre for its intensity, extremism and underlying irony: You have to be alive to play it and listen to it.
Creating problems is easy. We do it all the time. Finding solutions, ones that last and produce good results, requires guts and care.
Could it be that violence is as much a part of the American identity as the Constitution, and a vital component to its economic stability?
Contemporary bands often will do tour-only releases pressed and sold only in Australia. Crikey!
Consumerism is at once the engine of America and simultaneously one of the most revealing indicators of our collective shallowness.
Collecting records is, for many, beyond a hobby.
Citizens United didn’t work. Hey, Koch brothers, Karl Rove, Shellgame Adelson: Democracy trumps money sometimes.
Chris Christie is New Jersey’s concern, not America’s.
Change is hard, but change is good.
Certainly, there are huge, multiplatinum bands whose singers command their audience’s attention. Sadly, much of the time they have little to say.
Castle Face Records, run by The Oh Sees main man, Johnny Dwyer is always worth checking in with.
Canadians are often a friendly bunch.
But I have a good life. I enjoy what I do. I am married to work.
Between the Dinosaur Jr. albums and his recent solo albums, ‘Several Shades of Why’ and ‘Heavy Blanket,’ J Mascis is emerging as one of the last men from all that ’80s indie madness, still writing songs that you want to listen to over and over.
Being unique is never easy, and often, by the time culture catches up with you, there are only a few people who notice.
Being in New York is an almost overwhelming experience. While Washington, D.C., is my favorite American city, I regard New York City as the most amazing city in the world. No other comes close. It is an incredible, inexhaustible engine.
Being an artist is dragging your innermost feelings out, giving a piece of yourself, no matter in which art form, in which medium.
Before the Civil War, the Southern states were selling a lot of cotton to England and didn’t seem to mind British occupation. By and large, the Revolutionary War wasn’t at all great for business.
Before any American points a finger at President Putin and calls him nasty names, they should recognize that a lot of Americans agree with Putin on his stance against homosexual and transgender people.
Barack Obama’s administration responded to the Haitian crisis within 24 hours. Here comes the soldiers, here comes the food, go go go… Rush Limbaugh told his multi-millions of listeners that Obama only did that to gain favour with black people in America. This is the kind of idiocy that I have to deal with in my country.
August, the summer’s last messenger of misery, is a hollow actor.
August used to be a sad month for me. As the days went on, the thought of school starting weighed heavily upon my young frame. That, coupled with the oppressive heat and humidity of my native Washington, D.C., only seemed to heighten the misery.
August in sub-Saharan Los Angeles is one of the great and awful tests of one’s endurance, sanity and stamina.
August brings into sharp focus and a furious boil everything I’ve been listening to in the late spring and summer.
At times, I feel America is something that I can actually put my arms around, more than a land mass and a Constitution, something far more containable and understandable. I don’t exactly know what it is, but at these times I feel completely woven into it.
As the middle class is predated upon with an ever greater malicious intensity, their children stand to lose more and harder than their parents ever did.
As so much music is listened to via MP3 download, many will never experience the joy of analog playback, and for them, I feel sorry. They are missing out.
As performers grow older, I reckon there are two ways they can go. They can either be up there, playing more deeply from their guts than ever, or they can be phoning it in so crassly that it leaves a lump in your throat as you leave the venue at the end of the show.
As long as I tell the truth I feel that nobody can touch me.
As far as I have been able to understand, the Japanese seem to keep things close to the vest. Friendly but remote and polite to the point of being invisible. It is in the music, literature, film and art that the Japanese really seem to express themselves.
As a young person, I was on the road playing music, so I was getting new environments shoved in my face whether I wanted them or not.
As a young person, I wanted everyone to agree with me.
As a young person growing up in Washington, D.C., summers were hot, humid and relentless. My friends and I grew more restless and adventurous with every passing year.
As a teen, I heard the second Velvet Underground album, ‘White Light/White Heat,’ and it was too much for my limited scope of appreciation. It was intense, but I didn’t get it.
Anything in this culture that stands still long enough eventually becomes okay if a person can derive an income from it. Eventually, pay-per-view public execution will happen, and it will be half-time entertainment.
And I love the hate mail I get, the unsigned, misspelled letters I get telling me to go back to Russia or wherever.
And I laugh at myself when I screw things up, which happens all the time.
Amy Winehouse was not a person I ever met, and I can’t say that I am overly conversant in all of her music. I do have her albums, and years ago, when I first heard her sing, I thought she was extraordinary. The tone of her voice, her phrasing, her raw appearance – these qualities were extremely captivating to me.
America’s foreign policy lacks the backbone to do the right thing in Afghanistan – which is leave.
America was cool with Saddam Hussein when he was killing Iranians.
America sold VX nerve gas and anthrax to Iraq for years, even after the Halabja gas attack, which killed thousands of Kurds.
America is off-the-hook gay. I will not go all Ann Coulter on you and say, ‘Our gays are better than their gays,’ but as far as countries go, we are in-your-face gay.
America is a country born from semi-mythologized blood, glory and acts of selfless patriotic sacrifice.
All my big heroes are literary, writers.
Airports in major cities, like LAX, are trippy environments. It is at once a national and international gathering of those in transition: The euphoric, emerging from planes, their journey at an end, and the determined, about to depart.
After I wrapped ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ I traveled by myself for ten weeks. I started in Jordan and finished in Mali, in Timbuktu.
After I left D.C. to join Black Flag, I felt I was in a band.
Adolescence is a plague on the senses.
A text conversation is a short exchange of often grossly truncated language that corresponds to a thought made all the more shallow by the process.
A lot of Americans don’t have a passport, never will have a passport. Not only will they not travel, they don’t want to travel.
A country that has been through as much as Vietnam has to have some crazy music somewhere.
‘The Great Gatsby’ is a book I have read a few times, and it seems to get heavier every time I come to visit.
‘SMiLE’ is perhaps the Beach Boys’ most legendary album. It was recorded in 1966 and 1967 but only saw a formal release in 2011. That’s a long time to wait for what was said to be Brian Wilson’s masterpiece.
‘Fox News’ will one day come to an end. Led Zeppelin will not. It’s as simple as that.
‘Duck Dynasty’ is a ridiculous show, and long may it wave. America and democracy will endure. They’ve seen a lot worse.

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