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Social Distancing With Henry Rollins: Staying Busy and Keeping Up With ‘Protein Listening’

“Be smart. Be kind. Stay safe,” the punk icon advises

Henry Rollins shares how he's been spending his time — and what's been on his turntable — during the coronavirus pandemic.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

As the world fights a pandemic, we’ve been reaching out to some of our favorite artists with three questions about these unprecedented times. Here’s what Henry Rollins — who’s been keeping up with his KCRW radio shows and recently put out the record-collecting ode Stay Fanatic!!! Vol. 1 — had to share via email.

What are you doing with your unexpected time at home?
Actually, my schedule hasn’t really shifted as I work in an office that’s in my home. I have a list of tasks that I do my best to execute. I get up and hit it. I live alone and don’t know many people so on a day-to-day basis, for the most part, my life goes on as normal. I had a trip to England cancel, as well as one to Uganda and one to Australia, which is a drag but understandable.

What music have you been turning to for solace (or at all) during the quarantine, and why?
I engage in two kinds of listening. Protein and carbohydrate. Protein is records I’ve never heard before, where I have to lean in and focus. Carbohydrate is music that’s familiar to me. Right now, I’m in a 90/10 protein-carbohydrate ratio. New records by Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, Coriky, Cold Beat, Wasted Shirt, Wolf Eyes, Crazy Doberman, Primo, and Lamps are all really good. I’m not really in need of solace. What you’re seeing right now is the truth of the USA, with exceptionally bad leadership at the executive level. The government is simply not up to the task of “being there” for all of the citizens. Any president in my lifetime would have handled this better than the current one.

Anything else you’d like to say to your fans right now?
I would say to any American that times are trying right now and that you’re absolutely going to be OK. Unfortunately, most elected officials are ineffective for reasons both in and out of their control. The USA will get through this in spite of the catastrophic shortcomings of the current administration. How? You. Your strength, compassion, smarts, cool, and tenacity will be what allows us to get control of this very real crisis. All is not lost. Not remotely. However, I think it will be with us for quite some time, and because we have an administration that’s clearly chosen Wall Street over Main Street, there will be some pain. Be smart. Be kind. Stay safe.