SMC — Former Black Flag frontman, spoken word artist and music guru Henry Rollins returns to Santa Monica’s KCRW this weekend with a two-hour show that will give new meaning to the word “eclectic.”
Rollins’ show, debuting Saturday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., features music diverse in both style and age, from Miles Davis’ “Holly-wuud” to African songstress Miriam Makeba.
“The spirit of the show is to go careening through a record store, which is what I do when I go to a record store,” Rollins said.
The program is similar to Harmony in My Head, a weekly show Rollins directed for five years on Indie 103.1, and independent radio station that recently began broadcasting purely over the Internet. In fact, the opening song on the playlist Saturday night is the Buzzcocks song from which the show took its name.
Though the venue has changed, the show is an organic outgrowth of Rollins’ varied musical tastes and utter disregard for convention.
“In Harmony in My Head, I would play the music I wanted you to listen to, and now I’m going to be doing that about 12 miles west of the Indie 103.1 building,” he said. “I don’t know what I would do differently and not feel that it was very forced or very canned.”
KCRW was happy to bring Rollins back and gave him the space he needed to craft a show entirely of his own making.
“Henry is an intensely passionate and outspoken personality with exceptional taste in music,” said KCRW Music Director and Morning Becomes Eclectic host Jason Bentley. “He lives and breathes the stuff, and I’m thrilled to welcome him to our Saturday night line-up.”
Rollins has some history with the station. In the 1980s, the host of KCRW’s show Snap, Deirdre O’Donoghue, took him under her wing and tutored him in the art of radio.
Rollins sees his return to the station as completing the circle of his career, although his former mentor passed away.
“To have my own show on KCRW … it’s interesting to come all the way back around,” he said. “I wish [O’Donoghue] could hear it. I think she’d like it.”
Rollins has been kicking Saturday’s playlist around on his iPod for the last few weeks, trying to make it the perfect debut for the new station. The vibe of KCRW is different, Rollins said, because it is listener-supported. Everyone involved with the broadcast, from sound engineer to contributing audience members has a stake in the station’s success.
“That’s the thing about KCRW,” he said, “it means something to people. So people care and so do I.”
For people who want to support KCRW and party too, the station is hosting a dance party called RadioActive on Saturday, April 11. DJs like Rollins, Bentley, Jason Eldredge and Liza Richardson will be spinning in four themed rooms.
KCRW members are invited to a pre-sale on Thursday, March 12 at 10 a.m. The public sale will start Tuesday, March 17 at 10 a.m.