Henry Rollins Paints Shirtless with The Shirtless Painter
This episode The Shirtless Painter is joined by the amazing musician, DJ, and animal rights activist Moby. Together they paint their very own trippy blacklight posters, proving once again that anyone can paint and anyone can paint anything!
- November 07, 2017
- 310k Views
November 07, 2017
- Hello, and welcome to another episode of,
yep, you guessed it, The Shirtless Painter.
Anyone can paint, and anyone can paint anything,
including my special guest, my good friend
and fellow artist, Moby.
- There are two things that are sort of incorrect
with what you just said.
- Please, yeah, let's break it down.
- Shirtless Painters.
- Welcome to
The Shirtless Painters.
- And the other is
I have a feeling we have the potential to be friends,
but we just met.
- So you said "My good friend"--
- My new acquaintance
who I just met a few minutes ago.
- And potentially good friend.
- And potentially good friend by the end of this,
fingers crossed, Moby.
There's a lot of problems in the world.
A lot of people disagree on a lot of things,
but I think there's one thing we can all agree on,
and that is that blacklight posters are cool.
So today, we're gonna paint our own blacklight posters
because honestly, I can't afford the high prices
of some of these store-bought ones.
So, let's jump right in.
- No blacklight poster in my mind
is complete without some sort of trippy alien.
I'm gonna just go ahead and get a trippy alien going here.
- Okay, you know, I actually was planning
on painting aliens as well,
so thank you for stealing my idea.
- You're welcome.
Did you ever own a blacklight poster?
And if so--
- What kind?
- Yes, as a matter of fact, I did, and it scared me.
It would have been, 'cause I'm old,
how old are you?
- It's never been discussed on the show,
but I'm somewhere between 20 and 50.
That's all I'll say.
- Okay, well I'm older than your age range.
- So in junior high school, before I became a punk rock kid,
I really wanted to fit in with the cool kids
and so I started smoking pot with them.
Well, I started stealing drugs from my mom
and giving it to the cool kids.
- As a way to endear myself
to the cool kids, but I also
listened to the music that they like,
which I've since come to really love,
but at the time that was like
Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin,
and I was 12, 13 years old, and if I'm being honest, like
Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin scared me.
- If you're just hearing that music for the first time,
it sounds like something that,
like a twisted wizard would listen to.
So I can only imagine--
- By the way, "twisted wizard" is not the name of a band.
It should be starting right now.
- It should be.
"Twisted Wizard", guys, let's look into if that's taken,
'cause we should at least squat on that name.
Get the website or something.
- Okay, so I tried to like that scary music,
which to be very clear, I have since come to love,
but at the time it scared me.
Right, you're just a boy.
- And so my first and only
blacklight painting was
do you know Led Zeppelin IV,
it's the guy holding the lantern.
Twisted wizard holding the lantern
and I had a blacklight poster.
I didn't have a blacklight.
I think I might have gone to the hardware store
to get a black light bulb, but that made it even scarier.
- Yeah, blacklight posters are, you know,
the effect on their own is pretty scary,
or, you know, exhilarating, depending,
and you know, once you'd flip on that blacklight,
all bets are off.
- So that was my blacklight poster.
And then I heard The Clash on the radio
and stopped trying to fit in with the cool kids,
and became a weird, depressed punk rock kid.
- As we all do.
Yeah, Joe Strummer,
he didn't have time for blacklights.
He was too busy of a guy.
- I've got a lot of Joe Strummer stories.
- What's he like?
- Well, he's dead now.
- He's dead, okay, we know that.
- It's one of the weirdest things
about being a sort of public figure musician,
is you get to meet and work with your heroes.
- So like, and this is like,
I'm just gonna name-drop if that's okay?
- Please, yeah, we encourage name-dropping on this show.
- So I went on tour with David Bowie, and--
- Heard of him.
- I sang a Joy Division song with Joy Division.
- And now you're here with me.
- Played jazz versions of Sex Pistols songs
with Steve Jones.
- But Joe Strummer,
so I met him the second or third time I played Glastonbury,
which is a huge festival in England.
And my percussionist was friends with him
and I went there and I was like,
"You're Joe Strummer, like, you started The Clash
"with Mick Jones and Paul Simonon and Topper Headon."
I think that was the drummer's name.
- And I assume when I'm meeting my heroes
is that they're gonna act like royalty,
because in my mind, they were.
So I met Joe, and he was just this happy,
ebullient, gregarious drunk.
- Good for him; he's earned it.
You know what, if anyone has earned the right to be drunk,
it's Joe Strummer.
- Someone brought me to like some after-hours event there
and like walked me through the kitchen,
I was very drunk and very high, to this disco.
I think it's called Smoke and Mirrors.
And I walked in and Joe was there
and the DJ was playing a Donna Summer song
and Joe and I saw each other and we yelled,
like, "Joe!" "Moby!"
and we hugged and we fell down on the floor,
and we're rolling around,
and we danced to this Donna Summer song
and told each other that we loved each other,
and that was the last time I saw him.
- Wow, well I think that's a pretty beautiful final memory
of old Joe.
If you meet your heroes, it's a crap shoot.
Like I was at a party recently and Neil Young was there.
- Oh, please, please, tell me this.
- And someone said, "Oh, do you wanna meet Neil Young?"
And I was like, "Of course I do," 'cause I love Neil Young.
- But then I thought, what if I get him on a bad day?
And what if he's a dick?
And then I lose 20 of my favorite songs of all time
for one five-second meeting.
- Did you opt to not--
- So I said no.
I'd rather go home and listen to After the Gold Rush
than get a handshake with Neil Young.
- I think in your case that might be smart,
because it sounds like you've had
enough positive experiences
that you're just begging for a let-down.
Well, there've been some either negative ones,
or just challenging ones, AKA, or i.e. Bill Clinton.
I loved him as President, but I saw him speak once,
and he re-litigated his Whitewater case for 30 minutes
and he was so angry and so bitter
that people were just walking out.
- Oh boy, Bill.
- [Moby] I was like, "Bill, "I loved you, Bill."
- Geez Louise.
Bill, you're still welcome on the show,
but come on, don't re-litigate--
- [Moby] And you were a great president.
- This is ancient history.
Don't try and re-litigate at this stage.
- Squatting down is tricky, 'cause I'm like
don't wanna look fat.
- That's okay; this is a body-positive show.
- You say that, but it's not really.
Like, you say that as--
- There you go.
- Like a really thin, healthy, in-shape person.
So it's like a hair model to say, like,
"Oh, any, like it's okay that you're bald."
It's like, "You're a hair model."
- Well, people have sounded off with all sorts of takes
on my body in the comments section.
Lots of creative criticisms
that I'd never even though of before.
- I learned something a long time ago.
Don't pay attention to comments.
Especially now that we know that like,
the really negative ones are people who are being paid by--
- Yeah, like, so now when someone,
if someone comments something really egregious,
I just say like, "I'm so happy for you
"that you have a steady job working for Putin and the FSB."
- Right, yeah, "How's the weather in Russia?"
That'll shut 'em up.
- When I learned not to look at comments
or take them seriously
was when someone commented on something,
this was a long time ago,
and they said that they were going to find me,
stab me, and watch me bleed to death on the street.
And I suddenly realized, like,
why would I hand my emotional wellbeing over
to a complete stranger who might or might not be real,
but if they're real, are a belligerent sociopath?
- That's a great point.
I feel like we've fostered a nice community
within The Shirtless Painter, you know, community.
Not to use the word "community" twice, but
you know, there are some bad apples in there,
and we see you guys, and you need to cut it out
or go back to Russia.
- [Moby] Yeah.
- Or if you're in Russia, come here,
and, you know, paint with us,
but stop the negativity for once.
- [Moby] Well, it's sort of that question,
like what do you wanna remember on your deathbed?
- [The Shirtless Painter] Right.
- And do you want to remember
spending time with friends and family
and trying to make the world a better place,
and doing interesting, creative things,
or going online and criticizing people you've never met?
- Right, getting a really good zinger in at,
you know, Kylie Minogue or something.
Not that I have anything to say about her, but--
- And the subtext of negative, trolling comments,
apart from being like an employee of the FSB, is that,
like the moment someone posts something really troll-y,
they're basically announcing to the world
that they hate themselves.
- Sort of a rubber/glue situation ultimately.
- Not to be confused with rubber cement,
but more rubber, "I'm rubber; you're glue."
- [Moby] Yeah.
- We all know the rest.
Just to bring you up to speed on what I'm painting here,
I'm just sort of,
I'm treating my blacklight poster
as sort of just like a get-together
for all the staples of a blacklight poster.
So you got a sorta trippy eyeball, a little alien.
I'm painting a peace sign now, but I'm giving him,
or her, a sort of Sorcerer's Apprentice
Mickey Mouse wizard outfit,
'cause we were talking about wizards just a minute ago.
- Hm, I think I screwed up a little bit.
Oh, no, I didn't.
I can use the trowel!
That's a great attitude.
I like to say on this program
there are no screw-ups, only pleasant whoopsies.
- Yeah, I feel like Bob Ross right now,
where it's like someone watching gonna be like,
"Oh, he ruined his painting."
And I was like, "Or did I?"
- Hm, I've never heard of him.
- So one thing I wanted to talk about
is a vegan festival that I've helped organize.
- Now, would this be the--
- Circle V.
- Circle V festival?
- So, and I'm gonna give a little bit of a shameless plug,
it's November 18th, if you're in downtown Los Angeles,
and all the profits go to benefit Mercy for Animals.
It's a farm animal welfare group.
And tons of people, like Reggie Watts is performing,
Davey from AFI; they have a band called Dreamcar.
Tons of speakers, different food trucks.
So November 18th.
You spend money to go to a festival
and all the good money goes to Mercy for Animals.
So by the way, what do you do
when you're not hosting Shirtless Painters?
- I usually just kinda go to sleep.
I live here in the studio
and I paint all day.
You know, I'll paint by myself.
But you know, when I'm not painting,
there's no windows in this room
and I do live here, so it's kinda just,
I just sorta naturally fall asleep
over in the corner there.
And then I sleep 14 hours or so and I'm rested
to start doing it again.
- So you're like a sloth, without any negative connotations.
- Yeah, no, I'm a proud sloth.
We're also sloth-positive on this show, so
any sloths watching, we honor you, and--
- How much do you know about sloth trivia?
- You know, I don't know too much.
I know they're sleepy and three-toed, but--
- Sometimes they move less than 18 inches a day.
- [The Shirtless Painter] Wow.
That's the life, man.
- And there are two reasons
why there are a lot of sloths in the world.
One is that because they don't move around much,
hunters don't see them.
- Oh, perfect.
- Two, because they don't move around much,
they get moldy, so when you're in the jungle
and you look up, the sloth has mold camouflage.
- And you probably don't taste too great, either,
if you're covered in mold.
And the third is their crazy claws hook into the branch,
so even if someone shoots them,
the claws keep them attached to the branch.
So I think in the rainforest, people know,
just don't kill sloths.
- Don't bother with sloths.
That's a great, you know, I admire that.
That makes me like sloths even more,
and I already liked 'em, you know, pretty well.
Tell me about this character that I'm seeing here,
'cause I've seen him, or her, before.
- [Moby] Okay.
- Years ago, in 1984, I dropped out of college.
I had been a philosophy major,
but then I started having crippling panic attacks
so I had to drop out of school,
and I moved home and I was sleeping on my mom's couch
and I was broke and anxious,
and I got a job at my local record-store-slash-head-shop
called Johnny's in Darien, Connecticut.
And I started working there,
and every single bag that left Johnny's
had to have a drawing on it.
And up until this point
I'd sort of left visual arts to my family.
You know, my mom a painter, my uncle a sculptor,
my other uncle was a photographer for the New York Times.
My grandmother was a painter.
So like, I did music; they did visual arts.
But then I started working at this record store,
and so I started drawing him and then, her, it,
- Thank you.
- So then when I started making records
I would go out into the world
and oddly enough, every now and then
someone would want an autograph.
And I felt really cheap and crappy
just going like
And so I started drawing this guy, girl, it,
and I started using it in videos
and putting it on t-shirts
and so he, she, it has taken on a life of their own
and it helps, because it's the only thing
I know how to draw.
- And do they have a name, or any kind of,
has there been any kind of backstory
or anything developed over the years?
- The name is Little Idiot.
Just sort of--
- Whoa, Moby.
- Well, 'cause I'm little
and I'm not very smart, so it's not--
- Oh, so this represents you?
This is sort of a stand-in for you?
- Yeah, an avatar almost.
- An avatar.
It's not just a film.
- Yeah, so that's the Little Idiot.
- I encourage everyone at home
to take a page from Moby's book
and use this as an opportunity to think of your avatar.
I mean, what, you know,
think of a fun little character, you know?
You could send him or her or it on adventures,
or you know, sign your checks with this character.
- Just send it in lieu of money on your tax return.
- Sure, yeah.
The government will appreciate it.
- [Moby] Yeah.
- And if they don't, screw 'em.
You know, I'm not big on taxes.
- [Moby] If you have jury duty, just send it.
- Yeah, send a little hand-drawn doodle,
and then they'll understand.
I'm officially endorsing that move.
- I had an ex-girlfriend, this was pre-sobriety,
and she worked in a marijuana dispensary.
And before I got sober I loved alcohol and drugs.
Marijuana, AKA pot--
- AKA ganja, AKA grass.
- Jazz cigarettes.
- Jazz cigarettes.
- You know, it's the only drug I've ever done
that I didn't like.
- Now here's a question:
were there any blacklight posters around when you did it?
I would go to like,
my friends had older brothers
listening to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin,
and they would have like bongs and shag carpeting
and blacklight posters, and I pretended I was okay with it.
- And the truth is
I was terrified, AKA the story of my entire life
up until this point.
- Speaking of drugs, just adding a little mushroom here,
just because it feels like that's--
- Looks a little bit more like a lotus root
from a Chinese restaurant, but--
- And you know what?
That's actually what it is.
- It's like a pacifier for a baby,
but it's a psilocybin mushroom.
- Right, see, that's the suck end,
and that's sort of the decorative outside
and then the baby has a fun little, you know.
- There are anthropologists and ethno-botanists
who believe that mushrooms and organic psychedelics
are what sort of like gave us
that 2001 obelisk consciousness moment.
- Hm, interesting.
- Like, before that
we were scared apes, and then we had psychedelic drugs,
and our prefrontal cortex just expanded.
- [The Shirtless Painter] Just opened right up.
I gotta say,
even though I'm sober,
as I age I could make exceptions
for some organic psychedelics 'cause they're pretty special.
- It's just like stuff that you put on a salad.
It's growing out of the earth.
- It is if you think about it.
Like the first time I did mushrooms, it was so odd.
I was like, "Okay."
And think about the logic of this.
There's a plant, a little mushroom,
about the size of my pinkie
and if it's growing, I can stand an inch away from it
and I'm not breaking any laws.
I can put my finger on it,
and I'm not breaking any laws.
- Still clean.
- The moment I pluck it, I've suddenly committed a felony.
- [The Shirtless Painter] You're in possession
at that point.
- But then if I put it in my mouth,
I haven't broken any laws.
- It's a very interesting web we weave.
I'm just gonna add a little bit
of glowing sorta highlights to your Circle V here,
just so everyone can really remember that it's coming up.
There's one thing I always like to add,
and that is my wife.
So I'm gonna go ahead and add my wife here.
- Oh, you have a wife?
- I do have a wife, though she sort of is a shape shifter.
- She's a human wife?
- Today she's gonna be a skull.
A glowing skull.
- I have crippling attachment issues,
so I can't even have relationships.
But thanks for asking.
- No, any time.
All right, so I'm just adding my wife's sort of skull here.
Add the lower jaw.
And she's sort of a happy skull, of course,
happy to be involved, in such good company.
- [Moby] What's your wife's name?
- Not Aleister?
- [The Shirtless Painter] Nope, just Darden.
- Speaking of Aleister Crowley,
so he was part of sort of a gnostic,
- He was a British writer
and he inspired a lot of 20th century gnosticism
The reason I mention him
is 'cause he had a huge role to play
in a weird way, tangentially,
with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles.
- Aleister, you dog, you.
- The man who started the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
and I feel a little bit like post-modern Rain Man right now,
but was this guy Jack Parsons.
And Jack Parsons was an early 20th century rocket scientist
and his rocket technology helped the Allies
win World War Two, and he helped NASA set up
the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
But when he wasn't doing that,
he was also an Aleister Crowley devotee
and practiced gnostic sex magic.
- Wow, sex magic.
And, going even deeper,
one of his early acolytes was L. Ron Hubbard,
and L. Ron Hubbard was kicked out
of Jack Parson's Aleister-Crowley-worshiping-sex-magic cult
'cause he was too unhinged.
- So he had to start his own.
- So then, yeah, he was like, yeah, like "(bleep) you guys;
"I don't need your stupid Aleister-Crowley-sex-magic cult.
"I'll go start my own."
- But you know he was bummed.
You know, I mean, take it from me,
it never feels good to be kicked out of a sex-magic cult.
- And then Jack Parsons exploded.
Not like in a sort of like, "Oh, my shit's exploding."
- He blew up.
- "And blowing up."
And "Buy my records."
It's more like he actually literally exploded.
- And no-one knows
if it's 'cause he was experimenting with jet fuel
or spontaneous combustion for like,
involving chemical elements.
- Now, I didn't wanna copy you by doing stars,
but I did wanna do a bunch of little tiny glowing things,
because I think it'll look cool,
so I did a bunch of question marks,
as though maybe the Riddler kinda came in
and did a pass at this painting.
Moby, when you're like in your office, or working,
and you throw a wadded up piece of paper
across the room into the wastepaper basket,
do you ever kinda go, "Moby!"
You know, like how people say "Kobe"?
- Kobe's a sportsperson, right?
- He's a sportsman.
And people sometimes go, "Kobe!"
But I think it could be kind of a fun opportunity for you
to say "Moby" when you do that.
- I would rather say "Kobe,"
because my friend Wiley has this amazing old chihuahua
- Oh, okay.
- Who wears like an LA Lakers jersey
and is just one of my favorite creatures on the planet,
so I would say "Kobe"--
- But it would be understood that you're talking
about a small, elderly dog.
- I'm gonna do something really terrible.
I'm gonna ruin my painting.
- Okay, so I gotta ruin my painting quick.
- "I am become death."
- [Moby] Yeah.
- [The Shirtless Painter] That was said by the inventor of--
- Well, to quote Robert Oppenheimer,
who did an interview after he invented the,
really one of the people who helped
with the Manhattan Project
to invent the nuclear bomb,
and there's this, it's the greatest thing
on the internet on the YouTubes.
It's an interview with him,
and he's sort of looking below the camera,
and he says, "Some of us wept; some of us prayed."
And he said, "And I thought of the verse
"from the Bhagavad Gita where
"Vishnu reveals his multi-armed form to someone,
"and says 'I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.'"
I don't really know anything about the Bhagavad Gita
except from that Robert Oppenheimer quote.
- It sounds pretty fun.
I mean, I would check it out.
Okay, while you're doing that,
I'm just gonna take the opportunity
to sort of add,
I'm gonna add a little rainbow here,
and I'm gonna kind of--
- [Moby] Okay, we're going in very different directions.
- I'm gonna add it all in one swoop.
- Okay, while you're doing that, I'm just gonna touch up.
- Great, well, I think we got
a couple of great-looking blacklight paintings on our hands.
But a blacklight poster is only as good
as how it stands up to a blacklight,
so what do you say we get to it and see how these--
- Yeah, how about, but
do we want to have sound effects
when the blacklight goes on?
- Oh, definitely.
We're gonna have tons of sound effects.
- But we should do them.
- Okay, cool, yeah.
Sort of maybe psychedelic,
trippy sound effects?
- Okay, all right.
So let's go ahead and--
(The Shirtless Painter and Moby vocalizing)
♫ Take your trip through the galaxy
♫ Then you'll find a new reality
♫ Who are you
I'm surprisingly pleased with my painting.
I don't mean to toot our own horns here,
but I will say, these things look sick as (bleep).
- Yeah, like yours just screams 1973 head shop.
Mine just screams someone with attachment issues
who spends way too much time by himself.
- Well, Moby, I just wanna thank you so much
for stopping by and sharing this trippy experience
with me today.
It was a pleasure,
whoa, check that out.
It was a pleasure painting with you and chatting with you,
and to all of you at home,
if you would like to see more of Moby
and experience some other cool people and things,
listen to the blacklight poster
and check out the Circle V event which is coming up.
- November 18th in downtown Los Angeles.
- Thanks for joining us today on The Shirtless Painter.
I encourage you to get out there, create your own avatar,
use it to sign your checks, and you know,
if you wanna send it in lieu of money to the IRS,
then go ahead and do it.
We'll see you next time.