Part 3 of Henry’s 2009 Interviews
To me, your creative output represents growing up really well, you start out super pissed off, everything was black and white back then. Your early writing is the angriest stuff ever and it’s like you hate everything, even yourself. Then as you get older it becomes self effacing and humorous etc, are there any things you would tell your 19/20/21 year old self, that might have made his ride a little easier?
==== Not really. I think one should process all this stuff, learn all the lessons and make ones own way. Making the ride easier would have been the wrong thing to do. Those were some good times. Advice isn’t always a good thing.
What were your 5 favourite records when you were 21 and what your five favourites now?
==== The Black Album by The Damned, Diminished Responsibility by the UK Subs, Generation X by Generation X, Fun House by The Stooges, Psychedlic Jungle by The Cramps. It is impossible to make a definitive top anything. I like all kinds of music so I really can’t do it. Those were records I played a lot in those days. I still listen to all of them. Some of my favorites now are Here Come The Warm Jets by Eno, Primary Colours by The Horrors, Beyond by Dinosaur Jr., The Devil You Know by Heaven & Hell and Et Cetera by Flin Flon.
Tell us a bit about the Fanatic book series, have you read 31 songs by Nick Hornby? I like how a life can be mapped by the records listened to during that life.
==== The Fanatic! books are just a middle aged man making a fanzine. They were fun to write and many people have written me and said they liked them. They are endless collections of annotations of songs. I have never read the Hornby book. I read one of his books many years ago and really liked it.
What attracted you to punk rock, as prep school kid?
==== That someone was angry and on a record. Nothing unique there. I was relieved that there was someone awake out there. It was the music I had been waiting for all my life.
What is private school like in America? I went to a strict all boys boarding school here and was once asked to remove a Metal Hammer poster of the Rollins Band from my wall, as it was considered to send out the wrong message to perspective pupils that often toured the boarding house.
=== My private school experience wasn’t all that bad. I went to a prep school where they had me in a uniform. Most of my instructors were ex military but cool enough. Basically, if you did your homework, they left you alone. I kid of ghosted through school. Never really a part of the place.
Where you an awkward teen/bad with girls/arguing with parents/pimply face and all that?
==== I was unable to connect with women but my skin was clear and didn’t fight with my parents. I spent a good deal of time away from them. I would work after school and on the weekends. I had my own life very early on. I wasn’t part of their lives and they weren’t part of mine. I was incredibly awkward, that hasn’t changed much.
Why did you drop out of college?
==== I went for a single semester. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like being around my fellow students and their love of beer, pot and parties, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pay for four years of it either. Just the one semester cleaned me out. I don’t think I even showed up for some of the exams. I knew it wasn’t me.
A lot of people, authority figures and such, would have considered punk rock to be a bad influence, but to you it was clearly a motivator and an inspiration for a killer work ethic, why do you think it inspired you and continues to inspire kids? I kind of feel sorry for kids today (myself included!) who weren’t there from the start
===== I think the music allows you to work things out. You can really bring things to a boil. It’s a place to go with all that anger. Better than crime, better than drugs. I already had the work ethic. I don’t think it matters when you were born or when you got into the music. You missed some good shows but there’s good shows happening next week so it’s cool.
What was it like to be involved in something like the DC scene? Did you know it was the start of something so important?
==== I can tell you what it was like to be in the DC scene. When I was there, things were small and that was pretty cool. You could walk up to the front of the stage and be close up on the band. I used to watch the Bad Brains and The Cramps, bands like that, from a few feet away, get sweated on by Dee Dee Ramone, etc. Those were really good times. Also, I had a feeling that we were really onto something. I was at the first Minor Threat show and knew that this was more than a band and some fans. I was right about that. It was a great thing to be in and a small part of.
What made you take the leap from listening to records in your room to deciding to get out there and do it yourself?
==== A true desire to be that guy with the microphone onstage. I wanted to yell and go nuts. Punk Rock made me think that was possible.
What do you think of today’s hardcore bands? Are there any bands, hardcore or otherwise, around today that you think come close to the spirit/energy of the earlier eighties? What do you think sits in the place of hardcore for the kids today? Surely there’s always going to have to be a space for pissed off smart kids to vent?
===== I don’t think it’s right to compare and contrast really. I think it’s best to let bands be in their own time. I was lucky to be young at a time when great bands were all around. There are great bands now. I think the one thing that has changed over the years is that a lot of the music form and behavior has become ritualized and formulaic. This leads to stagnation and a lack of spontaneity. I think young people find their way no matter what though and there’s some great, innovative music happening now. I am not well versed in what is considered Hardcore these days. The stuff I have been checking out by young people is more on the strange and noisey side of things.
What was touring like back then in those unenlightened times? One of my favourite stories in American Hardcore is about Teen Idles visiting Disney Land and haggling with the guard there about your Mohawk… You got any other good ones? No one eats dogfood anymore…
===== It was Jeff and Nathan who had the hair that set off the guards. Those times were very challenging. The path wasn’t cleared so many bands had to go into a sometimes hostile envionment to do their thing. Venue owners who hated the bands, the police who didn’t get it, the locals who wanted to kick some ass, all of this made for some eventful nights to say the least. I didn’t enjoy that aspect of it very much. I got in a lot of fights, got banged up pretty good, hurt some men pretty badly as well.
Why did you feel you wanted to start 2.13.61? What made you want to write as a younger man?
=== I wanted my own little company to put out my dumb little books. I wasn’t looking for approval from anyone so I started it myself. I was inspired to write by Henry Miller and his book Black Spring. That one had a big effect on me. I was writing purposfully before I read that one but he really gave me a shot in the arm.
You used to take a skateboard on tour, where you ever much good? What did you love about skateboarding?
===== I don’t believe I did. We had one at SST that Stacy Peralta gave me after mine was stolen but I don’t remember taking it on the road. I skated very intently from 14 to 18 and some after that. I was never any good at it though. I had a lot of fun. I liked the indepence the thing gave me. It was the way we hung out back in those days.
I read an interview in a skate zine with Ian Mackaye, who said he still skates occasionally, you ever get tempted?
Do you have any advice for DIY zine makers today? Do you write a blog?
==== I don’t have any advice besides to just write as much as you can. I write for VanityFair.com and on my own site.
How is your relationship with the police these days? It used not to be so great.
==== I am not a criminal so if all things are right, they have no reason to give me any special attention. I am left alone by law enforcement.
You’ve done a lot of stuff for the West Memphis 3, what’s their current status? Do you have a good relationship with those guys and what are they like as people?
==== They are still in prison. They are good people and in my opinion, totally innocent of the charges.
What’s up with gay rights in America? How are you involved?
==== I am an American who believes in The Constitution. If you are gay and want to be married to a person of the same sex, I don’t see what the problem with that is. That’s what’s up. I am involved basically as a straight male who thinks it’s unfair that people are discriminated against because of something that is out of their control and no harm at all.
What is the work you are most proud of?
=== I don’t do pride.
I just read the transcript of your speech you gave a few days ago at Sonoma State (wikipedia is great), it’s stirring stuff! You got any general messages for the kids of today?
===== Be part of the solution, think globally. Get out there.
01. How are you?
==== I am over budget, behind schedule, underachieving, a little stressed. Past that, pretty good.
02. We hear you’re doing some kind of sitcom called Sons Of Anarchy, how’s that?
======= It’s going well. We’re about 5 episodes into the 13. I am not in every one of them and I never know if I am in the next one until I see the script a few days before they shoot. I never know when my last week is. It is a very good show and the cast and crew are all very cool people and extremely talented. It’s hard to keep up with them.
03. You may have noticed while in Australia that we don’t get the most comprehensive news down here so can you give us an idea what the political climate over there is like after Obama’s first hundred days of presidency?
====== It seems that president Obama can’t satisfy anyone. The people who voted for him are mad that he’s not doing this or that enough, spending too much here, not moving fast enough there, etc. Personally, I don’t understand his bailout of the automotive industry. I am sorry to see all those good men and women hit the streets unemployed but if these companies can’t keep up, then they should go under, like mine would if it didn’t earn out. I wish he wouldn’t devote so much troop strength and money to Afghanistan, I see that as a long time loser for every one who has fought there. I do think he has good ideas. Now, the people who didn’t vote for him are awfully angry. For all kinds of reasons. If we are to believe the things people say online, he’s black, that’s a problem. His wife is as well and constantly gets compared to a gorilla or someone from the film Plant Of the Apes. Nice. These are the people I share a land mass with. They call the president a socialist, communist, Marxist, etc. They seem to have short and selective memories. They don’t remember that they had their guy in office for 8 years and a lot of people died and many are now broke. President Obama is somehow magically at fault for this. Apparently his speech in Cairo was a failure and we’re all unsafe now. This is what I have to listen to all the time. The very loud minority in America are quite an embarrassment to those of us who are not addicted to pain pills and who actually read.
04. I’ve heard you speak a lot about your musical heroes like Iggy, Paul Fox, Coltrane and Hubert Selby Junior in regards to writing but is there anyone you looked up to for the strength of character and the serious zero bullshit tolerance that you’ve always had going on?
==== Ian MacKaye and Muhammad Ali.
05. I went to your (awesome, Melbourne three and a half hour) Provoked show last year, and spent the afternoon before hand checking out old interviews with you online. I was so struck by the vast difference between the younger Henry and the benevolent, optimistic force you were on stage – Is it okay to ask what might have changed?
===== Perhaps some more laps around the track, more experience, more interaction with the world. That would be my guess, seems logical. It’s not a conscious decision on my part to end up a certain way. I have noticed that ever since I started earning enough money to sustain myself, I have been able to do more for others.
06. Do you get to see much live music these days? Is there anyone you recommend we look out for?
===== I see shows when I can. I just saw The Meat Puppets play the other night, they were very good. I have tickets to see Dinosaur Jr. play two nights next week. Sleepy Sun is a new band that is getting a lot of notice. I imagine they will be on your shore at some point.
07. When are you coming back to Melbourne?
===== I believe it’s next year, near the time of the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
You can download photos at http://www.threeam.net/rollins/. Photo credit: Maura Lanahan.
1) What first made me a fan of yours was the anger and intensity of the music. You could hear that this wasn’t fake. Was punk just in you?
==== I was a very angry person and that music helped my scream find a mouth, so to speak. I think you will find that in a lot of people no matter what kind of music they gravitate to. When I first heard The Ramones, The Clash and bands like that, I knew my boat had come in. Before that, it was all Ted Nugent and Van Halen. They weren’t bad but they weren’t mad like I was.
2) What motivated you then? And what motivated and influences you now?
===== I am motivated now by the same things I have always been. Anger, curiosity. When I was younger, there was a lot more me me me and as an older person, I think more of we we we.
3) You’re a very physical performer. After seeing you live I couldn’t believe how much you put into every performance. What is the live performance to you?
===== Live performance is everything. It’s what you practice for, train for, etc. It’s an obsession for me, always has been. Black Flag had a very strong emphasis on the live show, that was all we were about. That’s what I know to do. That’s the thing that will keep you out there, you have to be able to deliver over and over, year after year, no matter what. It takes a good deal of my time.
4) Can you tell me a little about your publishing company 21361? Is literature a big thing in your life?
====== My publishing company is very small and at this point, just puts out my stuff and takes care of keeping my stuff in circulation. I used to publish other people’s stuff but I don’t anymore. I would rather work with less people and work harder on less things. Literature is a big part of my life although I don’t read a great deal of it anymore. I read mostly nonfiction but most of my heroes are writers of literature, F Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Camus, people like that.
5) Black Flag and Rollins band always had great artwork going on. Are there any artists that you like and why?
==== It’s not a world I know much about really. I can’t list ten contemporary artists. It’s just not a direction that I ever looked in. I don’t go to many museums and when I do, it’s usually to see something ancient, like in Cairo or somewhere like that. My favorite painter is Francis Bacon because I think he paints people very clearly.
6) Reading your notes about touring it seems real intense. How does touring take it out of you?
===== It’s pretty much my life so it’s how I relate to the world and to my life. I know who I know and live how I do on and off the road because of my life on the road. When I am not touring, I feel like I am on shore leave. It’s not good. Touring has its effects. It can limit your view of things and it can lead to stagnation. It’s a ritual and it doesn’t change all that much day to day, year to year. My tours often go almost a year and a half. There are breaks between legs of the tour and usuallly I go somewhere for awhile to recharge, like last year, I spent a lot of time in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Burma.
7) Do you think you’ve mellowed at all with time. Or have you just learnt to direct your intensity and drive?
===== I think I come at all things with a wider lens from having been around the track a few more times since I was young. I still work every day but some things that used to get me angry don’t any more. Like if someone tears me a new one in a review or something, I don’t care but when I was younger, I would all mad about it.
8) What does punk rock mean to you?
======= Thinking for yourself. That’s the main thing I learned from all that.
9) Finally, as this is Good vs Evil, can you tell me what for you is Heaven and what is Hell?
==== Heaven is sleep and as Jean-Paul Sartre said, Hell is other people.
Also, if it’s okay, can I send you a paper copy of my magazine?
1. You are committed, what is not really surprising in the hardcore scene, you supported the “West Memphis 3” and released an album (‘Rise Above’) with covers of black flags songs with several artists, why supporting these three teenagers?
Could you tell me more about the making of this album and how the choice of artists came to you?
======= I believe that Jason, Jesse and Damien are innocent. I wanted to be of help. We made the record with the help of a lot of people. I called up people who I thought would either know about the case and want to help or want to learn about the case and want to help. Thankfully, many of the people we called already knew about it and threw in quickly. The album was a lot of work as the singers had to come in from everywhere. Sometimes we sent the tapes to them. It was more time spent on the phone than I have ever experienced. I think we made a good album and we raised a lot of money and gave it to the WM3.
2. How did you decide to tour with the United Service Organization and join the IAVA, while you seem to be all but patriotic?
========== You are wrong. I am patriotic. The American military got used as employees for corporations under Bush. I was glad to be able to visit the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. I learned a lot from those trips that helped me refine my views on the Bush administration. IAVA is doing the work that the VA isn’t doing, they are a very good organization working to make things better for these kids when they come home with their heads screwed up. So, now that we have your error cleared up, my decision to work with these two organizations was immediate as it’s the right thing to do.
3. Being French I was wondering what your opinion is on our French president Nicolas Sarkozy, how do you feel about Barack Obama, do you have any expectations?
==== I have no opinion on Sarkozy. I think president Obama has inherited a nightmare and will have to work very hard to neutralize the harm done by the past administration. That might very well be all he gets done in the 4 or 8 years he has. I have no expectations. The path he is on is very steep.
4. You are at the moment touring with your spoken words, did you to choose to perform on stage because you missed it or is it a different way of voicing your beliefs?
===== I have been doing talking shows since 1983. It is a great way to be very current and it corresponds very closely to how I live my life at this point.
5. You will be playing in Belgium for the Werchter festival on July 3rd, why did the singer of Black Flag accept to be part of such a festival, knowing it’s not really underground but very popular?
====== That is a stupid question. Are you stupid? Here’s a smart answer to your stupid question: it’s a great opportunity to perform and to be heard.
6. I saw you will appear in “Sons of Saturn” for their second season, you are playing a neo nazi, why did you accept the role and what did you do to fit it?
======= I don’t know about that but I will be in a show called Sons Of Anarchy. I took the role because the guy is very conflicted and interesting and it’s fun to be a bad guy. I didn’t really do much to fit the part but get a haircut.
7. “A preferred blur” will be released in september, could you tell us a bit more about it?
==== It is travel journals of mine from the year of 2008.
I would really like to see Deathdealer: A Documentary. I searched for it in some movie webshops, the only result I’ve got was a book about Rudolf Hoss, that nazi-dude… We want to see Deathdealer in a Swedish theater soon. Can you fix that?
===== I was told the thing is on I-Tunes. It’s only 12 minutes or so. It’s pretty cool.
I haven’t been able to find out if the movie Suck will be distributed to Swedish theaters. Let’s hope for the best. But it seems to be nice a nice mix of fun and horror. And I can think of a lot more boring colleagues to work with than Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper. Do you have any anecdotes to share with us?
====== I was on the set very briefly. I am in one short scene that takes place in a radio station. It’s not much but it was a lot of fun to do. I think it will be good when it comes out. I didn’t see any of the famous rockstar cast though.
In the movie Feast your character Coach really deliver some funny lines. Have you always considered yourself to be a funny guy?
===== No. Humor finds me now and then. It’s nothing I try all that hard to do because I think it wouldn’t work too well if I was reaching for it. Sometimes, if I can see the humor in a situation, I can get it to work. The character in that film was such a jerk, it was pretty easy.
If Coach is a very soft guy, your character Dale Murphy in Wrong turn 2: Dead end is a little tougher. Cannibalism seems to be a nice ingredient in horror movies, that’s understandable for obvious reasons. What else do you think a horror movie must contain?
======= Some level of believability, something that makes sense to suspend my disbelief and allow me to go along for the ride.
In the movie mentioned above, did you perform stunts yourself? Not many spoken words in that movie…
======= Yes. We worked really hard on all that and it hurt plenty.
What are your favorite horror movies, and why?
========== I am not an expert on the genre by any means but I like Night Of The Living Dead because of the black and white low budget-ness of it. I have seen it a few times and the night shots are really creepy.
I think one of the memorable episodes of The Henry Rollins Show is the interview with Prince of Darkness, the lovely Ozzy Osbourne. You seem to be well prepared for everything; do you ever feel insecure when being the interviewer instead of the other way around?
======== No. But only because I prepare a lot. I have known Ozzy for a long time and he’s one of the better people you will ever meet. Interviewing people like Werner Herzog had me a little stressed beforehand but like I said, I had prepared and was good to go when he walked in.
H for Hunger is in post-production, is that correct? And Under the Radar: Burma? I get a feeling this might be a project of several films about the repressive regimes of The Third World? I can imagine that it can be pretty difficult to make those films… I’d like to know about your work here.
======= The one about Burma may very well come out some day but I won’t be in it. As far as H For Hunger, we shot that about a year ago in Thailand. It’s a lecture on work famine, delivered by me. It’s a good piece of work. The director wrote it, so it’s his good writing that makes it happen. I was just the mouthpiece. I was glad to have been a part of it as I think it’s a good thing.
Finally, I have so many more questions for you. Your Spoken Word Show of course. I’m looking forward to see it in just a few days. I hope I can get back to you sometimes. It would be nice to get an interview with another approach and perspective.
===== Sure, further on down the road, we can do something, thanks for the interest.
1. How important do you think it is for a young person to develop a political opinion?
======= I think that with the world facing an ever decreasing amount of natural resources, like drinkable water in Australia, that young people should understand how the world works, how their food comes to them, what the expense is of other countries and peoples, etc. Young people don’t stay young all that long and they will be of voting age sooner than later, they should have an opinion. It’s no big deal, it’s only the future of the country they’re living in, you know, the small stuff.
2. Apathy is a large problem in America, and in Australia we are seeing a decline in voting enrollments amongst young people, explain your thoughts on this issue and why youth appear to be so disassociated from politics?
======= That may be true in Australia but in the last two presidential elections in America, I don’t think that is the case. I believe that the last election had a profound spike in young people voting. Obama’s sweeping victory is in large part, due to that. I think that political matters might not appeal to young people because at that time, they are busy being young and enjoying life, as they should. Politics has always been sold as an adult’s thing, not for the youth. I think this is good marketing but the wrong way to go. Many of these matters, the way they’re pitched, don’t seem to be relevant to a young person but the fact is, they are very relevant and should be paid attention to. It’s a bunch of self-serving adults dictating your future, you don’t want to have an opinion about that? When you think about it in that way, it’s all very different.
3. Do you see political satire as having importance within a democracy? i.e.. ‘Freedom of opinion and expression.’
======== Absolutely. It keeps things fair and in the light of day. It allows for perspectives to come through without anyone losing their heads or their jobs.
4. Statistics reveal that more American youths gain information from the satire program, “Late Show with Jon Stewart” as opposed to other new outlets. Through primary research I have conducted, I have see parallels of behavior occurring in Australia. What implications does this have on the information gained by youth?
===== Well, I guess they like to laugh. I think Jon quite often gets to more of the truth than actual news outlets. With comedy, he is allowed to be very honest and direct. I don’t think Jon Stewart should be your only place to get information and I am sure he would agree emphatically with that. It’s certainly a venue but it’s a short show and there are things happening all over the world and some really good writers out there who are putting out a lot of things worth reading and learning from. I get most of my news in written form.
5. Many youth do use satire as an alternative news source. Do you think that political satire provides, accurate accounts / information or is a good foundation for youths to base their opinions on?
====== Ultimately, no. I think you should base your opinions on the clearest versions of the events you can. Past that, you can have a good time intellectually with satire and comedy but it’s not the do all and end all of information gathering.
6. Do you think that it is important for youth to view political satire and receive multiple viewpoints on issues other than mainstream news? What advantages would come from this?
====== I think young people, any people, should get perspectives from every possible angle. The advantage is to know where everyone is coming from, at least trying. A neo-nazi has a point of view. I am sure I don’t agree with it but I need to hear his way of thinking to be sure. Also, it’s interesting to see that in many cases the frustration is very real, but the way of dealing with it is skewed. “These Pakistanis come into our country and take all of our jobs.” The guy is saying that there is an unemployment problem. Blaming it on immigrants is really not the answer. Why is this my opinion? Because I do the reading.
7. Do you see any effects being brought about youths who rely on political satire as an only means of accessing information. Eg. development of cynicism towards politics or possibly the development of an interest in politics, (as in my case).
======== I think relying on any one source for information can only lead to cynicism and a limited view.
8. How do you see the future of satire? What new forms will it take? What audiences will it appeal to? etc.
========== It has been with us since the Romans at least and will always be there in every barber shop, pub and anywhere else.
1. You’ve gone through two seasons of your talk show—with a third season hanging in the balance.
a). Do you think you’ll get picked up for a third season?
==== We did not.
b). Many guests seem to be acquaintances from over the years. Assuming you enjoyed everyone’s presence, who do you feel you learned the most from and why?
======= I can’t say there was any one person who I learned the most from. Everyone was, in my opinion, informative and interesting in their own way. I really enjoyed speaking to Werner Herzog. He’s one of my heroes and he was not a let down at all. Also, speaking with Gore Vidal was a highpoint.
c). What’s your criteria for the guests you choose? I’d assume it’s interesting personalities, doing interesting things with something to say. Anything else?
==== I prefer to speak with someone I am basically a fan of or at least tolerant of. That is one of the aspects of the show that came under attack, why wouldn’t I take on guests with opposing points of view, etc. I really didn’t think that our format permitted the time for such exchanges. Perhaps if we had more time, we could have done something like that.
2. You mentioned Yahoo selling out in China during one of your segments. How much do you keep up with what’s taking place in China? Have you been there and do you see beyond America’s involvement in the country? for instance, does the culture interest you?
===== I have not yet been there. I read up on things, go to sites every day and get news and updates. I think that one of the major disconnects that westerners have with China, myself included, is in the differences in Confucian thought and Western thought. In America, we see and event like Tiananmen Square and take the side of the students and the powers that be would say that the brutal suppression of the protestors was for the security and future of China. That China is the largest automobile buying block at present isn’t all that surprising but will cause things to change in America.
3. From Twitter reports I’ve received, you’ve been to Thailand. What are your impressions of Asia, where have you been and where do you hope to go?
==== I have been going to Thailand for many years. I was there for weeks last year. I have been to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma and Thailand. It’s an amazing part of the world and the friendliness of the people there, despite the events in recent history is quite something.
4. You’ve also been to Iraq and are reportedly involved with the group called the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of America. What were your impressions when you visited the troops in Iraq and how appreciative do you feel they were?
==== I was in Iraq years ago. The soldiers were very happy to have someone there who was a little different. I have been all over the world on behalf of the troops. It’s been an eye-opening string of experiences. Every base I went to in Iraq had suffered the loss of a soldier very recently so the mood was heavy but like I said, they were happy to have me on the base.
5. You’re obviously pro-American yet highly critical of the Republican party. During your travels, what places really impress you aesthetically, culturally or otherwise? And, what places could the U.S. learn from?
====== Americans could do well by visiting parts of Africa and seeing what hunger really looks like. It would make the right wing dipshit talking points harder to defend.
6. During your current tour, what’s your main focus?
a). For the record, what are your thoughts on Michael Jackson’s untimely death?
======== The next tour’s material will be determined by what I see when do some traveling later this year. As it is now, I have been in Los Angeles most of the year.
7. You’re going to be in the FX show “Son of Anarchy” and even had your own film show at one point. Can you talk about each?
===== I am working away in SOA and it’s been going very well. It’s a great group of people and the writing is fantastic. Since it’s not my show, I would suggest that people find out what they can online. The film show was on IFC, we reviewed film and talked to actors. It wasn’t all that different from the show I did with IFC afterwards. The David Fincher interview was really interesting.
8. Black Flag reissues—what’s the status? Is it going to happen, if so when?
======== That’s all with SST Records and I have nothing to do with any of that.
9. We’ll be highlighting the best albums of the decade soon. What are some of your favorites and why?
====== I think the new album by The Horrors called Primary Colours is really great. It’s my favorite album of the year so far. I think they have made a really deep and interesting dark, somewhat pop album Sonically, it’s really something. I really liked PJ Harvey’s album White Chalk as well, it was her early foray into piano playing and the hesitation on some of the tracks is very evocative. Throughout the decade, Nick Cave continues to be vital and interesting.
10. You’ve certainly been an inspiration to many. What are some of your greatest life lessons and mottos that you live by?
===== I don’t really have any mottos I live by, perhaps “The victor does not believe in chance,” has served me well. That’s Nietzsche. I learned a long time ago that one must work hard and have the ability to stick it out no matter what.
11. And, have you been to Hong Kong? If not, what would it take for you to get here to put on a show?
====== I think it might be interesting although I don’t know what the interest level would be. I have only been to the airport as I waited to go to the next place. I would like to check the place out sometime though.
You have been involved in making music since you joined Black Flag 1981. In what ways has the music industry changed since then and what is your opinion of the music industry today?
====== I think the music industry has at least two major shifts since I have been involved. The first was in the early 90’s when small bands like the one I was in started getting attention from radio and more mainstream outlets. This is the time when Nirvana fairly broke things open and a lot of bands I knew were getting some much deserved recognition. It was good for about ten years. Then things changed and big labels started shedding employees and sales were not as consistent. I think this was a product of greed and the companies thinking they could sell anything. It moved not to be true as you know. Basically, there was a time of boom and then a time of bust. That’s where we are now I think. Doesn’t mean that there’s not good music/labels/bands. I think there are plenty of each. I think it’s the big money music that is feeling the pain. The small bands are where they have always been and had nowhere to fall. Sometimes it’s good to be small. I also think the DIY ethic is back in full force and from it, there are some really good bands happening.
I see that you have been cast to appear in six episodes on one of my favorite shows on television Sons of Anarchy. How has work for the show been going?
==== It would be hard to imagine a better working environment. Everyone is cool and very talented. The writing is really great. I am very happy to be involved with the small part I have. I think it’s going to be a great season of television. It’s been an interesting chapter in my life, showing up to a set week after week and then going home again, it’s like two different worlds. I like it a lot. I see why people do this kind of work.
CXP: I saw you play with the band in Chicago on August 13, 2006. Your stage presence is without question one of the most intense I have ever seen. Do you have any plans on touring musically in the not so distant future? Also have you been working on any new songs?
======= I have no band or band plans. I miss it sometimes but I don’t think I should do any more music. I just don’t know what more I could do with the medium. Another album, another tour, it just says, “You’ve got nothing else going on.” I want to see what else there is to do out there.
CXP: The book A Dull Roar - What I Did On My Summer Deracination 2006 gives a lot of insight as to what you did to train for the 2006 music tour. You stated that it was a lot of high repetition weight training, running, and abdominal work. Would you change it up at all for another music tour in the future or keep it the same? Also what role did stretching, if any, play for you both leading up to the tour and on tour?
====== I would do more running, more calisthenics, change up the diet somewhat. Stretching is key for optimum results from getting lactic acid out of the muscle tissue to remaining loose and not tearing anything.
CXP: You have done an immense amount of world traveling. Have you found any universal truths about human society that are world wide? Could you share some positive and negative aspects of society which are cross cultural that you have noticed?
======== I have found almost all groups to want mostly the same things: safety, a future without war, food and water, adequate housing, etc. It’s real simple stuff I have found. Nowhere is all that different than any other place in that if there’s people there, they have the same basic needs. The positive part is that science and kindness are coming to aid some people in need. The negative part is that it never seems to be enough.
CXP: It is no secret that you were not a fan of the Bush administration. How do you feel the Obama administration has been doing so far?
====== I think it’s much too soon to tell. I think you will know more in about a year. I think some people were hoping for some kind of Hollywood ending where everything is better soon. Won’t happen. I think the man is doing the best he can with the heap he inherited. I am not happy with all the decisions he makes but I bet he and his team are many more times informed than I’ll ever be.
CXP: As well as a prolific writer you are also an avid reader. Could you please recommend some books that in your opinion are an interesting read?
===== I can tell you some book titles that were interesting to me. I can’t say what they’ll do for anyone else. Recent reads that I liked were:
Torture Team – Philippe Sands
Takeover – Charlie Savage
The Forever War – Dexter Filkins
Open Up and Bleed - Paul Trynka
Rip It Up and Start Again – Simon Reynolds
The Great Derangement - Matt Taibbi
1. How do you feel about Obama’s decision to send troops to Afghanistan?
======= I think it is a catastrophic mistake.
2. So far in Obama’s presidency, do you believe he has followed through with his campaign promises?
======= Overall, no.
3. If fellow punk rocker, Jello Biafra, ran for president again would you vote for him? Why?
====== It depends who else is running. Would I rather vote for Jello over Obama? No. I don’t think Jello would make a bad politician though.
4. Is there anything you strongly believe needs to be worked on in our country at this time?
1. Could you please give me a brief overview of your new book A Mad Dash?
====== The book is travel stories and journals from 2008.
2. What will you be doing in your upcoming tour?
==== It’s all speaking dates. There will be no band stuff.
3. What got you interested to play the new antagonist on the TV series “Sons of Anarchy”?
======= I was offered the part and I took it. What interested me was the opportunity to work and I am a fan of the show and of the executive director Kurt Sutter.
4. Do you plan on traveling in the near future?
==== I will be going all over the world later in the year into next.
5. Is there any chance of seeing Henry Rollins Show again?
===== No, unfortunately. I really liked that show.
6. What factors in a script make you choose to play a particular role in a movie or TV show?
========= I pass on things that I think are too lame but I am really not in a position to pick and choose all that much. I take what I can get and stay active. I hope for something I can deal with and be good at. As the years go by, I am getting better offers.
7. In the several forms of entertainment that you have done, what are you primarily focusing on right now?
===== I am working hard on the speaking shows and on the radio show. Past that, I trying to write clearly.
8. What are some goals you are planning on accomplishing though out the rest of 2009.
===== I need to get to all the destinations I am prepping for now. Some of them will be a little difficult to deal with so I am trying to get ready for it.
1. Currently, what kind of music are you interested in?
===== I am very interested in Noise music and all the small labels that put this stuff out like American Tapes and Gods Of Tundra.
2. What do you do in your spare time?
==== I don’t really do spare time but when I am not all over all the time, I spend time the girlfriend, listening to music, things like that.
3. Genre hardcore punk that is said to be strongly influenced by you. How do you think hardcore punk has evolved over the years after you left Black Flag?
===== I don’t think I was an influence in any kind of music. I was definitely a part of it but I don’t know about an influence. Black Flag was certainly an inspiration to some bands and people but that is the creation of Greg Ginn and Chuck Dukowski and the other founding members. I think Ian MacKaye and Minor Threat was as large if not a larger influence on hardcore music.
4. Why do you work in so many different areas of entertainment?
===== Keep things a little off balance and interesting.
5. Who are some of the authors that you enjoy reading? Why?
==== I read by subject more than author these days. I read a lot of history and political stuff and if one writer wrote more than one book and I have read one, I will most likely check out more books by the person. As far as reading for an author, that’s more in the line of literature and I am not reading much of that anymore. Books I have read lately include Eamon Fingleton’s In The Jaws Of The Dragon, Space Is The Place which is about Sun Ra, Torture Team, The Dark Side.
6. What book has inspired you?
====== As to one book, that would be Henry Miller’s Black Spring.
7. Do you have a current program that you plan on supporting/working with in the near future?
=== I guess you mean some kind of organization? USO, IAVA. There are other organizations that I have done benefits for in the last few years as well but am not currently working with them.
8. What are the names of some bands you have seen/heard recently that you would recommend?
============ Dax Riggs, Marnie Stern, Vieux Farka Toure, Tinariwen, Tarakaft.
2017December October July
2016October July June March
- 03-28-16 Henry Rollins Announces Two New Zealand Shows
- 03-10-16 Henry Rollins at Largo (Los Angeles, CA) at the Coronet this December
- 03-08-16 Henry Rollins returns to Australia this September
- 03-20-15 Henry & Heidi Podcast: Henry & RuPaul
- 03-13-15 Henry & Heidi Podcast: Henry/Ian/Petshop
- 03-06-15 Henry & Heidi Podcast: Talking Shows
- 07-26-14 Double J Show #04 27–07–14
- 07-18-14 Double J Show #03 20–07–14
- 07-11-14 Double J Show #02 13–07–14
- 07-03-14 Double J Show #01 06–07–14
- 07-02-14 Henry Rollins ‘guest in residence’ Double J Radio in Australia info
2013May April January
- 01-23-13 THE LEGEND OF COOL “DISCO” DAN - World Premiere!
- 01-16-13 West of Memphis: Voices for Justice - Available Now
- 01-15-13 West of Memphis: Exclusive Movie Clip and Album Stream
- 11-29-11 No Fear of a Black Friday
- 11-27-11 Drop In The Bucket Benefit 11/30/11 @ THE AVALON IN LOS ANGELES!!!!!
- 09-10-11 9-11-01 – 9-11-11 TEN YEARS IN A DAY
- 09-05-11 STOOGES USA SHOWS POSTPONED DUE TO INJURY—- READ
- 03-23-11 World Water Day
- 03-22-11 Henry to perform at Reading and Leeds Fests this August
- 03-21-11 Comedy Above the Pub Interview
- 03-17-11 Who’s Afraid of Peter King’s Islamophobia Hearings?
- 03-08-11 Henry interviewed by Culture Brats
- 03-08-11 The Defense of Marriage Act Blues
- 03-08-11 Henry on Chelsea Lately tonight
- 02-28-11 Lithium Magazine Interviews Henry
- 02-24-11 Henry in Australia
- 02-23-11 ***CHECK OUT GRAY JOEL - LINK HERE***
- 02-15-11 Prefix Mag Interview Henry
- 02-12-11 *** RON ASHETON CELEBRATION W/ THE STOOGES ANN ARBOR MI 04-19-11 ***
- 02-11-11 Two new DC area interviews with Henry
- 02-02-11 HENRY NOW IN THE PRINT VERSION OF THE LA WEEKLY
- 02-02-11 20 Questions with Henry Rollins
- 02-02-11 FIVE HEIDI & HENRY BATTLING TOPS VIDEOS IN THE VIDEO SECTION. FREE CELLULITE.
- 02-02-11 *** FRESH LINKS FOR FREE DOWNLOAD SHOW #2 AVAILABLE HERE ***
- 01-31-11 Pop Matters Interviews Henry
- 01-24-11 New Tour Pre-sale
- 01-24-11 LA WEEKLY COLUMN #23
- 01-20-11 01-19-11: 12-25-10 DOWNLOAD RE-UP. COME AND GET YO JAMS!!
- 01-03-11 BIRTHDAY SHOW IN DC 2-13-11: SECOND SHOW ADDED
- 12-15-10 Born to Rage Interviews
- 12-12-10 GRINDERMAN ARTICLE FOR LA WEEKLY
- 12-06-10 National Geographic Channel’s “Born to Rage” Airs December 14th
- 12-01-10 Henry Rollins “50” Dates Announced