E-MAIL INTERVIEWS 2009
The only thing I have removed is the e-mail addresses of the interviewers. I figured that someone may find some of this interesting so, here they are in all their unedited, typo-ridden glory. If I did it correctly, the interviews should be from the beginning of the year to the end. The interviews are separated by a
Have fun, or something.
Can you call yourself a workaholic? Where does this strong working ethos of yours come from?
==== I think I get it from my parents. At an early age, I wanted to get away from them and knew that I was alone in the world and needed to be self-sufficient. So, I started working jobs at an early age. I learned a lot from all that, how to stick with it. All the Black Flag guys were the same way but more so. I learned a lot from Ginn and Dukowski.
Why did you decide to take a break from making music a couple of years ago and instead concentrate on other activities, such as acting, doing the “talking” (as far as I know, you hate the term “spoken word”) and having your own TV and radio shows? Was music limiting your expression in some way?
===== I didn’t see what more I could do with it. Another tour, another album, for what? It wasn’t risky, it wasn’t taking the same place it used to in my life so I looked to do other things. I thought it was the brave thing to do, to get into other things and see what that’s all about and to see where it all would take me. I wasn’t feeling limited by the music, just wanting to see and do other things.
On your radio show, you play many musical genres. You also own a big record collection, but I was wondering what happened and what’s more important when, that an artist still somehow perceived by his punk and hardcore past calls Miles Davis one of his heroes? Has it always been like that?
===== I don’t think that since you are known for one genre of music that you couldn’t be into other stuff. It’s nothing I ever paid any attention to, as far as limits. You’re into what you’re into and that’s good. Being cornered by soemthing you’re associated with is you allowing that to happen.
Is there a thing that you feel most comfortable at doing?
======= the most comfortable is radio as it’s low impact. You let the records do the work. As far as everything else, I am probably best on my own onstage.
Do you experience stage fright before your shows? What’s the main difference between performing with a band and doing the “talking”?
====== Not nerves, I really want to be onstage. I can’t wait. It’s anticipation more than anything. I look forward to it. The band shows are much easier to do. You’re part of a larger thing, you don’t have to be responsible for the whole thing. The lyric is the lyric pretty much. The talking shows are much harder, it’s only you up there and if you get it wrong, everyone knows. It’s a lot more concentration to get throgh it all.
Will you still be acting in movies? What are your thoughts on the showbiz side of Hollywood?
==== I just signed on for another film starting soon. I like the work. I don’t know the showbiz side. I don’t hang out with actors or make any kind of scene. I do the work and leave pretty much.
You once said that you hate writing, yet you can’t stop it. What’s the problem?
====== Real writing hurts. I wish I could stop but it’s the itch that won’t stop.
You traveled to Iraq and Honduras to entertain American soldiers. What was the thing that you remembered most from those trips?
=== Also Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Djibouti, UAE, Bahrain, etc. There’ a lot to comment upon but mostly, I remember the youth of the soldiers and how old they seemed at such a young age.
Now, that United States are just before the presidential elections, you went on the “Recountdown Tour”. What is your main aim behind this tour? Do you think that you can influence people before the elections?
====== I just want ot be out on the road doing shows. I don’t have a real objection past that. I never tell anyone to vote for anyone, I just beg them to vote. I don’t care who they vote for, it’s none of my business really.
Which candidate and why do you support, if there is one?
======= I won’t say but I think he might win and I am very excited for a change in America.
Do you feel comfortable with your past?
Who is Henry Rollins? How would you describe yourself now?
===== I just work for a living and try to go where my curiosity takes me.
Can we expect that Rollins Band will continue to perform and record?
===== I have no plans for music at this point.
That paragraph is basically a reiteration of everything everyone says about you every time you are interviewed. These things are true, but what do you see yourself as?
=== A workaholic who has little else to do but act on my curiosity and interests. This can sometimes border on obsession, which I think is one of the many ways one can achieve something of worth. It does however, take a toll.
From the very inception of punk music it has always had a “stand up”, and “make your own rules” message, which bands specifically do you think have this ideology today?
======= I don’t think that’s a small amount of bands. I think there’s too many to mention. There are plenty of small labels who do their own thing and the bands that are on them are only concerned with the music and little else like image or sales. I think that there’s a lot of people like Bob Dylan and Neil Young who do their own thing as well.
Aware of the days at The Outhouse in Kansas, I wonder if you miss the attitude and atmosphere of your youth, and the music scene back then? What is your perspective of the changes in the audience over the last few decades over the years?
======== I sometimes miss the relative simplicity of my past as it compares to what I deal with now. I think youth is time of rapid development and discovery, things are often more poignant as they are unfamiliar and untried. Once those rituals are exhausted, many people don’t move onto other things, they think they have come to the end of something and allow that to define them. You can also do something else, like find new things to discover and by doing so, nostalgia becomes useless. The audiences, as I see them, have grown in size and diversity.
Punk music in general has a tremendously powerful message for people to not take what is being force-fed to them. Why do you think it incited so much violence with in the scene during its zenith, instead of us lashing back at society with the revelations that came with the music?
========= I think there were some poorly aimed missiles in punk music, in that people sometimes fought each other when the true enemy gathered its strength and watched. I don’t know what caused that really, perhaps petty power squabbles, growing pains, or something like that as a form seeks to define itself.
I know you are a very politically motivated person, and are opposed to the current administration. What given the seemingly preoccupation with tribal war, and the excuse ridden reasoning for destruction of our civil liberties, do you think the outcome has had on the face of art and music today?
====== If I understand your question, I think since at least the Reagan administration, there has been a war on art and freedoms that Americans should enjoy easily. Some people want others to just shut up and not make any noise or think differently, etc. I think this comes from administrations who basically hate and fear those who elected them.
You have been all over the world, and from most of what I have read about your travels, people have been very gracious hosts. I am sure you have discussed our country, and now the worlds current situation, what is their reaction to the mess our administration has gotten us all in?
======= It will take many years to get us out of it. I don’t know if all those bridges can be mended. Imagine forgiving a country that rocketed your home town and killed your friends. How cool would you be with that? The many people I have spoken to all over the world have expressed great interest and affection for America and Americans. By and large, they seem not to judge the many by the actions of the few. Let’s hope that’s the case.
Knowing that you are not a man who likes to speak about your body of work, but would much rather be working, what is one of your biggest motivations at the moment?
======== The bright future of America and the world.
fanatic! volume 3
what inspired you to put this collection together?
===== It was the last of the three volumes of the book. It was the last of the radio show annotations that I had been writing for years. It’s a kind of writing that I like to do but it’s really time intensive so I can’t do it any more.
what inspired you to put the fanatic! collection together?
==== It’s an outgrowth of me being a fan of all this music and wanting to spread the word. The Fanatic! books are basically large fanzines, nothing more.
did these works come together quickly, or did you really need to plug away at
==== It was hours a day, that’s why I can’t do it any more. Most of the time, I was working on the books 4 hours a day, from five am to nine am.
what was the most challenging part of piecing them together?
===== Maintaining a level of quality and not blowing through a broadcast and not writing well.
what was the most rewarding part?
====== The letters I get from people who really get something out of the books, that’s really cool.
what has the response been like (critical, readers, family/friends?)
====== People seem to like the books. I don’t care what critics think but people who actually read the books, if they bother to write me about them, seem to like them ok. It’s low impact writing, it’s not a life altering experience, hopefully the books are taken on the spirit in which they were written.
do these opinions matter to you?
===== Not really. I am going to do the work but it’s great if someone likes what you do.
what made you want to be a writer?
======= Writing is something I have always done, sue to my solitary nature, it always seemed to be the thing to do.
how have you grown as a writer over the years?
===== I have no idea. I would like to think that I can aim a little better with words. It’s never easy but I think I am getting better at being clearer. I have found that it’s all about the re-write more than the writing. I spend a lot of time re-writing if I can.
in your opinion, what makes a good book?
===== For me, it’s always been that connection where I think I have finally found the book that took reading all those other books to get to. that’s the way I always felt when I read Of Time And The River by Thomas Wolfe.
the creative process: inspiration or perspiration?
===== The idea just comes and then I have to hammer it out. I guess it’s inspiration and then perspiration to get it done.
San Francisco, CA: Has the social and political stage become just another arena for those in the entertainment industry to perform on or do you believe the actions to be earnest?
===== I am sure there’s a fair bit of both. I think it’s more a matter of people who have opinions as we all do but have a forum with which they can broadcast their point of view. I am always very careful not to endorse anyone. By and large, I am betting that it is quite sincere what these people are putting across.
Malvern, PA: Hi Henry, I was wondering why you no longer post song writeups on your Harmony In My Head playlist postings, are you growing less fanatical?
==== No, just busier. It’s fun writing to do but it’s also very time consuming and I just can’t keep it up. It’s a blast to do that kind of work though but like I said, it takes time I can’t give at the moment. Thanks for checking the writing out.
Allendale, Mich.: Henry,
As a film student at Grand Valley State University and fan of yours, I was wondering what/who some of you current favorite films and or filmmakers are?
====== I am always up for PT Anderson, Cohen Brothers and names like that. I have not seen many new films in the last 12 months as I have been touring so much. I am very behind. I have watched Michael Clayton three times. I really like how that film works on a lot of levels. I will try and catch up with things in 2009.
Charlotte, Mich.: I have a personal question. Have you ever done a guy’s dishes in the city of Chicago? I have a friend that CLAIMS that you have done his dishes after a night of partying.
Erfurt, Germany: Henry, thanks for taking the time and doing this chat interview…
Do you think the need to register yourself in order to exercise your right to vote has some influence on the amount of the electorate? Do you think, some people might see it as some kind of obstacle they don’t want to overcome, some kind of obstacle they don’t want to invest their time in?
====== It’s not all that hard to do but I think it’s perhaps in place to keep a certain kind of person away from voting. I have absolutely no hard facts on that but seeing how some of these people are, it seems that the last thing they want is the opiions of others. Erfut’s a great place.
Washington, DC: 1978, Bethesda, Finnegan and Roberts Sunshine House. I would come in after school to stare at skateboards my mother wouldn’t let me buy. 1982, Yesterday and Today Records, Rockville, MD. I see the face of the skateboard clerk on the cover of… Ink Disease or Flipside or MRR and literally could not contain myself. The skateboard clerk was in a band.
======== Wel, what can I say. Humble beginnings.
Boston, MA: Hi Henry, I know you’ve done many great things with the USO over the years, and made visits to Walter Reed, is there anything you’ve learned about the make-up and spirit of our troops that sets us apart from other countries’?
======= I bet there are millions of able bodied and ready-to-go men and women all over the world. I have not met enough military in other countries to make a comparison. I can say that our men and women in the Military are damn impressive.
Battle Creek, MI.: Love all your stuff Henry. Thanks! I was wondering what you think 20-year-old Henry would think of 47-year-old Henry, everything from his accomplishments to his clothes, ethics, and being in major motion pictures?
========= He would probably say, “Good work if you can get it.”
Arizona Bay, Az: What was it like coming into the studio and helping out on “Bottom” during Tool’s younger days? Where you there in the studio they day they were shooting the piano with shotguns?
======== It was a very short session. I did the vocal once I think and that was it. I was not there for the shotgun thing.
Fairfax VA: When you were a young angry high school student, could you have ever pictured yourself hosting a chat for the Washington Post about your spoken word show at the Birchmere?
===== No. I have been extremely fortunate.
Hartford, CT: Do you think Obama will actually win and that the election won’t results won’t be tampered with to favor the Republicans? Do you still have faith in our “system”?
======= I can’t answer this all that fairly as the election is over. I can say that up until Obama was elected, I thought the thing was going to be stolen. I have faith in the system but I am afraid that there are those who want to ruin it. People like Tom DeLay.
San Diego, CA: If given the opportunity, would you sit down with President Bush and interview him?
==== If I were allowed, sure. He wouldn’t like my questions though.
Philadelphia, Pa: Your spoken-word description of recording a song, and later having an interesting seafood dinner, with William Shatner is one of my all-time favorites. Any chances of a reunion with Shatner, or is there another person on your wish-list to work/collaborate with?
======= I would do whatever Bill wanted to do pretty much. I have no plans to work with anyone or have any thoughts as to who to work with.
Detroit, MI: Henry, I saw you at the Fillmore this past Sunday in Detroit. You think you are getting “older”, I think you are like fine wine. You are aging with a gracefulness and becoming much more of a humanitarian than you have ever been. I admire your recent contribution to help end world hunger, and would like to know how I can help to donate to YOUR cause. May goodness always come your way.
========= Thanks. It’s easy, you can always donate to the World Food Programme. They can use all the help they can get.
Harrisburg, Pa.: What are your thoughts on Sarah Palin?
======= I think she’s very depressing. I am afraid I have not seen the last of her.
Mike, Lorton, VA: Can you comment on the difference between how punk rock in the 80’s expressed thier discontent with politics (BYO album circa 1982- Let’em eat jellybeans) and now.
======= I don’t know if there is much of a difference. Bands have always written songs against what they see as wrong. I think it’s perhaps not as a cohesive scene on that front. Ronald Reagan really made for a lot of songs. For some reason, Bush didn’t seem to generate the same kind of sentiment. I don’t know why there would be a difference. I imagine there are several reasons.
Virginia Beach, VA: I’m your age and a music fanatic, I try and listen to as much music, in general, as possible. Thing is, I’m not finding much to inspire me like those bands that emerged during the Black Flag days. What bands - type of music—is inspiring you these days?
======== Wolf Eyes, Yellow Swans, The Mae Shi, Deerhoof, Dax Riggs, The Evens, Edie Sedgwick, there’s a lot of good bands these days I think.
Glover Park, DC: Sorry, but I’m going to bombard you with a bunch of stuff…
Just want to say thanks…I saw you on the street one day recently at Calvert and Tunlaw, said hello, and you were quite nice. Since I’m a fan and look like a dweeb, it was especially nice.
Also wanted to say how much I like the “Franklin’s Tower” Dead cover you did with Wartime.
On the topic of eclectic music…is there a Webcast of HIMH? I really liked the video of you on your site talking about your record collection, musical tastes, etc. I’d love to hear you play the “Nesum Dorme” aria from Turandot, followed by Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage” and then Trane and Ellington doing “In a Sentimental Mood” or something like that…talk about eclectic!
====== Thanks. I think there’s a site that has all the broadcasts if you type in Rollins Archive into your browser.
Los Angeles: I saw you in San Diego a few weeks ago, it was awesome and inspiring as usual. Thank you. My friend saw Ian Makaye talk the other night at Hollywood High, and he jokingly said you would move to Canada if McCain won. Would you do it?
========== No. I would stay and fight. Sometimes frustration does set in though.
San Francisco: Rollins, you are by far one of the most intelligent, honest and strongest voices in the media and the “celebrity” world today. Who do you look to for real, honest and unbiased reporting in the news media?
=== Print media and online stuff. Daily Kos, Raw Story, Media Matters, Common Dreams, HuffPost, stuff like that. Corporate media to me is like chain restaurant food.
Detroit: You’ve traveled all over the world, seen so many amazing places and been able to meet the people who live in horrible conditions. Which destination has had the most profound effect on you and why?
======= It would have to be India. Spending time in Calcutta really did a number on me. The way life and death are almost the same thing, the way poverty is dealt with, the sheer number of dead bodies you see, it’s all pretty overwhelming. I will be back there soon.
Arizona by way of California: Hi Henry. I respect your work a great deal and everything that I’ve seen that you have done I have enjoyed. I have 3 questions for you. First, what are your top 5 recommended books of all time, any genre, your own books can be included. And second, what do you think of the current music scene and the direction it seems to be heading? What would you suggest to someone trying to break into the music business in LA? Thanks for your time, Henry.
======== I don’t know about single book but writers I admire include Leautreamont, Camus, Wolfe (Thomas, Look Homeward Angel, etc.), Fitzgerald, Selby, Hamsun, Miller, Fante, Vian, Jarry, Breton, Celine, Kapuscinski, Klein, Miller (Henry), Twain, Poe, Kharms, Dostoievsky, Bulgakov, Gogol, Kafka, Proust. There’s a lot of good writers. I listen to a lot of noisy indie music, I don’t know the direction it’s in. I just like it. It’s very low budget stuff and it’s really good. I have no idea how to break into the music scene, never had to.
Philadelphia: Isn’t a problem you are hearing from our all-volunteer military is that many are learning that the volunteers have now been drafted into service beyond which they thought they were volunteering for?
===== I think they will probably say what they have to at this point, to get young meat into the grinder.
St. Louis: I’m looking forward to next Thursday.
This question leans more toward the FANATIC section of your life. What is your favorite Black Sabbath record ?
========= Master Of Reality.
Seattle: Henry, I’ve really enjoyed your acting work. Some of my favorite roles have been the cop in “The Chase” and the motivational speaker in “Feast.” Do you plan on doing more acting in the future and if so what might you be working on at the moment? Furthermore have you thought about writing your own screenplay or possibly experiment with directing? Keep doing what you do brother. We need you on the front lines. Peace
======== I will take the acting work when I can get it. I am not really an actor, that’s always apparent but it’s work and I’ll take it and am always glad for it. I have no desire to write anything for screen. That’s a great talent.
D.C.: Do you think too many of the world’s woes have been heaped on poor old ‘Dubya, to the point that the expectations for Obama’s “change” message are totally out of touch with reality? I ask this question of you because much of the denigration has come from the entertainment community, to the point of ludicrousness. I didn’t vote for Bush, but I do recall very serious problems existing in the world before the year 2000. Who will we blame for every freakin’ thing wrong with this country/world if Obama is elected?
========= No. The “denigration” as you call it didn’t come from the entertainment community. What, fucking Susan Sarandon caused Wall St. to fall over? Please. You never have to listen to a famous person, it’s an elective. You want to know the root of our problems of the last several years? You’re fucking right it’s on Bush. The deregulation, the war without end, the waste, etc. Bush. Sounds to me like Obama really wants to make things work. Get on or don’t. I’m not waiting for you.
Richmond, Va.: How long do you think it will take for Obama’s economic plan to turn things around for our economy?
====== I think there’s a good chance he can’t get it done in a term. There’s a lot of damage that has been done.
Seattle: Henry, Do you agree a new 9/11 investigation should be immediately conducted?
Do you agree that 9/11 is by far the biggest unresolved issue affecting America’s psyche? And finally, who did 9/11?
======== You know, all those are good questions. As to an investigation, I think there should be some committee but it shouldn’t get in the way of 2009 and all the work that needs to be done. It is a very unresolved bit of business and I can’t tell you anything more than what I think and that is that the White House knew something was coming and they stood down knowing it was the green light for all the stuff they wanted to do. Past that, I don’t know but I sure do want to.
Boston: Do you mind telling us who your first choice for President was before he/she was eliminated for the race?
===== Dennis Kucinich
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom: Hey Henry,
First off, thank you for the two insightful, funny, and thought provoking shows that I saw over the summer, at the Reading Festival and the IndigO2. Three questions in one here, one completely unrelated to the other two. Firstly, how do you feel about playing sanitized corporate sponsored venues, such as the O2 complex?Secondly, as someone who travels the world extensively where else do you want to visit, that you have not yet gone to? Finally, I’m currently mid-way through my degree at university, and am looking to go traveling once I have finished, in order to experience and learn more about the world we all live in, and experience other cultures. Where would you recomend that I go?
Thanks very much.
========= I didn’t like the 02 venue. Too sterile. Never again. I want to go to the “Stans” as they are called. Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, etc. You should check out India, parts of Africa. There’s lots to learn in these places.
Ohio: Hi Henry, I was wondering if you knew much about Ralph Nader’s presidential platform, and if so what do you like and dislike about him as a candidate?
===== I think he’s a pain in the ass for coming in at the end when everyone else has been working their asses off.
Burbank, Calif.: How do you feel about the political campaigns appropriating popular music for their events, without the consent of the recording artists?
======== They’re politicians, they just do stuff. I think it’s lame.
Los Angeles: Hi Henry. If you have to give guys any advice about women, what would it be?
===== Bring a lawyer on the first 30 dates.
Dallas: Henry, I’ll start by saying I’m a loyal fan and revere your intellectual work. I’m an Obama supporter surrounded by overbearing McCain fans. If, and let us pray when, Obama is elected what area of Washington politics should he target first for reform?...never relent.
========== Well, he is at this point, our new president. I think by the fact that he will be bringing in a ton of new people into the scene, that will be a good shake up that will be healthy. For the last 8 years, our government has been hammered by the Bush administration.
San Rafael, Calif.: Henry, can you speak to the growth and progression we’ve seen in your spoken word shows over the decades?
========== They probably have taken on a wider scope as my life has become more widened. Hopefully they are a reflection of where I am at.
Dan, E Fallowfield, PA: Henry, I love you, man. Silly question: Do you ever get tired of talking, or hearing your own voice? ps- I dont.
========= Thanks. I like the sound of my voice, doesn’t mean it’s any good but I like it. The joke is that “all good singers like the sound of their own voice” so we’ll go with that. Thanks for the kind words.
Zeitgeist, USA: Henry, your energy during your spoken word shows is amazing. The last 5 minutes of your performances are as intense as the first 5. How much do you attribute your energy to choosing subjects you are passionate about, how much of it is your normal intensity level, and how much of it is performance?
Thanks for your time. —another Henry out there
========= When I am out there, I am very unaware of the energy level. I am in the present tense and just going for it. I am into it, I guess. I am pretty tired afterwards, so I must be throwing fastballs all night. I don’t know any other way to do it.
Portland, OR: I’m sure you are familiar with this Twain quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Bush and Palin - not big travelers, and proud of it.
How do you think we can encourage Americans to take a more active role as global citizens? Europeans follow our politics closely, but many Americans know little about what is happening in Europe.
======== I agree. I think Americans really need to start thinking globally. As resources become more dear, we will be pulled closer to the rest of the world anyway. I think Americans suffer for their lack of travel, awareness of the world. It has horribly warped our sense of place in the scheme of things. I beg people to get out there and see how other countries have to deal day to day with a fraction of what we throw out daily. Maybe they’ll never get it.
FreeTheWM3, CO: Sorry to have missed this- my question is if, dear Henry, you would you ever consider doing this hour long live chat format on a regular basis(even once a quarter?)—I love considering your thoughts.
========== Sure. Sounds good to me. I like these question and all the sharp and energized ones here, it’s a hell of a great compliment to think that such switched on people give a damn what I think.
Milw, WI: What do you think of the possibility that Zeppelin tours without Robert Plant?
====== They should not do that.
Arlington, VA: Why is your opinion any more relevant than mine?
========= It’s not. Isn’t that a bitch?
somewhere in Europe: Obama is in a way America’s saviour when it comes to pr. Democrat,enigmatic,young,afro-american… Do you think,if hes elected as president,that he would be able to clean up the mess concerning the economy? Would america be ready to see that it needs to change when it comes to Capitalism versus enviroment versus liberalism? Something else..What are your favourite artists?
========== I think he will adopt one screwed up country. I don’t know if he can even neutralize the damage in one term. I think in order to bring the jakals of big business under control, you will need a miracle. You rememeber the last time a president got in the way of big business. Artists, as in painters? Cunis, Bacon.
Germantown, MD: Dez, Chavo, or Keith? Who was the best?
======= Not up for debate. Keith.
Brooklyn, NY: I agree that the choice is clear, at the same time there’s nothing wrong with choosing the lesser of 2 evils, Chomsky says it’s clear with Democrats in the poor and middle class end up doing better. I think if Palin gets in it’s the end of the world. By the way ever consider working with an improv band a la John Zorn instead of the usual hard rock guys? guys I jam with are quite original and intense and totally spontaneous…
======== I’m not much of an improv guy. That’s a talent I don’t have.
SFV, CA: How goes it Henry? In your opinion, with all the recent exclusivity and censorship be it media, Internet, religion, or politics, how do you feel it pertains to the ancient term Free Speech in today’s world?
======= I think we are in fact, losing free speech. We don’t seem to care though. Many of us don’t seem to notice. We will have to do a lot of work to bring back the American wat to America.
Self education.: Henry as an inspiration to people who have been awake enough to educate themselves and question a lot of things. Is it possible that you could ever write out a list of books that you find enjoyable, for example I really enjoyed “the physic soviet, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, henry miller , gore vidal, you have mentioned all of these…I want more.
======== I think several questions ago, I listed a bunch of writers I like. Of all art/work, what have you, it’s always been writers who are my favorites, more than music and anything else.
As far as one band that really nails it down for yours truly, it wold be the Clash, and their first album. : Amen. I said that at work the other day and the guy said “yeah, my mom likes the Clash too.” weird feeling
========= I warn people, your 40’s will require massive amounts of humor and humility.
washington, dc: Do you consider yourself a celebrity, or still a punk? What do you and William Shatner have in common?
====== I’m just a guy. I get treated like I’m famous but I don’t take it seriously. I take the time people take out to check me out very, very seriously. This is why I am answering all these “leftover” questions. You asked, I can’t leave you hanging. It’s 0439 hrs. and I am tired. I don’t think Shatner and I have anything in common really. I just like the guy.
West Milford, New Jersey: Hey Henry, wanna start a band? Any kind of band, something original like Fugazi, well not the Fugazi sound, but as original as them. Punk, Hardcore, Indie, Folk, whatever.
========= Thanks but I’m busy.
Western, NY: Hi Henry, I’m really looking forward to your show tomorrow. I hope you brought a parka though. You do hundreds of interviews every year. What is one question that you would dearly love never to be asked or having to answer again? (other than “Are you Gay?”)
===== What do your tattoos mean.
Dallas, TX: Henry, have you any new information on the West Memphis Three?
======== Best to check the site for updates.
Alexandria, VA: In the current campaign, we’ve heard a lot about first time voters, especially younger voters who haven’t historically been a reliable bloc come election day. Do you think they’ll turn out this year?
========= I think they did.
washington, dc: Have you and Ian ever made music together, or talked about it?
======== No. It has never really crossed my mind believe it or not.
Chicago, Il: You once mentioned a recording you made w/ Hubert Selby jr & Don Bajema at your home, of a round table type reading/spoken word. What ever came of that? Also, great show saturday night. Come back to Chicago soon.
====== Thanks. It’s still sitting on a DAT. I should saftey that thing.
Glover Park: Hello Henry - We’ll miss seeing you at the Bad Brains show at the 9:30 on Nov. 4th. Have a great tour…
===== I was there. That was a weird one!
Converse: Hey Henry. Have you always been a converse shoe fan? Just a random question..
======= The Misfits gave me a pair once. I wore them until they wore out.
Newport News: If I ask you really, really nicely and tell you how much I adore you and want my daughter to bring home someone just like you, will you indulge me and say hi?
======= HI. I hope that did the trick and boy, do I hope your daugher has better taste in men . . .
Frierson, Louisiana: First off, I have to say that I was just recently introduced to your spoken word albums and instantly feel in love with your wit and ability to amazingly and honestly articulate what most of America is thinking. Thank you so much for making us feel like we are not alone in our plight to put a voice to some of the unfair and backwards ideas that seem to be running oh so very rampant in society, politics in general. Being an African American in the south, I am very used to the racism and redneck ideas as a constant reminder of what we as a society have to overcome to grow and move forward, but do you believe that the US has made any real steps towards coming together and standing against the oppression and suppression of our natural growth as a society or is it just another ruse to placate and stifle the loudest voices until they are permanently subdued?
======= I think we have come a great way. Think of the 50’s and 60’s and how things were for people on the racial level. We have a long way to go but we’re going. Imagine a black candidate 20 years ago.
San Francisco: Hello Henry! I will be attending your show in Santa Rosa on 020609. Will you be doing the usual post show meet & greet? Also, would it be inappropriate to hand you a CD? Cheers, Tim
======== Tim. I am always around post show and it’s no problem to bring the CD.
Ithaca, NY: You mentioned speaking to US troops dissatisfied about the war ... are their gripes mostly over ineffective war strategy or more about the war overall as being unnecessary?
======== All of that and more. Many of them are damned tired of this. How many roatations do these men and women have to do?
Washington, DC: Polling frenzy aside, I hope most of the votes get counted. Since 2000 I kind of feel like I’m living in a banana republic. Yes, the Bush Administration has been corrupt, morally bankrupt, incompentent to an astounding degree, but all of that pales in view of the fact that it’s quite simply illegitimate.
Alec Sacramento, Ca: Henry,
Your my hero, I just wanted to ask since your kind of the voice of the punk/alternative way of thinking in politics. Any political aspirations? I think you could really shake up Washington, and maybe begin a trend of our type of people running for office.
======== I really enjoy the lattitude I have with being a private citizen. I can get a lot done. I am good with that.
Orange County,NY: Dear Henry,
Out of all of the candidates running in the presidential election, which one do you believe would be best for this country. Also is Rollins Band tour within the next year or so? -Colin
======== I think he won. No band plans.
secret location: Henry, what do you make of all of these secret ogranizations (Council on Foreign Relations/Bilderberg Group/etc.) who seem to be running America and the world for financial gain, oblivious to the people of the world who are suffering and dying in the name of greed? How can we put an end to this type of gangstalking behavior?
====== I have never spent much time in the Bilderberg shadow world. I am woefully caught out there on that topic so I can’t give you anything on that. I am sorry.
a fellow fanatic: Greetings! Just finished reading Fanatic vol 3, and am curious as to what you’re listening to at the moment - noticed an awful lot of Damned and Brian Eno in this one, and have been listening to a lot of Damned myself in preparation for their Black Cat show in December. Looking forward to seeing you on Monday!
======= Best to go to the site and check the last several playlists, there’s a ton of new stuff that I’ve played this year. Thanks for checking out the show in VA.
England UK: hey henry, glad your doing this, been a huge fan for years, and was able to see you a few times this year - manchester, leeds festival, and liverpool (home). Your Travel experiences, are amazing, and have indeed made me get out and go to places ive never been before try new things and met new people. You must meet people who piss you off, who dont like you, or who are racist, homophobic and so on. how do you handle these people ? get mad, stay calm ? p.s next time your in liverpool you are welcome to pop over, chat and have some good real coffee. Matthew. L.
======= People like that certainly get me going. I don’t get confronted by people like that too often though. They are more people I see on television at McCain rallies or working on Fox News.
Mt. Kisco, NY: As an avid collector, does Ebay feel like cheating to you?
====== Absolutely not. What, I’m supposed to miss out on something because I need to find it in a record store?! Next!
lincoln, Maine: What was your favorite band that you have toured with?
====== The Minutemen.
Silver Spring, MD: Have you read Mark E. Smith’s autobiography?
==== Not yet. I have it though.
Anonymous: What do you think of Obama’s associations with people of radical thinking (Ayers, Rezko, Rev. WRight)? And now, there is news about a tape that the LA Times is holding that shows Obama relationship with Khalidi as being much stronger. DOes that bother you? and if not, if McCain had those relationships would they bother you then?
====== You have got to get better material! Sucks to see that millions of Americans didn’t fall for your bullshit doesn’t it? All you did was make sure you all will be out of the White House for at least 8 years. Nice going! Thanks!
Anonymous: While I am a DC lifelong resident of 40 years now and a strong Obama supporter, I am perplexed as how in theory that he could support a 700 billion bailout of tax-payer funds but also support another economic stimulus package for us cititzens? - It’s like saying “we need your money but in the meantime here is some money go spend. Can these ideas be reconciled?
===== That one’s way over my intellectual paygrade.
Dallas, TX: Henry, what’s the latest news on Damien Echols?
===== Best to go to the site.
Mt. Kisco, NY: Being such a Music, Film, Literature buff…how do you find the time?!?!?! Do you read with music playing?
====== I spend a lot of time alone so I get a lot done. I don’t do much else but work, check things out.
Europe: Do you have any plans for a spoken word tour in Europe in 2009?
=== Hopefully summer festivals if I am lucky.
Irbil, Iraq (Hometown: Tacoma, WA): I saw your show in Olympia back in March. Your story about the young boy with Asperger’s moved me. My son has Autism so it meant a lot to me. Did he ever email you? Do you still talk to him?
========== I sent him a bunch of music and books and we write often.
Tealaville, OR: Henry,
Do you believe in any form of afterlife or form of “God”? Also, what makes you get up out of bed every morning?
===== No. Curiosity/anger.
fredericksburg, Va: Dear henry, Are you sick of hearing about Sarah Palin as much as I am? Thanks again, been a fan for 16+ years…see you at the Birchmere!!
======== I was sick of her on day one. I can’t wait for that thing to cease. Thanks.
Palestine, TX: Now, tell the truth, after associating himself with less than American patriotic people, what can Obama do to create a positive influence on America?
========= I think he can run for office and then win by AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY. Oh, wait, he just did that. Learn to say this: President Obama.
When I ask people in countries such as Iran, Syria and Pakistan, overwhelmingly, the opinion is America is great: That surprises me. I thought everyone hated us.
====== Some people hate us but I think they are a small group.
Siletz, OR: Do you agree that the Bush Administration are criminals and should be held accountable for their actions and put on trial? I appreciate everything you do. Justin
========= They are war criminals and need to be hauled into court, sworn in and questioned. Then they need to go to jail for the rest of their lives. It won’t happen of course but it is nice to think about it.
Phoenix, AZ: Henry, What are your thoughts on the most recent rulings in the West Memphis 3 case? It sounds like there is no hope of Echols getting out of jail, and a very slim chance for the other two - Is this really the end? On another note…any chance you can go back to playing a venue with seats in AZ next time around? Yeah, whiney, I know…Sitting is so much more enjoyable (especially for shorties like myself!) for your kind of performance. Just a thought. Thanks for all the wisdom and entertainment over the years. Tamara
====== I was told it was great news that Burnett threw the case out so now it can go into higher court. It’s actually starting to look better and better for them.
Detroit, Mich: Is overpopulation a problem in the United States yet? Should this start to become a discussion in America?
==== I don’t think anyone needs a Palin sized litter. I think as resources become more dear, we really need to consider population. I think people need to wake up ad start thinking about their actions.
Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Henry, how do you feel about the impact religion (more specifically, Christianity) has had in recent presidential elections. It seems almost as if the line between Church and State has become blurred to the point of irrelevance. Its as though both parties now have an “obligation” to court the religious right and has even led some politicians to remain quiet in regards to their pro-gay or evolutionary viewpoints. This strikes me as terrifying, how do you feel about it?
======= I can’t tell you how angry the erosion of the line between church and state makes me. Also, that the Bush administration let these psychos like Par Roberts have an in to policy making is obscene. They need to go back to the cult cave they crawled from. I this is going to change. That McCain and Obama had to hang out with Rick Warren was offensive as hell to me.
San Francisco: Obama voted for the FISA act. Obama voted for the bailout. Obama voted to RENEW the Patriot Act in March 2006. Why do you think people are so gullible to believe that there’s really any difference between Obama and Bush?
======= That’s a damn good question. I was very angry about his approval of FISA. I think though that there are huge differences between the two. Call me gullible, just don’t call me late for dinner. Hey now!
San Jose, Calif.: Do you think a McCain presidency would really bring on four more Bush-like years?
======= I guess we’ll never have to find out will we?!!!!!!!!!!!
Newport News: How do you feel the progress of “ending racism in our time” is coming along?
========= President Obama.
California’s Proposition 8 was a huge punch in the gut to those of us who believe in equality for homosexuals. As an outspoken advocate of gay rights, I don’t imagine your reaction was much different. How do you feel about the way homosexuals are treated in this country? Do you think this intolerance is a generation gap or something we’ll have to deal with for a long time?
====== I think things are getting better believe it or not. We have a way to go but compared to decades past, things are getting better. Prop 8 was certainly a disappointment but it ony shows that there’s work to be done. I think that those who voted for 8 need to see that it’s a civil rights issue and a constitutional issue. I also wish that there was a way to take unions out of the church’s hands. Some different language that allows people to be together and not allow the churches to have any traction.
On the positive side, Obama’s election seemed like a nice step forward. Having spent a good portion of your life on tour, what are some of the shifts you’ve seen in the way Americans in certain states think and act (in the political context)?
====== I think with progress on one hand and some things getting worse on the other hand, many people are choosing to be more progressive. I would like to think that it’s a sign of good things more than desperation but I’ll take it as I prefer progress to Reaganism any time. I think with advances in technology, more information gets around and that’s always a good thing.
Your latest speaking tour is a celebration of the end of the Bush era. How the hell was this guy President for 8 years?!?!?
======== Bad media, fear, Rove, cheating, more fear, etc.
One of the things I really liked about “Get In The Van” was the rare perspective you were able to put on things as a young man. Examining yourself for a second, what do you think helped develop that perspective? Do you think it’s helped keep your work relevant?
======== In Black Flag, I was able to get a unique perspective on things. I saw some extreme aspects of human nature. Not always all that kind but instructive. To have an understanding of humanity in some of its more intense forms helps keep me seeing things clearly I hope. As to my relavence, I don’t know.
Henry Rollins: Uncut has take you to 4 very different, very interesting places, all of which share the commonality of conflict. Was there anything during these travels that really floored you?
While we may not get the best coverage, American media does spend time on Israel, South Africa and the post-Katrina New Orleans. The conflict between Ireland and Northern Ireland is rarely publicized, and often misinterpreted by those who are privy to it. Why do you think this is, and what do you think is important for people to understand about the region?
=== I think it’s not covered all that much because it’s a fairly cold conflict compared to other places where things are blowing up all the time. I think what people should understand is that it’s time for people to cut the crap and come up with something better to do than blow each other up and hold stupid grudges all their lives.
Indie 103.1 in Los Angeles has gone from a small, eclectic station to one of the most well known radio outlets in the country. Unlike their competitors, they have strayed away from top 40 playlists and given people like you the power to play whatever you want. For so many years, radio stations across the country were taking their cues from KROQ, do you think more of them will take on Indie’s style now that it’s a proven commodity?
===== I don’t think Indie is all that proven for success. I think the station started to be one thing and ended up another. I think they had high hopes but reality took its place and things are very “normal” there compared to a few years ago. I have been moved to Saturday nights, basically no one hears me. My salary has been cut to gas fare. I am not in need of the money but it’s indicative of how cool things aren’t.
We’re a punk and hardcore magazine, so I have to ask one Black Flag question: you wake up, it’s 1982, you’re on stage shirtless in black basketball shorts and Greg Ginn is ringing in the introductory feedback on his guitar waiting for you to call out the next song. What song are you calling out?
===== They were all pretty good songs in those days.
Hello Henry. How could we qualify or resume what do you do in your life?
==== I persue my interests for a living.
You’re part of the Vans ICONoclasts, what does that mean for you? Is it a new way to touch people and especially young audience wordlwide that doesnt necessarly know your “career”, personnality and ideas?
===== Honestly, it was a short written piece and a brief photo session. Past that, I guess it’s a compliment or an endorsement of some kind. My life didn’t change nor has anyone mentioned the thing to me until you did just now. I am happy that I was recognized by Vans, I thought that was pretty cool.
Do you agree if we say that you personality (charism) played a huge part in the fact you did a lot of things, from singing (SOA, Black Flag, Rollins Band) to acting or storytelling, and also managing (for example, your own edition company and website) ?
======= Well, it certainly isn’t any talent that I posess. I think what it is, is work ethic and discipline that has allowed me to go the distance I have.
Back to where it has all begin for you. What were your early influences and opinions?
======= My early influences would be Washington DC, the place I grew up and my parents and how they raised me. I was influenced by divorce, street violence, racism, fear and alienation from many things. My early opinions were that people were dangerous and you had to be able to rely on yourself.
How did you become the singer of the Black Flag ? Was it by provocating things or did you always want to be a part of this emerging american d.i.y / hardcore-punk scene in 1980?
===== They were holding auditions for the singer slot and I went for it and got the job. It’s as simple as that. It very well could have been someone else.
What were the values and the lifestyle in those days?
====== We valued good playing, women and food. We lived the broke band lifestyle.
It seems like you never had a “plan” in your life (maybe). How the « magic happens », is that a question of philosophy of life ? What is yours ? A mix of passion and self-discipline?
===== I have been incredibly lucky most of the time and smart enough to know it when I had to. My philosophy of life can be summed up in two words: fuck it.
What are ther best memories and teaching you have from this time?
===== No good memories but I learned that you can always work harder than you thought and that was usually what it was going to take to get over.
What does mean to you to be « Hardcore » and can we qualify you as a “Hardcore person”?
===== I think it’s having to guts to act on what you think is the right thing to do with your life even when that means breaking with all you know. I am an extremely hardcore person.
You turned to the spoken word after being a singer… Is that to construct a closer link with your public ? to share you expèrience of life and express things ? Do you think it’s the most important thing in life?
======= It corresponds more to where I am in my life. I like to be able to go to all these places and report back to the stage with all the information I have gathered. Being in a band at this point, it’s not really working for me at this time. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just not where I am at.
We always feel a real anger in your words (as your show « Provoked » or “Shock & Awe” tour)… Where does it come from?
===== It’s from what I see and how I feel about it. It’s my reaction to many things I find wrong with the world and things around me. I’m one of those people.
Is that the same way for your acting carrer ? How did you deal with what from here we see really connected with the “stars” and Hollywood world ? What did you get from acting in movies?
==== For me, it’s just employment. It’s a job and I work for a living. I am not an actor so I just act like one when I am on a movie set and hope it gets me by.
You also had a character in a video game (“Def Jam: fight for NY”), how fun was that?
===== I read some lines from a script, they took some photos of me and I left. It took about 90 minutes. It was a show day and I had to get to the venue.
You’re a big worker, very curious and became an « extrem traveller », you’ve gone to Irak, Pakistan, Liban… What do you think of the state of USA and the worldwide geopolitical context nowadays ? Where do you see our world & people going from your point of view?
======== I think America has to re-connect with the world. It’s been 8 years we’ve been away. I don’t know if we can do it but I would like to think we can. I know I don’t want to be an enemy or a stranger to Earth.
You said « I don’t want to know. I don’t need it. I don’t want the information that millions of people have. I don’t want to be fed these boring facts and figures. Then you’ll become one of the masses. I’d rather starve my mind a bit and have to search out nutrition in stranger places.” Are you still scared with the conformism?
===== I think it’s a dead end. It’s that way of thinking that gets you into another endless war and a bad future so I would rather go on the paths less traveled.
What are your actuality (we just saw you were on this big Recountdown Tour to “celebrate the end of the Bush era”) and projects right now?
====== I just finished 15 months of touring and am looking forward to the next loard of work. I don’t know what that will be yet though.
Finally, what mean freedom for you?
==== To be able to go where I want and to not think if I will be allowed to do something. Basically, freedom of movement.
1. How was the environment where you grew up?
=== I grew up in Washington DC. I lived there from 1961 to 1981. It was at times, a very intense place to live. There was a lot of racial tension and that politicized me at an early age.
2. How did you get involved with punk rock and why hardcore?
====== I got involved in the music scene in my neighborhood. It was Punk Rock. It was the music I listened to and what I liked. For me, it was always music. I never called it Hardcore, that was done by others so it was never a direction or goal of mine.
3. You are involved with politics or at least are interested in social issues (I got that impression after listening to Police Story and also watched parts of your Rollins Show), at what age did it started and why did you get involved?
====== Like I said, it was from living in DC and seeing what I saw. Also, in Black Flag, we had quite a few run ins with the law and local governments and the press. All of this taught me a lot. In my opinion, to be American is to be political. The more aware you are of things, the better. So basically, I never chose it, it chose me.
4. What do you hope that Obama will do better and do you think that he is worth to trust?
==== I hope that Obama will reconnect America to the world at large. We have been away except for wars and I would like to see that change. I think he is definitely worth a go. I think the people he is picking to work with are a very good indicator that he is really ready to do some great things. I am very happy that he was elected.
5. What are your ideas of a more radical party in the US like the Green Party?
===== I am interested in the ideas of parties besides the big two but sometimes wonder if they are not at some levels, a bit unrealistic as to how they tie into the world economies. I only mean this in regards to the consistency of greed and corruption worldwide.
6. Are you vegetarian or vegan and what are your reasons for being that or not being that?
====== I don’t know if I am either. I eat fish, that’s about it for things that have a pulse. I don’t eat beef or whatever else has claws or hooves. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to put that stuff into my system. I seem to be able to live without it just fine so far.
7. Do you have any interests that you do when you don’t do music, TV, and so on?
==== I read and write a lot. I travel and take a lot of photographs when I go places. Pretty much of my time is spent on tour or getting ready for tour so that’s my life for the most part.
7. Do you have any future plans?
=== I will hopefully be out in the world a lot next year. Maybe I’ll get killed.
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