"Henry Rollins has staying power." - Interview

For those who are fans of Henry Rollins, no matter if it’s for his music, acting, or opinions, you can be certain that Rollins always gives his best to the project he is attached to. Knowing that, it made interviewing that much more awesome.

Q - You were a part of one of the biggest punk bands, Black Flag. That was many years ago. Yet your fan base is still out there strong as ever. What's the secret to staying power?

A - I tour all the time, answer all the mail and keep things moving. Perhaps that has something to do with it. I have been very lucky and I have a great audience. I think if an audience knows it is being respected, and then they may stick around for longer than a tour or a press release. That's as best as I can figure.

Q - After Black Flag you toured in the Rollins Band, changing the music a little to include heavier rock and jazz. As an artist, how and why did you decide to stray away from the type of music Black Flag put out when Black Flag was so popular?

A - I don't know why I would want to try and copy what I had been doing before. It would be a waste of time and who cares what's popular? It was a new group of people and you can't tell them to play someone else's music. We got together and started writing songs and touring and let it happen. To me, that's way more interesting and honest than trying to gauge what an audience wants. To me, that's an ultimate sell out.

Q - I read that one of the biggest changes in your life was when you started lifting weights. Lifting weights had a dramatic physical effect on you, but what did it do for you mentally and how did you apply that 'aha' moment to your life?

A - It gave me a sense of achievement that I needed. I took the fact that if I applied myself, something may happen into what I have tried to ever since.

Q - Your career began in music, but then moved to stand-up, acting and spoken word. Sometimes I see artists going out and doing the same 10 songs that made them successful. You, on the other hand, reinvent yourself all the time. Is there a specific moment during your career when you think you have to do something different or are you just doing the things you want to do because you want to do them?

A - I took the other work opportunities as they came to me; that's it really. I was in a band and was offered to be in a film. I had nothing to lose and was curious, so I went for it. Then came voiceovers and other things. I come from the minimum wage working world and I work for a living. The thing I figured out in the eighties was that you better have something else to do because in music, you were going to starve in America. So, wanting to survive, I found things to do between band tours and said yes to work; that's how I do it.

Q - What I love about you is that your spoken word doesn't hold back on what you're thinking. Whether the topic revolves around Iraq or former President Bush, you tell it like it is. What would you say is the biggest criticism of your speeches?

A - The lack of restraint on a topic that someone disagrees with. Fuck 'em.

Q - Have you ever regretted anything you've said about a person or topic that has affected a person?

A - No.

Q - I read that, although your speeches or spoken word are well written, you actually don't like the writing process. How do you prepare for a topic when writing isn't something you particularly like doing?

A - I work through the ideas in my head and take it to the stage. I am not a good writer, so I struggle with it and do the best I can. I don't write the things I say on stage; I just have it with me. It's a lot to manage sometimes.

Q - The long ago rumor was that Henry Rollins was gay and that you were going to come out on TV. You've said that you weren't gay and didn't have a problem with homosexuals. How did this rumor ever come about?

A - I don't know. Perhaps wishful thinking. If I were gay, believe me, you would know.

Q - Since you've been successful as a performer on different levels, what's next for Henry Rollins?

A - I have a lot of shows happening this year and a lot of writing work to do, so that will take up the rest of the year. Next year, hopefully something will come up.

BYLINE:

Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.

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