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“See How It Washes Up on Other Shores”: Henry Rollins, May 15 at the Capitol Theatre - Page 2 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 06 May 2010 07:52

How have your journeys changed and informed your relationship with American politics and culture? Have they changed your perspectives on certain issues, for example national security and foreign aid?

Sure. It's one of the best ways to learn about America. Leave it and see how it washes up on other shores. See the cultural impact of what America does, means, and produces in a different context; it can be very illuminating. Globalization looks one way from one end, very different from the other, like a whip. One end doesn't hurt; the other end can leave a mark. The world outside the West, as it were, is a very hungry, thirsty, and hopeful place. It is full of some of the most amazingly alive, kind, generous, and wonderful people I have ever met.

Are you concerned that when you're discussing politics, you're preaching only to the converted, to like-minded people? How do you reach audiences that have different perspectives from yours? In other words, how do you try to change people's minds on things that are important to you?

All I can do is open my mouth as often as I can. I judge impact by the poorly spelled and rarely signed hate mail I get. All performer types spend a good amount of time in front of people who are already on-board. I am not running for office. I am on a stage, letting it rip as clearly as I can.

You've said that you don't consider yourself a teacher. What role do you want your work to play in the culture? Education? Entertainment? Something else?

I don't know. I am up there, trying to be clear and report back to the audience about what I saw and how I felt about it. I have no idea what role I play. I can't think it's anything much. It is probably for most people entertainment. I don't think it's an educational event.

How has your work in other media/formats -- music, acting, writing, hosting -- affected your spoken-word approach? How has your style evolved over the years?

I don't know how all the other stuff I do has affected the talking shows. There has perhaps been some kind of evolution. I don't look at it from that angle. I think over the years, the shows have broadened topic-wise, as I get more access to more destinations and am able to bring more to the table, as it were.

Dumb hypothetical question: If you had to limit yourself to one medium/outlet of communication -- stage, town square, written word, recordings, radio, television, or film - what would it be and why?

I like doing all the different things but I am probably best at the talking shows. The radio shows are the funnest; it's a lot less pressure than anything else I do, and it's great to be able to listen to music.

Besides the current tour and your Vanity Fair column, what projects are you working on?

I am working on a photo book that will have a lot of essays. That project is dragging along. All the photos are done, but the writing is hard to do out here. I am also working on a travel/journal book. I have some other smaller writing projects that move along very slowly.

Is a return to music still unlikely for you? How did your relationship with music change over the years with Black Flag and Rollins Band? Is there anything you miss about performing music live?

I miss playing music, absolutely. I think it would be cheating to go out and play old music at this point. It would be too easy. I can see perhaps making new music with different people, but I don't want to work with the old gang; we would just repeat patterns and fall into the same things. I was never very good with music; I tried really hard, played as hard as I could. I don't know what else I could do with the medium with my limitations.

Henry Rollins will perform at the Capitol Theatre (330 West Third Street in Davenport) on Saturday, May 15. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $25. For more information, visit

For more information on Rollins, visit

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