Monday, June 1, 2009


Yes, this is indeed a great day for Good vs Evil. I am proud to present my small interview with Henry Rollins. I have been a Rollins fan since I can remember. Hearing Rise Above I could hear true passion and intensity and I was hooked. This wasn't some fake ass rock n roll this was real. What I truly admire about Henry is he is punk rock all the way. He does what he likes to do and doesn't give a shit about peoples opinions. Now, not only doing music, he is involved in spoken word tours, literature, acting and presenting.


GVSE; 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?

ROLLINS; 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

GVSE; What motivated you then? And what motivates and influences you now?

ROLLINS; 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

GVSE; 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?

ROLLINS; 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.

GVSE; Can you tell me a little about your publishing company 21361? Is literature a big thing in your life?

ROLLINS; 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.

GVSE; Black Flag and Rollins band always had great artwork going on. Are there any artists that you like and why?

ROLLINS; 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.

GVSE; Reading your notes about touring it seems real intense. How does touring take it out of you?

ROLLINS; 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.

GVSE; Do you think you've mellowed at all with time. Or have you just learnt to direct your intensity and drive?

ROLLINS; 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 be all mad about it.

GVSE; What does punk rock mean to you?

ROLLINS; Thinking for yourself. That’s the main thing I learned from all that.

GVSE; Finally, as this is Good vs Evil, can you tell me what for you is Heaven and what is Hell?

ROLLINS; Heaven is sleep and as Jean-Paul Sartre said, Hell is other people.
Check Henry out at
Photo credit: Maura Lanahan

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