With his relentless work ethic, punk rock icon Henry Rollins always seems to be moving forward, and never looking back. Far from your run of the mill “rock star”, Rollins has released 17 spoken word albums and has written a dozen or so books. He has also added radio to his ever growing Résumé.
It's often been said that music keeps you young; Rollins is living proof.
Tony Jones: Without giving away too much, what can folks who attend your upcoming gig expect?
Henry Rollins: I will be talking about travels I have made since the last tour, experiences in the entertainment business and other stories. All of my shows tour to tour are somewhat the same as they are informed by travel and what has happened since the last time I was on tour.
Jones: What keeps bringing you back to doing spoken word and touring with it?
Rollins: It’s a format I think works well with how I live and I can change material quickly, without band practice or asking other people. It travels very easily. There is no production really and I bring my own mic.
Jones: How do you prepare the material for the tour?
Rollins: I work through ideas, see if there is a story in the information I have. I can’t go onstage and give the audience mere reportage, that doesn’t take much work. I try to find the story in the information. This often takes a long time, so I continually go through my journals, notes, photographs, to try to get an understanding of what I have seen.
Jones: Is there a lot of spontaneity in the live performance?
Rollins: Not a great deal, no. I try to be very prepared. I don’t want to go sideways. I am sure that many performers like to go out and wing it. I don’t have that skill. Preparation is what works for me.
Jones: How does being "angry" play into your spoken word?
Rollins: It informs my “curiosity.”
Jones: What kind of audience are you seeing at gigs? Is it mostly "old punks" or a mix of demographics?
Rollins: It seems to be teenage to my age. It’s surprisingly diverse. More than the music audiences ever were.
Jones: Regarding your radio show, how do you decide on the playlist?
Rollins: The playlist is determined by several factors. New and old, way out there, etc. I try to keep it interesting, somewhat challenging but not off-putting. I have been doing radio for over a decade and have learned a lot. I put a lot of work into those shows. To me, it’s always worth it.
Jones: What does the future hold for Henry Rollins?
Rollins: Hopefully, next year, I get some Hollywood work. I have two books ready to edit, so I will try to get them done.
The Henry Rollins spoken word tour will bring his poignant and amusing experiences and world views to The Met in Pawtucket, RI on November 1, 2016 @ 9:00 PM. General admission tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at themetri.com
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