Henry Rollins still talks the talk on his 'Long March'
Henry Rollins prefers the rigors of the road to the comforts of home.
Appearing Saturday at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland as part of his spoken-word tour, "The Long March," Rollins had already done about 40 dates in 2012 by early March. He cites one of contemporary music's sagest voices as inspiring his peripatetic nature.
"Part of my ethic comes from Bob Dylan," Rollins says. "One of his quotes is something like 'If you're a musician, you go out and deliver your songs,' but he's very humble about it. He makes no bones about it and I've heard him say it in a couple of different ways. It's really cool to see a guy like that keeping doing it when he's written enough great songs to probably keep the sandwiches coming in."
Rollins' travels have taken him to Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other destinations not listed in Michelin Guides. Last year, he traveled to Haiti. Voluble on most subjects, he seems to have been left at a loss about his travel to the earthquake-stricken nation.
"I just don't know what to do about it," Rollins says. "I was so blown away by what I saw. I know there have been billions of dollars raised and I don't know if there's corruption, but you walk in downtown Port-au-Prince and it's just destroyed. You're ankle-high in rubble. It was basically hot squalor, confusing and kind of hopeless. ... I spent a week there visiting camps, buying soccer balls to give to little kids and stuff like that."
Rollins quickly adds that he doesn't know if he made a difference, but he couldn't sit back and do nothing. The drive to travel and listen to unheard voices in the streets of Damascus or Islamabad or Port-au-Prince, to see things most Westerners can't imagine, informs his performances.
"I travel to learn things rather than just read about them," he says. "I tried to go and get different information."
In a way, Rollins is a throwback to the travelers in the Middle Ages who would bring reports of the world to small villages. The difference is the volume and breadth of news available today. Everyone has access to the 24-hour news cycle, and everyone can post an opinion via Twitter or blogs or message boards.
All of this is good, Rollins feels, except for one thing: Anonymous posts that use vile language.
"I talk about it almost nightly," he says, noting he's especially been appalled reading posts using racial slurs to describe President Obama. "You have the right to say anything you want under the First Amendment, but to not sign your name and call yourself Patriot148 is just disingenuous. It's willful cowardice. If you're going to say it, stand up and wear it on your shirt. Don't hide behind the First Amendment, stand in front of the First Amendment and defend it."
Rollins started his career as a musician, first with Washington, D.C., bands before joining the seminal punk band Black Flag. Later, he formed the Rollins Band, which was active until 2006. There's no chance Rollins will resurrect his musical career because "I just don't know what else I would do except look foolish," he says.
But doesn't he miss the roar of approval that comes with delivering a song?
"Think about it," he says of doing spoken-word performances. "There's not that huge wall of noise, there's just that acoustic signal, just one voice. Talk about having impact. Oh, yeah, you get a reaction. It's goes both ways; there's great approval and great disapproval."Additional Information:
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Admission: Sold out
Where: Carnegie Lecture Hall, Oakland
Details: 412-237-8300 or www.warhol.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Oil glut forces producers to seek out more storage tanks
- Penguins need trade-deadline acquisitions to bring toughness
- Riverview girls apply lessons learned
- Blue Jays’ Martin has ‘nothing but praise’ for former Pirates teammates
- Spirit Airlines to add daily flights from Arnold Palmer airport to Chicago
- Unity planners OK proposal for Route 30 retail development
- Rossi: Pirates’ post-Martin plan comes with a catch or 2
- ‘Big Mo’ ranks with A-K’s gridiron greats
- Oakland firm Qualaris Healthcare’s software saves time in hospitals
- CMU grad’s FunBites make healthy food appeal to kids
- ‘Time for bold change,’ Wolf says in outlining $30B state budget