Interview with Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins has done just about every type of medium in the entertainment business. From fronting such bands as Black Flag and the Rollins band to various television and movie roles as well as having his on weekly radio show. Henry has shown the world that he truly is a modern day jack of all trades. Henry ushered in his 50th birthday this past February with a string of shows in NY, LA and DC and kicks off a U.S. tour this month. Movie Mikes had the chance to speak with Henry about the new tour and all the other things he has going on.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your new spoken word tour “50”?
Henry Rollins: The tour is a very small group of about 30-35 shows. This year isn’t really going to be a big tour year however it just so happens that I turned 50 and I felt I had to do some shows. Turning 50 is just so funny. I felt doing some shows would be a great opportunity to poke fun at myself. The subject matter of the shows isn’t going to be a big production where I talk about being 50 and then play a violin and cry it’s simply going to be about places I have gone and my experiences and thoughts during that time. I do have a few things in there about turning 50 as I think society likes these types of numbers. I realized that being 50 in some ways has caused me to pause momentarily and take stock of things that are somewhat different now. I realized that there are things I just don’t or can’t do anymore. I may look at a woman and think to myself that she’s pretty but then think what am I doing she’s half my age! (Laughs)

AL: You have been described by some as a renaissance man. Do you find one of your works more rewarding than the others?
HR: No. I am kind of in the mood of permanent gratitude. All the things I get to do I feel are amazing opportunities. It’s great to be on stage! It’s great to be on film and on the microphone! For me it’s a big stew that I am peculating in with all the other ingredients. The overall is the good part for me. I can tell you that they all have different levels of stress.

AL: From the films you have been in do you have one role that sticks out as a favorite?
HR: I think the one I had the most fun on was “The Chase”. That film was also the first film I had ever done. It was fun because it was a comedy and no one really took themselves seriously. The director allowed me to make my own lines, so a lot of what made it into the film I came up with. It was just really great to get that green light from the director and be able to provide my own input and ideas.

AL: How did you initially become involved in acting?
HR: The directors of “The Chase” were fans of my music and they came to me with asking if I would be in their film. I figured I had nothing to lose and didn’t really have a reputation or a real job! I have gone through life fairly independent and I feel one suites one’s self very well by saying yes to things. In the 1980’s I saw a lot of people in independent music who were more talented than I get hung up with no options because they never had a plan B. When music didn’t work for them they were stuck. I just started saying yes to different job options and working overtime at getting better at each one. Overtime a lot of things have come my way.

AL: You are also an avid traveler, is there one place you have been that is a favorite?
HR: No. It’s all kind of my favorite. There are some countries where I don’t know if I will be back only because I wasn’t struck to learn more about that area. For example when I was in Brunei, a very small benevolent country, it was like walking through a gift shop. You walk through to check it out and that’s it. I am more interested in regions than specific countries. I love to learn about the history of specific regions especially Southeast Asia and America’s history with that area. I really want to get back to Cambodia and Laos. I also find the Middle East and Africa very interesting and try to make it to those places at least one to two times a year. I have met a lot of great people and seen a lot of great places.

AL: How was your experience working with William Shatner?
HR: He is a wonderful guy. We have remained friends since that time and I see him quite regularly. He actually lives up the street from me. He seems to always invite me to his Monday night football parties. Even though I’m not really a big sports guy I always go as he has really nice friends and very good food. I think Bill kind of pity’s me as I don’t know a lot of people and am somewhat of a workaholic. I think he just tries to get me out of my house and interacting with other people. He really has a big heart and is truly one of the nicest people I have met. I feel very lucky to have him as a friend.

AL: Can you tell us about any of your other upcoming projects?
HR: I am going to be doing a lot of work with National Geographic this year. I have a show coming out next month on Nat Geo Wild about snakes. I have continued to talk with the people involved with that show about doing some more animal type shows. I hope to be able to shoot that over the summer and also hoping it takes up a good portion of this year. Next year I have been pretty much spoken for and am planning a large scale tour.

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