THE INTERVIEW: Henry Rollins

With his new Frequent Flyer Tour underway, which sees him doing his speaking engagements clear through September, his recent stint on the FX show Sons of Anarchy, his collaboration on The Flaming Lips cover of the Pink Floyd classic The Dark Side of the Moon, his recently released book A Mad Dash on his own imprint 2.13.61, you can say that Henry Rollins is a very busy man. But that’s nothing new for him and he seems to like it that way. I had a chance to talk with him about all this and more.

How is your new “Frequent Flyer Tour” going? What can people expect to hear about?

I am about fourteen shows in so far and all seems to be going well. The audiences have been great and I am glad for a show a night. There are many shows to go, the tour will go until about September if all goes according to plan. I have been talking about the places I have been over the last several months as well as things happening in the news and happening to me.

You’ve been traveling all over the world experiencing things that most people would never do in a lifetime. What is traveling with Henry Rollins like?

I usually travel alone. I get up in the morning and usually hit the streets and walk all over the place, looking at things, meeting people, seeing what I can. If I can take the heat, I will stay out for as long as I can. A lot of the time, I go back out at night as well. Quite often, the same streets are very different at night.

Where were you when you heard about the earthquake in Haiti and how would you recommend people help?

I think I was in Mali when the earthquake hit. I always go to the Red Cross site to donate.

How was it working on Sons of Anarchy? Are you sad its over?

It was a great time and I gave it my best shot. I am not sad that it’s over but I have only fond memories of the whole thing.

What are you working on next?

I have all these shows to do as well as two books I am working on for a 2011 release.

How did you end up working with the Flaming Lips on their remake of The Dark Side of the Moon album?

They asked me to and I said sure. I have asked a lot of people to show up on record projects so I try to return the favor when I am asked.

Were you impressed with how the album came out? There seems to have been a backlash from Pink Floyd fans over it (See article here) Do you agree with them or are you happy with the facelift the album got?

I have not heard the album.

I’ve seen your one man shows several times over the years and I always leave finding out about some amazing obscure music to check out. What are you listening to and recommend these days?

I am listening to a lot of releases on the Sublime Frequencies label and the Analog Africa label. It’s a lot of recordings from Africa and Southeast Asia. I listen to a lot of releases on the American Tapes label as well.

You have a new book out called A Mad Dash. What is it about and how do you find the time to work on so many different projects?

The book is travel stories from 2009. I work steadily. I get a lot done that way, like a brick layer, just steadily working away at things. I try not to let things pile up, that way, I can get a lot done without too much stress.

Speaking of books, how do you feel about the whole internet revolution and publishing. People seem to be moving more towards reading websites and books on kindle rather than purchasing a physical copy. What’s your take on it?

I think it will be good for trees and for publishing overall. You can conceivably have a paperless company with no inventory, no storage, etc. That’s a huge change in how one works in the publishing world. I have never used a Kindle. I like books but I like the idea of being able to carry a bunch of books with me and not have to actually carry them.

Are you going to be coming out with a new album anytime soon and tour with the Rollins band?

I have no band, no band plans.

Henry Rollins will be performing in NYC on March 12 & 13 at Irving Plaza. For tickets and more info, go to his website 21361.com

DaVe Lipp

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