Henry Rollins: Interview with Henry Rollins

When you go to these places and talk to these people, how does that compare to a show with a regular audience?

Well, most of the time you’re meeting small groups of soldiers and you’re shaking hands and doing photographs. There’s not many shows shows. I’ve done a couple in Afghanistan, but they can’t keep them in one place for very long, because they’re all working in 12 hour shifts. So they can watch if you’re gonna go on stage and talk for like 20 minutes. They can watch part of it, but then they’ve gotta go.

The thing that’s best is if you do the meet-andgreet thing, where they can come up, get a photograph, shake your hand and then they’ve gotta split and go back to their job. There’s like a war on or something, so they say.

You’re doing the series of dates at the Zipper Theater.What’s the attraction to doing a series of shows?

It’ll be a chance to kind of set up in one place and get a feel of the venue. I’ve done this once before—twice before I did a residence thing. It’s just fun. My manager said, ‘How about it?’ and I thought it over and said, ‘Yeah, okay, it might be fun.’ Haven’t done one of those since like 2001 or something. I did five nights at the Westbeth Theater, I think it was five. So this will be a little longer. It should be interesting.

How does touring affect taping for Henry’s Film Corner?

I tour around it. It’s basically two days a month, so whenever I’m in town, we’re getting near time to do the thing, I watch the screeners and work on the material I want to put in the show and we do it. We shoot Tuesday and Wednesday of next week and then Thursday I’m on stage in upstate New York, so I’m like out the door, after the show I’m going to the airport and taking a red-eye up to Buffalo or Albany or something.

You’ve talked about movies in your shows for years. How is it different in the context of having your own show?

It’s not really. You know, you mouth off. It’s the same me, just the tighter camera. You like a movie, you don’t like a movie, you have an informed opinion, you let it rip and they make an edit. That’s basically how we shoot it.

And how does the fact that you do movies affect your perspective?

The perspective that I get is that it’s hard for me to blame the actors for a bad film, because it’s rarely the actors’ fault. Any film like Alien Vs. Predator, some god awful piece of crap, do you really blame the actors for showing up for a day’s work? Hell no. They’ll show up for Gidget 4 if there’s work, and you can’t blame a person for wanting to get work. I audition for these films. So I leave the actors alone and go after the industry.

Plans for your next book?

Yeah, I’m working on three actually. One comes out this year for sure. I was trying to see if I could get two of them out, it’ll be all about May, June, July, part of August, how much time I can have there to work.

Why three at the same time?

One is kind of a longer term thing, which is going to have travel stories like this thing from Siberia and USO travel stories. Another one is this thing that all of a sudden turned into a book project, and the other one is the thing I actually had do at the end of the year for November release.

And then there’s a fourth one, I’m basically copyediting and shaping an autobiography for someone else. It kind of fell into my lap and I couldn’t say no, so I said, ‘Okay, just heap it on.’

Who is it?

It’s Johnny Ramone.

Well that’s a good book to be working on.

Oh it’s a great read. It’s just that I already had enough going on that this came up and I couldn’t say no to Linda Ramone. She wanted help with it and I said sure. It’s great, a really great read. Johnny’s very honest and has the mind like a steel trap. It’s solid.

How about music? You re-released a couple albums last year. Is anything happening musically?

Yeah, I’m working on music in New York by day. Zipper Theater at night, music by day.

Is it still the same band?

Well, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Me and Chris Haskett—older Rollins Band alumni—Chris and I are gonna write together and see. I don’t know if anything’ll happen, but we’re both hot to do it.

I wrote him weeks ago and said I’ll be in New York for like two weeks, because we were gonna start writing this summer. He was gonna come out here or I was gonna go out there. Something was gonna happen.

So this came up and I went, ‘Is this the start?’ and he went, ‘Yeah, it is.’ So he’s blocking out time and we’re just going to work like maniacs, as we do when we get together, and then we’ll see what happens. I don’t know what’ll happen. Maybe it’ll just be two old men fooling themselves.