Interview mit Henry Rollins zu seiner Spoken Word Performance in Berlin

This entry was posted on 14.10.2009

Henry Rollins kommt im Januar auf Tour – mit einer Spoken-Word-Performance, singen mag er grad nicht. Und da der Ex-Black-Flag-Frontmann zuvor verreist, gab es jetzt ganz kurzfristig Interview-Termine, um die Tour zu promoten. Leider war das so kurzfristig, dass ein Gespräch am Telefon unmöglich war, aber immerhin hat der Mann einige Fragen (kurz und bündig) per Mail beantwortet. Fürs Trust ist das Interview zu kurz, deshalb gibt es das “Gespräch” hier im englischen Wortlaut und in voller Länge.

You’ve been travelling a lot in countries where the USA (as a country) is not necessarily welcome. How were your experiences there? Did you feel welcome as an American citizen?

The one thing that has been consistent in these travels is that I have encountered very friendly people. I am asked where I am from and why I am there. I tell them I am from America and the reason I am there is basically to meet them and see what’s happening. That usually makes people smile and they seem to be honestly happy that I made the effort to come all the way out to their country to check it out.

I don’t know if you’ve been to any of those countries since the last election. Did feelings change there?

Since last November, I have only been to Europe and Mali, so I have not had the chance to check out planet Earth since Barack Obama has become president. I am interested to check out the temperature and see what people think though. It will have to be better than what I encountered over the last eight years.

One of the countries where people strongly opposed the last government was Germany. How have you been / are you treated here? Or have you been preaching to the converted anyway?

I have always been treated very well in Germany. It was the first country that fed me post show and in the early days of my band, the audiences showed up and supported us big time so Germany has always been high on my list. No matter who has been president in America, audiences in Germany have been good to me. As far as preaching to the perverted, as I like to call it, sure, there’s a lot of that. It’s not often that someone who hates your guts is going to sit in a seat they paid for and listen. Like every other performer, I get the audience who shows up.

It seems as if you gave up music entirely. Your last album, the Black Flag tribute, is more than five years old, the last Rollins Band record came out even earlier than that. Is there any reason you focused on spoken words / your radio/TV show / acting more than on music?

I have not pursued any music for some time, it’s true. It’s almost all I did for a long time and I rang that bell pretty hard for many years. At this point, I don’t know what I could do with it that wouldn’t be a repeat or less than it was. Also, life is short and I want to do more than just be the guy in the band, not that it’s a bad thing but I am curious about other means of communication. The talking shows have become more relevant to me as they now pertain much more to my interests.

Will we see you returning to music any time soon (or at all)?

I am not adverse to the idea but I have a lot of other things lined up that I want to pursue.

Speaking of music: You sung on the album by William Shatner. How did that happen? Did William Shatner actually knew who you were? How was it?

It was the producer’s idea. Ben Folds wanted me to come in to work with Bill. I did it and had a great time. I am still friends with Bill. I was at his house yesterday evening, actually. He’s a great guy, very friendly and very generous.

You just published a new book, “A Mad Dash”. Can you tell me what it is about?

A Mad Dash is travel stories and journal entries from the year 2008. I went all over the world and the stories I came back with are pretty cool.

You own a small publishing company yourself. I am curious to hear what you think about the future of book publishing in general. Do you see any future in it at all?

I think the book world is going to go digital soon. There will be the iPod equivalent for books made by every company soon. It could very well be that book stores will go the way of record stores. I hope that literacy doesn’t disappear as well.

A few years ago I thought the crisis of the music industry will just affect big labels, now it seems as if all the great small labels in the world disappear. Touch & Go doesn’t put out new stuff anymore, Dischord went low profile etc. will we see a similar development for books? What do you do to keep 21361 alive?

I don’t agree with your assertion about Dischord and T&G. Dischord is doing great with downloads, they have some great releases lined up and almost all of their catalogue has been remastered or is in the process of being remastered. I was at Dischord last week and it was cookin’ over there. I think T&G had some bumps recently but will be ok. As for my own company, I put out my stuff and it does very well.

Or will you go digital anytime soon: Spoken word sessions on iTunes (that may even exist already), a Rollins iPhone app, etc. What do you think of that?

A lot of my stuff up for download with more to follow.

Das Interview wird als Artikel im Januar im Oranienburger Generalanzeiger sowie der Kreiszeitung Syke erscheinen.

Henry Rollins bei Amazon

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