Laura and I went to Liberty Hall here in Lawrence last night to catch Henry Rollins on his latest spoken-word tour (is it even really necessary to qualify “tour” with “spoken-word” for Rollins any longer? He’s pretty much stopped doing music, right?)
At 8pm, he strode out on stage, far grayer than either the tour posters or his recent stint on “Sons of Anarchy” would have you expect, wrapped the mike cord around his hand a few times, took up his familiar one-foot-forward coiled-energy pose, and proceeded to talk, non-stop, for three hours straight. Without so much as a pause or a single sip of water.
He bounced from topic to topic, largely sticking to his recent experiences in filming “Sons of Anarchy” and then the 3-month travel stint that followed the filming and immediately preceded this tour, which took him around the world, from Saudi Arabia to India to Sri Lanka to Mali and more. He briefly touched on current events (Not to expect BP to have to pay any real consequence for the Gulf disaster because, as he pointed out, Union Carbide pretty much got away with killing 12,000 Indians in the 80s), American politics (“Barack Obama speaks in perfect 12-point Helvetica.”), and even our local shame, the funeral-picketing “God Hates Fags” Phelps clan (“The best way to defeat them is to give their kids a Ramones album.”).
All the while, he spoke of “staring down the barrel of 50” — Rollins is 8 years my senior, and I found a lot of his commentary around aging particularly topical for me (“I was creaking and popping in places that I will now creak and pop for the rest of my life — because at this age, those injuries? You get to keep those.”).
The night was fascinating, not just for the narrative (I mean, who doesn’t love a story of flipping off Burmese dictator Than Shwey to his face?), but for a look at the mental processes of a fellow creative who thrives when he’s busy and gets bored and depressed when he’s not.
Really excellent show — if you get a chance, go see him.