Henry Rollins Spoken Word Tour 2016
I lucked upon a news article about Henry Rollins‘ spoken word tour a week before it rolled into town. I knew him as that jacked, tattooed, intense-eyed punk rocker who was also one hell of an incisive writer. In other words, someone I should jump the fuck on a chance to see live.
If he’s ever within your reasonable travel radius, I highly recommend you do the same.
This was my first experience with spoken word in general, let alone Rollins’ flavor thereof. I thought I might be spectating a structured selection of individual pieces. Instead I got shoved off a launching platform down a two-hour slide through Willy Wonka’s riverboat tunnel, but through a kaleidoscope of allusions and insight and inspiration rather than headless chicken nightmare fuel.
Rollins is frank, animated, cheerfully self-deprecating, pervasively hilarious. He told us about hanging out with RuPaul – proclaimed to be very punk for dressing how he wants with all panache and no apology – and bringing his characteristic intensity as an overly serious judge on Drag Race. Performing with Black Flag in Germany, stunned to get a bread and cheese plate and a shower instead of a punch in the face and directive to get the hell out forever. Traveling to Antarctica with a boat full of penguin fanatics, and experiencing the sights – and overwhelming stench – of the precious li’l waddlers up close and personally. And way the hell more in sharp and flowing detail, but it was such a tidal wave of everything that the details are eluding my recollection. That’s fine. I remember plenty, and that plenty was singular.
This wild ride ran deep with nuanced real talk and layered self-actualization. Rollins constantly strives to immerse himself in new experiences, to upgrade himself and look ahead rather than wallow in an unattainable past. Every day, I want tomorrow. He exhorted the rest of us to do the same, particularly in the aftermath of this contentious presidential election. With every problem, he presented a solution. And within it all, much needed catharsis and pragmatic hope.