Henry Rollins

Hi Henry. With many years of travelling and touring under your belt, where in the world would you say you most like playing or visiting?

Henry on stage with the Rollins band in 1993

I am not picky. I am happy to be almost anywhere in the world and appreciate playing shows everywhere that I go.

Having said that, Australia is always a great part of the tour. It’s a beautiful part of the world. But anywhere an audience will have me is a great place to be in my mind.

Travelling on my own, I really like going to South-east Asia. Vietnam, Cambodia; those countries are very nice.


Do you have a favourite venue or somewhere you have played a particularly memorable show?

No, not really. There are many venues that I have been to several times for gigs and that’s always a good thing, to return to a place I sort of grew up in.

Sometimes you find that a venue closes for years and then re-opens, and you’re walking back in for the first time in 10-plus years and memories of the old days can come flooding back. Other times I go to local venues in Los Angeles and look at the the stages remembering people playing there who are now no longer with us.

But no shows in my memory stand out particularly, besides ones where something bad happened. Mostly, they are just these boxes I visit now and then!

Occasionally you get to be on a stage where some real musical giants have been, like at the Fillmore West, and that’s always a great night.


John Coltrane is one of Henry’s favourite musicians

Thinking about music you listen to out on the road. Have you got a favourite album or group of albums which you most like to play when travelling or touring?

There are a few bands that I never travel without on my iPod, absolutely.

Albums by Unrest, Flin Flon, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, The Stooges, The Damned, The Ruts, U.K. Subs, Thin Lizzy, John Coltrane, Generation X are my staples, along with many, many others.

Pre-show I like to listen to some familiar music, so I don’t have to concentrate on it but still have it around.

On my days off I do listen to a lot of new music, but on the days of shows I like to keep everything close and immediate. Thankfully, you can put a lot of music onto an iPod.

I listen to music every single day and the journeys are often long, so a lot of thinking goes into what comes along.


Have you had any particularly memorable travel experiences whilst on tour which you’d like to share with us?

Henry is impressed by the serenity of Madagascar

Pretty much any sunrise in Africa is poignant. No matter how tired I am, I always try to get myself up to watch it happen.

I started doing that on a trip to Egypt many years ago now and i’ve made a point to do it whenever I can.

Living alone in an partially built group of shacks on the coast of Madagascar was pretty epic too. It was like having the entire world to myself out there.

 

 


Ever become a rock ‘n’ roll pilgrim yourself and gone on a pilgrimage to somewhere important in rock history?

I have not gone out of my way more than a few blocks but if I am near Electric Lady Studios in New York City, I’ll definitely walk by it.

The Chelsea Hotel, Massey Hall in Toronto, anything like that is always interesting to me.

Perhaps the coolest moment for me though was sitting alone in the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg, looking at the stage and imagining what it was like to see The Beatles play there. I think all that stuff is really cool to be honest.


Any sunrise in Africa is poignant. No matter how tired I am, I always try to get myself up to watch it happen

 

Finally, do you have a dream trip for the future in your mind, somewhere you haven’t yet made it?

I would like to see more of Central Asia. Travelling to certain regions there might be a bit tough, but there are definitely parts that I would like to explore.

I would like to go back Afghanistan one day, but I don’t know if that will happen. Finally, I want to travel more in central Africa. I have been to the continent many times but ultimately that doesn’t mean much, as it’s a big place!

Henry hosts a regular radio show on KRCW and is active in a number of different projects. Visit his website for the latest news