The minister of punk rock, Henry Rollins – probably better known for his animated workaholic tendencies as a radio dj, actor, spoken word artist, and former frontman for both Rollins Band and Black Flag – is working his way around the country for his 2012 spoken word tour Capitalism. Capitalism is a rather polite double entrendre for a tour that is hitting – or is he campaigning in? – every U.S. state capital and also a jab at the economic system of capitalism (and a Superman style hook to far right conservatives). He may not be on the Presidential ballot, but Henry Rollins Capitalism tour will culminate on the eve of the U.S. Presidential election in his hometown of Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, October 18, Rollins’s Capitalism tour stopped in Atlanta at the Variety Playhouse. As soon as Rollins hits the stage, the words come flying out of his mouth fast and furiously and he continues for a solid three hours without stopping. Let me repeat that – he does not stop for water, an intermission, questions, or any other reason. He never stumbles, mumbles, or pauses to catch his thoughts. Rollins is a verbal machine, wearing all black, and poised in a boxing stance. Now that you’ve got his picturesque fierceness in mind, he also has the glorious tendency to run with a tangent off his main story and then circle back around (after you’ve forgotten that he left a storyline hanging out there).
Raised on a good diet of punk rock hunger and Abe Lincoln values, Rollins has managed to channel the anger of youth – the noise and passion (minus the confusion and raging hormonal insanity) – into both intellect and words that are sharpened and honed weapons. Aside from the music, punk rock is a value system that makes up the core of a person. With the music side of the scene needing a bit of repair, it was good to know that there are others out there with similar thoughts, philosophies, and ideals to keep punk rock alive and well in 2012. Punk rock is not dead, its parishioner are changing and adapting to survive.
Ever the charismatic minister of punk rock ideology, Rollins spoken word touches on his childhood, anecdotes about touring with Black Flag, his professed connection with Abe Lincoln, women’s rights, traveling, humanity, fans reaching out to him, and poking fun of his age. For a man who self-deprecates about his age a decent amount, at 51 he sure stares life in the eyes and takes life by the horns. The best way to describe this is, well – just watch this clip from his new National Geographic three-part series, “Animal Underworld with Henry Rollins” where he wrestles a crocodile.
Rollins workaholic nature definitely pushes him to the limits – some dangerous, but all personal, which helps ensure his social relevance with both the mainstream and counterculture. Opting to constantly tour and travel continuously puts him in close communication with a lot of different people from all walks of life. Under his tough punk rock exterior, Rollins seems to genuinely be interested in learning about people. After the show, Rollins hung around to talk to fans, take pictures, and autograph items for them as well.
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