Monday, October 8, 2007

Rollins at The Berkeley Performing Arts Center

The first thing that impressed me about Henry Rollins was that he was punctual. The ticket says that the show starts at 7:30. BAM. The show started at 7:30. Henry began with a huge inhale and then exhaled for 3 solid hours.

One thing you might not know: Henry Rollins is funny. And I don't mean "Sam Kinnison" funny. He's actually pretty self-deprecating and sometimes (are you sitting down?) sort of cute. And by that, I'm not suggesting that I think he's attractive (Muscle types are not -- and have never been -- my style. They terrify me. I tend to like skinny, nerdy dudes.). I just mean that he has this really approachable, human side. And he isn't afraid to show it to you. He gives you his opinions without preaching at you. He urges you to vote, but doesn't tell you who to vote for. I really admire this.

He shared a lot of his personal encounters with us - recent trips he took to the Middle East, dates he'd been on, the fact that he has no family, really. He's like this insatiable sponge that just keeps soaking up new and unusual experiences. Some of them, he seeks out and others, like his recent opportunity to head up one of his all-time favorite bands, The Ruts, seek him. But he doesn't deny these chances. He takes all of them, uses what he can, discards what he can't, and moves on like a bullet.

I can appreciate his need to be alone. I can spend gads of time with my friends and loved ones, but I could also spend days on end by myself. Nothing personal to said friends and loved ones, but when you grow up without siblings, you get accustomed to the silence around you and in your own head. You learn to entertain yourself. You have to learn selflessness later in life. As an adult, I am constantly aware of the needs of people around me. I have developed this sensitivity in order to police the selfishness I learned as a child.

He mentioned Nick Cave and told a quick story about how he flew all the way from Europe straight to California in time to see a Nick Cave show. He was asked (along with Jello Biafra) to sing back up vocals for "Deanna." This just happens to be the only Nick Cave song I own. I also learned that he is a fan of both "The Damned" and "The Fall" - two of my top 20.

One of his reasons for being anti-death penalty is the same as mine. You kill the wrong person and that's one wrongful death too many. I get the sense that he goes out of his way to avoid inconsistency and hypocrisy. I am very into that. I just know that he'd be the first person getting out of his car and screaming about the savage way that people cut to the front of the line, waiting at an exit ramp.

Unlike Jello Biafra, he didn't seem to throw the Green Party agenda at us. I respect the Green Party, but I don't want it shoved down my throat. Kudos to Rollins for acknowledging the intelligence of his audience. (I'm not, like, pinning them against one another. I admire them both, equally. I'm merely pointing out the things that turned me on about Rollins' material).

So, I guess I'll let the tire commercials and the recent Rufus Wainright appearance on his show slide. We will have to agree to disagree there.


Blogger Jere said...

We've got to get a Ruts album!

You have to hear Henry's "uber-rat" story from one of the cds I have of his. If you liked his looooong, tangent-filled tales from last night, you should love it.

The weird thing is, I knew Rollins first from spoken-word, so he was introduced to me as "funny," before I knew about the loud, the angry, the screamy, the writings. I knew Black Flag, but not the Henry-era stuff, and I knew about Rollins Band, but never really had the albums/made the connection that it was the same guy. Note: I'm younger than you, remember?

October 8, 2007 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger 02145 said...

Yeah, we've got to get it.

Hook me up with the CDs!

Also, I forgot to add this to the post: Rollins was really excited by a recent alligator attack in Florida. Message being: Finally, Mother Nature is Striking Back (He explained it a lot better than me). You know, we humans walk around with this sense that we've got all other life forms under our control and nothing bad could possibly happen to us. I have always reiterated that no shark attack is ever the fault of a shark. It's the result of a human who goes into shark territory. Being in this territory is a privilege, not a right. And these poor sharks should not be killed because people need a little recreation. I'm not saying you ought to avoid the ocean. I love the ocean and I love swimming in it. But I also recognize that I could be risking my life by doing so. Sharks don't run up on the land, looking for people to attack. They mind their own business. Like Hooper says in JAWS: All this machine does is swim and eat and make little sharks, and that's all.

October 8, 2007 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Jere said...

"Territoriality, it's just a theory I happen to agree with."

October 9, 2007 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger 02145 said...

Nice one.

October 10, 2007 at 4:03 AM  

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