Henry Rollins would like you to believe that he is not an angry person. Beneath a veneer of hard-edged intensity, and the layers of tattoos, Rollins spoke calmly throughout his brief interview. This, however, cannot last; with a few well placed flourishes, Rollins, commenting on his “25 Years of Bullshit” tour, displays the spit and vitriol that are his defining characteristics.
“Anyone I’ve said nasty things about, I can’t wait to meet them. I rip Sean Hannity, from Fox News, a new one all the time, I’ve not yet met him, but put it this way: if Sean Hannity was in my grill and if one of his hands came any higher than his waist, I would go for him in a heartbeat. Would I win or lose? I’d probably lose. Would I go down swinging? Yes. Would I hesitate? Fuck no.”
Rollins has spent time pontificating amid an outspoken liberal community. Unlike prominent and like-minded celebrities such as Alec Baldwin or Sean Penn – who seem to preach from atop ivory towers – Rollins’ punk-rock pedigree grants him an everyman image. He even excuses a certain level of ignorance among the God-fearing middle-class populace. He notes, “They don’t have time to sit around and read books on the Russian-Afghan war. – They’re too busy trying to feed the three howling children at the dinner table and get in their barely OK car and drive to that job.”
Popping up on VH1’s nostalgia fests, he has long been known primarily for his non-musical output. In his current role, he’s slagged off on some rock legends, most notably U2. “Bono came up to me and said, ‘Why don’t you like me?’ And I go, have a seat sir, let me tell you what a hack you are,” Rollins said.
He hasn’t always made his living as a talking head, It has been almost 25 years since a skinny, wide-eyed Henry Garfield first jumped on stage with his favorite band, Black Flag; Rollins fronted the group for five years before starting his own project, Rollins Band. He also has a publishing imprint/record label, 2.13.61, and a hefty stock of dubious acting credits.
Rollins quickly dismissed his success, “I don’t consider myself a musician, I don’t know how to play an instrument – I’m not trying to be an actor, I’m trying to be employed – I just consider myself basically a bullshit artist that does a lot of different stuff. I don’t really feel that I’m any good at any of it. But I like to give it my best shot.”