Archive Entertainment The Orion

Henry Rollins preaches to the horde

January 1, 2005

“I’m your anger shaman,” Henry Rollins said. “I’m in the trenches of hate looking out for your best interests.”

Rollins, former lead singer of Black Flag, channeled the rage of most of the audience into a dynamic performance Feb. 16 as part of his “Shock and Awe My Ass” spoken word tour.

The almost two and a half hour show covered everything from last year’s presidential election, The West Memphis Three, to his United Service Organizations work.

When Rollins asked if people voted in the last election, he said he respected people’s choices, even if they did vote for Bush — prompting one person to whoop like a drunken stooge.

“I’ll tell you I did not get the result I wanted,” Rollins said. “But that’s democracy, what do you do?”

His main faith in the current leadership is the unlimited source of material he can use every time Bush opens his mouth. Rollins searches news Web sites often for unedited versions of Bush’s speeches.

“Everyone else airbrushes him like the cover of Maxim,” Rollins said. “(He) staggers through the English language like a drunken man wandering through the woods.”

Rollins said he wouldn’t mind if none of Bush’s misspeakings left the country.

“Unfortunately, when he speaks — ping, ping, ping off every satellite in the world and they go, ‘Oh man, if he’s numero uno, what are the rest of them like?'” he said.

Rollins also reveled in Bushisms like “Lose a loss of human life,” “Car bombs that bomb indiscriminately” and “Unleashing the compassion of America’s religious institutions.”

“The American people’s expectations have been beaten into a powder,” Rollins said. “They’re happy if he shows up with pants on.

“And they never unleash anything that is not harmful to you, so the idea of unleashing the compassion of America’s religious institutions — ‘Lockdown, it’s Christ time!'” Rollins said.

“And I have nothing against Christ. He was probably really cool. Probably rolled a good joint and he’d be calling out a lot of (people) if he was back here now,” Rollins said.

“He wasn’t one of those people standing across the street from the chapel with those signs, ‘God hates fags.’ He’d walk up to them and say ‘Give me the … sign,’ (they’d say) ‘No way,’ he’d say ‘I’m Jesus Christ,’ ‘Oh … man I didn’t know,'” he said.

While Bush is off wandering to Iraq and Mars, he’s forgetting about what’s happening inside our borders, Rollins said.

“Why don’t we go to Ohio?” he said. “That place needs work.”

We should solve our problems inside the borders, then work on the rest of the world, Rollins said.

While he said there was plenty of material for him to ramble through with Bush, there were other issues to talk about, like The West Memphis Three.

In 1993, three teenagers were arrested for the murder and mutilation of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Ark. Rollins said they were suspects in the murders because of black T-shirts and Stephen King novels.

“I think they were scared these kids were reading,” Rollins said.

Their conviction was based on a confession the three teenagers gave after 12 hours of questioning without counsel or parental consent–something Rollins said violated the rights guaranteed to everyone.

“I like it when I get pissed off because I don’t kick dogs or sit in a corner and smoke angel dust,” Rollins said. “I thought, ‘I better take two summers out of my life and raise money for these guys, because Arkansas is on my … list.'”

Not on Rollins’ list are the troops overseas. He has made numerous trips on behalf of the USO — contrary to the myth that people can’t be anti-Bush and support the troops.

“They’re good men and women, they go where they are told, they’re well-trained,” he said. “I’m sure they’d rather be at war in south Florida with a surfboard, a joint and a hot chick.”

Rollins mentioned his toughest experience was a trip through the military hospitals in Washington D.C. where soldiers try to heal after losing eyes, limbs and the lives they had before Iraq.

“I go into a room and there’s this big guy and his right arm is in this massive cast–it’s leaking fluid and his legs are shaved and there’s massive sutures all over his legs,” Rollins said.

Another soldier Rollins met that day lost both of his legs and had his eye mutilated to the point he could only see light and dark out of it.

“His mother shows me this three-ring notebook of photos of him before this–young, handsome, tall guy–with his girlfriend,” Rollins said. “They looked like they were a great couple. He was a great catch for her and vice-versa.

“And you have to think there is no way she can handle this relationship anymore,” he said. “They had just started their lives. If she left him tomorrow, can you really blame her?”