It's not what you expect when you hear of the
is in town,
mixing his hard man image with a penchant for p06th. Words; Hannah McGill
HENRY ROLLINS IS THE CLARK KENT of alternatiye America. By day. a tnild mannered poet-cum-stand-up who tells jokes about fax machines and food poisoning: by night. a sinewy titan of rock.
His new spoken word album 'l'lu'nk 'Iimk (as in he's shaped like a tank. but he thinks). sees him gleefully lampoon his own Man ()f Steel itnage. 'l rip it apart.‘ he agrees. ‘I think that‘s healthy. because image is so much about how you look in your yideos.‘
ln conyet'sation. Rollins is polite. eyen a little goofy. The unlikely combination of his gentle demeanor and his incredible hulk hulk stimulates plenty of analysis. including a new biography that trawls his childhood for hidden truths. Luckily for writer James Parker. his subject is stoic about this attention to the minutae of his life: ‘lt's totally annoying. But when you buy the land. the Indians come with it.‘
Since the deaths of Kurt (‘obain and Rollins’ best friend Joe Cole. his particular patch of land has been oyerrun with scandal-seekers and conspiracy theorists — Nick Broomfield‘s documentary Kurt And ('nurtnt'y is the latest example. ‘I didn't see that moyic.~ Rollins says. ‘I just find that whole Kurt and ('ourlney thing so depressing. and I don‘t know that I want to sit in a theatre for two hours and roll around
. - I! ‘ ( . I" '
in that sea of turmoil . . .‘
(‘ourtney transformed herself from grunge matriarch to sleek. LA babe: another of Rollins‘ friends. Nick (‘aye. stepped out of the shadows to collaborate with Kylie .Vlinogue. Rollins is just as happy to dabble in the mainstream: he’s signed to Steyen Spielberg’s Dreamworks label. after all.
[t is his commercial pursuits that fund his publishing house. and the man with ‘SliARCll AND DliS'l‘ROY’ inscribed across his back is unlikely to flinch at cries of 'sell out‘. This year he will release not only 771in 'Iimk. but also a new single and two books. He also continues a sporadic acting career with an appearance in Frost. starring Michael Keaton. (‘all him a Renaissance man. though. and the modest (‘lark Kent persona kicks in: ‘I just try to stay employed.‘
The nice guy mask slips when Rollins speaks about his well— documented interest in violence. ‘I
haven't hit anybody for a couple of
years.’ Pause. ‘But I wouldn‘t hesitate. I know my yiolent traits. I enjoy hurting someone. Some of the encounters I’ve been in. where l‘ye been able to slow down enough to really hm! the guy . . . I‘m like “()kay. Now I’m going to BRliAK Y()l,'R .\'()Sli . . l‘ye done that. And it was really enjoyable.‘
'I have a healthy respect and fear of the Scots, because they're so psycho.’
As Lois Lane flees in fear of her life. he concludes: 'Violence is appropriate in self—defence.’ In the aftermath of the random street shooting that killed Joe ('ole. he's tempered his own destructiye urges. although fantasy massacres in which he rids the world of those who irritate him feature prominently in his spoken material. ‘()h sure.‘ he agrees. 'lt’s definitely something [We thought about!~
And so to lidinburgh. where sensitiye artsy types rub shoulders with borderline Begbies. (‘ome to think of it. llenry should loye it. 'The last time I was in lidinburgh. in 198-). people spat on me and threw pints of piss at tne.~ ()h. 'If someone does that this time I think the righteous punishment would be to see their brains come out all oyer their shirt.‘
Neyer in the history of the l"esti\'zil haye hecklers been so persuasiyely warned off. But if you do tangle with Henry Rollins. remember one thing: like a spider. he‘s more scared of you than you are of him. ”I haye a healthy respect and fear of the Scots.‘ he says. ‘because they‘re so psycho . . .’
An Evening Of Spoken Word With Henry Rollins (Fringe) Calder's Gilded Balloon (Venue 26) 226 2151, 3—5 Sept, 10pm, £10 (£8). Think Tank is released by Dreamworks on 12 Oct.
J/ Stat; 1080:? 1998 THE “ST 15