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Henry Rollins (Spoken Word) - Keep The Hate Going

Stadt / City Frankfurt 
Land / Country GER 
Campus Westend, Festsaal Casino 
Datum / Date13 Jan 2005 
Bildergalerie / Picture gallery Henry Rollins 
Photos: hfr. 
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A salute to the route planner! If I would have had to ask directions to get there, I would probably still be trying to find the place... With a lot of dumb luck, I arrive shortly after the doors open, actually manage to snatch a front row seat and get myself a nice glass of wine. Inside, there was room for about 600 people and smoking was conveniently prohibited.

The stage looks spartanic as always (like with the Rollins Band shows): microphone stand, mic, 2 monitors, back up mic, black back ground, white light – that’s it.

At about 20.15 it began. „Hank“, who has more shows under than Kiss by now, suddenly stepped into the light onstage, accepted the enthusiastic applause and began with a sort of a clarification, a „public service announcement“ as he called it. His intention was to point out that not all Americans are idiots, just because George W. Bush was re-elected. A lot of people, like him, voted for Kerry and he immediately mentioned that he had set an extra alarm clock to make sure he would make it to the voting station. When he got there, he thumbed through all of the pages three times to make absolutely sure he had checked the correct box.
He was naturally shocked when the airhead was re-elected, but on the other hand, he is somewhat grateful for all the bullshit Bush utters, since he needs material for his spoken word shows and Bush is guaranteed to make some sort of grammar error or idiotic statement in every single speech – which, according to Rollins, has a lot to do with the fact that he doesn’t master his own language. He doesn’t have to work all afternoon like most people, so he retreats and gets into the original recordings of he presidential speeches (the newspapers – apart from the Washington Post – graciously weed the presidential boobs out of the text afterwards) and there is always a hammer present! For whoever is interested, just feed „spacial entrepreneur“ into a search engine...

It should be noted that Rollins’ perception of his surroundings is, that everyone around him gets more laid-back with age, but he doesn’t want that, he hates calm and idyll, something always has to be going on, he wants to work and he presses his booking agent to schedule more shows, preferably even at Christmas.

He was born Henry Lawrence Garfield, on the East coast, in Washington D.C, nowadays he lives in Los Angeles – where he doesn’t really fit in at all, being a hectic guy from the East coast, rushing from one gig to the next, since people are all very laid-back and chill over there. As a side note, he remarks that people who work in health food shops – where, being a creature of habit, he goes once every three days to buy the same 12 articles – always look ill and cough. But when you go to a fast food place, all the employees glow with health – the world upside down...

Since the new year hadn’t quite progressed far enough, he tells us some annecdotes from 2004. He summed it up at the beginning, by saying he hadn’t had a lot of sleep in 2004...

Among other things, he recounted a forum discussion in New York, which was attended by politically engaged musicians, aside from himself Krist Novoselic (bass player of Nirvana) and KRS-ONE (a hip hop legend from the East Coast). The latter really kicked off and shocked the audience with the statement, that the hip hop community of New York welcomed the September 11 attacks, that the existing world order would fall, that a universal currency needed to be introduced and that all property should be equally divided. Since this nonsense thouroughly baffled the everyone in the room, Henry attempted to rescue the situation with some humour, by saying that the Russians had embalmed Lenin and would certainly lend him out, after all, they had already tried something similar to his ideas... KRS-ONE wasn’t amused and Rollins wasn’t a fan of his anymore, like he had been before their joint presentation...

Other experiences from 2004 included his performance for the US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the presentation of a festival for gay marriage and the Indy 500, also the recording of a very cool film („The Alibi“) with Selma Blair (!) and Steve Coogan and as a high point, the recordings with Ben Folds and Adrian Belew for the new album of Star Trek Captain Kirk, William Shatner, which must be very bizar. Of course, a few band stories had to be included (Japan, Scandinavia), travel stories and the perpetual male/female theme.

But before this turns into a complete summary of an almost three hour show and the readers are bored to death: Rollins rocked once again and makes it clear that you don’t need a lot to create a show of a couple of hours with a lot of food for thought and still more laughter – when your name is Henry Rollins, at least!

Finally, he gave the audience one for the road, and advised them not to wait for the government or politicians when coming across injustice of any kind, because politicians only want to be re-elected and maintain their status; if you want something to be done, do it yourself! It sounds a bit naive, but he’s right!

Tom Jentsch

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