Henry Rollins Speaks
by Ron Deutsch
SXSW Preview Guide 2006

                     

Since joining Black Flag in 1981, Henry Rollins has garnered a slew of hyphenates beyond simply singer-songwriter Ė author, actor, radio dj, spoken word artist, corporate motivational speaker, book publisher, and most recently the host of the IFC television show Henryís Film Corner. Never afraid to voice his views on controversial subjects, Rollins will be at this yearís South by Southwest to take part in a one-on-one interview.

Coming to Austin holds fond memories for him whether it was for movie acting roles or his days touring with Black Flag. Rollins has also been a long time supporter of and friend to Roky Erickson. "If you ever see him smile those big white teeth Ė Iím proud to say I paid for them. There isnít one bad Roky song."

For the past few years, Rollins has been going out on USO tours, meeting and performing for American soldiers on the front lines. Not surprisingly, he has some thoughts about how things are going overseas and in the homeland.

" I think we need regime change," Rollins says. "I think we are on a dangerous road but I have a tremendous faith in the young people of today. Yes, Iím glad Saddam Hussein is in jail but he was just a guy who was after my money to buy himself clothes and another hooker. Do I think it was worth 2000 and counting American lives to get rid of him Ė many Iíve met on my USO tours who are now dead? Absolutely not. But, yes I want to kill Osama because he wants to kill me. I think Iraq was a big mistake and now weíve gotten ourselves in a war we canít get win and canít get out of."

He is also not shy when asked to give SXSW industry attendees a report card.

"Iím not listening to a lot of new music, but Iím a record geek. I collect records. Iíve got like four versions of an album because I need to have that, you know, Portuguese pressing," Rollins admits. "People in the industry should really honor their job. They are the ambassadors of culture. They make what young people are listening which shapes what kind of people they become Ė if youíre the guy in the soup kitchen, Iíd say put good ingredients in the soup. Make good records, good movies. You are ruining young people when you simply rely on going after the hits. The same with movies. They should spend less money in the studios, less money in other ways and spend it Ė youíre not going to get someone like an Aretha Franklin without making the investment to develop them."

On his television series, Rollins gets to rant about whatís on his mind, but also reviews films and interviews indie film personalities. Whatís his favorite films of 2004?

"ĎCapoteí and ĎGrizzly Man," he responds with passion. "Iím a big, big Herzog fan. The day after I saw ĎCapoteí I had called Phillip Seymour Hoffman to come on the show. He was a little intimidated by me at first, but I was like I love all your movies and Iíve read everything by Truman Capote and we had an amazing conversation. You should see the 90 minutes we had to cut out of the interview."

Rollins admits, however, that he isnít a fan of music conferences and festivals. Nevertheless, he says, " Now get Sean Hannity [of Fox News] to interview me when I come there and then weíll have some fun."