Monday, October 08, 2007

Henry Rollins.

On Friday, October 5th 2007...I saw the Henry Rollins. My friend Jess and I were like..."oh my god, we finally get to see him and we can get a picture. oh and he'll do that really intense stare thing..." its fucking Henry Rollins!

The "Egg" in downtown Albany was packed. The crowd was diverse...hardcore kids, washed up hardcore kids, old couples, one African American, two Asians, and one kid under the age of 10. A little after 8pm he came on stage. He had on black cargo pants from 1995, a black t-shirt, and orthopedic vans. He grabbed the mic (at this point I was a little too excited...) and he stood in this obscure stance. His left foot was slightly behind him and he held that stance for three hours. He hardly moved and if he did move, he somehow ended up back in the same position. I also think he’s part Camel… he didn’t drink anything in three hours. Talking straight for three hours and nothing to drink…his voice didn’t even crack, he didn’t clear his throat, cough…nothing. Anyways, he jumped into politics, on of my favorite subjects to talk about...he made fun of the president, other half-ass politicians, talked about the war, his run in with an Iraqi in Sweden (interesting), going to Iran and Syria (I was jealous), that dick sucking republican larry craig, being on fox news, visiting Walter Reed, and veteran organizations (IAVA). I was in love.

Lets touch on some of these topics. Walter Reed…who would have thought Henry Rollins would visit a VA hospital? Not me. He talked about visiting with Soldiers who had TBI (traumatic brain injury)…he talked specifically about one Soldier who was missing half of his brain and could not form sentences properly. He would say something like, “Hi Henry its nice to meet you, are we home yet?” As Henry was telling this story, some people in the audience laughed. I don’t think Henry was trying to make a joke out of this…maybe just trying to bring the realities of war to mainstream America. I blurted out, “that’s not fucking funny!”. My friend sitting next to me kind of just looked at me…I repeated myself. She stopped laughing.

Veteran Organizations, specifically the IAVA organization (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) that Paul Rieckhoff heads. I’m not positive what the organization exactly does…however, Henry seemed enthusiastic about being part of it. I clapped when he said the organizations name (I‘m not sure why I clapped…but fuck it, I‘m all about troops and veteran support)…in fact I was the only one who clapped. At that point I realized the world has a lot of catching up to do.

Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. Henry has visited all of these countries and he made it quite clear that they all love America. Great, maybe we can invite each other over for dinner and figure out a way to overthrow our governments…because apparently that’s what’s keeping us from embracing one another.

President Bush. Do I even need to go there? If you’re reading this and still support the President and his “stay the course” fucking bullshit…my heart truly goes out to you. And if you believe so much in his ways, please join the military and go fight his war because I’m tired…and so are all the troops who are on their second, third, forth tour of Iraq and Afghanistan. And don’t give me those “I’m not brave enough to enlist or if I had more courage I would enlist” excuses…fuck you.

Henry talked and talked and talked. I learned about the Ruts, how weird Christopher Walken is, how Henry has no balls to kiss someone he likes, how he gets a boner over confrontation, how his balls are sagging at the age of 46, how he’ll die with his record collection by his side not a women, how he loves walking around cities late at night and how everyone should vote.

I also learned how much Henry loves himself…its not, “I think I’m a good person” love, its more like… “I love myself because I’m so “FUCK YOU” world”. Ever meet someone who is anti the norm…and they have that way about them? That look that says, “I don’t care about your ways and how you think I should live or how I should look…I live my life to my own standards”. They don’t wear their middle finger on their sleeve but Henry does. I don’t know what to make of it…I know we should have someone with a deafening fuck you voice in the mainstream media but it turned me off. Maybe because it was so obvious he looks in the mirror and can’t resist touching himself. I wonder if he wakes up every day and says to himself, “Oh Henry you’re such a rebel…where would the world be without you?”. AHHH! I found myself singing Black Flag songs in my head, trying to avoid the pompous ass in front of me. I wanted it to end…I wanted the thoughts of should I jump on stage and slap him in the face or should I give him a huge and say thank you to stop swirling in my head. At one point, I was staring at him for so long, his face began melting into the light…and there was a black outline around it…I thought, “Shit this is what it’s like to be on acid…I didn’t even have to take drugs, I just had to sit through three hours of Henry Rollins talking”. It was all very confusing.

Overall, I got to see Henry Rollins and I’m grateful for that. Will I do it again? Ahh, that’s a tough one. I think I’m better off singing Black Flag songs in my room. However, keep that middle finger in the air!

Hey Henry, I know you’ve stumbled across one of my friends Blogs who is currently in Iraq, so maybe there’s a chance you’ll read this. If so, remember how excited you were to see the Ruts…well sing for the Ruts for one night? I was thinking…Black Flag reunion? Do it for the troops!


Blogger KC said...

Lovely story and I love your writing style!!! Keep it up when ever you can.

10/11/2007 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Al Swearengen said...

Three hours of spoken word is a feat, no doubt, both for the voice and the audience. When I was a soldier (1996-2000) his older stuff was with me most of the time. These were stories about shit happening on tour with the band, normal everyday happenings, smart twist on this or that, and all of it meant a lot to me. Reading from his journal onstage - I'd been writing in one everyday by that time - it felt good to hear the type of anti-self-censoring a journal contains being read out loud.

Lately though, I'm with you. His show on IFC got old very fast for me, as he'd load up a rant on the war that would be the opposite of what I'd heard ten years prior in terms of it being a rehearsed bit rather than a dose of spontaneous prose.

Whether he's too full of himself, honestly until I read this great post of yours, it hadn't occured to me...maybe in the back of my mind I assume that every famous person is like that. Could be.

Anyways, here it is about ten years of reading and writing on the internet for me, and this was the first time I'd ever come across an in-depth piece of writing on Henry Rollins. I thought it was awesome.

You'll notice a link from a blog called 'deadissue' sometime soon - that's me.

Peace - Al

11/10/2007 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger Al Swearengen said...

Oh - forgot something I wanted to mention...

The one thing he used to read from his journal that stuck with me more than anything else was a story about being on tour and getting into a fight with someone. His hand got infected after he punched somebody, and he thought it would have to get operated on. Long story short, the point he made was that, "when you mix it up with an asshole, you're nothing but an asshole".

This piece of advice did me a lot of a much more profound way than his take on George W. Bush ever could!

11/10/2007 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger MBT4679 said...

I'm watching you on television right now and I'm in awe of the fact that they are even showing this stuff on TV at all! The media seems to be terrified of showing any firsthand accounts of the war and I am SO happy that you soldiers are blogging and telling the truth!

I will seek the other bloggers out as well and my prayer is that every soldier fighting this "war" comes home soon and gets out of harm's way.

Peace to you and yours,

11/12/2007 06:47:00 PM  

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