Henry Rollins wears many hats. He has his musician hat (that he no longer wears), which he earned from singing with State Of Alert, Black Flag and the Rollins Band. He has his acting hat (which still uses) that he’s worn on two dozen film sets and several television shows, including Sons of Anarchy and the forthcoming Dark Prophet. And finally, he wears his activist hat (which he never takes off). I got the chance to ask Rollins a few questions about the broad spectrum of his interests and endeavors.
What did you take away from speeches given at the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention?
Henry Rollins: That one party really wants to get things done, and the other wants it to be 1860. I think their differences are quite stark.
Do you feel that celebrities like Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges have an important role in elections?
HR: No. That Eastwood chose to end his career as a joke by talking to a chair was up to him, but it was interesting viewing. Past that, I don’t care about one person’s opinion much more than anyone else’s. Some opinions are very informed but past that, you have to make up your own mind.
What would you say if asked to speak? Do you have any political aspirations?
HR: I want no part of any of that.
Over the years, you’ve done a lot of work as an activist. What issues that the country/world faces today do you find the most unjust or underrepresented?
HR: I do what I can when I can. As to what challenges the USA faces, there are many as always, but we are a resilient and innovative bunch. Education to me is the biggest issue as it’s the real long-term investment in the American workforce of tomorrow. I wish we had a collective interest in that and put more emphasis on graduating high school, possible higher ed., etc. IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) is a good organization, great, actually. What they are doing for all these guys and gals coming home is amazing. What I have learned from them is that there is a lot of work to do.
Do you see yourself now more as an actor, musician, author, comedian, artist, political activist or none/all of these?
HR: I just do stuff, that’s all really.
Your last acting role before Dark Prophet was as AJ Weston on Sons of Anarchy. What attracted you to the role of General Adam Luther in Dark Prophet?
HR: I like Evette (Vargas) and when she asked if I wanted to be a part of the thing, I met with her and really liked where she was coming from, so I said sure. I was attracted to the part because Evette was interested in me being involved.
For those who haven’t heard of the show yet, could you say what, to you, the show is about?
HR: Probably best to read an online synopsis. It’s better to let Evette’s writing do the talking, it’s her thing.
Throughout your music career, in Black Flag and as a solo musician, you were a very passionate and powerful performer. Do you see the same kind of intensity in today’s music? If so, in which bands and if not, why not?
HR: There are all kinds of bands from all genres ripping it up. There always has been. You just have to know where to look. No part of time ever has a hold on intensity, there will always be people out there taking music to an extreme. We are damn lucky for that.
Do you ever see yourself returning to music?
HR: I don’t think so.
Sam Chapin is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.
Photos: Courtesy of Henry Rollins; Catechism (Flickr, Creative Commons).