St George Bristol
10 January

When Henry Rollins starts talking, people listen.

This is partly because of Black Flag’s legacy of course. But it’s also due to Rollins’ status as a one man industry, a hard-working troubadour who’s visited ninety countries to speak to army service men and fans alike. More importantly, his passion as an orator is contagious.

Rollins’ insatiable curiosity for all things is his driving force, and in the two and a half hours he spends with us, one thing becomes apparent – he isn’t so different from the rest of us. He may have hung out with Lemmy, slept next to penguin colonies on Antarctic expeditions, had fearful face-offs with African Baboons and regularly run into hysterical fans, but essentially, Rollins is a humble person whose fifty four years have taught him to appreciate the small moments in life.

His honest recollections of the formative punk years in Washington DC allow us to view the boy inside the man. His confessions of fearful inadequacy are mixed with reflections of liberating moments, reminding us that music can be more than just a soundtrack, it can be a creative impetus to make a change in oneself for the better.

The setting of this stunning Bristol concert hall is a far cry from the sweat-soaked, often violent shows of Rollins’ musical youth, but it’s understandable that Henry is choosing to speak directly like this to explore his themes and get his message across. It’s effective. When talking of last November’s Bataclan attacks in Paris, Rollins’ stance is to not bow down to the fear, but to encourage people to go to more gigs. To mobilise, socialise to overcome those that are bent on spreading fear. With his intelligent perspective and entertaining charisma, it’s no wonder that Henry Rollins is still filling venues across the globe with his cross-generational fanbase.

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