Beauty, Sadness, Joy and Atrocity

Henry Rollins

Travel Slideshow presented by Stand Up, Vienna and Hoanzl, Gartenbaukino Wien, Austria 20181215


He is known as author, spoken word performer, radio moderator. He did movies like “Heat”, “Bad Boys II” or “Gutterdämmerung”. And he wrote musical history with Black Flag (“Damaged” or the tribute “Rise Above”) and Rollins Band. His work brought him all around the planet but not to all places, and when at home he feels the world is outside so he has to move. This evening, he presents some of his experiences.

“So you didn’t invite me the last time I was on tour to come to Vienna… But now, oh, you like me again.” Henry Rollins is back in town and on the stage of the Gartenbaukino, where Grandmaster Flash did his show earlier this year. He starts his stories right away. He basically has been everywhere, at least it feels like that. So he recalls how he told his organiser that he wants to drive with the Trans Siberian Express in Febuary. “Are you crazy?” she asked. “You got no idea.” There he tells you could spit and it will fall to the ground frozen – “It was fantastic!”. About a picture in Iran saying “Fuck Bush” he tells that nowadays (because of Trump) he misses this guy… or maybe not. Also he remembers that he learned to curse in Farsi when he was young.

If it is dangerous to travel, Henry tells that he was in actual danger three times, all of them in the USA. He managed to visit North Korea, where they checked every picture he took and he watched a huge show of thousands with just about forty other visitors at the biggest stadium of the world. He met veterans from the war in Vietnam and asked why they don’t send him away or are upset. Because he was actually interested and did listen to them was the answer. At the Antarctica he watched penguins having orgies in their own excrements, stinking and yelling. And everytime one was not in the group, probably because the world pisses him off. Like Rollins was pissed as he told in “Art To Choke Hearts”, using the flamethrower.

There are a lot more examples like the smiling girl on a pile of waste looking for food or a moped with a lot of ducks probably going to be slaughtered. Between he adds stories like when he did background singing with Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) for Nick Cave. And at the end he shows pictures of himself and Ian McKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi) skateboarding, and as final one himself at his audition for Black Flag. The day that made everything possible for him as he tells. This guy with the huge energy went on stage and talked two hours without full stops or commas. He shows you the beauty as well as the poverty of our planet. And the deep thoughts he puts in his pictures and how important it is to listen.