Henry Rollins, whose career spans punk rock, acting, writing, social commentary, and more, will visit the Grand Theatre, 308 St. Clair St., as part of a 50-state spoken-word tour on Friday. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Called “Capitalism,” the presentation takes its name from the host cities – all 50 state capitals. Rollins started in Honolulu on Sept. 6 and will conclude the tour in Washington, D.C., on the eve of the presidential election.
Rollins is receiving standing ovations and critical acclaim during the tour, as he shares his wry commentary and funny observations on a wide range of topics from the democratic process, to social issues, interpersonal relationships, war, marriage and mass media.
Rollins has a remarkably varied background. He became prominent in the 1980s as the lead singer for the California punk-rock band Black Flag. He has also acted in roles for both movies and television, is a tireless world traveler, hosts his own radio show on a Los Angeles radio station, and is active in social causes. He has toured frequently with the USO entertaining the troops, including trips to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The idea for the tour came from his agent, Rollins said in a recent telephone interview.
“My agent asked me what I thought, touring every state capital ending on the eve of the election in Washington, D.C.,” Rollins said. “I said it was a great idea.”
Rollins said he had plenty of material to work with.
“A lot of the stuff I talk about is what happens in my life, the places I go to,” Rollins said. “I’ve gone to a lot of fairly interesting locations, all over the African continent, Southeast Asia, any land mass you want to imagine.”
What drives him to spend so much time traveling?
“To find out things to satiate my curiosity,” Rollins said. “You really get information that you can’t get from books.”
His travels have informed his political views. For example, he believes that the United States’ presence in Afghanistan seems to ignore history.
“If you look at history, no one seems to stick around (Afghanistan),” he said. “In 300 B.C., there was Alexander the Great. Then, the Mongols, and in 1919, the Afghanistan wars with the British, and then the Soviets. Now Americans are in there expecting a different outcome. I don’t understand.”
OUR MILITARY PRESENCE
“We have a military presence in over 30 countries,” Rollins said. “Think about having another military in your country. Maybe America needs to rethink its role in the world. There’s a lot of money going out to be the world’s cop.”
Rollins’ show also includes discussion of the human cost of military occupations. He has visited both Afghanistan and Iraq on behalf of the USO.
“I’ll read letters that I receive,” he said. “I get a lot of different letters from Afghanistan veterans who have come home, they tell me about their struggles. And the wives’ challenges, too.”
Being politically active, Rollins encourages participation.
Taking note of the election, Rollins said, “As far as all that, I think it’s important for people to vote. Who you vote for, I don’t care. Those who have the point of view that your vote doesn’t matter, I don’t agree with that.”
After the tour ends next month, Rollins says he plans to rest a few days, then finish a couple of books.
“I don’t like sitting around,” he said. “I’d rather be active, I’d rather be moving.”
The show at the Grand is sponsored by Christopher M. Hill and Associates, PSC.
Tickets are $15, $20 and $25 and may be purchased at the door, online at the Grand Theatre Web site, http://www.grandtheatrefrankfort.org, or by visiting the ticket office, 312 W. Main St., weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The phone number is 352-7469. At press time, tickets are available in all price ranges.