Do you dare laugh in the face of Henry Rollins, the pumped up Rollins Band frontman? Tonight Comedy Central is airing the post punk provocateur’s new special, ”Henry Rollins: Live and Ripped in London” (9 p.m.), filmed last year during his international spoken word tour. On the show Rollins spins edgy riffs on his first big screen nude scene and a visit to a sex show in Thailand. But the ”Get in the Van” author and Gap pitchman had plenty more to spout off about when he sat down with EW Online.
So, what’s with the king of punk pushing GM trucks, Apple computers, and Gap jeans?
I’m not punk, never was. I’ve always worked for a living. Since fourth grade I’ve thrown papers, scooped up cat droppings, parked cars, cleaned out rat cages, you name it. I come from the world of minimum wage, and I’ve never lost that. So GM trucks? I’d drive one of those in a heartbeat. [Rollins currently drives a BMW.] And I’ve been buying my jeans at the Gap since I was a kid. So that’s fine. But Budweiser? No. Skoal? No. A tobacco company once offered to sponsor my tour, which would have meant getting paid $50,000 a night, five shows a week for six weeks just so they could trot tobacco out to a bunch of young people. I will not be a party to that.
Bush or Gore?
I think to vote for Bush would be a great mistake. He’s seems like a floating head on television, and he doesn’t seem like he’s connected with America. I’m in show business, so I know all about bullshit. And Bush to me isn’t even a good actor. He’s not going to get elected. I just don’t see it.
What do you think of today’s music scene? Are you feeling like an old fogey ?
I’m really bored with the music scene. Look, if I’m going to be pushed off stage by the next new thing, I want to get beat out by a stronger, more intense, younger, more ferocious warrior. NOT the fucking Bloodhound Gang. It’s like, ”Tee hee, we’re doing a cover of ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ and a Wu Tang Clan song. It’s funny!” I don’t want to share the airspace with this, nor do I want to get crowded out by it. Maybe it’s time I start driving a truck.
I shudder to think what your opinion of teen pop might be.
There are no roots in that music. It’s some weird pedophilic thing. When Britney Spears is selling that many records, it’s frustrating. I think, ”Wow, I live in a country full of people who will settle for that.” I share the highways with people like that. Those people may prepare the food I eat. They breed. They may pass it on to their kids. It scares me.
Well, maybe you’re a movie fan. Any favorites?
What we’re watching these days is junk food culture. In the ’60s, people would have looked at something like ”Pretty Woman” and said, ”I just came back from a march to protest Vietnam, and you’re giving me a story about a rich guy and a hooker? F— you!” But now people eat that shit up. And you are what you eat.
It doesn’t seem like you’ve softened with age, Henry.
But I’ve grown up. When I was a young man, to show you I could do something I’d huff and puff harder than any guy. That’s guy stuff. But it wasn’t until recently I realized women don’t give a f—. They just want someone to hang out with, listen, and be cool. That’s 50 percent of the deal. So I don’t feel the need to show all the feathers and be a peacock. That’s how I’ve changed. It’s made me go deeper.
You’ve been an MTV VJ, starred in ”Johnny Mnemonic” with Keanu Reeves, founded your own record label (Infinite Zero) and your own publishing company (2.13.61), and you’re still releasing albums 14 years after Black Flag broke up. What goals do you have left?
I’d love to go out of this world a man. I read so much into that word. A real man would never hurt a woman, never hit his kids. He’s sensitive, well read, funny, articulate, he listens, he’d rather help than hurt. That stuff has been really hard for me. It’s hard for me to listen, hard for me to be patient, hard for me to get out of my own bullshit and lend myself to someone. But I’m learning.