Henry Rollins will be rolling into town again next month for one of his annual spoken word gigs – at least we hope he will, because whether he gets here may well be down to what reading material he decides to bring with him. His choice of in-flight read caused a ridiculous kafuffle when he recently travelled from New Zealand to Australia. It turns out that a fellow passenger objected to Rollins reading Ahmed Rashid’s Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia and reported him to the Australian government.
“The guy phoned me in to their, like, anti-terrorist board, and they found me — they looked me up,” he said. “They looked up the flight and found out who was sitting in seat 10A and they got to me. And they said, ‘OK, you’re now a person of interest. The man next to you does not agree with your politics and he didn’t like the book you were reading.’ This kind of provocation, I don’t respond very well to. I was furious. And so I write back, ‘You can tell everyone at your office, including your boss, to go f— themselves. This book has been read by a ton of people — I am not a threat to your state or any state or any republic.’ “
He went on to declare Baghdad safer than his hometown, called the Aussie PM a sissy and pointed out that most of the country was just sand and flies. We expect much will be made of this at the upcoming London gig. Even if you’re not a fan of the music we urge you to try and see Rollins speak at least once – he’s damn funny, articulate and tells the best stories…
After having interviewed and met him we know that he can be a tad intimidating – intense perhaps. One trick is not to try and talk to him on behalf of a publication that he detests… ouch. We’ll be reviewing the show and trying to get a few words with the man himself sometime in March. Wish us luck.
And if you think it’s only angry tattooed punk icons that get on the wrong side of the ‘terrorists make us too scared to think’ policies of idiot governments then spare a thought for poor old Morrissey who was investigated by both the FBI and our own Special Branch. What was he going to do? Attack us with a limp bunch of flowers and a sheet of crappy lyrics?
It makes you wonder if angrier musicians like, for example, The Sex Pistols are on any weird watch lists. At the moment all they have to lash out at is the indignity of being inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While Johnny has seemingly lost his way after a few disastrous run ins with television, it’s good to remember that Steve Jones has his own radio show over on Indie 103.1. For readers who haven’t heard a good song on British radio in years, shows like Jonesy’s Jukebox and Henry’s Harmony In My Head are a real find.
And if you have kids* you’ll do worse than check out the improbable Pancake Mountain which manages to be the best music and children’s TV show at the same time. Where else will you find a talking goat, Deerhoof, Bright Eyes, The Fiery Furnaces and more besides… not on bloody CD:UK or the Tweenies that’s for sure.
*Or just borrow some – the show’s bloody great.