Interview with Henry Rollins

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After watching Henry Rollins get his Bradbury Creativity Award, we watched him address all of his eager fans.  Henry has always been great about staying until everyone has had their time with him.  I wanted to ask a few follow up questions, and he graciously agreed to answer the questions if I emailed them to him.  What follows are the responses to my questions.  Thank you to Henry Rollins and Tresa Redburn.  I’d like to also extend my thanks to Heidi.  It was wonderful talking to you that night. 🙂

Q&A With Henry Rollins.

1. You often describe your restlessness; it is a restlessness to which many can relate. Please comment on how your perpetual restlessness has contributed to your creativity. 

======= It makes things happen. It keeps me in state of movement/unrest/curiosity. When you move, things happen. This allows for countless possibilities. Kafka said:

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

It’s an interesting thought but it never worked all that well for me.

2. With restlessness comes curiosity.  Which unconsidered avenues of exploration have surprised you the most when you finally ventured?

===== Well, nothing was ever all that considered. Besides a basic destination, let the place and the people be what it is and they are. I try to be open enough to let it hit me without filtering it too much. I don’t carry expectation, so I am rarely let down or anything else, just open to the moment.

3. I have always found your relentlessness inspiring.  Can you describe the moments in between, and how down-time contributes to the resumption of your intensity?

====== You have to pull away from things now and then. I learned that by being stranded in places that I had not a lot to do in them but hang out. I found it to be useful. I try to have periods of time here and there where I don’t owe anything to anyone and can read or listen to music and not have to spin so many plates on so many sticks. This allows me to make work periods more efficient and gainful.

4. I am a high school educator. K-12 teachers are vilified in our society, yet our education system is hemorrhaging lifeblood in the form of our people.  Can you comment on this phenomenon? 

======= Just my opinion. I think corporations and other forces are working towards turning as many Americans as possible into poorly informed consumers who will continually ingest their products, fight their wars and fill their prisons. What gets in the way of that? Educated people. So, of course teachers are vilified. You’re the ones teaching people history, science, language, etc. If you are too successful, America risks becoming a smart, science-based populace, ready to take on the challenges of the new century. Basically, you are battling old money. They won’t give up without a fight. They are losing, hence their aggression.

5.  I tell my students that persistence pays off more than consistency, although both have their merits.  What is your ascription to these two values?

======= Depends on what you’re being persistent with. A persistent alcoholic—not such a great way to go through life. Consistency comes after you really understand what the goal is. Quite often, failure comes from not understanding what you’re really after. You’ll always miss because your throw will always be off. Persistence and consistency in this situation leads to very negative results. I think if one defines the objective clearly and is willing to make adjustments, the persistence pays off and the consistency comes from that.

6. Too often passion and anger are either confused, or, for many, one and the same.  Your acquiescence to anger seems to be in the form of social consciousness.  How do you transform anger into a positive force to “unleash the whirlwind that is you”?

======== My anger is for the most part, civically motivated. Why do I stand up for LGBT people? Is it because I am the world’s nicest person? I doubt it. It’s because these people are not being given the respect that they not only deserve but that is promised to them in the Constitution. So, when someone is trying to get in the way of their rights, I have to take some responsibility and conclude they are also trying to keep my from some of my rights as well. That is when these people hear from me. There is an orphanage that donate money to. Why? Because I am a saint and just the biggest hearted guy? I like kids as much as anyone but I donate out of anger at the parents who put someone in the world and abandoned them. I got involved with the West Memphis Three to beat up on Arkansas and their history of illegal activity in their state justice system. They needed an asswhooping and I gave them one. I kicked Arkansas’ ass and helped three guys get out of prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

7. “Occupants” is fantastic.  Do you have any photo journalistic books planned?

======= There’s another photo book done. It will take awhile for it to come out. I reckon a couple of years at least. I always have a backlog of books in various states of completion. It’s been that way for years. We just finished the final edit on the new one and I am working on three others at the moment. Thanks.

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Rachel photobombs Henry's Award

Rachel photobombs Henry’s Award

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Kyle Gass Band Benefit Rocks Our Socks Off!

Kyle Gass Band played February 15, 2014, at the Maui Sugar Mill Saloon in Tarzana, CA.  This free event was geared for raising money for Brandon Aveyard, who suffered a brain injury when riding his motorcycle home from work in 2013.  I’m still curious on the amount they raised but by the looks of the crowd, it was successful.  Please don’t be afraid to show the love at https://www.facebook.com/BrandonAveyard826?fref=ts

Before the show I was able to sit down with John Konesky and Mike Bray, (guitarists and singer for the band), for a tailgate interview.  When asked what prompted this civic minded event, it turns out that Mike Bray had worked with Brandon at the Cheesecake Factory a few years before.  John and Mike, who are also members of Tenacious D, have a true love for music.  It is the passion for music that comes first, but the comedy that also accompanies both bands is an undeniable asset of loving what you do versus doing what you love.

 

John and Mike also have what they call their “high desert band” called Wynchester.  Be listening and watching as the Nobles try to coax them to play in Apple Valley!  https://www.facebook.com/wynchestermusic?fref=ts  We discussed their experiences with the genre of music and comedy, as well as their upcoming plans, such as playing the Lebowski Fest April 25th ad 26th at The Wiltern.  I know I look forward to some type of satire involving The Eagles.  Are you listening?!

I was also able to interview Kyle before the show in the first annual Tarzana Sidewalk Interview, (future dates to be announced).  Kyle was more than happy to play at a local pub with as much character as Maui Sugar Mill, and expressed interest in “playing in Maui”.

Kyle reaffirmed his stance that the music always comes first in this mixed genre, but that the comedy enabled him to reach a different audience.  We discussed the relatively recent Festival Supreme that Tenacious D headlined in Santa Monica.  This show was very well received and it is REALLY REALLY likely there will be another one this October, (wink wink).  Some have tried to copy this festival but none are so awesome as Festival Supreme.  Bow down to FESTIVAL SUPREME!

The show was phenomenal, with a full set of over 18 songs being played.  The crowd was pressed to the stage, making photographing a challenge!  The intimate stage was no problem for all five members; they were like peas and carrots mixing it up, although occasionally Kyle spilled into the audience to sing, mingle, and remind us that this was a donation situation!  Some great moments included John Spiker leaving the drums to rock the mic, bass player Keene taking time to play his harmonica whole Bray rocked the bass, and Kyle singing Green Eyed Lady to a random green-eyed lady in the audience.

KGB blew doors down and raised money for a cause.  Is there anything more METAL than that?! Look for our videos of the interviews (oh my yes!) very very soon!!

 

JOh

John Konesky….He’s groovin’

Mike Bray...makin sweet word love to the microphone

Mike Bray…makin sweet word love to the microphone

 

Jason Keene

Jason Keene

John Spiker. NOTHING is gonna stop him!

John Spiker. NOTHING is gonna stop him!

Kyle Gass.  Hello Ladies.

Kyle Gass. Hello Ladies.

Kyle Gass rocks the recorder!

Kyle Gass rocks the recorder!

Kyle Gass doin his thang!

Kyle Gass doin his thang!

 

 

Words by Rachel Noble

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Henry Rollins Receives Ray Bradbury Creativity Award 2014

“Without libraries, what have we?”~Ray Bradbury

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Libraries have historically been the refuge for the underdog.  True followers of Henry Rollins know he once fell into that category.  Without a place of asylum, young people often fall victim to everything from bullies to elements of society that infest and drain the very essence of humanity.

Henry’s social conscience will not be ignored.  I’d go as far as calling him a moral powerhouse, in that he has taken a lonely and angry youth and developed him into a man who lives by giving back; his creative spark results in awareness.  This awareness, because of Henry’s audience, is unleashed on a group of people often left twisting in the wind in our society: youth.  People bemoan our youth, calling them apathetic and misdirected.  One conversation with Henry about education today informs his listener of the reality of a completely UNdirected youth, or even a sense that the pain of youth can only be sated by immersion in a cause.

He has been labeled many things, from punk rocker to motivational speaker, but Rollins is anything but a preacher.  He peppers his insight with a sense of humor that is both engaging and unique.  His humor often captures the qualities of human nature that people most often fear, question, and philosophize about.  At 53 years old he retains a youthful spirit of anger combined with the maturity and drive to DO SOMETHING about life.

Woodbury University has sponsored the Ray Bradbury Creativity Award since 1987.  The award is given in the spirit of literacy and learning, so evident in the work of Bradbury.  Creative spark and social conscience go hand-in-hand for all recipients of this award.  More importantly, this award highlights a reverence for academics and suggests the use of critical thinking for the furthering of the pursuits which would make mankind a better species to be around.  Woodbury university prides itself on teaching students about the future.  We at Newscaller.com would like to thank Nedra Peterson, Woodbury University’s Librarian, for nominating Henry Rollins for this award.

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Notes on the evening

The night began with a cocktail and coffee hour with Woodbury’s Friends of the Library.  Henry spent time speaking with anyone that desired it, and signed multiple autographs while entertaining questions from University Professors to young fans.

Phase two of the evening was the ceremony.  Dr. Luis María R. Calingo, President of Woodbury, provided the welcoming statements to the audience, which had grown exponentially for the event.  He assured Henry that he had some Heavy Metal music on his phone, which produced a hearty chuckle from both Henry and the crowd.

Nedra Peterson reminded the crowd why they were there: Libraries!  In the age of technology, some feel that libraries are of no use.  Ms. Peterson focused on the merits and value of academic centers, libraries, as a bastion of both insight and forethought that remain critical to a changing world.

After the official presentation of the award, Henry was allotted twenty minutes.  During this time he  intensely condensed his 30+ years of insightful criticism and consideration of our world.  He spoke of Bradbury as an influence, listening to dramatic readings of stories like “Dandelion Wine” on NPR in his hometown of Washington DC.  He spoke of other influences as well: Mr. Klinger, his high school English teacher who read Henry’s writing and told him, “this is great.  Show it to no one.”  Henry reminded his crowd that although he was often angry, as it is “riotous anger that is often the catalyst for social change.”  The man that some thought was just another punk rocker so many years ago retains his punk rock status through the efficacy of his endeavors.  He touched on the idea that he is a lucky man to have been able to do what he has done for the last 30 years, although it is his relentless spirit, not luck, that is the driving force.  After traveling to over 80 countries, Henry has seen some things and will tell very ounce of it to anyone who will take the time to listen.

Drew Sugars then interviewed Rollins.  He covered a spectrum of questions, from things like the future of music to Henry’s travels, which inspire so much of his speaking engagements and sense of social justice.  He asked, “what will replace punk rock?”  Henry answered, “The next 80 million young people, who take their concerns to the ballot boxes, to the streets, to the next level [sic].”

Sugars ended the interview asking Henry what his advice is.  Rollins stated, “Disabuse yourself of the notion ‘I can’t do that’.”  In Hamlet, Shakespeare decried, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”  Indeed, it is.

The evening was closed up with Henry taking time to speak with every fan who wanted to bend his ear.  He entertained some phenomenal questions from the crowd.  One question of merit concerned the West Memphis Three, and his involvement in raising money for their defense as wrongfully accused murderers.  This is a subject that has interested me for years, as the social injustice surrounding the court system is volatile, to say the least.  Another  striking question came from a young woman who wanted to know why creativity seemed so lacking in scientific endeavors.  Rollins clasped his hands and discussed that money takes precedence over the heartfelt compassion that seems to be lacking in today’s scientific endeavors. He stated, “science loses creativity with Damacles’ sword of fiscal reality” hanging over its head.  He remained hopeful in that there are always more scientists to come, and surely they will realize this as well.

Rollins is known for his graciousness in terms of fans.  He stated, “without my audience, I am the proverbial tree that falls in the forest.”  His fears are failure and letting himself down.  We could all aspire to have such realistic and concise fears in today’s world.

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Words by Rachel

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Stone Sour at House of Blues Anaheim February 6, 2014

Stone Sour played on February 6 in Anaheim at the House of Blues.  It was a great sounding and well-received show, with bands Stolen Babies and Pop Evil performing opening sets for Stone Sour.  Even the diehard Corey Taylor fans were extremely receptive to the opening bands, and Pop Evil really got the audience ready.

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What strikes me is the huge following of Corey Taylor.  Damn near everyone in the audience was singing.  One lone female must have felt left out, because she had the lyrics pulled up on her smartphone and was singing along!  Taylor revels in the singalong, and even demands it for many of the songs.  Sources close to us report that this is the best venue to see Stone Sour, and this promise was fulfilled with crunching riffs and melodies simultaneously as they rocked House of Blues in Anaheim.  With just three dates left you might need to hop on a plane but this kind of creativity won’t be held back: expect to see more from them very soon!

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If you too are feeling a bit left out when it comes to Stone Sour, check out their webpage

http://www.stonesour.com/ and be sure to pay special attention to their latest and greatest releases, as House of Gold and Bones is a multi-media masterpiece.  Billboard topping and Grammy award winning, you might find Stone Sour to be a nice addition to your musical arsenal.  They also have comic books available from http://www.darkhorse.com/ which you can find through their merch store.  Something for everyone!

Tour Dates:

2/13 – Dallas, Texas – House Of Blues

2/14 – Houston, Texas – House Of Blues

2/15 – San Antonio, Texas – Backstage Live

Words by Rachel

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