A Rollins in the Wry
Last night Hillary and I went to see Henry Rollins speak in beautiful (heh) downtown Birmingham.
I should point out that while he talked for just over three hours without a break, I didn’t look at my watch once. He’s one of the most engaging speakers I’ve ever listened to, and his stories are entertaining and well-delivered.
Henry spent most of the session telling us about his travels abroad last year, from his visits in Johannesburg, Damascus, and Beirut to his Christmas vacation in Islamabad, Pakistan. Yeah, odd places to go sightseeing, but he’s been pretty much everywhere else, and he never seems to tire of being exposed to new people and their cultures.
Rollins is a master of the story-within-a-story tangent, so his travel stories were interspersed with tales of meeting a young "Diamond" David Lee Roth and having the honor of singing at the final performance of The Ruts – ever… since the guitarist was rapidly deteriorating from terminal lung cancer.
We had a great time, and it made me realize it’s kind of a shame that there aren’t more real storytellers out there. Sure, there are lecturers and artists that do speaking tours, but they almost always have a political or social agenda of some sort. Henry’s brand of storytelling is "hey, this crazy shit happened to me, and I thought you’d get a kick out of it".
I’d definitely recommend making every effort to see Henry Rollins whenever he floats into your neck of the woods. After three hours of verbal shellacking, I’d happily go back tonight if Hank were still in Birmingham.
Mega-thanks to friends Bill and Dawn for giving us the tickets as one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever gotten.