Around the World with Henry Rollins




Did you take it as a compliment when you and Glenn Danzig were depicted as a gay couple in a comic book?
You know, I’ve signed a number of those but I’ve never opened one. Not that it makes me cringe or wince, but honestly, the less voices I hear, the better it is for me creatively. My nice press lady begs me to read some of these reviews. She says, “Henry, the guy was such a good writer and he said such nice things about you.” I say, “Tell him thank you for me, but I really don’t want to know — good or bad.” At this point I’m too old to care. If someone rips me a new one in a review, I just say, “Hey, first amendment. Say what you want. Long may you wave.” I’m not here to censor lest I be censored, but no I’ve never opened up that comic so whether it’s derogatory or laudatory, I can’t tell you.

I assume you haven’t discussed it with Mr. Danzig.
Glenn is someone I’ve met a few times in my life. The last time we spoke was, like, 12 years ago. I don’t even know where the guy lives. I guess we’re just two people who are fairly easy to caricature.

Have you made any interesting gay observations in your travels?
You know, gay is such a non-issue in a lot of places. It’s as interesting as laundry. And quite honestly, I’m only interested in what I’m getting up to. As for you — rumble, young man, rumble. I just hope that everyone had a good time and that you weren’t lonely. [Laughs] As long as we can leave out the kids and the dogs, and as long as no one is abducting people with rufies in the Beverly Center parking garage, your sexuality is your business and everyone else needs to shut up and get a life. Lose the gills and twitching primordial tail and get on with real concerns in the world.

Do you think that will ever happen?
That kind of ignorance is intolerable to me, and it’s not going to withstand this century. Obviously you’re always going to have the odd racist and homophobe, but I think it’s deep brush and the machete crew is going to do a good job of hacking it to pieces. I’ve seen great strides in my lifetime.

Will we ever see the name Henry Rollins on a ballot?
Hell, no. In the private sector I really enjoy the wallop I can have, but you see these people running for office and how some of them can’t take Round One of the withering assault by any agile press corps — that would be me. I would be well-intentioned but unable to play that game. You’ve got to want it to the point of monastic obsession to crave even the smallest local office. Especially with a past like mine. I think in the private sector I can have substantial impact. Being a guy who travels the world, takes photos, and gets them run in the newspaper or in a book can be effective in inspiring someone to get a passport and search the world in the hopes of learning more.

In addition to photographing the world and making music, Rollins is a DJ on KCRW and pens a weekly column in the LA Weekly. 

Tags: Books