By Jason Walsh
With the state of the nation in peril, Americans have watched Wall Street crumble to ashes bringing our economy to a dangerous low, gas prices that have skyrocketed to a point where soccer moms have to take out a loan to get the kids to school, an election parading forward with a lot of talk about everything but solutions and two wars that have cost three trillion dollars and more than five thousand lives. To take a catch phrase from the current campaign rhetoric, “It’s time for some tough talk.” The Recountdown Tour which began in September is the latest spoken-word outing for hardcore orator Henry Rollins, a master at his unique blend of talking tough, and will be coming to the Vic Theatre on October 25. This newest engagement is not only a chance for him to address the madness plaguing our country, but also, in his words, “to celebrate the end of the Bush era.”
The native of Washington, DC will be venting his disapproval to fans across the United States and Canada. Though he could speak for days on the follies of the Bush administration, which he has a great length over the past two terms, the content of the Recountdown Tour addresses the current parties battling it out for the Oval Office.
“The show will be about where I have been and what I have seen over the last several months,” Rollins says. “Not a ton on Bush as we all know what we know about him and his people.”
The focus of Rollins’ verbal assaults this time around will be directed towards the 2008 campaign for the presidency and the future of our executive branch of government.
“The election drama has been depressing as far as the attack ads and Palin and all the hate,” he says. “Ultimately, the issues get glossed over in favor of lipstick on pigs and whatnot. As usual, the people lose.”
Rollins opinion on the outcome of the election has changed in light of the recent activity by both parties. What he once believed to be the obvious outcome is no longer what he thinks will truly happen come November.
“I used to think McCain was going to win,” he says. “Now, I am not so sure.”
He attributes the change of heart not only to McCain’s choice as a running mate, but the same platforms and promises Americans have been hearing for the past eight years. “I think the Palin thing will eventually bite him and seeing the two debates, it’s apparent to me that he has nothing new to say besides the same ‘Bushite’ stuff. Not all that ‘mavericky.’ Perhaps enough Americans will want something else that they will vote accordingly.”
Rollins began his spoken-word career during the final days of the Black Flag era, some twenty years ago. Now, with numerous tours under his belt and a catalog of spoken-word audio and video releases produced, he says being on tour is where he is at his best and this year has been no different. “That is what I do so all is fine,” he says. “I would rather be on the road than anywhere else, so it has been a good year for me. Almost all of it has been out here. Being off the road holds little appeal for me, less and less as time goes on.”
His passion for writing and sharing stories and opinions with audiences was somewhat overshadowed by his greater success as the sweaty, tattooed “hot animal machine” that decimated venues, whether in Black Flag or Rollins Band. It’s been years since he has taken the stage with a band and the desire to perform musically does not sit high on his list of priorities these days. “I don’t miss it all that much,” he says. “Sometimes I do. I just don’t see what I could do with it that I had not done in the past. When I see someone singing the same old songs over and over again, year after year, I wonder why they don’t want to do something more with their lives. I am trying to push myself in other directions and keep myself a little off balance in an attempt to keep it real. I like the idea of making new music but not so hot on doing old material even though I miss it.”
Rollins says though the year will soon be drawing to a close, the work will continue and he plans on a great deal more for the future.
“I have some company stuff to do as we are making some changes and preparing stuff for 2009,” he says. “After that, I want to get some traveling done and see some places. I have some destinations planned but it’s all the early stages. Past that, 2009, I don’t have planned out all the way but I usually have the overall shape of the year formatted by February.”
Henry Rollins performs October 25 at the Vic Theatre, 3145 North Sheffield, (773)472-0449, at 8pm. $27.50.