Monday, March 12, 2012

Henry Rollins

I grew up in the mid-90's. When I think of Henry Rollins then, I think of angry MTV commercials, that red devil paint he wore in the Liar video, my awesome Liar shirt, and the Christmas that my Mom refused to buy me one of his books because it was inappropriate (granted, I was 16 and she typically would buy me any book, so it probably was inappropriate). He was always interesting.  His book was full of f-bombs and anger, and he just always looked so tough, unsmiling, and intense.

In the last few years (and just the other night at the Capitol Theater in Clearwater), I've been to a few of his shows. He still looks tough and intimidating, but once he speaks, something about his demeanor changes. He is genuine, intelligent, funny, and extremely kind. His energy, excitement, and personal investment on stage is unsurpassed. He typical speaks for 2+ hours about everything from his travels (the places he's been is beyond amazing), memories of Black Flag, growing up in DC, politics, emotions, his insecurities, the amazing people he's met, etc. You can always tell that he genuinely enjoys being at the show. He never takes a break or a sip of water, appearing as if he doesn't want to waste a second of time.  He connects with the audience and gives his all to entertain and inform based on his experiences.  

I am impressed with his ability to speak openly about his opinions without trying to offend anyone or denying his own voice. It is a quality that I strive for but find very difficult to learn. It is nice seeing it work so successfully. 

I left the latest show feeling hopeful, motivated, and full of possibility. It sounds a little hokey, but I realized that we all have a chance because we're all filled with good, human, honest emotions and we just need to learn how to channel it in positive ways.  It was a night discussing tolerance, laughing, and sharing insights. It proves to me that strength and change does not come from brute force; it comes from knowledge, open minds, and honest conversations.

But damn, I still wish that I had kept that badass Liar shirt I had back in the 90's. Also, just cause you know you want to watch it now...

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