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October 2018 - The Art World: Henry Rollins Travel Slideshow Tour

Yes, Henry Rollins is in our art section. The frontman of State of Alert, Black Flag, and the Rollins Band has become an avid traveler over the years, taking photos every step of the way. Rollins is currently on tour providing fans with an intimate evening of photos and stories of his favorite stomps through including the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South America, and Antarctica. He is making a stop right here in Albuquerque at The Kimo Theater on October 12th. As he states on his website, “For many years, I have documented my travels all over the world with a camera. Never easy, but always worth it. The photos have stories behind them. I have selected several images, to show and talk about.” New Mexico Entertainment’s Bradd Howard had the opportunity to ask Rollins a few questions of his transition from music to spoken word, how he chooses his travel locations, and how America’s political environment has impacted his travels.

What was the transition from punk to spoken word like? What inspired it or did you feel that it evolved somewhat naturally?

The first show was an offer to talk for ten minutes and get five or ten bucks. This was in 1983. I read something I had written and told a quick story and that was it. People came up to me afterward and said how much they liked what I had said. The promoter guy asked me if I wanted to do some more shows, opening for poets he managed. I said yes. I did a few of those and then the poets were opening for me, which I think a few of them didn’t appreciate. Of all the things I’ve ever done, it’s being alone on stage which feels the most natural. There’s no one I ever saw that I tried to be like, I just went up there and talked. I have seen a lot of people who stand alone on a stage and talk, storytellers, comedians, etc. and many of them are great but it never occured to me that I want to be like them.

In your stories you talk about experiences all over the world, how do you choose specific locations?

Mainly, the history of a place. If there was a war there or if the place was invaded, like Central Asia, parts of which were flattened in the 13th century by the Mongols. Anywhere the Soviets tried to beat into submission. Almost anywhere is interesting to me. What I’m not looking for is a leisure trip. I don’t want to sit on a beach or the hotel pool. I want to learn something. Almost anywhere I haven’t been is interesting enough to go to.

To what scale have you noticed the impact of America's current political climate in your global travels? Has that been an influence on your current tour?

Since the Trump administration has been in effect, I’ve been to Australia a couple of times, Peru, the Philippines, Taiwan, Germany, Holland, England, Belgium, and Canada. So far, I haven’t been threatened or challenged on anything. I’ll be back in Europe later this year as well as Ukraine and Russia, so maybe there will be some pushback. Usually, it’s just media people who get in my face about a president and when they do, it’s always a Republican. Reagan was the worst for that kind of thing. A lot of snark and anger. I got it but it’s not like I was hanging out with the guy. I wouldn’t be surprised if I got some grief from someone at some point. I’m not all that worried about those who don’t like Trump being angry about me being an American. I’m far more afraid of his supporters.

Tickets to Henry Rollins Travel Slideshow Tour can be purchased at

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