3-minute interview with Henry Rollins

The intense and prolific 46-year-old former lead singer for Black Flag lands at San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre on Tuesday for a stop on his spoken-word tour, “Provoked.” The performance includes stories drawn from his 25-year career as a musician, actor and writer, his recent USO trips to Iran and Djibouti, and his incessant frustration with the American government.

You’ll be in San Francisco on election night. Will you be talking about voting? Voting is completely important. People in America think democracy is a given. I think of it as an ecosystem, and what gets in the way of it is politicians and apathy. What’s amazing is, so many people, and they’re not bad people, they just don’t do it. Now, more than ever, I would hope that people would be lining up and frothing at the mouth.

Your spoken-word stories are often pretty funny. Is it difficult to turn something that makes you angry into something that can make people laugh? Sometimes it’s easy. But I’ve done [military] hospital visits in the last four years where you’re meeting guys with … most of their brain gone. There’s not a lot of light there, but pretty much anything else, if you can’t find a way to laugh at it, you can’t fight it.

Do you have as much energy now as you did when you were 25, or is age catching up to you? No, no one does. But I love what I do, hate my enemies and love my chores, all of that. I like going out on stage. I don’t have a wife or kid waiting for me — it hasn’t worked out for me, because I live on the road. This is my real life, and being off the road is kind of a weird and pedestrian rut for me.

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