Wednesday, November 14 , 2018, 4:04 pm | Fair 71º


Jeff Moehlis: Henry Rollins Has A Lot To Say

Former Black Flag frontman covered wide range of topics at SOhO spoken work performance

Henry Rollins, the 49-year-old former frontman of hardcore punk pioneers Black Flag who views his current occupation as “troublemaker,” unleashed an “endless barrage of verbiage” at his Wednesday night spoken word performance at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, a venue he last visited in October 2008 and the 111th show of his current Frequent Flyer tour, spewing a nearly three-hour, often funny and always entertaining monologue of fascinating observations and insights on his life and the world at large — all without so much as a pause for a drink — with topics including his longstanding contempt for law enforcement when they are corrupt and/or incompetent, “sharing” eastern Canada with fellow “spoken word artist” and ideologically opposite provocateur Ann Coulter whose Canadian protesters he pointed out were civil enough that no arrests were made, writing an op-ed piece for an Australian newspaper in which he thanked the Australians for their refreshing outrage in response to a tweet by a student calling President Barack Obama a monkey, his visit to the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa in which he got to view Mandela’s prison notebooks and his post-release passport, his respect for freedom of speech and the U.S. Constitution, his even bigger respect for the South African constitution which is “a humble, brave and sober look” at that country’s history and a celebration of democracy, freedom and human potential, the senior prom in Mississippi that was canceled because a lesbian student wanted to attend with her date, a subsequent impassioned and impatient plea for an end to homophobia and racism by the end of this century and, hopefully, much sooner, his insecurity and need not just for attention but really for people to be “obsessed with me”, his and eBay buying habits and a hilarious fantasy about taunting the person whom he beat out in the bidding, how he got his acting gig as a “hate-filled neo-Nazi killing machine” in the Kurt Sutter TV show, Sons of Anarchy, his fear of rejection and childish tendency to reject others first (“I’m the child inside the elderly tattooed man”), his love of free food, his clutziness, writing and delivering a well-received commencement speech at Sonoma State University in which the never-been-to-college Rollins told the graduates “what a young person should hear on their graduation day” — basically that they have the responsibility and “the stuff” to make the world better, being a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race in which he found a “ladyboy” dressed as a punk rock girl to be particularly attractive and to which RuPaul joked, “Ah, baby, I think we’ve opened a door that can’t be closed,” and his recent trip around the world in which he toured disturbingly opulent mansions in Saudi Arabia, gave the finger to Myanmar/Burma dictator Than Shwe in a chance encounter in Sri Lanka to which a line of Sri Lankan guards applauded and gave him the thumbs up, visited Bhopal, India, on the criminally under-reported 25-year anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster that killed at least 8,000 people, told tour guides in Beijing that he would hire them once China got out of Tibet, and attended the Festival Au Desert in Mali which left him smelling like camels. Whew.

Noozhawk contributor Jeff Moehlis is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site,

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