September 30, 2007

September 30, 2007 02:31 AM

I am still reflecting upon Henry Rollins’ spoken word performance Thursday night. He uses the word “provoked” for this tour and I actually found it to be that and much more. I appreciate his multiple voices /characterizations /facial expressions. In some ways that aspect is in alignment with what I have done in my own approach to performance. The highlight of Rollins’ performance for me was at the end when he gave a sort of Darwin-esque commentary. The survival of the fittest. The revenge of nature upon a complacent civilization of mankind. This part of the evening will stay with me. Also his The Ruts story and the singing on stage with Nick Cave and Jello Biafra story. After saying hello to him backstage, I left the theatre with many memories circulating inside me of the tour Swans and Rollins Band did in Europe and the spoken word performances I have seen in the past. He has become much more serious and focuses on urgent issues in politics and culture. He is no longer the comedian-focused performer I thought he was in the beginning. I am impressed with his boldness and his fearlessness even though he tells the audience he has fear inside at times. I remember being exhausted from touring years ago and at a hotel in Europe and Henry knocking on my door asking me if I had “scoped out the vegetarian places” nearby. I asked him how he was holding up on the road and he said with 100% gusto in his voice : “we’ve been rockin and rolling every night ! ” I recalled him subletting our space on 6th and B in New York’s East Villlage to write his album for Imago because he said he wanted the energy of Swans in the writing/rehearsing process. Michael and I were to be in Chicago recording The Great Annihilator so it worked out. Rollins is an extraordinary artist and I highly recommend you see his tour. I gave him the Byla and Jarboe cd and he said he would put it on his iPod. Nice.