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A crowd of more than 500 Henry Rollins fans poured into the Crest Theatre on Thursday to hear the punk rock frontman turned spoken-word madman spill his opinions about the world. The audience ranged from teenage to old age, from followers of Rollins' former band, Black Flag, to people who simply had seen him as a commentator on VH1's "I Love the '80's." Whether a diehard fan or just curious, no one was guessing what Rollins' would say or do once he took the stage.
Dressed in black pants, a fitted T-shirt and skateboarding shoes, the tattooed Rollins grabbed the microphone vigorously at 8 p.m. sharp. Throughout his two hour and 45-minute set, the 49-year-old kept the same level of intensity as he told stories from his eventful life. And he didn't take a sip of water the entire time.
The adventures told were drawn from his childhood, travels around the world, life as a rock star and meetings with other celebrities. There was a lot of laughter, but serious themes tied the night together. Rollins spoke about eliminating ills such as racism and homophobia.
"If more people got a passport and were able to fill it full of visas and travel the world, they would come back to their home country with a lot less prejudice," he said.
Rollins talked of America being hated and admired by the world, and how he would like that outlook to change.
"I don’t want the world to fear and hate America and I don’t want America to fear and hate the rest of the world," he said.
Rollins has been traveling and touring since October, with only 16 days off.
"I’ve been bouncing and ricocheting like an angry-man bullet all over the world," he said.
Toward the end of the thought-provoking show, Rollins tried to describe what he does for a living.
"I’ve finally figured out what my job is," he said. "I’m a trouble maker, but the Thomas Jefferson (or) Joe Strummer model."
Wild, eccentric and somewhat out of left field, Rollins' show was well-worth the ticket.
The frontman ended the evening on an optimistic note.
"I’m one of those people who wants to shape this century to make the world a better place," he said. "I can't think I'm alone in that pursuit."
For more information on Henry Rollins, visit henryrollins.com.
Photo by Maxwell McKee