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Henry Rollins 'Provoked' @ Herbst Theater, 11/6/07

November 7, 2007

I can’t remember when I first discovered Henry Rollins, but I was pretty young. He was one of the handful of artists that taught me to scratch below the surface of the dumb musician stereotype that was plastered all over MTV. He’s a don’t-judge-the-book-by-the-cover kind of guy.

Somehow- and I don’t know exactly how- I scored 2nd row tickets in the general sale. Either I was the only Henry Rollins fan online at 10am on a Sunday, or Ticketmaster screwed up. It was my first time to Herbst Theater- which is a nice venue.

Rollins has dubbed this tour ‘Provoked’, and if you watch his TV show or listen to his radio show, you know it is a good descriptor of his current state of mind. One would have to be provoked to be able to put on the 3 hour, high energy monologue that he pulls off without pause even for water. Henry Rollins is The Master of Tangents- layering back story upon back story until you forget what the original story was until he brings you full circle and neatly ties up the package.

Since this isn’t the typical show review that I do, I’ve regurgitated a highlight list of points he made and stories he told, which will hopefully provoke you to attend one of his shows, or relive it if you were lucky enough to be there in person.

->his tour bus from last summer was formerly owned by Ricky Skaggs and was involved in a suicide where a Bonnaroo attendee jumped in front of it
->a crazy story of conception via a used condom, which fed into commentary on abortion and adoption, which fed into a little girls are much cooler than little boys
->his love for The Ruts, and a wonderful story about how he was able to sing with them in a benefit show for their guitarist (videos below)
->his view on Iraq framed by a conversation with an Iraqi cab driver in Sweden
->the good and the bad of The Nuge, leading into his discovery of Van Halen
->wonderful impersonations of Diamond Dave, Christopher Walken, and President Bush
->his ‘storyboarded’ adventures in traveling
->Walken 2008 (link to Christopher Walken’s appearance on his show)

Rollins in Black Flag

Rollins Band

A Love Letter to Ann Coulter

Henry Rollins w/ The Ruts

The Rollins Show- Larry Flynt interview


  1. I downloaded “Something that I Said – The Best of the Ruts” from Amazon right after the show. Totally kicks ass!

    Great show. He’s even more insightful and entertaining in person.

  2. His energy was infectious. He looked like he was about to break into some sort of ‘rock rage’ with his wide-angled stance, tightly gripped microphone and wild gestures. I especially loved his 12 year old boy sound effects. He really is a (screwed up) kid at heart.

    There’s no doubt that he’s an amazing story teller. He really shines when relating personal or past events. The taxi ride, borrowed condom, discovery of punk rock and Diamond Dave stories made me pee my pants a little. His enthusiasm over the Ruts was just awesome. Watching that video was the cherry on top.

    I wasn’t crazy about his hypothetical stories though. The ‘what-if’ scenario on the abstinence-taught couple who got married was all over the place. It was funny, in that you could tell he enjoyed being absurd, but he didn’t quite bring it home for me.

    Still, I was touched at how open he was. Sharing an inner monologue, his insecurities came flying out for our entertainment. What a kick-ass personal show.

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