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Culture, Music
Henry Rollins

Anger Is An Energy

by David Chislett / 18.03.2010

Anger is not a popular emotion anymore really, is it? Anger management courses, confrontation techniques and seeking peaceful resolution are the order of the day. All the fire and brimstone from the music of the 70’s punks, and other revolutionaries, has been diluted into formulas where the form rules miles above the actual content.

Quietly expectant Generation Y kids now want everything now, with the minimum of fuss and definitely no fisticuffs. This leaves their Generation X predecessors foaming at the mouth and really, REALLY wanting to administer a good beating to an EMO fringe or 3. But, not even they are up to the challenge of actually acting out that anger.

However, there is one man out there who, in his own words, wakes up with his middle finger raised, shouting that we do indeed still have a lot to be angry about. Henry Rollins. He snuck into SA last year to deliver one of his high octane performances and is due back again in May. This is early warning to those of you who also think the world needs a good spanking.

What Henry Rollins says is true. The oil companies are still ripping us off and killing our environment. Various governments, in various locations, around the world are still committing genocides, of one shape or form, and, even right here in our own back yard, corruption, crime, ignorance and prejudice still seem to be the breakfast of the majority of people.

Let's get the moerin

He is right to be angry, because great evil is possible when good men do nothing. While you may believe in peace, love and conflict resolution, others, less principled, are pillaging, raping and taking what should belong to your children. It seems to me, a little anger would go a long way, right here, in South Africa, let alone the rest of the world. And I don’t mean the kind of limp wrested, armchair rantings such as the one I am currently conducting.

The amazing thing about Henry Rollins is that he has actually been to these places and checked it out. His is not an American voice force fed media and government corporate agendas (can you tell the difference?) . This is a man who has been to Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Africa and Iran. We could learn a lot from him.

His is not the anger of the “smash and grab and damn the future” kind. His is a simmering rage at the way the world preserves its own ignorance in order to continue to perpetuate horrors. Much like we could be beginning to see here.

So, don’t stay at home in May, book yourself a ticket and come and meet the angry man. You may be pleasantly surprised at the amount of light and peace you hear, but trust me, you might get angry too. And then maybe, just maybe, you’ll do something too.


Henry Rollins: “Frequent Flyer”
Thursday 6th May at The State Theatre in Pretoria at 8pm
Friday 7th May at The Bassline in Newton at 8pm
Saturday 8th May at the Baxter Concert Hall in Cape Town at 8pm.
Tickets cost R278.50 (including all charges) via Computicket or 083 915 8000. Please note the show has a PG16 rating.

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  1. bosrot says:

    so you pay R278.50 to see a guy ranting, or expressing his simmering rage?
    and then what?

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  2. Katoey says:

    Then you get to meet a minor god…

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  3. David Chislett says:

    @bosrot: Not sure I understand your question. You do the same thing everytime you pay to see a film, a play, a live band, spoken word, an art gallery…?

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  4. aging hipster doofus says:

    Rollins is banal. His music was vital but his latter career as a bullying talker-whore is one dimensional and fails to rise much beyond self-satisfied Gen X nostalgia mongering. Analysis it is not. Give us Jello Biafra any day!

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  5. Ned Seagoone says:

    “This is a man who has been to Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Africa and Iran.”

    What! All four ?!? A well-travelled man to be sure! We certainly can learn from a man who has been to four (4) countries.

    I don’t know – I never understand the fuss over Rollins, and the groupies usually can’t make a convincing argument either (as this article highlights).

    He’s only mildly amusing every now and then and has only mediocre insights which are usually past their sell-by date anyway (the war in Iraq is wrong? really?). If you look past the dated Black Flag and roadie-style krazy story credentials, he’s hardly worth paying money for. And he’s now here so often, I’m getting that Counting Crows/Bryan Adams feeling…

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  6. so now what? says:

    …and naming yourself after a character in a 1950’s comedy troupe isn’t way past it’s sell-by date?? I see a pot, a kettle and a one-way conversation.

    I saw Rollins at his last performance in Cape Town. His show was far less ranty, confrontational and abrasive than his reputation from 20 years back would suggest. He has matured gracefully in recent years and his approach is now far more compassionate, balanced and insightful. Highly recommended for those who value these things.

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  7. Lisa says:

    booked my tickets weeks ago already…

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  8. Jurgen says:

    @aging hipster doofus – they both have their place. biafra unfortunately has damaged the old street cred a bit. think of the fuss over name and catalogue rights….i used to thikn that he was untouchable, perhaps even uncorrupted. then i aged beyond raging hormones. but to be fair, they are both cool and inspiring in their own way. and knocking people who have reached a level as they have in the arts is a bit of limp wristed armchair rant in itself. dunno why most people get off on running others down. (jello did it himself…) fuck it: i do believe that it really comes down to whether you like it or not. what others think is generally irrelevant.

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  9. miss k says:

    Ey keep up gudwork

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  10. mitchhate says:

    has anyone seen Henry Rollins live or heard his work. The man is amazing,he talks with such emotion. He isn’t your typical angry American. This is a man who has travelled the world and been to some of the shitest places in the world. The man was going crazy with the masses in Pakistan when Benaizr Buto(pronounciation and spelling may be incorrect) was assainated. I think everyone should go to see this guy. I’m just dissapointed that he isn’t doing a talk in Durban.Looks like I’ll be doing a road trip

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  11. Daryn says:

    That guy is my hero!!!! Have you read any of his books…sheeeit !

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  12. Ned Seagoone says:

    More from the king of tool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-xMkHgan0Y

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