BFTP: THE LOST INTERVIEW: Henry Rollins on X (2009)

Published on Monday, September 21, 2009 on Origivation’s blog. The following is an e-mail interview I conducted with Henry Rollins for my profile on X for the June issue of Origivation. It never made its way into the article, but it deserves to see the blog light of day. Enjoy!
X has had a tremendous (positive) impact on you and your career. What was/is it about X that you found yourself drawn to?
Henry Rollins: I always admired X because of how many memorable songs they wrote and how well they are able to render them live. They are easily one of the best live bands I have ever seen. If you are in a band and aspire to be good live, you are very aware when a band is able to deliver the goods live and as many times as I have seen X, I have never seen a bad X show. Also, the timelessness of their music is remarkable. Those records sound great now like they sounded when they were first released.
I remember reading that one of the reasons you were drawn to X was because of their anti-violence stance. Is that correct? If not, could you clarify?
HR: I never thought of the band as being pointedly anti-violence. I never saw any violence at their shows, just people having a good time. Obviously, they are not pro-violence.
In what aspects does the band influence you and how?
HR: I admire the songwriting and the performance value. As a unit and as four individuals, they are all very good at what they do. They are also very unique. No one sounds like Billy Zoom, etc.
Why is X so important to you?
HR: They are one of those bands I have been listening to and seeing live over half my life. When you have listened to a band that long, you can attach certain points in your life to songs and albums of a band and that’s when the music attains a real resonance in your life. In a way, their songs become yours, that’s one of the great things about music.
What is your favorite memory of/moment with X?
 I remember seeing them once at the Avalon in Los Angeles 26 years ago. I was talking to John Doe before the show and he was sick as a dog. I felt bad for him, he should have been in bed but the show must go on. He went out there and played and sang so well that night e ven though he must have been feeling awful. That was inspiring.

Three years ago, you revived Rollins Band and toured with X? How did that tour go?

HR: It was cool to get to go to an X show whenever you wanted to for six weeks.

Have you worked with X on other projects before that tour?

HR: No.
Were you present at X’s Hollywood Rock Walk induction?
HR: Yes I was. I inducted them. Hello!

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