Monday, October 31, 2005
So Richard called last night and asked if I had plans. He seemed excited and wanted to make sure I had no plans.
"Nope, just checking my email. I may do a little reading, but that's not for sure. Why?"
"Henry Rollins is at The Rave tonight. Spoken Word. I have an extra ticket, you wanna go?"
To say the least, I was intrigued. I had heard of Henry Rollins before (lead singer of Black Flag) but that was the extent of my Rollins IQ, so I told him that I'd call him back. He said ok, but you need to call me back as soon as you can, because I'll need to find someone else to take the ticket.
20 minutes and 1 turkey sandwich later, I called him back.
"I'm in," I said. "Be here by 7." The time was 6:20.
I hopped in the Buick and drove to Milwaukee. If you haven't been on the interchange lately, check it out, but steer clear around rush hour. They've made so many changes, some times you're driving on the wrong side of the road, it's definitely different.
So I found a parking spot behind the East Library (the East side's hidden beauty of a parking lot) and walked to Chard's place on the corner of Ivanhoe and Prospect, right across the street from QDoba (oh, sweet, sweet QDoba).
When I walked into his place, he had a Henry Rollins DVD in and he was ready to introduce me to the man, the myth, the legend.
If you're not familiar with Henry Rollins, he's an interesting guy, to say the least. I sat down and watched him for about the first 15 minutes of the dvd while we waited for our ride. He is much more politically oriented than I had thought. Just then Christina called. She was here.
We drove from Richard's place, down to Wisconsin Ave. and up to The Rave, passing many landmarks in the process, the Milwaukee Public Library, The Pabst Mansion, Marquette University, The Ambassador Hotel and finally The Rave.
The Rave was full of chairs, I had never seen it like that, but I'm glad it was. Henry ended up speaking for 2 hours and 45 minutes.
We found seats in the 10th row and sat, talking about politics, music and friends until Mr. Rollins hopped onto stage and grabbed the mike. He has the look of a man who has a lot of stories to tell, tattoos, short hair, built body, black t-shirt, gray pants. He grabbed the mike and immediately began speaking about how he's impressed that his shows in Milwaukee are always full of people ready for a good night and his show, 25 Years of Bullsh!t.
He mentioned the fact that there is some kind of inclement weather when he comes and people still show up and he was very appreciative.
For the next 2:45, he spoke about many different topics. His love life (or lack of it) came up. He can't seem to fall in love, but the wrong people seem to fall in love with him. This latest cupid's arrow just so happened to be a male Pakistani cab driver in Manhattan named Ijaz (E-jazz). He impersonated him well and told us the story of Ijaz and how he asked Henry to move to Pakistan with him and live in his large home.
A more sad topic was his acquaintance and friend, Johnny Ramone, who succumbed to prostate cancer on September 15, 2004. He told of his visit with Johnny and his wife Linda and the fact that Johnny wanted to hang out again soon. On September 15th, he was just about to call Johnny and he received a phone call telling him that Johnny had just passed.
On a lighter note, Henry told about some of his visits to different towns, including a Bass Pro Shop in Oklahoma. He said that the kids were given rubber/plastic rifles by the store clerks and were jumping around the store, shooting each other.
His show was highlighted by a lot of political talk as well. He talked about his distrust of the government, President Bush and his staff.
He also mentioned that he has a lot of faith in the strength of us as a community. He believes in the power of people and he's a great public speaker. Like him or hate him, it's hard not to respect him and his opinions.
The night ended with his plea for us to help out when we can, including the Red Cross, money or aid for Hurricane victims. He was very excitable, passionate and seemingly well read. He focused mostly on social topics, as well as recounting his life experiences and it was a great show.
On a scale of 1 to 10 for celebrity status/storytelling, coolness and humor, 1 being Dustin Diamond and 10 being Bill Cosby, he earned a Chevy Chase.
Nice work Henry.