Henry Rollins discusses his 'talking show' with St. Pete poet Pedro Jarquin
Promoters are billing Henry Rollins’ upcoming performance in Clearwater as a spoken word show. But Rollins prefers a different term: “talking show.”
“I think 'spoken word’ sounds completely pretentious. It sounds like a Kumbaya moment, it sounds like nothing that I’d ever want a part of, and it sounds like something that would put me to sleep,” Rollins told tbt* by phone during a tour stop in Houston. “I felt that way as soon as I heard that term around 1984. Someone said, 'Do you do spoken word?’ I said, 'I hope not.’”
Whether or not the former Black Flag frontman considers himself a spoken word artist, many in the spoken word community revere him. So we invited Pedro Jarquin, 26, of St. Petersburg, who has emceed and performed at spoken word events throughout Tampa Bay, to interview Rollins for tbt*.
Here's a snippet:
What percentage of your audience do you think understands you and what you’re trying to achieve?
I have no idea. ... Judging from the mail I get, they enjoy the perspective. People say that they like the fact that I say what I want. It gives some people a sense of empowerment that I don’t hold back my point of view.
What would you say to all the artists out there that do want to make an active, real difference in these politically charged times?
You can spread awareness. I think that’s key — to spread awareness about things that you find interesting or worthy of people stopping what they’re doing and paying attention to. I give a lot of money to a little orphanage in Los Angeles, where I live. It’s not saving the world, but it’s not nothin’.
Photo: Maura Lanahan