Henry Rollins sounds off on capitalism in Olympia

By Timothy Radar on September 5, 2012

Musician, actor and spoken word provocateur Henry Rollins will stop by Olympia's Capitol Theater on Sept. 10 on the third stop of his marathon "Capitalism Tour."

The extensive run of performances will see Rollins perform in all 50 state capitals as well as his hometown, Washington D.C., leading up to the presidential election on Nov. 6.

The often outspoken Rollins first came to the public's attention in the early 1980s as the frontman of Washington D.C.'s SOA, and later the California hardcore band Black Flag.

Rollins is no stranger to spoken word, he won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording for Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag, and had incorporated spoken word into his music for years; the Rollins Band track "Liar" found massive radio play with the use of spoken word.

So what will he talk about on his "Capitalism" tour?

He addressed that in a recent interview with TheIndependent.ca, an online Canadian newspaper serving Newfoundland and Labrador: "You can say, ‘What, you're a socialist?' Well, I don't know. I like capitalism quite a bit actually, because it rewards me for thinking outside of the box. It rewards me for working hard, which is what I like to do," he said. "But when it has no rules and when the corporations can dictate the politics, there's no level playing field and there's gonna be, like I said, a few winners and a whole lot of losers. And a lot of losers are global, you know. Africa - the continent will probably be the No. 1 loser."

While opposing U.S. involvement in the Middle East wars, Rollins has joined United Service Organization tours to entertain troops serving abroad. He explained that in the same interview, "Soldiers don't start wars, they don't dictate policy - they take the orders," he said. "So getting mad at a soldier about a war is like getting mad at the lady behind the counter because your flight is late."

Rollins' nuanced view on American politics is sure to be infused by his dry-often self-referential style of spoken word that incorporates blunt directness, anger and humor.

"I'm one of the angriest people I've ever met," he said in an interview with Bismark's Great Plains Examiner. "But for me, being at my age, it's a civic anger. I'm mad, therefore I vote, and therefore I educate myself. I just think things can be better, and people who are in a position to do something about it aren't doing anything. And that leads to my anger."

The event, which is presented by the Seattle Theater Group, kicks off at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) on Sept. 10at the Capitol Theater in Olympia. Tickets for the event are $25 for general admission, available by phone at (877) 784-4849 or through the Seattle Theater Group website.