Henry Rollins ‘punks’ TV

By Marisa Guthrie New York Daily News (KRT)

Henry Rollins, the tattooed former front man of raging punk band Black Flag, knows he scares people.

“People may have the wrong idea about me,” he said, “because I go on stage and yell.”

He just has an opinion, and he’s not shy about sharing it, which is why executives at IFC decided to let him riff on anything he wanted when they brought him back for a second round on the network.

Last season’s monthly movie-centric “Film Corner” morphed this year into weekly talker “The Henry Rollins Show,” Saturdays at 10 p.m. EDT.

Last week’s debut installment featured an interview with Oliver Stone. Future guests include Ozzy Osbourne, Chuck D and Werner Herzog.

Regular features include “Teeing Off,” a political rant that is Rollins’ take on the opening monologue and the irreverent “Letters From Henry” feature, which essentially personalizes the political rant. Recipients include Laura Bush and Pat Robertson.

Outside of the IFC show, Rollins has been fronting his own band since 1986, which provides an in-your-face listening experience.

He also yells on stage during spoken-word shows-he won a Grammy in 1995 for his autobiographical album “Get in the Van.” He’s no less animated during his numerous speaking engagements.

“I’m not trying to intimidate,” Rollins said.

A Charlie Rose for Generation X, Rollins is the rare pop culture hero who backs up the rhetoric with experience. He tours with the USO, entertaining American troops in Iraq. He has visited injured soldiers at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval hospitals. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and Asia. And he raises money for numerous home-grown charities and advocacy groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center.

While he shrugs off the liberal label, he’s not winning any friends in conservative circles.

“I’m not necessarily against Republicans and conservatives,” he said. “I don’t think they’re bad people. And there are some ridiculously smart conservatives out there. But [the Bush] administration gets to me because they’re so crass. That zero-message message of never apologizing, never giving ground. We’re not seeking to fight that bigger war. And I think that’s very dangerous.”

Rollins’ political inoculation started early. Born Henry Lawrence Garfield, Rollins was raised in Washington, D.C., by his mom, Iris. Her mission was public education, and she spent her career at multiple government outreach organizations. She also worked on Democrat Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign.

But despite his obvious aptitude, Rollins has little interest in pursuing a traditional career in politics.

“I can do so much cool stuff by being an angry citizen,” he explained, “where as even in the lowest levels of politics I see a lot of cooks in the kitchen and red tape and no opportunity to raise your voice, no opportunity for dissent and no opportunity to say, ‘You know what, I am so going to ruin your day.'”