HENRY ROLLINS: 'I Would Hope All Young People Who Can Vote Will Do So'

September 7, 2023

In a new interview with music journalist Joel Gausten, punk rock icon Henry Rollins shares his thoughts on drug use, health, the upcoming American presidential election, and more. Asked how politically minded he would say people in their late teens/early 20s are these days, based on his various travels across America, Henry said: "In my vision for the U.S.A. being in a better place at the end of this century than it was at the beginning, I would hope all young people who can vote will do so. I would like them to see the truth: It's their time, their country, and their future. If they don't get on it, a bunch of pasty old white men are going to do their best to create a world they won't even be alive long enough to suffer through. The young must take the power from the old at every possible opportunity. There's no need to ever burn out — you just keep making things better with the understanding that most, if not all, established power structures are money-minded and that your health and happiness are not in their calculations. This is why bad food, drugs, and stupidity are so easily accessible and in such great supply in the U.S.A. Freedom is a tricky thing. You see how many adults obviously can't handle it."

A little over a year ago, Rollins was asked by the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette what — if anything — still gives him hope that things can get better in America "in the not quite post-Trump era". He responded: "I think the USA was founded on a less than honest premise. When slave owners, with a straight face, are telling you all men are created equal, how well do you think things will be going forward? When women have to get the right to vote by a Constitutional Amendment only a little more than 100 years ago, you really have to take a look at your country. After doing so, I don't think anything happening in the USA presently is surprising as much as eventual. My optimism resides in young people and how they'll hopefully address the errors of the past, the misogyny, homophobia and racism of the present and correct them. Past that, I'm not optimistic about the future of the USA as in its current concept and operation; its sustainability is predicated on a lot of people 'knowing their place' and staying in it. That's just not holding like it used to, hence some people's desire to make America great again. That's what they're talking about. From the Supreme Court to what's happening on the street, you're witnessing progress struggling against regression. I predict a lot more gun homicides and mass casualty events."

Actor, poet, author, radio host and former BLACK FLAG frontman, Rollins has also made a name for himself as a spoken-word artist. 17 years ago, he decided to quit making music altogether, because the industry was making him miserable. Since then, he has dedicated his time to a variety of projects, including releasing books, reissuing obscure punk records, hosting a podcast and making funny Instagram videos.

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