Henry Rollins Prepares for Frequent Flyer Tour
"When I get to Thanksgiving next year, I'll be walking a little slower. I'm trying to get myself mentally prepared for having a show every night -- which is fine. It's possible when you just kind of give yourself completely to it, this is what I do. If you're thinking too much or missing something, you get distracted. Basically I'm tightening the grip on the thing."
The Frequent Flyer Tour begins Jan. 12 in Dublin, with the first 45-date North American leg departing from San Diego on Feb. 17. Following stops in Australia and South Africa, Rollins returns for a second North American leg in mid-May. To prepare for the jaunt, he's extensively traveled in the Middle East and Asia.
"I just came back from eight weeks of travel Saturday. I started in Jordan and went from there to Saudi Arabia, to Brunei, to Indonesia, up to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and India and then Nepal and China," Rollins said. "I got back from Beijing on Saturday. It was just me, two backpacks and my camera. Kind of hustling around with the stuff on your back, it puts you through a few things. I was here a lot this year, because I had a TV show [FX's 'Sons of Anarchy'] to do. Off the road, it's not that stressful. I drive to the set. I do the show. Everything's very nice. It softens me a little.
"I have to go back out into the world and take a few shots to the face so I can get tour ready. The final coating, so I'll be ready for tour, is I leave this Sunday and I go to Africa for a couple weeks. I'll start in Senegal, Dakar, and I'll go from there to Mali, up the Niger River to Timbuktu, and I'll spend three days camping out at a music festival that takes place in the Sahara Desert. I was there this year and I'm going back again. From there I go to Dublin and I start the tour the next day. That'll be the final coat of finishing armor, and I'll be ready for tour."
On his Middle Eastern and Asian globe-trotting mission, he visited many places he had not seen before -- and it shocked him. "I've never been to any of those countries before except for Jordan and India," Rollins said. "It's all mind-blowing. Saudi Arabia was completely nuts. Sharia law is such a bad idea. You talk to young people who have to endure it and be teenagers. It's every shade of stupid you can imagine. India and Bangladesh and parts of Sri Lanka are pretty poor, especially India and Bangladesh. You see some pretty flat-out poverty. You see a lot of beautiful things too. It's pretty intense. But that's why I went. I want to see this stuff. I want to understand it. I want to walk through it. I did. I got my fill."
Rollins is documenting his travels in two different books, due out via his imprint 2.13.61 in 2011. "One is travel stories from 2009-2010, so I'm writing it as it happens," Rollins said. "The other is a photo book called, 'What I See.' It's a photo and essay book, which is quite involved. It's quite a big undertaking for our little company. I've been working on that one for a couple years. We're going to basically finish the photos for it in May when I'll be in South Africa. That'll be the last photo opportunity for that book. Then we'll go into layout and design.
"Photo books are tricky. It's not like they're a normal print book because you have these photos. You have to make sure nothing's too dark, too light. If you get it wrong, it's a very expensive mistake. Photo books-- we've done quite a few here at the company--are always done with a good bit of trepidation. It's like this deja vu. We haven't done one for quite a while. I'm gearing up for that nervous thing. It's thousands and thousands of dollars. This is a small company. Basically, we'll be emptying the piggy bank for this book. So it has to look good and -- guess what -- it has to sell. It's the risk that little indie labels like mine take when they try and do something."