How on earth does one describe the singular force-of-nature that is punk rock legend/writer/actor/activist Henry Rollins? Perhaps instead of words, I will offer this collage of images:

You get my point, I think. Henry Rollins is all of those things and more, and I gotta tell you, he puts on one helluva show. I left the Moore Theater last night feeling impressed, exhilarated, inspired, and entertained. There was no music. There was no opening warm-up act. There was no light show or multi-media backdrops. There was one microphone, a couple of stage monitors, basic white stage lighting, and one Henry Rollins, speaking non-stop for almost three hours. And I do completely mean NON-STOP – Rollins seemed to take not a single breath the entire night and not once stopped to sip water, sit, towel off, or break his flow in any way. I’ve NEVER seen anything like this. Rollins’ ability to speak with great eloquence and organization while easily flowing between stories about his many adventures and interests was seemingly bottomless.

Without missing a beat, he recited long and precise Constitutional passages (American, Canadian and South African), Cliff-Noted his commencement speech at Sonoma College, told of listening to death metal and the Stooges with a 15-year-old Sri Lankan kid, implored men to not look in a mirror while “relieving [sexual] tension” past the age of 40, his addiction to Amazon and Ebay, the unexpected consequences of an invitation from drag queen RuPaul, and more. Henry Rollins may be the highest-functioning person with severe ADHD in the world. Now, I don’t know that he does have ADHD, but I’d bet ten bucks and a venti Americano on it. But by GOD, he sure knows how to make it work for him, and for his audience. I had no idea that three hours had gone by when he finally waved and walked off the stage. I was not at all exhausted by his non-stop pace; I was lifted along for the ride, laughing and thinking and enjoying every bit.

I would imagine that most people still think of Rollins as the man he was 25 years ago, as the pugnacious lead singer for the California punk band Black Flag: always full of rage, purposefully assholish, prone to fighting. At 49, he has taken that aggression and fire and transformed it into something entirely more positive. Rejecting violence and crippling cynicism, he has earned the understanding that nothing is ever black-and-white, that there is change possible through education and a dedication to understanding those who are different from us, that love is still worth a foolish romantic letter or two and a few broken hearts along the way, and that humility and humor make just about anything bearable. His passion to experience rather than withdraw and to grab every last bit life has to offer before you leave the planet…man, I hear ya, Henry, I hear ya.

At the top of my wish list for someone I would love to see in government would be Henry Rollins, who was born in our nation’s capital. I’m sure this idea has been brought up to him more than a few times, and I am guessing it would be too difficult for someone as independent and with such a past to be able to function in the American political system. Oh, but how I wish he could. We so badly need people in politics who are whip-smart, well-informed, passionate, and have the gift to motivate and persuade, who are not coming from the same old-boy and old-girl networks. Well, who knows – maybe someday it will be a challenge Henry would like to entertain, and maybe it isn’t impossible. By god, you’d hate to be the lawyer questioned by Supreme Court Justice Rollins, huh? HA!

Henry Rollins tours the world with his spoken-word self just about every day out of any given recent year, and he’s something to see. Go!