Rollins - Think Tank

Yeah, Rollins. Miserable bastard. Shouty bloke. You don’t want anything to do with him. Ever listened to Rollins spoken word? You should. You may not like it, but you should listen to it. If you have, then you know what to expect here. It’s Rollins, on a, er, roll, lambasting anything and everything. But with a disarming sense of humour. It’s everyday observation. It’s personal reflection. It’s cutting. And it’s funny. It truly is. I know people that hate Rollins musically, but have admitted, though sometimes not too readily, that when forced to listen to his spoken word, it’s good.

This time round, you get 2CDs spanning 125 minutes. One recorded in Chicago this year on Rollins birthday “I wanted to be in Chicago, on my birthday doing one of these” he assures. Listen. I can see myself in him. The rant of people at airports. The simple things that they can’t do. How it builds up. Until, by the end of your trip, you’re spitting blood at anyone that even dares to breath near you. Yeaaaah. I don’t even need to go to an airport to do that. It’s so obvious, it needs someone to point it out to you.

Listen to his review of Baywatch. And his view of David Hasselhoff. Ever seen those dogs that have been bred too much. Or Michael Bolton with his confused look. He permanently has it.

El Nino comes in for it as well, with views that the name should be changed to something more memorable and intimidating, possibly to motherfucker, or possibly to, the first four Black Sabbath albums ... Bakersfield was today wiped away by the first four Black Sabbath albums.

Pop in the second CD. Recorded in Australia ‘97. First thing is a hilarious account of Rollins the rock star fucking up onstage, and doing the rock thing. You have to hear it, and irrespective of whether you like his band or not, just imagine your own favourite band in the situation. It’s classic. And totally destroys the myth of the guy being overly intense and too serious. Like when he knocked himself out 30 seconds into a gig in Brazil.

And then you get Marius. The tale of Rollins visit to a 17 year old Australian in hospital dying of leukimia. Another side of the man. How he was hit by, as he claims, the most intense thing he’s ever heard, of a 17 year old saying “I want to die with my eyes open, not in my sleep.” You kind of know that it’s going to end with mention of his death. And it does, but the way it’s spoken, maybe it’s just me and dealing with things, but it hits you, and I can feel the tears in there.

And that’s how Rollins spoken word is. A reflection of his thoughts, his experiences. It’s life. I remember seeing a show about 5 years ago. And how everyone was splitting sides laughing. And then, in one sweep, he kills it all with the tale of his friend, Joe Cole having been murdered in front of him. Hammerblow. That’s how it is. Life. Sometimes funny, sometimes intense. Sometimes almost unmanageable. I can get a great deal more understanding out of life and this CD than I can out of say Korn’s dealing with things. Different things for different people.

I don’t know how many times you’ll listen to a spoken word CD. Me, I’ll listen to this quite a few times, cos it’s funny. This is a situation, rare for me, where I want to see the video, because you know that with Rollins spoken word, you need the visuals of his face and his actions as he’s performing. It’s like Bill Hicks in that the CD makes you roar, but you just know that “shit, I wanted to SEE what happened then”.

But, if you’re looking for an intro to Rollins the man start here. Or go to the spoken word gigs in November, which, by the time you read this, have probably already been. I’ll be one of them laughing in Derby.