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- Posted on Jul 9th 2010 4:00PM by Pat Pemberton
"I've always been an angry person, but it's not like my anger leads me to kick dogs or punch holes in walls," he tells Spinner. "My anger makes me do benefit shows. It gets me moving. It gets me finding out more information. That's what I do with my anger. It's a civic anger, for the most part, not, 'I didn't get mine.'"
Today, Rollins is an activist who devotes much time to his spoken-word career, giving three-hour performances to calm, seated crowds. But in his punk days, Rollins played to raucous underground clubs, where fans sought to tangle with the shirtless, muscled punker, who often obliged them.
In one well-watched YouTube video, Rollins is seen repeatedly punching a slap-happy fan during an undated Black Flag show. Rollins said he hasn't seen the video, but he's familiar with it.
"I've heard all about it," he says. "And you know what? I don't give a f--- about it. It sounds to me like the kid was being a d--- and he got something back. And, my friend, there's some people you shouldn't f--- with, you know what I mean? And you get what you get. And you can go cry to your mama about it, but when you go back to those times, you look back and go, 'Yeah, well, that wasn't my day.'"
When asked if he would thrash that fan under the same circumstances today, Rollins took the mellower route, the path that a more cerebral writer, actor and talk show host -- all things he's done -- would take.
"Probably not. I probably have a bit more patience with people," he says. "I'm an older man."
While the punk rock Rollins would express anger at a spitting fan, the spoken-word Rollins expresses anger at war, homophobia and British Petroleum.
"I think an absence of some kind of anger in your life -- as far as being American -- I think it's complacency," says Rollins, whose spoken word career actually began during his Black Flag days in the '80s. "Thomas Jefferson told me to look at everything and go, 'Really? I don't know,' and try to figure things out."
Still, even the admittedly angry Rollins says he experiences joy in life, and his shows often feature humorous accounts of his worldly travels and his experiences in the music business.
"I don't stand around all day, being angry," he says.