Henry Rollins: “When you’re getting razzed by Al Pacino, how bad is your day?” – 2023

The Guardian: The writer, actor and legendary punk musician answers your questions on working with William Shatner and Al Pacino, the joy of lifting weights and Leeds’ best onion bhajis.

You can read the entire interview @ this location. An excerpt has been provided below.

How was the experience of working on the film Heat?

The director, Michael Mann, said: “Your character has scenes with Al Pacino, but if Al doesn’t like you, you can’t be in the movie. So we’re going to have lunch to see if he likes you.” I’m like: “Uh? When?” He goes: “We’re leaving now.” We walked out with my jaw on the floor and went to some high-class Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills.

Al’s like: “Call me Al.” At the end of the lunch, he goes: “Michael, I like him.” Every day on set, I’d go: “How are you, sir?” Al would put his hand on my shoulder, say: “Henry, not so good,” and tell me in great detail about how he’d pulled a muscle in his arm. He was hilarious to be around. There’s one scene where I’m handcuffed, so Al would sit on a couch and keep me company while I was being unlocked: “Someone give me a magic marker. I’m gonna draw a moustache on Henry.” When you’re getting razzed by Al Pacino, how bad is your day?

I heard the sad news about the death of Glen “Spot” Lockett [the influential Black Flag and SST Records producer] . Do you have a story to share, or a favourite album that he produced?

Spot had a very old-school way of recording: fewer microphones, less mixing, everything live, like he was cutting a Charlie Parker side. My favourite album he did is The Punch Line by Minutemen, from 1981. They were very argumentative, so Spot would go: “OK, that’s the take. Shut up,” and they were smart enough to listen.

I’ve never met anyone like him. He would go around for days wearing roller-skates. When Black Flag recorded Damaged, Greg Ginn wanted to hear what it sounded like in the studio, so Spot picked up Greg’s guitar and while the band were playing he absolutely nailed the track Damaged II, which is like math rock. Greg was an astonishing guitarist, but he was totally shut down. It was hilarious. The chess master got checkmated.

What are you memories of performing in Ukraine – and would you perform in Kyiv or Moscow now?

Kyiv was really beautiful and the audiences were really thoughtful and appreciative. Russian audiences were always fantastic. Going to Ukraine would be making light of the situation, unless I could afford the flights myself and do a show for free, a sort of tonic for the troops, like I used to do with USO [United Service Organizations, a live-entertainment charity for the US armed forces] in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wouldn’t go to Russia now for fear of something being dropped into my tea.

You can read the entire interview @ this location.