Henry Rollins Discusses Tomorrow’s Drop in the Bucket Benefit Concert
Rock icon Henry Rollins will be hosting a benefit concert for the Drop in the Bucket charity in Los Angeles tomorrow night, which will also feature performances by Slipknot and Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor, Anthrax’s Scott Ian, Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro and more (for more info, click here). Rollins is no stranger to the organization or its cause of trying to alleviate the problem of millions of people being without safe drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa by building wells, as he has traveled to the affected regions many times. Here, the musician, author, and public speaker gives us the lowdown on the event.
REVOLVER How did the event come about?
HENRY ROLLINS I’ve been working with Drop in the Bucket for three or four years. Whatever they need me to do, I say “Sure, I’ll help out.” This year is a big benefit; the other ones were held at, like, hotels. You know, it’s clinking glasses and polite people. This is a much, much bigger affair; it’s a bigger chunk of beef they’ve bitten off. You know, live bands onstage, tickets etc., big venue. And so we’re stepping everything up.
Which performers are you most looking forward to seeing at the event?
I’m looking forward to the whole thing. I mean, I don’t really know what it’s going to be; I don’t know what Corey Taylor’s going to bring. I’m just glad he’s showing up. He’s a good guy. And Dave Navarro’s always fun; I’ve known Dave for over 20 years. I just wanna get onstage and tell these people about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and start getting these acts on. And, you know, hopefully we put a lot of people in that building tomorrow night.
How did you first become aware of the scale of the problem in Africa?
Just by travel, by going to places like Djibouti, Madagascar, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, places like that, where you see, you know, water’s not that easy to get. Parts of India, water is hard to find. Like in northern Mali where I spent quite a bit of time, water is on your mind all the time. Even as a traveler, when you go buy five or six bottles at a store, you’re watching your water. It’s that one thing you and I can’t do without for very long. It doesn’t matter how cool you are or what label you’re on, thirst will kill you. Fast.
Is there something in particular that you’ve seen that really affected you?
Just walking around a bunch of really poor people living in a very challenging environment. Sometimes you wonder, like, Really, can’t you just move? Like, why do you have to live in the Saharan desert? What compels you to live in a sea of sand that tries to kill you by day and freeze you to death at night? When you look at these Tuareg tribes of people who live in Mali, you’re literally like What are you thinking? I mean it’s the most inhospitable terrain and they call it home. So, OK, that’s them. But that can also be said of parts of Sudan I’ve been to. You’re like Really, this is brutal. It’s just they call it home. So just kind of being there and doing that gave me an awareness. I purposefully go into these environments in an attempt to learn. I put myself in these places.
Is it challenging to make more people aware of these problems, especially in the U.S.?
Well, I think, in America, Americans have so much to deal with right now. And so as America gets more serious and more involved and kind of cranked up trying to keep it cool, it’s a bigger ask to say, “Hey, stop what you’re doing and care about this,” when the immediate is now so iffy. And when people get really concerned with their own thing, their perimeter of responsibility and concern drastically reduces. And then when you get down to, “I’m thirsty and there might not be any water,” now we go into twilight zone, bomb shelter drama. America, obviously isn’t that desperate, but it’s hard to get people to look over here when what’s in front of them is so, you know, snapping back at them.
How can people who can’t make it to the event help?
Oh, that’s easy. They should go to DropintheBucket.org. Make a contribution online. That’d be a wonderful thing. And, you know, on kind of a more altruistic, kumbaya level, you do share this water and this food, and this world with everyone else and as life goes on for us, as your life goes on, I think the way to be part of the solution is to be more aware of the world. To basically look at the world in a big, wide shot and see yourself in that frame and as part of a much bigger picture. And whatever you can do, even if it’s, like, taking shorter showers or just being more aware of your consumption, really drilling down on your recycling. Just kind of pulling your head out of your ass.