In a recent interview with Full Metal Jackie, Henry Rollins spoke extensively about a myriad of topics, including his work away from music. He had some interesting things to say about his writing process as of late:
I stopped doing music a few years ago, I stopped thinking lyrically. Literally, if you asked me to write a lyric, I guess I could, but I'd have to go into some kind of way back machine. Obviously, I'm not putting down the medium at all -- I just no longer think in that way. Say I have something on my mind, when I was 25, it would be a lyric, now it would be like an angry op-ed or some kind of snarky essay. I think more analytically than lyrically. Both are fine and I admire those who can still do both -- I can only serve one master. So many years ago the music left me because I'm not much of a musician. I mean, I can pick up your gear and carry it but I can't play any of it. I was an angry guy they gave a microphone to and so I'm still an angry guy with a microphone in his hand -- 188 shows I did this year mostly without music. As far as communication, me on my own onstage, that communicates very directly.
There's nothing else to listen to except your own breath, your heart beating in your chest and me at one of those shows and that is the only damn thing coming through the PA. The communication is about as direct as getting hit by a bus, and so I appreciate that. The music is also a great way to communicate, it's ultimate, but as far as its effectiveness -- I can communicate just fine on my own. I have found later in my life that talking shows correspond more closely to how I'm living. I travel all over the world, all over the African continents, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, South America, all over the world, literally… North Korea, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran -- wherever you want to think, I get there sooner or later. So I can go onstage and tell you about it, sometimes I do slideshows at the National Geographic theater or wherever and I can show you where I've been. These talking shows, me without a band, is very much where I'm at in 2012 leaning into 2013.
Rollins also explained plans to work on more books in 2013, along with television and voiceover work. You can hear the whole interview and read a transcription here.