From South Su­dan and Nepal to Siberia and North Korea – the cre­ative tour de force that is Henry Rollins could only come one place next

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Henry Rollins says he feels safer walk­ing down the street in Cairo than he does in LA. The straight-talk­ing Amer­i­can, and one-time frontman for punk rock group Black Flag, is not one to mince words.

“Amer­ica al­most killed me twice. Lit­er­ally, bul­lets fly­ing by me. So the rest of the world by com­par­i­son has been the prover­bial walk in the park,” Rollins says.

Rollins has rea­son to feel un­safe in his home coun­try.

In 1991, his friend Joe Cole was killed by armed rob­bers in Venice Beach, Cal­i­for­nia while Rollins was with him.

“Me and my friend were held up and robbed. The man shot four times and missed me and put two in my friend and killed him. It was a life al­ter­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” he says. “You never get over it, you carry it with you.”

He’s an ad­ven­tur­ous trav­eller to say the least. The list of places he’s vis­ited in­clude Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Haiti, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I feel way safer on the streets of Cairo than I do on the streets of Los An­ge­les where I live. My ex­pe­ri­ences of it at times have been ter­ri­fy­ing,” he says.

He’s cur­rently in Aus­tralia, a coun­try he loves, for a se­ries of spo­ken word shows.

“I’m not naive, I know Aus­tralia has its prob­lems. What coun­try doesn’t? But I think you have an amaz­ing chunk of real es­tate and the Aus­tralians I’ve met have been pretty amaz­ing,” he says.

Rollins is not one to hold back, hav­ing cham­pi­oned many causes over the years on var­i­ous plat­forms in­clud­ing his weekly ra­dio show on LA sta­tion KCRW.

As part of his lat­est speak­ing tour, Rollins has in­cluded a night at the Syd­ney Opera House where he will present a slide show of pho­to­graphs from his trav­els.

For him, travel is not just a fun thing to do but some­thing that he thinks could help make the world a more ac­cept­ing place.

“I would en­cour­age any­one who can to visit other coun­tries, to be cul­tur­alised in ways other than their own cul­ture be­cause it would make them per­haps more un­der­stand­ing and tol­er­ant of cul­tures in­side their own com­mu­ni­ties,” he said. “I have an in­born non-fear of Mus­lim peo­ple. I spent so much time in Mus­lim coun­tries; you can’t sell Is­lam­o­pho­bia to me. ” Henry Rollins, tonight, The Tivoli, Bris­bane

Pic­ture: Kylie Else

Henry Rollins is back in Aus­tralia for a month-long speak­ing tour.

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