Initially, Rollins' spoken-word performances began around 1983 at the suggestion of a friend. "He said, 'You got a big mouth! You got an attitude!" The Boston Globe has described Rollins' solo work this way: "Anger and humor are the two interlocking elements that make Rollins who he is." The intensity that is the trademark of Rollins' musical performances channels easily and powerfully into his literary efforts.
Feeling that the market for his outspoken work would find little acceptance in the established publishing industry, he started printing up "fold-and-staple" editions of his writings on his own. "I came from the DIY ethic," he said. Eventually, 2.13.61 was established: his own label and publishing company. He has published 23 books to date. "Nothing like seeing your work in print to give you such an inflated sense of your own self-importance," noted Rollins. He cited Henry Miller, among others, as a major influence and a genius.
The music ended three summers ago when, said Rollins, "It stopped feeling like I was breaking new ground." He feels that the 'talking shows' are, for one, more flexible, and have the ability to be more current than songs repeated word-for-word, night after night. "It suits where my head is at, and where my basic truth is at." With his favorite travel agent, George W. Bush, out of the business ("He'd rattle the sabers and I would go"), Rollins will be performing at a slightly less-contentious battleground this Friday, May 15, when he comes to the Bearsville Theater, just outside of Woodstock.
He has recorded in Bearsville, and said of the Hudson Valley, "The local flora and fauna is quite lovely. Upstate New York is kind of a nice secret. It's so pristine. Just the quality of the air makes you think you're in Scandinavia."
Doors at the Bearsville Theater will open at 8 p.m. for the show this Friday, May 15; the "talking" begins at 9. Tickets are $25 for reserved seating and $15 for general admission. The Bearsville Theater is located on Route 212, also known as Tinker Street, west of the village of Woodstock. For reservations and more information, call (845) 679-4406, or go online to http://bearsvilletheater.com.