Black Flag - Henry Rollins On Official U.s. Travel Lists Because Of His Hot-spot Treks
Former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins regularly finds himself on persons of interest lists at U.S. airports because his passport features stamps from the world's trouble spots.
The punk icon refuses to simply read about international affairs and likes to experience the situation in hostile countries and war zones like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, but his travels often get him into trouble when he returns to the U.S.
He tells Wenn, "I have been on travelling lists because of the passport trips to Syria - that was a big one; they actually pulled me into a room for that one - North Korea, Pakistan, Iran... all of those.
"That's when you get the extra special treatment from Tsa (Transportation Security Administration officials) when they already know you're coming and they go through your stuff and actually go through your notebook and say, 'You seem pretty angry here!' I really need to get on the flight so I just let it ride.
"I've been taken into small rooms, had my passport taken, asked questions like, 'Why did you go here?' and I always tell them the truth: 'I'm Johnny Quest junior, I'm curious,' and they always get bored with me because they see I'm obviously not trying to hide anything from them... and I'm not a threat to national or international security."
But the interrogations will never put Rollins off visiting the world's most dangerous countries - because he loves to sample the local culture and get to know the people for himself.
He adds, "I went to Syria because I was gonna be in the Lebanon and so I went and I said, 'Well, there's Syria, I might as well go...' I booked a trip and I thought I might get a two-for-one (deal).
"The time I was there, it was very peaceful. (President) Bashar al-Assad is present; every 10 feet there's a sign with his fat face on it, and you feel kind of under the gaze... I spent a lot of time at the suq, which was a couple of miles walk from the hotel, and people were really friendly to me.
"The only hard part was the weather; it was just brutal, like super-hot, and when I was being interrogated in that room at the San Francisco International Airport, the guy said, 'It's really hot there,' and I said, 'You're not kidding, you can fry an egg on your forehead!' He didn't mean it like that, of course."