The always-gregarious Henry Rollins will gather friends and bandmates in Los Angeles tonight (November 30th) to benefit one of his favorite charities, Drop in the Bucket. Held at the historic Avalon club, the evening will include performances by Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction, Scott Ian of Anthrax and Mike Watt of the Minutemen. Rollins' former Black Flag bandmate, Kira Roessler, will also make an appearance.
As Rollins tells Rolling Stone, "Drop in the Bucket is, very simply, a small NGO [non-governmental organization] that drills water wells and puts in the toilets and sanitation systems in schools in Southern Sudan and Uganda. I’ve actually been to Sudan and Uganda with the Drop in the Bucket team; I really wanted to be on the ground and see it for myself, so I spent about three weeks out there and watched them do the work. It’s for real."
Rollins' ties with the organization go back about four years, when founders John and Stacey Travis approached him to speak for 20 minutes at an event on water shortages. "I said, 'Yeah, I've got quite a lot to say on the water shortages. I go to Africa almost once a year, sometimes three times a year,'" he recalls. Since then, he says, "I've become part of the team."
This year, Rollins received assistance from Taylor in choreographing the charity's fundraiser. "It’s Corey from Slipknot who was basically our rainmaker. He stepped right up because he’s cool like that," Rollins says. "And because of Corey we got Dave Navarro, who’s a real sweetheart."
Rollins expects a good turnout at the benefit, which he notes is Drop in the Bucket's largest fundraiser to date, and is already trying to arrange its annual return to the Avalon. If it does, in fact, return next November, it will fall right after the 2012 presidential election. Never one to shy away from a debate, Rollins gave his entertaining rundown of the Republican field.
"If I was a conservative or a Republican, I would be very unhappy with the people who are representing me in those debates, all your Michelle Bachmanns and all of those, because the smartest of them are [Jon] Huntsman and [Newt] Gingrich," says Rollins. "The rest of them are just kind of odd. They’re kind of crazy and there are a lot of Republicans and conservatives in America, like gajillions of them, who are not stupid, who are not crazy, they’re not. I may disagree on points about where money should go, etc. – that’s fair enough. But they’re not awful people and they’re a lot of things, but they’re not stupid. They must look at a guy like Herman Cain and go, 'Are you kidding me, man? Really?'"
Rollins is far more enthusiastic about the future of Drop in the Bucket. "This time next year, hopefully we’ll have, like, three major acts that’ll blow your mind," he says. "I think this thing just needs some time to grow."