American musician, actor, writer, television and radio host and comedian Henry Rollins chats to Moree poet Murray Hartin as part of Tough Conversations documentary

Henry Rollins is a world-renowned activist, poet, journalist, comedian, radio host and motivational speaker who has also fronted hardcore punk and alternative metal bands in the United States.

So what was he doing sitting by the Mehi River in Moree on Friday night?

Listening to poetry apparently.

Mr Rollins is in Australia filming a documentary called Tough Conversations for the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class and came to town to speak to local yarn-spinner Muz Hartin about his nationally-acclaimed poem Rain From Nowhere – an emotional piece about a farmer on the brink who receives a life-saving letter from his dad.

Concrete and quarry operator Mitch Johnstone opened the gates to his family’s property on Gwydirfield Road to local father-and-son farmers Rowan and Oscar Pearse, agricultural contractor Chris Hartin, Muz and the film production crew.

The crew sat down with the hardcore US legend Rollins to chew the fat and, when the sun went down, they discussed the origins of Australia’s tough reputation, particularly from a rural aspect.

“I got a call from the documentary’s producer, Clare McGrath, a few weeks ago,’’ Muz said.

“She’d been told about Rain From Nowhere; Henry apparently read the poem and thought it would be a good fit for the doco and so they organised to call into Moree for a chat on their way through to Queensland.

“He’s a fascinating character, loves coming to Australia and so here he was sitting by the Mehi with a few blokes talking about farming, the devastating effect of World War I on rural communities, droughts, floods and the whole persona of the stoic bushman who battles through without showing too much emotion.

“I recited the poem, we talked about that for a bit and then it all wound down.

“It was a great night, a privilege to meet Henry, we all got a lot out of it and he certainly seemed to enjoy himself as well.”

You can follow Henry’s journey from Melbourne to Mt Isa at x-class.com.au.

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