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Rollins, Henry

Henry Rollins

Singer, songwriter

For the Record

Found Personal Drive

Rollins Band Took Shape

Published Written Work

Career as Actor and TV Host

Selected discography

Selected writings

Sources

Formidable and fiercely independent, recording artist Henry Rollins has earned an array of titles from music reviewers; Chris Mundy, writing for Rolling Stone in 1992, called Rollins punks poet laureate and a primal scream personified. Hobey Echlin applied another label in Detroits Metro Times, terming Rollins the post-punk generations prophet of rage. These epithets capture the dual nature of Rollinss reputation: brutal rebelliousness characterizes his work as vocalist for Black Flag and the Rollins Band, two of the hardest hard-core bands in punk history, while Rollinss discipline and thoughtful observations of humankind inform his creative output as an essayist, poet, and spoken-word performer. In both incarnations, Rollins is revered by leaders of the punk and alternative rock camps.

Rollins was born Henry Garfield on February 13, 1961, in Washington, D.C. His childhood was shaped by a barrage of painful experiences, among them his parents divorce when he was still quite young, his fathers abuse and emotional abandonment, unwanted sexual encounters, and the torment of classmates who singled Rollins out for being different. After his parents split up, he lived with his mother, moving from apartment to apartment. One of his few positive memories of that time, according to a self-penned 1992 Imago Recording Company press biography, was of the music that remained a constant in his ever-relocating home. [My mother] played a lot of records and went to plays and musicals. There was music in the house all the time. I used to take her records into my room and play them until they were all scratched up. He recalled enjoying a range of jazz and Motown before discovering hard rock. In high school, he found the underground world of punk, including the Los Angeles-based hard-core ensemble Black Flag.

The anger and isolation that Rollins experienced as a child intensified when he was enrolled in a military academy. In an essay titled Iron and the Soul that appeared in Details, Rollins characterized his life there, writing about the humiliation of teachers calling me garbage can and telling me Id be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didnt run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. It was in the midst of this hell, however, that Rollins was introduced to something that would make made him feel strong and valuable; an advisor named Mr. Pepperman a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, put Rollins on a weight-training program, an intensive discipline that prohibited him from becoming preoccupied with the look of his body or the intimidation that it could inflict on others. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing, he recalled.

The regimen had a powerful effect on Rollins, altering both his physique and his sense of self-esteem. I saw

For the Record

Born Henry Garfield on February 13, 1961, in Washington, D.C. Education: Spent one semester at college, 1979.

Managed reptile department of pet shop, late 1970s, and ice cream shop, 1979-81; became singer with band Black Flag, 1981; became spoken-word performer, 1983; formed book publishing (and later mail-order and video) company 2.13.61, 1984; Black Flag disbanded, 1986; formed Rollins Band, 1987; band recorded with independent labels Texas Hotel and QuarterStick, late 1980s; signed with Imago Recording Company, 1991; band released The End of Silence, 1992; released spoken-word album The Boxed Life, 1993; contributor to Elle magazine and commentator for MTV Sports, beginning in 1994; appeared in film The Chase, 1994; established labels Zero Zero and Now Hear This, 1994; released Grammy Award-winning spoken-word recording Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag, 1995; with Rollins Band, released Come In and Burn, 1997, and Get Some, Go Again, 2000; has appeared in films including Johnny Mnemonic, Heat, and Lost Highway, late 1990s-early 2000s; host of Night Visions on Fox television network, 2001-.

Awards: Grammy Award, Best Spoken Word Recording for Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag, 1994; Man of the Year, Details magazine, 1994.

Addresses: Business 2.13.61, P.O. Box 1910, Los Angeles, CA 90078, e-mail: [email protected] Website Henry Rollins Official Website: http://www.21361.com.

a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart, he wrote. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. Rollins understood that the strength he had acquired could be attributed more fully to his emotional convictions than to his body. He explained, Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Found Personal Drive

Once he had learned control and dedication from the iron, Rollins was able to apply his new-found drive to everything else in his life. Describing his adolescence to Musician contributor Jon Pareles, Rollins said, If we were into something, we were living it. Skateboards, 24 hours a day. Bikes. Whatever we were doing. I worked at a pet shop, I ran the reptile department, inventoried, ordered, did everything. Anything I was into I would just land on and totally take over. Id want to do 80 hours a day.

After graduating from high school in 1979, Rollins became involved in the local hard-core punk scene with the same energy. He tried college, but left after one semester. While working at a friends ice cream store, where he quickly rose to manager, Rollins would spend his off hours watching the bands that he loved, like D.C.s punk-reggae hybrid Bad Brains. One night, he drove to New York City to see Black Flag perform; leaving right after his shift at the store and planning to return in time to open up again the next morning. When he requested a song that night, the band let him come up on stage to sing with them, andin an odd take on the Cinderella storythe members of Black Flag asked Rollins to return for an audition a few days later; they just happened to be looking for a new vocalist.

Rollins began singing with Black Flag in 1981 and stayed with the group until guitarist and nominal leader Greg Ginn dissolved it in 1986. During that time, he became both an integral part of Black Flags imagethough the band had been around since 1976and developed a solid reputation of his own. Larry Birnbaum captured Rollinss typical stage presence in a 1984 concert review for Down Beat, reporting, The muscular, heavily tattooed Rollins made his entrance, clad only in gym shorts. A charismatic figure a la Iggy Pop, he posed and strutted along the lip of the stage, barking and screeching the lyrics with professional aplomb as he fended off attempts by his adoring fans to pull his pants down.

But touring and recording with the band, though it brought a certain fame, by no means made Rollinss life glamorous. Steve Appleford, a writer for Cream, noted that Black Flag spent a lot of time sleeping in parking lots, in train stations, sometimes even shoplifting food, eating off other peoples plates in restaurants and hiding from the police, white power groups, religious zealots and a constant media assault.

Rollins Band Took Shape

After the bands dissolution, Rollins turned immediately to his next project. He contacted guitarist Chris Haskett and, within four months, had produced the record Hot Animal Machine. By April of 1987, when Rollins recruited drummer Sim Cain and bassist Andrew Weiss, the Rollins Band was starting to solidify; the group soon added a permanent sound man or stylist from Holland, Theo Van Rock. That lineup would remain until 1993, when Weiss departed.

The Rollins Band began touring and recording in the Rollins styleobsessivelyand quickly produced a series of records on independent labels. They blossomed into an underground sensation, followed by Rollinss old fans from the Black Flag era and new admirers from the marginal hard-core audience. Rollins described the band as a well-kept secret to Spins Jim Greer, explaining, In the past, wed do all these tours and all these records and, you know, the records arent even in print, the tours never get promoted. Were kind of like this band that doesnt really exist. But that began to change in the summer of 1991, when the Rollins Band went on tour with the Lollapalooza Festival. Their popularity with festival audiences led to a deal with a major recording label, Imago, and an album that generated a great deal of press attention.

Following the release of The End of Silence in 1992, superlative reviews from the most august rock magazines began to roll in. Rolling Stones Mundy couldnt decide whether it was the heaviest jazz record in history or the most intricate hardcore document to date. Mike Gitter called the Rollins aggregate one of the hardest, most musically deft rock bands under the sun in his Pulse! review. The band members, and Rollins in particular, suddenly found themselves in demand on television talk shows. The ever-articulate Rollins has appeared on Up All Night, Alive From Off Center, The Dennis Miller Show, and The Arsenio Hall Show. Following the success of The End of Silence, Imago also produced the first major recording of Rollinss spoken-word performances, The Boxed Life. Consequently, Rollinss exploding reputation as a rocker was powerfully supplemented by recognition for his talents as a poet, improvisational speaker, and stand-up comedian (fans had long appreciated his wry sense of humor).

Published Written Work

Rollins had begun the spoken-word performancesa kind of anti-high-culture version of poetry readingin 1983. A year later, he was publishing volumes of his own written work. He has described himself as being as consumed with his writing as he is with his music, revealing in Melody Maker, I first started writing in high school, but it was no big deal. I started taking it seriously when I was with Black Flag, partly to pass the time on the tour bus and partly to document the intense swirl of events we were caught up in. Ive tried to write constantly since then. Early in 1993 he was juggling five writing projects at once, including a history of Black Flag based on his journals. Aside from the occasional essay printed in Spin or Details, Rollins has released his written work exclusively through his own publishing company, 2.13.61 (his birth date), which he founded in 1984. I try to take as little sh** as possible from the powers that be, he illuminated in his Imago press biography. I know that we all have to eat some in lifes rich pageant. I figured that I could minimize the intake if I could control the release of my work as much as possible. Rollins won a Grammy Award for the spoken-word recording Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag in 1995.

Rollinss life almost spun out of control in 1991, when his friend Joe Cole was gunned down outside of Rollinss Los Angeles apartment building in a robbery attempt. He poured his rage and grief into Now Watch Him Die, a volume that was published in the summer of 1993. In a Rolling Stone interview that year, Rollins told David Fricke: When your best friend gets murdered five feet away from you, it changes you. I always have that experience now permanently riding on my shoulder. Im more aware of time, more aware of mortality, and Im not so precious about life anymore. Youre eventually going to die. Use the time wisely because it is running out, but dont freak out about it.

In addition to his work with the Rollins band, his spoken-word performances, and his involvement in 2.13.61, Rollins has managed to devote his considerable energy to other projects as well; he has acted as vocalist for Andrew Weisss band Wartime, and he established a record label with Rick Rubin, president of American Recordings. The imprintOne Recordswill focus on uncovering and re-releasing recordings from the 1970s and 1980s that are out of print.

In 1993, bassist Melvin Gibbs joined the Rollins Band; a follow-up release to The End of SilenceWeight appeared in 1994. Weight, reaching the Billboard top 40 and becoming Rollinss biggest commercial success, received a Grammy Award nomination. It was followed by a tour that included Woosdtock 94 and a Details Man of the Year recognition. Rollins once explained his workaholic drive to Gary Graff of the Detroit Free Press as the only way he knows to confront a painful life with defiance and commitment: I dont want to blow my head off. I dont want to take pharmaceuticals, either. So I lift weights, scream into microphones, hit keys on the typewriter.

Career as Actor and TV Host

Sent into overdrive by the success of Weight, Rollins appeared on MTV and VH-1, and ventured into film with an appearance in The Chase. Details also made Rollins a regularly contributing columnist. The Rollins Band label, Imago, shut down, and after their jazz and poetry experiment project Everything, the band made a new deal with DreamWorks. The first albums on DreamWorks were the poorly reviewed Come In and Burn, and Black Coffee Blues, both in 1997. Black Coffee Blues was another spoken-word recording, and featured readings from previous Rollins books. Think Tank released in 1998was not linked to any books.

At this time, Rollins decided to split up the old Rollins Band, dissatisfied with their latest attempts, and invited Mother Superior to join him to make up the new Rollins Band. In 2000, they released Get Some, Go Again. He describes on his website, www.21361.com, how it came together: At the beginning of 1998, my friends and favorite LA band, Mother Superior, asked if I would produce some tracks for their next record. I was honored and got on board. The outcome was their fine record Deep After the collaboration, Rollins asked Mother Superior to return the favor and write some songs with him. They booked some rehearsal time, and oddly enough, ended up in the same studio where Rollins had first practiced with Black Flag. Rollins and Mother Superior wrote three songs that night that Rollins says, were exactly the kind of music that I had always wanted to make. Im very happy with Get Some, Go Again. I like the sounds, the playing, the takes, the soul and the passion, and feel that I have given it everything Ive got. Im very proud of the record.

In 2001, Rollins released another spoken-word recording, Rollins in the Wry, about his time living in Los Angeles in 1999. He appeared in films including Johnny Mnemonic, Heat, and Lost Highway in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He describes himself as a post-punk renaissance man, one who is equally at home recording albums with the Rollins Band, writing books and poetry, performing spoken-word tours, writing a magazine column, acting in movies, and appearing on MTV as a VJ. He also began hosting the Fox television networks Night Visions, a Twilight Zone-like drama, in 2001.

Selected discography

With Black Flag; on SST Records

My War, 1983.

Family Man, 1984.

Slip It In, 1984.

Live 84, 1984.

Loose Nut, 1985.

The Process of Weeding Out, 1985.

In My Head, 1985.

Whos Got the 10, 1986.

With the Rollins Band

Hot Animal Machine, Texas Hotel, 1987.

Drive By Shooting, Texas Hotel, 1987.

Life Time, Texas Hotel, 1988.

Do It, Texas Hotel, 1988.

Hard Volume, Texas Hotel, 1989.

Turned On, QuarterStick Records, 1990.

The End of Silence, Imago, 1992.

Weight (includes Liar), Imago, 1994.

Come In and Burn, DreamWorks, 1997.

Get Some, Go Again, DreamWorks, 2000.

Spoken-word recordings

Short Walk on a Long Pier, Texas Hotel/2.13.61, 1987.

Big Ugly Mouth, Texas Hotel, 1987; reissued, QuarterStick, 1992.

Sweatbox, Texas Hotel, 1989; reissued, QuarterStick, 1992.

Live at McCabes, QuarterStick, 1992.

Human Butt, QuarterStick/2.13.61, 1992.

Deep Throat, QuarterStick/2.13.61, 1992.

The Boxed Life, Imago, 1993.

Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag, 1995.

Think Tank (live), DreamWorks, 1998.

A Rollins in the Wry, Quarterstick, 2001.

Selected writings

The Portable Henry Rollins, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Published by 2.13.61

20, 1984.

2.13.61, 1985.

End to End, 1985.

Polio Flesh, 1985.

Works, 1988.

1000 Ways to Die, 1989.

Knife Street, 1989.

Art to Choke Hearts, 1989.

High Adventure in the Great Outdoors (includes 2.13.61, End to End, Polio Flesh), 1990.

Bang! (includes 1000 Ways to Die and Knife Street), 1990.

One From None, 1991.

Black Coffee Blues, 1992.

See a Grown Man Cry, 1992.

Now Watch Him Die, 1993.

Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag, 1994.

Eye Scream, 1996.

Do I Come Here Often, 1997.

Solipsist, 1998.

Sources

Periodicals

Creem, May 1992.

Details, January 1993; January 1994.

Detriot Free Press, April 17, 1992.

Detroit News, May 1, 1993.

Down Beat, December 1984.

Entertainment Weekly, March 12, 1993.

Los Angeles Daily News, May 31, 1992.

Melody Maker, February 13, 1993.

Metro Times (Detriot), March 3, 1993.

Musician, April 1993.

People, August 13, 2001.

Pulse!, April 1992.

Rolling Stone, April 16, 1992; March 18, 1993; December 23, 1993.

Spin, May 1992.

TV Guide, September 26, 1992.

Online

Henry Rollins, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.d11?p=amg&sql=B8zadqj4bojja~C (December 13, 2001).

Rollins History, 2.13.61, http://www.two1361.com/hr/rollinsHistory.html (October 12, 2001).

Additional information was obtained from an Imago Recording Company press biography, 1992.

Ondine E. Le Blanc

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Rollins, Henry

Henry Rollins

Singer, songwriter, author, spoken-word performer

Iron and Soul

Invited to Audition for Black Flag

Obsessive About Rollins Band

Selected writings

Selected discography

Sources

Formidable and fiercely independent, recording artist Henry Rollins has earned an array of titles from music reviewers; Chris Mundy, writing for Rolling Stone in 1992, called Rollins punks poet laureate and a primal scream personified. Hobey Echlin applied another label in Detroits Metro Times, terming Rollins the post-punk generations prophet of rage. These epithets capture the dual nature of Rollinss reputation: brutal rebelliousness characterizes his work as vocalist for Black Flag and the Rollins Band, two of the hardest hard-core bands in punk history, while Rollinss discipline and thoughtful observations of humankind inform his creative output as an essayist, poet, and spoken-word performer. In both incarnations, Rollins is revered by leaders of the punk and alternative rock camps.

Rollins was born Henry Garfield on February 13, 1961, in Washington, D.C. His childhood was shaped by a barrage of painful experiences, among them his parents divorce when he was still quite young, his fathers abuse and emotional abandonment, unwanted sexual encounters, and the torment of classmates who singled Rollins out for being different. After his parents split up, he lived with his mother, moving from apartment to apartment. One of his few positive memories of that time, according to a self-penned 1992 Imago Recording Company press biography, was of the music that remained a constant in his ever-relocating home: [My mother] played a lot of records and went to plays and musicals. There was music in the house all the time.... I used to take her records into my room and play them until they were all scratched up. He recalled enjoying a range of jazz and Motown before discovering hard rock; finally, in high school, he found the underground world of punk, including the Los Angeles-based hardcore ensemble Black Flag.

Iron and Soul

The anger and isolation that Rollins experienced as a child intensified when he was enrolled in a military academy. In an essay titled Iron and the Soul that appeared in Details magazine, Rollins characterized his life there, writing, The humiliation of teachers calling me garbage can and telling me Id be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students.... I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didnt run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. It was in the midst of this hell, however, that Rollins was introduced to something that would make made him

For the Record

Born Henry Garfield, February 13, 1961, in Washington D.C. Education: Spent one semester at college, 1979.

Managed reptile department of pet shop, late 1970s, and ice cream shop, 1979-81. Became singer with band Black Flag, 1981; became spoken-word performer, 1983; formed book publishing (and later mail-order and video) company 2.13.61, 1984; Black Flag disbanded, 1986; formed Rollins Band, 1987; band recorded with independent labels Texas Hotel and QuarterStick, late 1980s; signed with Imago Recording Company, 1991; band released The End of Silence, 1992; released spoken-word album The Boxed Life, 1993; contributor to Elle magazine and commentator for MTV Sports, beginning in 1994; appeared in film The Chase, 1994; established labels Zero Zero and Now Hear This, 1994.

Addresses: Office 2.13.61, P.O. Box 1910, Los Angeles, CA 90078.

feel strong and valuable; an advisor named Mr. Pepperman, a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, put Rollins on a weight-training programan intensive discipline that prohibited him from becoming preoccupied with the look of his body or the intimidation that it could inflict on others. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing, he recalled.

The regimen had a powerful effect on Rollins, altering both his physique and his sense of self-esteem. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart, he wrote. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. Rollins understood that the strength he had acquired could be attributed more fully to his emotional convictions than to his body; he explained, Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Once he had learned control and dedication from the iron, Rollins was able to apply his new-found drive to everything else in his life. Describing his adolescence to Musician contributor Jon Pareles, Rollins said, If we were into something, we were living it.... Skateboards, 24 hours a day. Bikes. Whatever we were doing. I worked at a pet shop, I ran the reptile department, inventoried, ordered, did everything. Anything I was into I would just land on and totally take over. Id want to do 80 hours a day.

Invited to Audition for Black Flag

After graduating from high school in 1979, Rollins became involved in the local hard-core punk scene with the same energy. He tried college, but left after one semester. While working at a friends ice cream store, where he quickly rose to manager, Rollins would spend his off hours watching the bands that he loved, like D.C.s punk-reggae hybrid Bad Brains. One night, he drove to New York City to see Black Flag performleaving right after his shift at the store and planning to return in time to open up again the next morning. When he requested a song that night, the band let him come up on stage to sing with them, andin an odd take on the Cinderella storythe members of Black Flag asked Rollins to return for an audition a few days later; they just happened to be looking for a new vocalist.

Rollins began singing with Black Flag in 1981 and would stay with the group until guitarist and nominal leader Greg Ginn dissolved it in 1986. During that time, he became both an integral part of Black Flags imagethough the band had been around since 1976and developed a solid reputation of his own. Larry Birnbaum captured Rollinss typical stage presence in a 1984 concert review for Down Beat, reporting, The muscular, heavily tattooed Rollins... made his entrance, clad only in gym shorts. A charismatic figure a la Iggy Pop, he posed and strutted along the lip of the stage, barking and screeching the lyrics with professional aplomb as he fended off attempts by his adoring fans to pull his pants down.

But touring and recording with the band, though it brought a certain fame, by no means made Rollinss life glamorous. Steve Appleford, a writer for Cream, noted that Black Flag spent a lot of time sleeping in parking lots, in train stations, sometimes even shoplifting food, eating off other peoples plates in restaurants and hiding from the police, white power groups, religious zealots and a constant media assault.

After the bands dissolution, Rollins turned immediately to his next project. He contacted guitarist Chris Haskett and, within four months, had produced the record Hot Animal Machine. By April of 1987, when Rollins recruited drummer Sim Cain and bassist Andrew Weiss, the Rollins Band was starting to solidify; the group soon added a permanent sound man or stylist from Holland, Theo Van Rock. That line-up would remain until 1993, when Weiss departed.

Obsessive About Rollins Band

The Rollins Band began touring and recording in the Rollins styleobsessivelyand quickly produced a series of records on independent labels. They blossomed into an underground sensation, followed by Rollinss old fans from the Black Flag era and new admirers from the marginal hard-core audience. Rollins described the band as a well-kept secret to Spins Jim Greer, explaining, In the past, wed do all these tours and all these records and, you know, the records arent even in print, the tours never get promoted. Were kind of like this band that doesnt really exist. But that began to change in the summer of 1991, when the the Rollins Band went on tour with the Lollapalooza Festival. Their popularity with festival audiences led to a deal with a major recording label, Imago, and an album that generated a great deal of press attention.

Following the release of The End of Silence in 1992, superlative reviews from the most august rock magazines began rolled in. Rolling Stones Mundy couldnt decide whether it was the heaviest jazz record in history or the most intricate hardcore document to date. Mike Gitter called the Rollins aggregate one of the hardest, most musically deft rock bands under the sun in his Pulse! review. The band members, and Rollins in particular, suddenly found themselves in demand on television talk shows. The ever-articulate Rollins has appeared on Up All Night, Alive From Off Center, The Dennis Miller Show, and The Arsenio Hall Show. Following the success of The End of Silence, Imago also produced the first major recording of Rollinss spoken-word performances, The Boxed Life. Consequently, Rollinss exploding reputation as a rocker was powerfully supplemented by recognition for his talents as a poet, improvisational speaker, and stand-up comedian (fans had long appreciated his wry sense of humor).

Rollins had begun the spoken-word performancesa kind of anti-high-culture version of poetry readingin 1983; a year later, he was publishing volumes of his own written work. He has described himself as being as consumed with his writing as he is with his music, revealing in Melody Maker, I first started writing in High School, but it was no big deal. I started taking it seriously when I was with Black Flag, partly to pass the time on the tour bus and partly to document the intense swirl of events we were caught up in. Ive tried to write constantly since then. Early in 1993 he was juggling five writing projects at once, including a history of Black Flag based on his journals. Aside from the occasional essay printed in Spin or Details, Rollins has released his written work exclusively through his own publishing company, 2.13.61 (his birth date), which he founded in 1984. I try to take as little shit as possible from the powers that be, he illuminated in his Imago press biography. I know that we all have to eat some in lifes rich pageant. I figured that I could minimize the intake if I could control the release of my work as much as possible.

Rollinss life almost spun out of control in 1991, when his friend Joe Cole was gunned down outside of Rollinss Los Angeles apartment building in a robbery attempt. He poured his rage and grief into Now Watch Him Die, a volume that was published in the summer of 1993. In a Rolling Stone interview that year, Rollins told David Fricke: When your best friend gets murdered five feet away from you, it changes you. I always have that experience now permanently riding on my shoulder. Im more aware of time, more aware of mortality, and Im not so precious about life anymore. Youre eventually going to die. Use the time wisely because it is running out, but dont freak out about it.

In addition to his work with the Rollins band, his spoken-word performances, and his involvement in 2.13.61, Rollins has managed to devote his considerable energy to other projects as well; he has acted as vocalist for Andrew Weisss band Wartime, and he established a record label with Rick Rubin, president of American Recordings; the imprint, One Records, will focus on uncovering and rereleasing recordings from the 1970s and 1980s that are currently out of print.

In 1993, bassist Melvin Gibbs joined the Rollins Band; a follow-up release to The End of Silence was planned for the spring of 1994. No doubt a tour would follow. Rollins once explained his workaholic drive to Gary Graff of the Detroit Free Press as the only way he knows to confront a painful life with defiance and commitment: I dont want to blow my head off.... I dont want to take pharmaceuticals, either. So I lift weights, scream into microphones, hit keys on the typewriter.

Selected writings

Published by 2.13.61

20, 1984.

2.13.61, 1985.

End to End, 1985.

Polio Flesh, 1985.

Works, 1988.

1000 Ways to Die, 1989.

Knife Street, 1989.

Art to Choke Hearts, 1989.

High Adventure in the Great Outdoors (includes 2.13.61, End to End, and Polio Flesh), 1990.

Bang! (includes 1000 Ways to Die and Knife Street), 1990.

One From None, 1991.

Black Coffee Blues, 1992.

See a Grown Man Cry, 1992.

Now Watch Him Die, 1993.

Selected discography

With Black Flag; on SST Records

My War, 1983.

Family Man, 1984.

Slip It In, 1984.

Live 84, 1984.

Loose Nut, 1985.

The Process of Weeding Out, 1985.

In My Head, 1985.

Whos Got the 10, 1986.

With the Rollins Band

Hot Animal Machine, Texas Hotel, 1987.

Drive By Shooting, Texas Hotel Records, 1987.

Life Time, Texas Hotel, 1988.

Do It, Texas Hotel, 1988.

Hard Volume, Texas Hotel, 1989.

Turned On, QuarterStick Records, 1990.

The End of Silence, Imago, 1992.

The Weight, Imago, 1994.

Spoken-word recordings

Short Walk on a Long Pier, Texas Hotel/2.13.61, 1987.

Big Ugly Mouth, Texas Hotel, 1987, reissued, QuarterStick, 1992.

Sweatbox, Texas Hotel, 1989, reissued, QuarterStick, 1992.

Live at McCabes, QuarterStick, 1992.

Human Butt, QuarterStick/2.13.61, 1992.

Deep Throat, QuarterStick/2.13.61, 1992.

The Boxed Life, Imago, 1993.

Sources

Creem, May 1992.

Details, January 1993; January 1994.

Detriot Free Press, April 17, 1992.

Detroit News, May 1, 1993.

Down Beat, December 1984.

Entertainment Weekly, March 12, 1993.

Los Angeles Daily News, May 31, 1992.

Melody Maker, February 13, 1993.

Metro Times (Detriot), March 3, 1993.

Musician, April 1993.

Pulse!, April 1992.

Rolling Stone, April 16, 1992; March 18, 1993; December 23, 1993.

Spin, May 1992.

TV Guide, September 26, 1992.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from an Imago Recording Company press biography, 1992.

Ondine E. Le Blanc

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Rollins, Henry 1961–

ROLLINS, Henry 1961

PERSONAL

Original name, Henry Garfield; born February 13, 1961, in Washington, DC; son of Iris Garfield. Education: Attended American University, c. 1979. Avocational Interests: Reading, weightlifting.

Addresses: Office 2.13.61, P.O. Box 1910, Los Angeles, CA 90078. Agent United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 500, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; (voice work) William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Manager Tiffany Kuzon, Evolution Entertainment, 901 North Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038.

Career: Actor, musician, and writer. State of Alert, lead singer, until 1981; Black Flag, lead singer, 198186; Rollins Band, founder, songwriter, and lead singer, 1987; also vocalist with the band Wartime. Spoken word performer, 1983. 2.13.61 (book publisher, mail order, and video company), founder, 1984, publisher, 1984; Human Pitbull Music Publishing, principal; founder of record labels, including Zero Zero, One Records, Now Hear This, Infinite Zero, and 213CD. Performer at Woodstock '94 and entertainer on USO tours. Also worked as a manager of a pet shop reptile department in the late 1970s and as a manager of an ice cream shop, 197981.

Awards, Honors: Named "man of the year," Details magazine; Grammy Award nomination, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, c. 1994, for Weight; Grammy Award, best spoken word album, 1995, for Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag; Grammy Award nomination, best metal performance, 1995, for "Liar."

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

The Slog Movie, 1982.

(With Black Flag) Black Flag Live, 1984.

The Right Side of My Brain (short film), 1985.

Officer Dobbs, The Chase, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1994.

Himself, Jugular Wine: A Vampire Odyssey (also known as Jugular Wine ), Pagan Pictures, 1994.

Ten Monologues from the Lives of the Serial Killers, Reiks Hadders, 1994.

Hugh Benny, Heat, Warner Bros., 1995.

Spider, Johnny Mnemonic (also known as Johnny Mnemonique and JM ), Twentieth CenturyFox, 1995.

Guard Henry, Lost Highway, October Films, 1996.

Sid Gronic, Jack Frost (also known as Frost ), Warner Bros., 1998.

Monroe, Morgan's Ferry, Artist View Entertainment, 1999.

Himself, My Generation (documentary), Cabin Creek Films/Mikado Films/PolyGram Diversified Entertainment, 2000.

Voice of Benjamin "Ben" Knox/Bonk, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (animated; also known as Batman of the Future: Return of the Joker and Return of the Joker ), Warner Bros., 2000.

Gaines, Time Lapse (also known as Past Tense ), Trimark Video, 2001.

Greg, Scenes of the Crime, Columbia/TriStar Home Video, 2001.

Himself, Dogtown and ZBoys (documentary), Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2001.

Himself, Jackass: The Movie (also known as Jackass ), MTV Films/Paramount, 2002.

Johnny Miracle, Psychic Murders, Skullrock Entertainment, 2002.

Warden, The New Guy, Columbia, 2002.

Arthur, A House on a Hill, Calliope Films, 2003.

TNT leader, Bad Boys II, Columbia, 2003.

Voice, Live Freaky Die Freaky, Hellcat Pictures, 2003.

(With Black Flag) Punk's Not Dead, 2004.

Television Appearances; Series:

Commentator, MTV Sports, MTV, beginning 1994.

Narrator, VH1 Legends, VH1, beginning 1996.

(Uncredited) Host, Night Visions, Fox, 20012002.

Himself, I Love the '80s, VH1, 2002.

Host (with Cathy Rogers), Full Metal Challenge, The Learning Channel, 20022003.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Himself, Platinum, UPN, 1997.

Bartender, Desperate but Not Serious (also known as Reckless + Wild ), HBO, 1999.

Shadow Realm, SciFi Channel, 2002.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Himself, MTV Unplugged, MTV, 1993.

State of the Union Undressed '95, Comedy Central, 1995.

Narrator, The Human Journey, The Learning Channel, 2000.

(And in archive footage) Himself, 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, VH1, 2000.

Henry Rollins: Live and Ripped in London, Comedy Central, 2000.

100 Greatest Songs of Rock & Roll, VH1, 2000.

Himself, 100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll, VH1, 2001.

Himself, 25 Years of Punk, VH1, 2001.

Himself, VH1 Presents the '80s, VH1, 2001.

Himself, When Hate Goes Pop, MTV, 2001.

Himself, The Making of "Jackass: The Movie " (also known as MTV's the Making of "Jackass: The Movie "), MTV, 2002.

Himself, VH1 News Special: Inside Hate Rock, VH1, 2002.

Himself, 50 Sexiest Video Moments, VH1, 2003.

Himself, Totally Gayer, VH1, 2004.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Performer, The 37th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1995.

Himself, VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, VH1, 2000.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Host, Alternative Nation, MTV, 1993.

Himself, "Anger," Dennis Miller Live, HBO, 1994.

Friend of the victim, Unsolved Mysteries, NBC, 1995.

Narrator, "The Doors," Behind the Music (also known as VH1's Behind the Music ), VH1, 1997.

(With the Rollins Band) Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, and SNL ), NBC, 1997.

Dr. Ovid Brazil, "All Our Sins Forgotten," Welcome to Paradox, SciFi Channel, 1998.

Himself, The Panel, 10 Network (Australia), 1999.

Himself, Turn Ben Stein On, Comedy Central, 1999.

Voice of Mad Stan, "Rats," Batman Beyond (animated), The WB, 1999.

Voice of Mad Stan, "Eyewitness," Batman Beyond (animated), The WB, 2000.

Himself, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2001.

Voice of Mad Stan, "Countdown," Batman Beyond (animated), The WB, 2001.

Himself, One Hit Wonders, VH1, 2002.

Mr. Jericho, "Hickory Dickory Double Date," The Drew Carey Show, ABC, 2002.

"Johnny Rancid," Teen Titans (animated), The Cartoon Network, 2003.

Guest host of The List, VH1; also appeared in episodes of Alive from Off Center, PBS; The Arsenio Hall Show, syndicated; Sessions at West 54th; Penn and Teller's Sin City Spectacular (also known as Sin City Spectacular ), FX Network; and Up All Night.

RECORDINGS

Albums with Black Flag:

Damaged, 1981.

My War, SST Records, 1983.

Family Man, SST Records, 1984.

Live '84, SST Records, 1984.

Slip It In, SST Records, 1984.

In My Head, SST Records, 1985.

Loose Nut, SST Records, 1985.

The Process of Weeding Out, SST Records, 1985.

Who's Got the Ten, SST Records, 1986.

Albums with the Rollins Band:

(As Henrietta Collins and the Wife Beating Child Haters) Drive By Shooting (EP), Texas Hotel, 1987, released with Hot Animal Machine, 1999.

Hot Animal Machine, Texas Hotel, 1987, released with Drive By Shooting (EP; as Henrietta Collins and the Wife Beating Child Haters), 1999.

Do It, Texas Hotel, 1988.

Life Time, Texas Hotel, 1988.

Hard Volume, Texas Hotel, 1989.

Turned On, QuarterStick, 1990.

The End of Silence, Imago, 1992.

Electro Convulsive Therapy, Imago, 1993.

Weight, Imago, 1994.

Come In and Burn, DreamWorks, 1997.

Insert Band Here [Live in Australia], 1999.

Get Some, Go Again, DreamWorks, 2000.

A Clockwork Orange, 2001.

Nice, 2001.

A Nicer Shade of Red, 2001.

Yellow Blues, 2001.

Other albums include Hard Life.

Spoken Word Albums:

Big Ugly Mouth, Texas Hotel, 1987.

Short Walk on a Long Pier, Texas Hotel/2.13.61, 1987.

Sweatbox, Texas Hotel, 1989.

Deep Throat, QuarterStick/2.13.61, 1992.

Human Butt, QuarterStick/2.13.61, 1992.

Live at McCabe's, QuarterStick, 1992.

The Boxed Life, Imago, 1993.

Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag (also known as Get in the Van ), 1995.

Everything, 1996.

Black Coffee Blues, DreamWorks, 1997.

Think Tank (live), DreamWorks, 1998.

Eric the Pilot, 1999.

A Rollins in the Wry, QuarterStick, 2001.

Singles:

(With the Rollins Band) "Liar," c. 1995.

Videos:

Himself, Talking out the Box (also known as Rollins: Talking from the Box ), 1992, later released as Talking from the Box/Henry Rollins Goes to London, Imago/Koch, 2001.

Himself, Woodstock '94, 1995.

Himself, Henry Rollins, Easter Sunday, 1997.

Himself, You Saw Me Up There, 1998.

Himself, Henry Rollins: Up for It, 2001.

Jackass: Volume Two, Paramount, 2004.

Video Games:

Voice of Mace Griffin, Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter, Universal Interactive Studios, 2003.

Music Videos:

"Liar," by the Rollins Band, c. 1995.

Appeared in the music video "Pop Goes the Weasel," by 3rd Bass.

WRITINGS

Albums with Black Flag:

Damaged, 1981.

My War, SST Records, 1983.

Family Man, SST Records, 1984.

Live '84, SST Records, 1984.

Slip It In, SST Records, 1984.

In My Head, SST Records, 1985.

Loose Nut, SST Records, 1985.

The Process of Weeding Out, SST Records, 1985.

Who's Got the 10, SST Records, 1986.

Albums with the Rollins Band:

Drive By Shooting, Texas Hotel, 1987.

Hot Animal Machine, Texas Hotel, 1987.

Do It, Texas Hotel, 1988.

Life Time, Texas Hotel, 1988.

Hard Volume, Texas Hotel, 1989.

Turned On, QuarterStick, 1990.

The End of Silence, Imago, 1992.

Electro Convulsive Therapy, Imago, 1993.

Weight, Imago, 1994.

Come In and Burn, DreamWorks, 1997.

Insert Band Here [Live in Australia], 1999.

Get Some, Go Again, DreamWorks, 2000.

A Clockwork Orange, 2001.

Nice, 2001.

A Nicer Shade of Red, 2001.

Yellow Blues, 2001.

Other albums include Hard Life.

Spoken Word Albums:

Big Ugly Mouth, Texas Hotel, 1987.

Short Walk on a Long Pier, Texas Hotel/2.13.61, 1987.

Sweatbox, Texas Hotel, 1989.

Deep Throat, QuarterStick/2.13.61, 1992.

Human Butt, QuarterStick/2.13.61, 1992.

Live at McCabe's, QuarterStick, 1992.

The Boxed Life, Imago, 1993.

Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag (also known as Get in the Van ), 1995.

Everything, 1996.

Black Coffee Blues, DreamWorks, 1997.

Think Tank, DreamWorks, 1998.

Eric the Pilot, 1999.

A Rollins in the Wry, QuarterStick, 2001.

Singles:

(With the Rollins Band) "Liar," c. 1995.

Videos:

Henry Rollins, Easter Sunday, 1997.

You Saw Me Up There, 1998.

Henry Rollins: Up for It, 2001.

Collected Writings:

20, 2.13.61, 1984.

End to End, 2.13.61, 1985.

Polio Flesh, 2.13.61, 1985.

2.13.61, 2.13.61, 1985.

Hallucinations of Grandeur, 2.13.61, 1986.

You Can't Run from God, 2.13.61, 1986.

Pissing in the Gene Pool, 2.13.61, 1987.

Works, 2.13.61, 1988.

Art to Choke Hearts, 2.13.61, 1989.

High Adventure in the Great Outdoors (contains 2.13. 61, End to End, and Polio Flesh ), 2.13.61, 1989.

Knife Street, 2.13.61, 1989.

1000 Ways to Die, 1989.

Bang! (contains 1000 Ways to Die and Knife Street ), 2.13.61, 1990.

One from None, 2.13.61, 1991.

Black Coffee Blues, 2.13.61, 1992.

See a Grown Man Cry, 2.13.61, 1992, published with Now Watch Him Die, 2.13.61, 1997.

Now Watch Him Die, 2.13.61, 1993, published with See a Grown Man Cry, 2.13.61, 1997.

Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag, 2.13.61, 1994.

Eye Scream, 1996.

Do I Come Here Often, 1997.

The Portable Henry Rollins, Villard Books, 1997.

Solipsist, 2.13.61, 1998.

Smile, You're Traveling, 2000.

Columnist for Details; contributor to other periodicals, including Elle, Face, Interview, Melody Maker, Sounds, Spin, and Village Voice.

ADAPTATIONS

The film Ten Monologues from the Lives of the Serial Killers, released by Reiks Hadders in 1994, was based on writings by Rollins and others.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Contemporary Musicians, Volume 35, Gale, 2002.

Periodicals:

Advocate, May 13, 1997, p. 62.

Boston Globe, February 10, 1995.

Creem, May, 1992.

Current Biography, September, 2001, pp. 6165.

Details, January, 1993; January, 1994, pp. 6469, 127.

Detroit Free Press, April 17, 1992.

Detroit News, May 1, 1993.

Down Beat, December, 1994.

Entertainment Weekly, March 12, 1993; February 18, 1994, p. 72; February 21, 1997, p. 125; July 13, 2001, p. 66.

Melody Maker, February 13, 1993.

Musician, April, 1993.

New York Times Magazine, November 6, 1994, pp. 3841.

Publishers Weekly, October 3, 1994, p. 63.

Pulse!, April, 1992.

Rolling Stone, April 16, 1992; March 18, 1993; December 23, 1993, pp. 11114.

Spin, May, 1992.

Times Literary Supplement, May 19, 1995, p. 18.

TV Guide, September 26, 1992.

Whole Earth Review, spring, 1995, p. 90.

Electronic:

Henry Rollins.com, http://www.21361.com, May 5, 2004.

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Rollins, Henry

Henry Rollins

Singer, actor, and author

Born Henry Lawrence Garfield, February 13, 1961, in Washington, D.C.; son of Iris. Education: Attended American University in Washington, D.C.

Addresses: Office—2.13.61, 7510 Sunset Blvd. No. 602, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Website—http://www.21361.com.

Career

Began music career with Washington, D.C.-based band S.O.A., c. 1980; lead singer for punk band Black Flag, 1981–86; founded 2.13.61, a publishing imprint, 1984; lead singer and songwriter for the Rollins Band, 1987–; spoken-word performer, 1980s–; began touring with the U.S.O., 2003; host of radio show Harmony in my Head, 2004–; host of Henry's Film Corner, Independent Film Channel (IFC), 2004–05; host of The Henry Rollins Show, IFC, 2006–. Film appearances include: The Chase, 1994; Johnny Mnemonic, 1995; Heat, 1995; Lost Highway, 1997; Jack Frost, 1998; Desperate But Not Serious, 1999; Morgan's Ferry, 1999; Scenes of the Crime, 2001; Time Lapse, 2001; The New Guy, 2002; A House on a Hill, 2003; Bad Boys II, 2003; Feast, 2005; The Alibi, 2006; Wrong Turn 2, 2007.

Awards: Details magazine "Man of the Year," 1994; Grammy Award for best spoken word album, Recording Academy, for Get in the Van, 1995.

Sidelights

More than 25 years ago, Henry Rollins made a name for himself as the frenzied, tattooed front man for the hardcore punk band Black Flag. While many of his contemporaries have long since disappeared from the stage, Rollins is still performing. The free-associating wordsmith still dabbles in music but also gives spoken-word performances and has toured with the United Service Organizations (USO), providing comic relief to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During his career, Rollins has averaged more than 100 performances a year and shows no signs of slowing down. He has tackled Lollapalooza and Woodstock, appeared on late night television with Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno, and snagged the occasional acting gig alongside such A-list celebrities as Will Smith and Al Pacino. Rollins even won a Grammy, for the audio book Get in the Van, an account of his road-tripping band days. In 2004, Rollins moved from performing onstage to behind the camera as host of his own television show on the Independent Film Channel. At first, the show focused on movies, but by 2006, he had extended the format to also include critiques of music, politics, and pop culture amidst a steady stream of celebrity guests and musicians.

Born Henry Lawrence Garfield on February 13, 1961, in Washington, D.C., Rollins was raised primarily by his mother, Iris, after his parents divorced. He saw his dad, an economist, on weekends. Along the way, he changed his name from Garfield to Rollins but shies away from revealing why. Rollins describes his childhood as terribly unhappy. One of his mother's boyfriends beat him and mentally abused him. Skinny, insecure, hyperactive and taking prescription Ritalin to calm his body and mind, Rollins felt like an outsider growing up. This feeling is reflected in many of his songs and books.

When Rollins was a teenager, a teacher inspired him to start lifting weights, which ultimately changed his murky outlook on life. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot, Rollins described the transformation this way: "For me the weights were a major turning point in my life. When I was 14, I went from skinny, no presence, low self-opinion to someone who could actually feel his feet in his shoes. When I found I could actually lift something that six weeks before I could not lift, it was the first time in my life that I ever felt a sense of achievement."

Rollins attended the Bullis School—at the time a strict, all-boys school in nearby Potomac, Maryland. Rollins' mother worked for government outreach organizations that focused on public education, so it was important for her son to get a good education. Rollins credited his mother with instilling in him a love of literature. Early on, Rollins was turned on by words. Like weightlifting, literature provided a release from his self-deprecating mind. "In school I really didn't dig math or science but I liked literature," Rollins told an interviewer for the Modern Word website. "I was one of those introspective skinny boys who read because I would get my a** kicked on any level playing field with athletics, so I read my mom's Dylan Thomas and E.E. Cummings and I really enjoyed John Steinbeck." As a teen, Rollins wrote stories, though he never imagined he would be a published author some day. After he left Bullis, Rollins attended American University, located in his hometown of Washington, D.C. He lasted one semester before dropping out.

As a young man, Rollins joined a local punk band called S.O.A.—short for State of Alert. The group released an EP around 1980. At about that same time, an acquaintance introduced Rollins to the music of the Southern California punk band Black Flag. Rollins became an instant fan, especially after seeing the group perform live. "I had never seen anyone play like that before," Rollins told the Washington Post's William F. Powers. "It was like they were trying to break themselves into pieces with the music. It was one of the most powerful things I'd ever seen. There was not a second wasted on stage. The songs were devoid of filler. The urgency of the music and the playing was unsettling. Made me wonder what planet they came from. I wanted to move there immediately."

In 1981, Rollins supported himself by scooping ice cream at a Haagen-Dazs store in the Washington area. One night he drove to New York to catch a Black Flag concert. By this time, Rollins had become good friends with the band members. During the concert, Rollins requested the band sing "Clocked In," a song about work. The lead singer looked at Rollins and told him to sing it, so Rollins hopped onstage and nailed the performance. Soon, the band called and asked if Rollins wanted to audition for lead singer; the current singer wanted to switch to rhythm guitar. Rollins got the job and joined the band as a roadie, learning its songs bit by bit before taking over as the front man.

During the 1980s, Black Flag toured incessantly, covering the United States and Canada and occasionally visiting Europe. The band took its name in reference to the traditional anarchist symbol of a black flag. Rollins proved to be a dynamic live performer and with him at the helm, Black Flag attracted a large fan base. Often, Rollins appeared onstage barefoot, wearing only shorts—veins popping, sweat spewing—as he hopped around, sometimes crouching to expel the lyrics and showing off his highly muscular, tattooed body. Washington Post reporter Joe Brown once wrote that a Black Flag concert is like a storm with "wild-child Rollins, raging and blazing in a pair of black shorts, the antithesis of calm. His rock output consists of idealistic lyrics sung-shouted over the band's assault—harsh, grinding, exhilarating songs that don't stop until they run out of gas or hit the guardrail." During Rollins' tenure with Black Flag, the group released several albums and singles, then folded in 1986.

After the band's breakup, Rollins formed a new group, the Rollins Band, which played similar music, though it included passages of jazz and a touch more heavy metal. The Rollins Band produced music at a feverish pace, releasing three albums between 1988 and 1990. Having established itself as a key player in the alternative rock world, the Rollins Band was invited to perform at the first Lollapal-ooza, in 1991. The band's 1992 release, The End of Silence, shot to No. 1 on the College Music Journal's chart. The group's most noteworthy album, however, was 1994's Weight, which cracked Billboard's Top 40. One of the album's singles, "Liar," garnered heavy rotation on MTV and helped the band win an invitation to appear at Woodstock '94. With frequent appearances on MTV and VH-1, Rollins continued to gain a following and in 1994, the charismatic entertainer appeared in his first film, The Chase, starring Charlie Sheen. That same year Details, the magazine for hip urban men, named Rollins its "Man of the Year."

As a band leader Rollins wrote many songs, but over the years he branched out and also published opinion pieces and stream-of-consciousness rants in various rock journals and magazines. Along the way, he also began to give spoken-word performances, which brought his written material to life. Rollins produces books through his own publishing company, 2.13.61, which is named for his birthdate. Founded in 1984, the company has published Rollins' journals, as well as books by Australian musician Nick Cave and Exene Cervenka of the punk band X. Like his songs, Rollins' books have an angry, raw tone. A frequent subject is his dreary childhood and the death of his best friend and roommate, Joe Cole, who died after they were held up at gunpoint outside their apartment in 1991. Rollins also writes about politics. By 1997, Rollins had published ten books and produced several audio books, including the 1995 best spoken word Grammy winner Get in the Van, a recollection of his days on the road with Black Flag.

Despite his obvious talents, Rollins finds writing excruciating. Speaking to the Modern Word website, Rollins said his writing "has always been very inept, it's a callisthenic—I have to work so hard to get it over the wall. I have really no talent for writing, merely an obsession and some kind of strange duty I feel. Yet I never felt that I'm any good at it. I can't even say I enjoy writing. I sometimes wish I could stop. Unfortunately I can't."

The former punk rocker eschews tobacco and alcohol—he is part of the straight-edge movement that came about in the late 1970s. Speaking to Crazewire's Will Fresch, Rollins said he finds drinkers "just so slow and dull…. As for today, I mean, it's not even a temptation for me. It's as much of a temptation as drinking paint. I'm just not interested."

Each year, Rollins keeps a busy schedule of spoken-word performances. A typical show consists of Rollins reporting his thoughts on what he has been seeing and feeling—and like his other work, he does not shy away from expressing the pain and frustration he feels living in today's world. Rollins frequently talks about Iraq and living in a post-9/11 society. His shows include well-polished monologues, as well as spur-of-the-moment rants that frequently target U.S. President George W. Bush. Despite his disagreements with the Bush administration's policies, Rollins has done several tours with the USO, beginning in 2003, because troops kept requesting him. Over the years, Rollins has entertained troops in Korea, Japan, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, the South Pacific, and Afghanistan.

Touring with the USO has generated plenty of material for Rollins. If "you go hang out in Saddam's palace for an afternoon, there's no way that you're not going to have some stories to tell. I'm not on some political agenda. I'm just giving you my take of what I saw, which is definitely not like what the guy on the news is going to say because I'm not shilling for anybody," Rollins told Kane Young of the Hobart Mercury.

In 2004, Rollins began hosting a radio show, Harmony in My Head, at a Los Angeles radio station. That same year, he became host of Henry's Film Corner on the Independent Film Channel. On the television show, which aired monthly, Rollins gathered real professionals to review films. For one episode, he called upon a group of firefighters to critique Ladder 49. In another episode, a group of female boxers weighed in on Girlfight. The show turned out to be such a success that when it was renewed, the cable channel offered Rollins a weekly slot and renamed it The Henry Rollins Show.

The newly reformatted show, which hit the airwaves in 2006, allowed Rollins to do more than speak about films. He began critiquing music and pop culture, too. Instead of opening his talk show with a monologue like many hosts, Rollins opens with a segment called "Teeing Off," in which he offers a short social commentary. The show also includes "Letters from Henry," where he reads sarcastic letters he has written to politicians and celebrities. Guests have included filmmakers Oliver Stone and Werner Herzog, as well as musicians Ozzy Osbourne and Chuck D. The Rollins Band has performed on the show. Some shows are filmed live outside the studio, such as the opener for the 2007 season, which was recorded while Rollins was on tour in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Rollins uses some of his profits for various charities, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Free the West Memphis Three organization. Rollins became interested in the West Memphis, Arkansas, case after seeing some documentaries about the three teenage boys who were convicted in the murders of three eight-year-olds in 1994, despite any physical evidence or witnesses. Rollins visited the group's headquarters and viewed crime-scene shots and autopsy results. Convinced the boys did not receive a fair trial—and may even be innocent—Rollins took up their cause. He put together a benefit album, released in 2002, which included various musicians—like Iggy Pop, Chuck D, and Ice T—singing a collection of Black Flag cover songs. Profits from the album and a subsequent tour were donated to the defense fund.

Selected writings

High Adventure in the Great Outdoors, 2.13.61, 1990.
Bang!, 2.13.61, 1991.
One From None, 2.13.61, 1991.
Black Coffee Blues, 2.13.61, 1992.
See a Grown Man Cry, 2.13.61, 1992.
Now Watch Him Die, 2.13.61, 1993.
Get In the Van, 2.13.61, 1994.
Eye Scream, 2.13.61, 1996.
Do I Come Here Often?, 2.13.61, 1997.
See A Grown Man Cry/Now Watch Him Die, 2.13.61, 1997.
The Portable Henry Rollins, Villard Books, 1998.
Solipsist, 2.13.61, 1998.
Smile, You're Traveling, 2.13.61, 2000.
Unwelcomed Songs, 2.13.61, 2002.
Broken Summers, 2.13.61, 2003.
Roomanitarian, 2.13.61, 2005.
A Dull Roar, 2.13.61, 2006.

Selected discography

Black Flag

Damaged, Sst Records, 1981.
My War, Sst Records, 1984.
Live '84, Sst Records, 1984.
Slip it In, Sst Records, 1985.
Family Man, Sst Records, 1985.
Who's Got the 10 1/2?, Sst Records, 1986.
In My Head, Sst Records, 1986.
Wasted … Again, Sst Records, 1987.

Rollins Band

Life Time, Buddha, 1988.
Hard Volume/Insert Band Here, Recall Records, 1989.
Turned On, Quarterstick, 1990.
The End of Silence, Imago Records, 1992.
Electro Convulsive Therapy, Imago Records, 1993.
Weight, Imago Records, 1994.
Come in and Burn, Dreamworks, 1997.
Insert Band Here (Live in Australia), Buddha, 1999.
Get Some Go Again, Dreamworks, 2000.
Nice, Sanctuary Records, 2001.
A Clockwork Orange Stage, 2.13.61, 2001.
Yellow Blues, 2.13.61, 2001.
A Nicer Shade of Red, 2.13.61, 2001.
The Only Way to Know for Sure (live), Sanctuary Records, 2002.
Weighting, 2.13.61, 2004.
Come in and Burn: Sessions, 2.13.61, 2005.
Get Some Go Again: Sessions, 2.13.61, 2005.

Other

Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three, Sanctuary Records, 2002.

Sources

Periodicals

Chicago Tribune, April 12, 1992, sec. Arts, p. 14.

Daily News (New York, NY), April 3, 2006, sec. Television, p. 80.

Entertainment Weekly, June 16, 2006, p. 28.

Hobart Mercury (Australia), January 12, 2006, sec. Pulse, p. 27.

Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007, sec. Arts, p. 24.

New York Times, December 26, 2004, sec. Television, p. 4.

Sacramento Bee, November 6, 2005, p. TK19.

Washington Post, January 9, 1985, p. D7; August 21, 1994, p. G1.

Online

"Discography," Henry Rollins.com, http://21361.com/site/discography.html (January 29, 2007).

"More Than Muscle," Crazewire, http://www.crazewire.com/features/20040217.tif378.php (January 29, 2007).

"You Can't Dance to a Book," The Modern Word, http://www.themodernword.com/interviews/interview_rollins.html (January 29, 2007).

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