[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Written By: Matt Bolton
These days, Henry Rollins could be known as a music icon. What the man has achieved is phenomenal and the man’s HEAVY ROOTS are as interesting as they are inspiring. From his punk beginnings to his spoken word tours of today the man always speaks his mind. And what an intelligent mind that is.
Rollins was a big Bad Brains fan and went out to all their shows, also taking the part as a roadie for Washington punk bands.
The DC hardcore outfit even inspired short-lived band, State of Alert who put out a 5 Track EP, No Policy on friend Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat’s label Dischord Records.
I won’t give it away but watch the clip of when Rollins first got up on stage.
Rollins became front man of legendary punk/hard-core band Black Flag in 1981 and the rest was history. Damaged was released that year and the album to this day is regarded as a classic. Jason Fuller, frontman of Aussie Grindcore misfits, Blood Duster even brought a bunch of Aussie HEAVY groups together to do a reinterpretation of the milestone album at his very own Goatsound Studios.
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Rollins was known for being a crazed frontman, even getting into fights at shows. Bandmates even labelled Rollins as a ‘macho asshole’, although he stuck up for his fellow band members and sorted out anyone who got in the way.
Black Flag disbanded in 1986 and Rollins started his new group, the aptly titled Rollins Band. The band released a number of records, toured immensely and made some great music videos. The song that started me listening to Rollins Band was Tearing, off the phenomenal End of Silence record from 1992.
In 2002 Rollins Band released Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three, which was exactly that. Vocalists such as Mike Patton, Neil Fallon of Clutch, Lemmy and Tom Araya, among others recorded their favourite Black Flag song with the band. Rollins himself redid some of the classics such as Slip it In, TV Party and title track Rise Above with Chuck D of Public Enemy. The album was also toured heavily and I was lucky to witness the band at the Metro in Sydney, as they slammed through the lengthy Black Flag discography. Rollins, being the activist that he is, was very supportive of the West Memphis Three and this was all for a very good cause, proving the men’s innocence.
These days Rollins focuses on his Spoken Word tours, and the man has also been busy on numerous TV shows. He has his very own The Rollins Show, which is well worth picking up on DVD, where he has musical guests and interviews with celebrities and people of interest. Radio and acting is also no stranger to the man. Small roles in movies such as Johnny Mnemonic and The Devil’s Tomb led to starring in big name series such as Sons of Anarchy. Only recently taking up lead roles in 2015’s He Never Died and this year’s Action packed Thriller The Last Heist. Both movies are worth checking out, and Rollins‘s dark humour is a treat.
Rollins has also been a big part in the Australian music scene. His influence is palpable. Hard rocking three-piece Mark of Cain even had their 1995 release Ill at Ease produced by the man.
A Canberra=based band, who are sadly no more, took their name from Rollins, that being Henry’s Anger, referring to the then crazed front man.
In 1991 Rollins worked with Australian punk group The Hard-Ons for their Let There Rock EP, covering AC/DC.
The last honourable mention comes from the band that helped start Rollins musical career. Rollins collaborated with none other than Bad Brains for Kick out the Jams, a cover of the MC5 hit for the Christian Slater movie Pump up the Volume’s soundtrack in 1990.
Be sure to check out Rollins on his spoken word tour.
Leaving you with a recent clip from The Project, where they interviewed the man we can learn a lot from.