Actor, Author, Activist, Musician, TV Host Henry Rollins: "I Need A Job"

Categories: Henry Rollins


Henry Rollins is not a man who likes to sit idly by. Actor, author, activist, musician, journalist, TV host, spoken-word artist; he's got as many careers as he's got tattoos. Which it to say, a lot. He doesn't do the relaxation thing well.

Henry Rollins: The Long March is at Joe's Pub November 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13.

See Also:
- Henry Rollins Meets a Woman in a Black Flag Shirt Who Doesn't Know Who Black Flag Is
- Henry Rollins Visits The Cake Shop: "You Hear Laughter Because To These People, I'm Old and in the Way"

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Live: Getting The Warm And Fuzzies With Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr., Fucked Up, Off
Terminal 5
Thursday, June 23

Better than: You and your friends sitting around, telling each other how much you appreciate each other.

Keith Morris is a founding member of both Black Flag and The Circle Jerks, the co-author of a song called "World Up My Ass," and a pioneering reason why anyone gives a shit about anyone else on this bill. He is also an unfailingly polite punk legend, thanking the audience for arriving early and then introducing each of the musicians in his new group OFF!, which includes lifers Mario Rubalcaba, drummer for Hot Snakes/Rocket From The Crypt, and Steve McDonald, bassist for long-running LA alt-pop group Redd Kross. The two played with a frenetic precision likely born of some formative years jamming along with prime Circle Jerk material. On guitar was Dimitri Coats, whose band The Burning Brides were the third- or fourth-best group (not as good as Cave In, perhaps better than The Icarus Line) in the highly populated category of "early-naughts underground bands whose chance at mainstream popularity was doomed by label woes."

Coats hung in there after the Brides' label fell apart, getting side gigs and production work that led him to working with Morris on a potential new Circle Jerks album. That project fell apart, but the pair then formed OFF!, whose EPs and live show find a renewed Morris attacking his vocals with a viciousness that shames most young punks, and Coats boiling down his textured, arena-sized riffs down to bite-size blasts of white noise. OFF! ripped into a set that was equally fueled by fury and the joy that, after all this time, people still want to see these guys do their thing.

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Henry Rollins Visits The Cake Shop: "You Hear Laughter Because To These People, I'm Old and in the Way"

Most people, of course, have long since made up their minds about former Black Flag frontman, spoken word poet, and Bad Boys II actor Henry Rollins. Those who haven't would be advised to watch the below clip (which looks to have been shot a while ago), in which Rollins wanders into the Lower East Side indie-rock den that is the Cake Shop, and confronts the natives. If you've ever wanted to see the weird plight of the aging punk dramatized, this is pretty much it. "Oh, I see," he says to some cowering girl who has just heckled him by yelling "Get in van, man," and giggling. "Is this where the young elitist hipsters take on the ancient, dodgy, in-the-way types?" You almost feel bad for him, until he marches out of the venue, gets in the back of a black livery car, and explains to his dumbfounded companion that "When she yelled out 'Get in the van,' that's the title of a very famous book I wrote." Not self-aggrandizing enough for you? He then adds. "The audiobook won a Grammy." Fuck you, Rollins:

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Q&A: Henry Rollins Talks With Ex-MTV-VJ Iann Robinson About Why Black Flag Won't Reunite and Why He'd Rather Be 49 Than 20

Musician/actor/talker/personality Henry Rollins has been in touch Iann Robinson for years, long before Robinson's days as the MTV VJ Horatio Sanz once spoofed on Saturday Night Live. Since Henry Rollins headlines Irving Plaza tonight and tomorrow, we asked Robinson to get his old acquaintance on the phone. This is what happened.

"When I see these bands reunite and play that same set every night for the 30th year--I guess it's a paid check. I'd rather starve, personally."


My first encounter with Henry Rollins came via a letter. I have always been a Black Flag fan--their logo is permanently inked into my skin in two separate places--but it was Rollins's voice on Damaged that hooked me. One day I decided to write the man, figuring I'd never hear back. Instead Rollins wrote back not just a letter, but a fairly lengthy one.

During my MTV years as a VJ, I got to speak to Rollins on two separate occasions. One of my only fond memories from that era was when Henry called me to ask if I could do a quick blurb about his benefit record for the West Memphis Three--instead I got him an MTV web site feature and a full interview. After my career as music whore ended, only a handful of my celebrity "friends" remained in touch, but Rollins was one of them. He's offered me advice, read my comic books, and given me some solid writing pointers.

Don't get me wrong, we're not best buddies. But Rollins has always been very cool and very appreciative of my small attempts to help out. Not everybody likes Rollins, which is fine because not everybody likes me. Regardless, he is always outspoken, funny, and, most importantly, he looks ahead instead of wallowing in his past. Once again, I had the good fortune to interview the man. And once again, I learned some things.

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Henry Rollins Meets a Woman in a Black Flag Shirt Who Doesn't Know Who Black Flag Is

Henry Rollins files from Jakarta for Vanity Fair: "At one point, I met a young couple who recognized me and we stopped to talk. Around that time, a female vendor walked up to us wearing a most interesting T-shirt. The couple got the irony of the situation and explained to the woman why I was asking to take her picture. She just smiled gently and patiently allowed me to take a few photos before she moved on, perhaps wondering what the hell that was all about." To which one is tempted to say: has Henry Rollins never been to an American mall before? Surely this trick could have been repeated closer to home. Or does Rollins think all those kids hanging out by the Hot Topic are Slip It In fans? Also, in other news: "No one is innocent. Nothing is sacred. Everywhere is America. Mr. Friedman, we won, we won!" [Vanity Fair]