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.