Henry Rollins is known for all sorts of things these days. He’s hosted television programs, he’s a writer, an alternative music icon, a talking head for any documentary about punk rock or hardcore. And spoken word artist.
I first came across Henry in 1994. While I was vaguely aware of him before that, it was the song “Liar” that brought him and Rollins Band to my attention and everyone else’s for that matter. Now, this isn’t to understate Henry’s importance to music in general and specifically punk, hardcore, and alternative music because quite frankly, without Henry, punk, and the alternative might sound very different than they do today, but “Liar” was probably the biggest hit he had in terms of mainstream recognition. So for a while, Henry became as he would occasionally refer to himself as “The Liar guy”. I don’t think my friends or I were completely taken with his music (which I have no idea why not, the Rollins Band of that era was incredibly tight!) but something interesting happened. Along with Henry getting attention for his music, his spoken word material was also getting attention. You would see clips of Henry talking. Sometimes it would be cracking jokes and other times he would be talking about serious stuff like his friend being murdered beside him.
It was really cool that someone was out there talking about his life experiences but not taking himself too seriously until it was time to be serious.
It would be a few years later that my friend Gavin would pick up Think Tank and a few of us would totally fall for Henry and his talking shows.
Henry sounded like that cooler older brother or uncle. He would talk about traveling. Problems at the airport. He would talk about politics but would also talk music and knock himself out on stage. Henry would talk about the things we would try to talk about except he was actually knowledgable.
But the important thing was, I never felt Henry Rollins talked down to his…