Tuesday, September 4, 2007
For what it's worth, I truly believe Henry Rollins should be President. We'll start small with a State election, move on to the White House, take that fucker over...Then move on to World Domination! Ok seriously, not gonna happen but I guarantee we'd be less fucked if he was our Commander In Chief.
Renaissance Man. Musician. Author. Spoken Word Performer. Vocalist. TV Personality. TV Host. Icon. The man owns it all. Self-admittedly not the greatest singer. In fact, after their touring cycle for my favorite Rollins Band LP, Come In and Burn, Henry left his entire band because he couldn't musically keep up with them. The guy is a touring machine, speaking everywhere from colleges to historic venues all across the world. Selling them out, too.
I first discovered Rollins a bit late I suppose. I was 12 and I knew of Black Flag and a few songs ("TV Party", "My War", "Black Coffee"). In fact, my first band covered "Wasted"...All 42 seconds of it. Good times. It was Headbanger's Ball to the resucue once more, debuting the video for "Low Self Opinion". My mind was blown. This insane looking motherfucker was barking orders at me, not like in old hardcore where it was all about how you "stabbed this guy in the back" and how you should "say it to my face" and all that garbage (sorry, tough guy FatCore ala Hatebreed/Madball/Agnostic Front). It was intelligent and came from a perspective that I could relate to. What I also noticed was how ridiculously talented and different his band was. After picking up that record, The End of Silence, I realized that rock didn't have to simply be rock. Guitarist Chris Haskett and drummer Sim Cain (still one of my top five drummers of all time) were basiaclly fusion players in a metal world. Sick stuff. "What Do You Do" is still one of the best things they ever put to tape.
As I got older their records just got stronger, helped out by the addition of the sickly talented Melvin Gibbs on bass. Weight and Come In and Burn had no boundaries and the records were inventive and fierce. It doesn't get much better than "Shame" or "All I Want". This is my favorite period of the band. Great riffs, grooves and songs. Lyrically, it's his best work.
The year 2000 saw the entirely re-vamped lineup with the release of the punkish Get Some Go Again. Great record with some really solid songs. Captures a hungry band (Mother Superior) in what seems like live takes in the studio. The second and last LP with this lineup (if you don't count the Black Flag/West Memphis Three album, was 2002's Nice. Another solid slab of heavy rock, incorporating a gospel choir and the always-returning Saxophone solo. Killer album.
Go to his website (www.21361.com) to check out nearly everything Henry has ever done, including live albums, books, DVD's, spoken word CD's, t-shirts, etc. You can also grab tons of b-sides by way of alternate recordings of many of RB LP's, as well as entire album recording sessions. All cheap and all awesome. Some of my favorite Rollins Band songs are on these releases. I'd start with The End of Silence Demos, the Come In and Burn Sessions, then over to A Nicer Shade of Red.
Also, go watch The Chase. That movie is awesome.
Oh, and if someone can ever let me in on what Theo Van Rock ever did within the Rollins Band, I'm all ears. I don't follow the liner note title next to his name: Rok Juicer. Whatever.
Rollins Band reunited in 2007 on Henry's IFC show playing the awesome "Volume 4", like they never lost a step:
And for good measure, a 1992 live clip of "What Do You Do". Rock isn't this heavy anymore: