Musician. DJ. Talk Show host. Author. Publisher. Music Producer. Actor. Spoken Word Performer. There isn’t a heck of a lot that Henry Rollins hasn’t done or is currently doing now. He’s often referred to as “the hardest working man in show business” or “modern Renaissance man.” You either love him or hate him, and he doesn’t give a rat’s ass either way. He’s too busy working. Constantly.
After a very short stint leading DC band S.O.A. (State of Alert), Rollins blasted onto the music scene in 1981 after he finagled his way onstage during a Black Flag concert in his hometown of Washington, DC. A few days later, the band called to tell him that band creator Greg Ginn was looking to concentrate on guitar, so they were looking for a new frontman. Would Rollins be interested in auditioning? He most certainly was. The next six years were a whirlwind of constant touring under often brutal conditions. Though never commercially successful, Black Flag is widely considered to be one of the most influential and respected hardcore bands from the period.
After Black Flag disbanded in 1986, Rollins regrouped musically and re-emerged with his own The Rollins Band, a hard rock/funk/hardcore fusion with a strong jazz underpining, as one might expect from a guy who counts Miles Davis and John Coltrane among his heroes. The band went through a number of incarnations between 1987 and 2006, eventually being picked up by Imago and later by the Dreamworks labels. Among their best known songs was “Liar” (from the Weight album), which Rollins performed at the 1994 Grammy Awards.
In the meantime, Rollins had been relentlessly documenting his experiences and state of mind in a series of books, which he eventually began publishing under his own label, 2.13.61. A few years later, Rollins won a Grammy for his spoken word collection “Get In The Van: On The Road With Black Flag,” based on his published journals of the same name. Rollins gave the statuette away. 2.13.61 continued to grow, giving Rollins creative and distribution control over his own writings, as well as a chance to support and promote other indie and underground writers, such as Dan Bajema, Nick Cave, Henry Miller among others.
Through the years, Rollins has become increasingly vocal on political matters, using his spoken word shows as a platform for expressing his growing frustration with US domestic and foreign policy. He speaks in strong opposition to the US occupation of Iraq, but at the same time shows clear and powerful support for the troops by donating his time to USO tours several times a year and by visiting disabled veterans in hospitals in DC. He supports a range of local and national charities through financial donations or by giving his time to their causes.
For a list of those causes and to learn more about ways you can help, browse the list by name or type, using the links above.
To learn more about Henry, visit his official site or browse the links provided in the right hand sidebar, above.