Me & Rollins

LA Weekly just published an interview with Henry Rollins, their columnist and long-time spokesperson to the alienated . The interview itself was fine, always good to see Rollins words in print. But what I really got a kick out of were the write-in memories of Rollins’ fans. I didn’t send a write-in memory of my own. But if I did, it’d be something like this:

I’ve never had a Black Flag shirt. Never really liked their music. It didn’t ever get into my system. Maybe it was just that they were so atonal. I could do Minor Threat, Husker Du, the minutemen, Sonic Youth even. They all still sounded like music to me. I also wasn’t a fan of Rollins Band. Never could get into that punk/funk/rap fusion stuff.

photo credit: Timothy Norris, LA Weekly

photo credit: Timothy Norris, LA Weekly

So I didn’t consider myself a Henry Rollins fan. Until sometime in my early twenties, Black Coffee Blues found its way into my hands. And something happened that hadn’t happened before: a book (a book!) told me something about myself that I never had the words to describe on my own. It told me that I was an alien, that I was angry, that things didn’t make sense, that people you love die and yet you don’t.

It told me to be brave and to roll with the punches. If music didn’t work, write. If writing didn’t work, act. If acting didn’t work, talk. If talking didn’t work, go somewhere.

It told me that I need to be responsible to myself and the people around me. That I have no right to be an asshole, but that doesn’t give anyone else that right either.

And it told me that I could suck like shit at what I do and still have a reason to do it.

So maybe now I’ll pick up that Black Flag shirt. And if anyone asks, I’ll say, “I don’t like their music.” And leave it at that.


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