When I discovered Henry Rollins, I was a freshman in high school. My version of this time in my life wasn’t full of wide-eyed teenage wonder or endless nights glorifying in my pubescent freedom, chasing the opposite sex while gleefully unattached to job or responsibility. In fact, when any adult told me that high school was the best time of their lives, I didn’t understand how that was possible. I was two years into the public school system, still incredibly insecure and unsure of myself and where I fit. Without getting into too much detail, home really didn’t provide any safety net or sanctuary. I had friends but wasn’t really in a position to see them too often. So, between home and school, which was all there was, I remember feeling very alone.
|The 1994 concert was performed with Helmet |
and Les Claypool's Sausage. Amazing night.
Nirvana happened around this time and my interest in music escalated. With that and a new fascination with skateboarding, which was still a relatively exclusive culture at the time, I felt somewhat certain about a new phase in my developmental identity. Art related to both music and skating, and the only outlet I had at the time was drawing. Seemed the way to go. It was through this world that I found the Dead Kennedys and then learned of Black Flag, though Rollins Band got to me first.
|An autographed promotional package from a spoken word performance, 1995.|
It happened to be 1992 when Rollins Band released The End Of Silence, their first album from a major label. Benefitting from the Alternative explosion and the first Lollapolooza tour, Rollins Band began to get more notice via MTV and the more open-minded mainstream that was looking to cash in. I’d only been a fan for a few months. If my life hadn’t already been altered by Rollins beforehand, The End Of Silence was my point of no return.
|The first Rollins book I ever owned.|
Rollins Band arrived when I needed them. In 1993, I finally saw them perform at The Trocadero in Center City Philadelphia. Bassist Andrew Weiss had been fired from the band, so his replacement, Melvin Gibbs, played that night. All the band’s material was new, so I hadn’t heard a single song as their TEOS follow-up, Weight, (the one with the hit), had yet to release. But still, the night was magic. Rollins walked out, mic in hand. The music began with a wave of his arm and us, the sea of faces, pushed forward. I haven’t looked back since.
Thank you, Henry. And Happy Birthday.
Letters From A Tapehead