I am in the night
I am every part of it
The consumption of its beast 
The deck that it deals
The veins that bleed
The caress of its serpent

I am the night
As it writhes and undulates toward dawn
It moans and cries a symphony of anger
I am its agony as it struggles against the light
And dies with the strike of the Sun God.






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Everything Rollins

 Come In and Burn...
An Unofficial Henry Rollins and Rollins Band Site...
2001 Playboy Interview

Don't let the thick neck, buzz cut and muscled frame fool you -- Henry Rollins is no dimwitted gym rat. He's punk rock's first Renaissance man. For the past 20 years, Hammerin' Hank, who turns 40 today, has been a full-bore media machine, laying his throat-splitting scream across power chords with Black Flag and the Rollins Band, writing and publishing his own books, acting in films such as Heat and Johnny Mnemonic and performing spoken-word shows and releasing spoken-word albums. When critics thought Rollins would lose steam he redoubled his efforts and elbow-greased his way past them with longer tours, more books, MTV appearances, a Grammy nomination and even a Gap ad.

Born Henry Garfield in Washington, DC, Rollins was a shy kid at an all-boys school when punk rock crash-landed in the late Seventies. He formed his first band (SOA) and, with the help of friend Ian MacKaye (of Minor Threat and Fugazi fame), released a single. Then in 1981 when Rollins' favorite band Black Flag played in nearby New York City, an impromptu guest vocal spot landed him the gig as frontman for the Flag, one of punk's most popular and powerful acts. Henry Garfield, manager of a DC Häagen-Dazs, relocated to Los Angeles to become Henry Rollins, badass singer for Black Flag.

It was during his tenure in the drill-camp conditions of Black Flag that Rollins solidified his extreme work ethic. The band was notorious for its constant touring (sometimes close to 200 shows a year), 13-hour practices and an absurdly prolific recording schedule (including the release of three albums in 1984 alone). With what little time he scavenged outside of the band, Rollins founded the publishing company 2.13.61 (his birthday) and put out books of his poetry and tour diaries. He also hit the coffeehouses and clubs to perform spoken-word shows consisting of abstract poems and tales of on-the-road bravado.

In 1986, after eight albums, Black Flag founder and guitarist Greg Ginn disbanded the group. Rollins quickly formed the Henry Rollins Band (later shortened to the Rollins Band) and released a string of intense albums loaded with barbarically self-depreciating lyrics such as Hot Animal Machine, Lifetime and Hard Volume. The band's blend of blistering rage (Burned Beyond Recognition) and violently depressive lyrics (Gun in Mouth Blues) earned them a spot on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour. Rollins' 1994 single Liar even earned a Grammy nomination. Most recently, Rollins parted ways with his longtime backing band and enlisted LA's Mother Superior for his 2000 effort, Get Some Go Again.

This month Rollins turns 40, a rare thing for someone spawned in the die-young aesthetic of early punk rock. Middle age and two decades on the road certainly haven't slowed him down. He has a new Rollins Band album (Get Some Go Again), a spoken-word album (A Rollins in the Wry), a Fox TV show (Night Visions) and appearances in three upcoming movies. Rollins talked to Playboy.com about turning 40, the Internet and why he won't watch Seinfeld reruns.

Playboy.com: Has anyone ever told you you'd make a great commentator for the XFL?

Henry Rollins: Quite honestly I don't know how interested I'd be in watching a bunch of guys grab each others' butts and chase after a ball all night.

PB: So, it might not be your thing?

HR: No, I never cared much about sports.

PB: Does it feel different turning 40?

HR: No, I'm too busy. I've definitely had some reflections on being more adult and being...not 22, but that's been happening to me since I was 37. Like a lot of guys, you rate yourself on how you rate with women. It's a very Darwinian, natural thing. I know I do.

Let me put it this way: I check out Vanity Fair, and they always have the flat-chested, pouting model that everyone desires. To me, she looks like somebody's kid sister. She's cute. I don't care about cute. I like beautiful. Girls cannot be beautiful. Girls can be cute, but women are beautiful. It's just a different thing, so it makes me wonder about guys my age who go to the titty bar and hit on the 23-year-old stripper. What are you thinking? What's interesting? I'm not saying they are boring people, but I don't have anything to say to a girl that age past answering a question about a book I wrote or something. I wish them well, but I don't want to wake up next to one of them.

That's the kind of thing I'm finding in all the different areas in which I conduct myself. From the way I treat people, to the way I relate to people to the way I think I'm being perceived. It has all changed since I've gotten older. Simple things like when people call me "sir," not because they recognize me but because I have a lot of gray hair. In the last few years I've learned a lot. If you open yourself up to the lesson, there's a lot you can learn.

PB: What was the best age for you?

HR: There are years that stick out, but it's not really my age that made them great, it's just what was happening. I really liked 1980, because I was living in my hometown and there were all these guys like Ian MacKaye making really great music. The punk scene wasn't that big yet, and you knew everybody at every gig. There was a real kindred spirit vibe. It was just a great time to be in music. It's still great but in a different way, so I look back on those days very fondly. I look at all those old photos of all of us jumping up and down being a bunch of jackasses. It was all so new that you knew you were breaking ground and you were on to something. Now, everything's cool, but I've done everything a million times. It's like, "I'm in the studio again." Everything's "again." Nothing's new anymore.

PB: Your new spoken-word record A Rollins in the Wry contains the first two nights of the nine weeks you did last year in LA's Luna Park. You must have a lot of leftover tape.

HR: Yeah. There were about 18 hours.

PB: Do you have any plans to release the rest of that material?

HR: No. I actually have another talking record that's Internet-only at the pressing plant right now. Whereas the shows at Luna Park were the first two shows of that year, this release is from the second-to-last show of that year. It's a double CD, full concert, two hours. It's called Henry Rollins Live at the Westbeth Theater, New York City.

We also have a new Rollins Band record in the can that we're going to put online soon. It's all the outtakes from Get Some Go Again, and it's called Yellow Blues. It's 65 minutes of mastered and fully mixed music. We're going to do a healthy bunch of Internet-only releases this year.

PB: It sounds like you've fully embraced the Internet.

HR: Having website-only releases gives a guy like me an opportunity to put out a lot of stuff without people thinking you're just gouging them for money. It bothers me when I see the No Doubt five-song single from one record and then the three-CD box with the two singles and the remixes on the shelf at Tower Records. To me that says, "I am preying upon 14-year-old kids who 'gotta gotta' have it, and that's an extra houseboat for me." I can't do that, but on the Internet you can put out, like, 30 live records so that they are there if you really want them, but they aren't in your face at Tower Records. You have to go to our site to get them. It's great because the fans who have to have everything know where to go instead of being this thing that is crassly put in front of you as a new product. I wish all my favorite bands did that kind of stuff.

PB: What are you listening to lately?

HR: Lately I've been listening to a lot of vinyl. I'm getting through the Miles Davis/John Coltrane box set on vinyl and the Bitches Brew sessions on vinyl and a lot of punk rock vinyl such as Ramones, and also Zeppelin and the Beatles. I just got a mono copy of Sgt. Pepper's and I played that. It sounds just fucking awesome. I also picked up a mono copy of Chelsea Girls by Nico. It cost me an arm and a leg, but it sounds great. I'm kind of an audiophile nerd. I have five different playback systems stretched across two houses.

PB: So, you're a total stereo geek into speakers and stuff?

HR: Yeah. I have four normal systems and one 5.1 home theater system. I'm a total gear guy. I have two DVD setups. For the big epic films I do the home theater scene and I have a whole room for it. For the HBO specials and documentaries I just do it in my bedroom. I just watched the entire first season of The Sopranos in one weekend. The DVD box set was a Christmas present from my manager.

PB: Are you a fan of that show?

HR: Huge. I don't have cable, so I never get to see it. I'd see it in hotel rooms for 20 minutes at a time, so I took in the whole first season and loved it. I met Lorraine Bracco who plays the analyst lady on the TV show a few months ago. She's an extremely classy lady who's really gorgeous and cool. It made me like the show even better. Not to mention that those people can act their asses off.

PB: Don't tell me you're watching Sex in the City, too.

HR: No. Like I said, I don't have cable. I have two TV sets and neither is hooked up with any channels. I just use them to watch videos and movies. On the road, in a hotel, I'll watch TV, so I've seen a few of those shows. The only way I'd get cable is to watch the History Channel, the Biography Channel and any of those animal shows. I love that stuff. I'm not going to watch Seinfeld. As good as it may be, it's not how I want to invest an hour. I'd rather have my nose in a book or sit in front of good monitors and listen to music. TV was always super de-emphasized in the house I grew up in with my mom. We'd watch TV on this index card-size screen. She tried to make it as unappetizing as possible. I would turn it on and she'd automatically give me shit. By the time I was 15, TV didn't mean much except for watching Saturday Night Live. Past that I grew up with my mom's records -- Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan -- the good stuff. So, I live like I was raised, with walls of books and tons of music. I felt like I was slumming it with The Sopranos. I really felt dirty afterward like, "I just sat on my ass for 12 hours." It was fun, but I kind of wanted to get through quickly and just be done with it. It was like eating three extra slices of cake. I knew I should have been reading.

PB: What were the first DVDs you ran out and bought when you got a DVD player?

HR: Apocalypse Now, Caddyshack, Stripes, Animal House, A Streetcar Named Desire, Sling Blade, some Hitchcock, Raging Bull.... I bought like a dozen at once. It was all just the sort of primary colors you have to have, you know, the staples. I bought all of the Criterion Collections that I had laser discs of, such as Kurasawa. I think the actual first DVD I bought was Dr. Strangelove. I can watch that at least every other week -- no problem. When the Godfather movies come out on DVD I will be customer number one.

PB: You have small roles in three movies coming out soon. What's the first one to be released?

HR: I don't know. I don't know and I don't care. I did my work and I did really good, but when I walk off the set, it's not an industry that I'm all that interested in. I do it for fun and I'm getting some parts so that means someone's interested. I enjoy the work, but I don't care when it comes out because I'm not going to go to the premiere and I'm not going to go see it. The most I'm going to do is buy the DVD of it, never watch it and put it on the shelf next to the rest of my meager accomplishments.

PB: You also have a new Fox television show called Night Visions. What's that all about?

HR: I don't know when it premieres, but I'm the host. It's kind of a Twilight Zone-thing and I'm the Rod Serling. It's awesome. I got the job last year, and I'm working on it now and again up in Vancouver. I'm going to fly up there and do some more work on it in the next few weeks. Looking forward to it. Really nice people. Really good material. That's the best part of it, really. If it's bad material it doesn't matter how much money they're throwing at you, it's not worth it.

PB: When does the Rollins Band go back on the road again?

HR: The talking tour starts in late February and goes until May when it ends in Australia. By the time I come home, our new album we're finishing now will be ready, so I'll basically go right into three weeks of Marine-drill band practice to get everyone into shape, myself included, being the oldest one of the bunch. Then we'll go right back onto the road and hit it until the fall. At that point I'll let those guys out of the truck, and me and the road manager will go back out and finish the talking tour until winter. So, I'm hoping for about 150 shows this year. Last year was only about 100, which is pretty weak.

PB: What's your personal record?

HR: About 184.

PB: I'm shocked. I thought it was more than 200.

HR: With the way I perform I could have done 200 when I was about 23. I'm not like some country-western singer who stands perfectly still and sings. He can do about 300 shows a year. I'm not like that. You do four months on the road in one of my outfits and you come home 12 pounds lighter and you don't even remember your area code. It's hard on the system.