Rollins In London - Part 2 ...
Alright, here comes the next installment of some of the shit that Henry was
coming out with when he was in London at the Forum. You should have already
recieved part one of this article from me, but if not then check out Andrew's
Rollins page. He has kindly put the first part there for you guys to check it
This next story was probably the longest of the evening taking about 45 mins in
total to tell, with very little embellishment or rambling. This is probably the
funniest and most bizzare story I have ever heard from Rollins and I guess you
may not want to read it if you plan to go see him because I'm pretty sure that
he'll be telling this one for a while. If you want to hang on and see if he
releases this story or anything then stop reading here.
Story 2: Eric The Pilot
Rollins and the band have been living in New York lately spending all week
practicing the material for the forthcoming new album. At the weekend the
musician guys take a break and generally chill out whilst Henry takes it upon
himself to try and get out to armpitville, America to subject as many people as
he can to the Public Insomnia Tour.
This involves leaving New York on either
Friday night or Saturday morning, flying around the country for maybe two shows,
and making it back for practice on Monday. Obvioiusly, crackerjack timing is
called for, and he's missed a few connections in his time. However, the first
rule of Henry's life is 'ALWAYS MAKE IT TO THE GIG, NO MATTER WHAT!!!!'
has caused a few desperate three hundred dollar cab fares when planes have
failed to leave or been delayed etc.
One particular day he had to get to Tulsa
and basically had to fly three hours from middle America to get to an airport
that had a connecting flight back two hours to Tulsa. He has already had to
previously cancel a gig in Tulsa, which he obviously hates doing and will avoid
at all costs, but it was unavoidable due to masses of unfortunate shit going
down. Anyway, that is another story, but the point is that he is especially
desperate to get to this gig, even more so than usual. He has like sixteen
hours to stage time and five or so hours flying time so he thinks he is going to
be just fine. The first plane is a charter service for him and fifteen other
people, so they are all hanging around in the airport waiting on this plane
which is running a little late. As the plane pulls up to the departure gate,
the engine springs a leak and oil starts pouring out of the plane. The pilot
comes out and says, "Sorry folks, I just can't take you up in that plane just
yet, because it's really unsafe, we have to fly in some parts and it'll take
about three hours". Everybody just kind of meanders off to the coffee bar or
starts making phonecalls or whatever apart from Henry. After living in New York
for the past few months, Hank has developed the habit of screaming, "FUCK YOU,
FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU!!!!!" in place of the words "Hi, how are you doing", and
starts to really give the pilot a lot flack, calling him a pussy and saying that
he'll get in the plane, he doesn't care if it isn't safe. It all boils down to the
fact that Henry has to wait just like everyone else, so eventually they get
their flight to this other airport to find that all the planes going to Tulsa
left like an hour ago, and the next one is tomorrow. Henry weighs up the idea
of getting a six hundred dollar cab ride, and decides to call up his manager in
LA. It's like six in the morning in LA because of the time difference and his
manager sleepily says she'll figure something out. She calls Henry back and
tells him that she got in touch with a company called Billionaires who will
charter a flight for him personally to Tulsa. It'll take a few hours to get
there and get him to Tulsa an hour before the show, he only has to pay for the
fuel along with a small rental charge. Cool.
Henry hangs around for a few hours and his plane arrives. It's a single engine,
two seater plane. Henry is very, very scared of turbulence. Usually on a 737
or something you'll get this huge bang and the plane drops like 15 million feet,
and a jet of piss shoots down Henry's leg. He tends to hide behind the tatoo
thing, you know, the stewardess asks him if he just pissed his pants, and he
replies in a deep manly voice, "No, I dropped my steroids on them", whilst
flexing his muscles. He is expecting to fill that little cockpit with piss by
the time that the flight is over. He thinks RULE NO.1 ALWAYS GET TO THE GIG.
So it's a choice, certain death, or the gig. He chooses the gig.
Henry decides to reassure himself by checking out his pilot. I mean, when you
get on your huge Boeing and sneak a look in the cockpit you don't want to see
all these guys slapping themselves in the face and hitting random buttons,
whilst talking like Forrest Gump and playing the banjo, do you? You want to see
a bunch of guys with ties on, and greying sideburns going through a huge
methodical checklist. "Fasten the seatbelt button-check, make sure both wings
are attached-check" etc.
This guy saunters in wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. He say "I'm looking
for a guy called Henry". Fuck. Henry says what's your name, and he goes
"Eric". Eric The Pilot. Not Captain P. Carstairs. Fuck. Henry notices that
Eric the pilot is wearing a cap with Zildgian (drum manufacturers) written on
it. He says "Are you a musician?" Eric the pilot responds "I'm a drummer in a
cover band." At this point Henry took a huge step back on the stage and had a
look of abject mock horror plastered across his face, and went on to fill us in
on his hatred of all talentless cover bands and the terrible memories of school
dances that they conjured up as he used to stand plastered to a wall in mortal
terror of the young girls standing bored out of their minds across the hall,
whilst the band were playing "Hit's of the Sixties Medley". You knew that when
thos melancholy notes of Stairway to Heaven came on that this was your last
ditch chance to dance with a girl.
Ok, Eric The Pilot is Eric the drummer in a
cover band. However, Eric then explains that he also sings in this cover band
whilst drumming. Henry is about to entrust his life to a person who can sing
and drum 'Play that funky music white boy'. Fuck.
There's nothing else for it but to get to the gig so off they go. Now you know
in huge Jumbo's they make this intense display of like triple vacuum sealing the
doors and strapping you into your seat. Well, Henry gets into this little tiny
seat, and there is a little slide latch on the door that goes 'Lock-Unlock',
there is no seatbelt sign. Henry could accidentally fall through this flimsy
door if he leans on it. He securely slide is latch to 'Lock' and looks at his
surroundings. There is a steering wheel in his lap, and he sure doesn't want to
touch that. He makes a mock spiralling crashing plane sound as he pretends to
touch the wheel. Also at his feet are all of these pedals. He definately
doesn't want to touch those either. He pretends to lightly brush a pedal, and
both wings fall off or something, Eric screams "Oh no, you hit the, eject both
wings pedal, we don't have any parachutes, why did you do that?". All of this
goes through Hank's mind as he sits in the cockpit, so he curls up into a ball
and tries not to touch anything.
Eric gets in and starts the engine with a key. This is a little worrying,
especially since the usual comforting sound of a planes enormous rocket thruster
engines is not aparrent either. Eric's plane sounds like a mosquito. Eric
pulls off the handbrake and they roll out to an intersection of runway. Eric
leans forward over his steering wheel and looks left and right, saying "Anything
coming from your side?" to Henry who is of course too busy shitting his pants to
really look. This goes on for a while with Eric just wandering around until he
has the bright idea of getting on the radio and finding out where he's supposed
to go. They end up in a cue of Jumbo jets waiting to take off, and they are
sitting looking at the ass end of a 737, whilst another 737 waits behind them.
Every time a Jumbo fires up, the whole plane threatens to shake apart.
Eventually their turn comes and they meander up the runway at a steady thirty
miles per hour until the wind decides to blow them off the ground. They get up
to about a thousand feet, and Eric pulls out this map and spreads it over the
steering wheel. "Ok, I think I know where I'm going". Henry is thinking,
"Fucking hell, what is this go towards Chicago for twenty minutes then hang a
left or something?" Every now and then a huge jet will fly past overhead, like
probably miles overhead but it is deafening and buffets the little craft around.
Eric leans forward over his wheel, and looks up saying "Fuck, that was pretty
close!" and grinning at Henry who fears he may be at the point of passing out.
Henry has the feeling that Eric is lost and isn't in a flight plan and keeps
expecting a huge Jumbo to come hurtling out of a cloud into them. This goes on
for a few hours, until eventually Eric says "I think that might be Tulsa about
fifty mile that way, but I think we're pretty low on fuel to be honest. In fact
I think we should probably make an emergency landing." At this point, Eric picks
up the radio for the first time since they have been in the air, and says, "'Uh,
hi, this is Eric, I'm looking for a place to land" in a rather cheery manner.
He explains the situation to ground control whilst a white knuckle Henry
practices regurgitating and swallowing his lunch a few times. They get directed
to a closed air strip with a lit runway in the middle of nowhere, there is a
pump there to refuel. They come in to land, and you know how you are used to
taxing to land for about an hour, well Eric just like drops them out of the sky
on to the tarmac and switches off the engine.
Henry got out thinking that maybe he might not be able to get back in that plane
no matter what whilst Eric went and made a phone call. The lady who ran the
strip agreed to come open up the pump and that she'd be there soon. Henry went
to use the phone to explain to his promoter that he'd be a little late but that
he would make the gig, but when he got through, his promoter couldn't hear his
voice. He put the phone down and looked at Eric who appeared to be standing
grinning at him, and Henry suddenly became convinced that Eric was in fact a
psychotic fan, and not a pilot at all. Suddenly he was in North by Northwest,
standing alone with this guy in the middle of nowhere with noone around. He
decided to quietly run away and find another phone. The lady who owned the
place suddenly turned up letting Henry use the phone in her office so he figured
Eric must have actually spoken to someone and that he wasn't some escaped
psycopath after all. He got to his promoter and explained that it was him who
had just phoned up when she couldn't hear him, and she said very sternly,
"Whatever you do, don't get back in that plane, Eric is not a real pilot."
Billionaires was not a charter plane company, but was actually a plane refueling
depot. Everyone had been on holiday that day, apart from Eric, who had done a
few flying lessons and was a massive Henry Rollins fan. He obviously thought,
wouldn't it be cool to fly Hank to a gig.
Henry went out and told Eric to go away or he was going to fucking kill him, got
a lift from the lady to a nearby gas station/diner place. At this point he got
mistakenly recognised by the police as a guy who had just commited a burglary
nearby, and nearly got arrested. They eventually let him go and he wandered
into the store where he was recognised by the guy who worked there, who phoned
up his son, who phoned up his friends, who all got dressed up and came to see
Henry in a diner in Pigsknuckle, Arizona. Eventually Henry's ride came to find
him surrounded by all of these little redneck kids dressed up like Goths.
looking like little Vampires.
This was one of the few times Henry ever missed a gig.
If anyone else had told me this story I would not believe it, you probably think
I'm making it up, but Henry seems to be some sort of wierdness magnet or
something, this kind of shit just seems to happen to him.
This was probably the longest letter I'm going to write, I'm sure you're glad to
hear that. The next one should get to you in a couple of days.
[Part 3: Meeting Johhny Cash]