Arts Desk

Henry Rollins Is a Fucking Columnist

Washington's favorite rage-fueled polymath—and really, is there a better kind of polymath?—Henry Rollins has been on the road with Dinosaur Jr. as the band revisits Bug, with Rollins serving as on-stage interviewer as the band dives into the history behind the wonderfully scuzzy 1988 album. Rollins, the singer-storyteller-actor-DJ-television host, is also a contributor to LA Weekly, and he's been filing recent articles from tour stops like the band's homecoming in Northampton, Mass. (Yes, Dinosaur Jr. is from Amherst, but it's close enough.)

Like most of Rollins' writing, these columns serve to remind us what a fucking badass he is: "I am hanging out onstage with three Hemingways every night," he wrote of J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph.

But in his column today, Rollins recounted his own recent trip home, when he and Dinosaur Jr. stopped by the 9:30 Club. The journey is practically beatific—well Beat-author-like. Actually, it's just bad Kerouac.

On the way into town, Rollins played Devo's Duty Now for the Future, just like he did in the summer of 1979. Then it was on to Ian MacKaye's house to listen to "my best friend since I was [12's]" collection of unreleased demos by the Teen Idles and Minor Threat. (Actually, that's pretty cool.)

Or maybe Rollins is more like Proust: D.C.'s humidity unleashed a torrent of his younger, pre-Black Flag days spent roaming the city and punching timecards. Finally, he reached Wisconsin Avenue, prompting this memory:

It was thirty years ago next month that I left these streets and these nights to join the band Black Flag and to test myself in the world. Tonight, I went out walking on Wisconsin Avenue and took the same route I did when I walked to the train station to go up to New York City to audition for the band's vocalist slot all those years ago.

A twenty-year-old walked up that street, wondering what was to be. Tonight, a man of fifty, hair gray and face lined, walked more slowly and thoughtfully up the same path. I looked at a building and remembered that years ago, the same space was a vacant lot I used to park in and try to sleep as I had run out of options at that time. I had a small tape player in there and the mix tape's songs all came back to me. Charlie Harper—"Talk Is Cheap," The Skunks—"Good From The Bad," The Germs—"Lions Share," The UK Subs—"I Live In A Car."

Fucking deep. But then he pulls his punches. (Literary punches, that is. Rollins would still like to beat the crap out of someone, say, the Birthers.):

"The perfection of the nights here could perhaps be captured in words by Rimbaud or Baudelaire but not by me."

I don't know what the weather was like in late-19th century Paris, but here recently, even at night, it's been hot, sticky, and disgusting. And these fucking madeleines taste like shit.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • http://www.vaporland.com vaporland

    when the madelines taste like shit, stop eating them...

  • Really

    The weather's been pretty damn mild, actually.

  • Michael Druck

    Nice language lends credence to the remarks/

...