Friday, March 18, 2011


Back in 1992, I found a used CD entitled "The End of Silence" by the Rollins Band while sifting through the second hand bins at the old Rainbow Records.

 It was the cover of the album that drew my interest, a giant sun of gold and red with a stern, god-like face, but the back of the album hooked me.  That was the first time I had seen an image of Henry Rollins.  It was a photo of him onstage with a death-grip on a microphone, short-croopped hair, fully tattooed, lean and muscular.  
It screamed intensity.

I bought the CD.  I listened.  I became an instant fan.

From beginning to end, Rollins sang and screamed that complaining will get you no where.  He raged that it is better to act and fight for change.  His songs were about self discipline and living life to the fullest. 

I let my brother borrow the album and one listen indoctrinated him as well.  Gym rats since high school, this was the weightlifting music we had been waiting for.

Over the last twenty years, we have seen Rollins about a half-dozen times in concert.  Regardless of crowd size or where he ended up in the lineup, he always gave one hundred percent to the performance.

This year the rocker turned fifty and kicked off a spoken word tour to celebrate and stave off a midlife crisis.

His appearances in Baltimore, Annapolis, and Philadelphia were sold out, so my brother and I travelled north to Harrisburg, PA to catch the opening night.  We were not disappointed.  Rollins is still fit, he still has a command presence, and he still inspires.

Happy 50th Birthday, Henry, and thank you for never relenting.  Going gentle into that good night is not your style.


  1. I've never heard of Henry Rollins. But his image captures my attention and his creed "self-discipline and living life to its fullest" resonates with me. I will listen to his music. Thank you for this information.

  2. Well, that was different. I like the driving beat. That works for me. Seeing all that poverty reminds me of how fortunate I am to live the life I live in relative comfort. Thank you again for showing me a different way. I am always curious.

  3. Great post! I couldn't agree with you more. Intense is an apt description of Henry Rollins. So, too, are articulate, intelligent, disciplined, passionate,...

    I saw Rollins on his actual birthday when he did a spoken word "Rollins at 50" at the National Geographic in Washington, DC. We all know the kind of high-caliber programming associated with National Geographic. When the program was announced, it sold out immediately. Fortunately, a second program was added for the same evening. I traveled from Pittsburgh to Washington for this program, and to say that it was well worth it is an understatement.

    Any Liberty and Independence readers who are not familiar with Henry Rollins should do themselves a favor a discover him.