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Henry Rollins covers the Grateful Dead

At first blush, the linkage of Henry Rollins, who came out of D.C.‘s straight edge scene—he’s obviously tight buddies with Ian MacKaye, the man who wrote the song “Straight Edge”—and Jerry Garcia, one of the most drug-friendly musicians who ever lived, seems more than a little bit odd. But maybe that’s just your square categories, maaaaan! Artists go where artists wanna go, and there’s no predicting where they’ll end up.

It turns out that even though he desists from using drugs, including alcohol, Rollins doesn’t really identify as a straight edge. (In that interview, Rollins discusses the handful of times he’s used marijuana, LSD, and mushrooms, and it’s a pretty entertaining read.) Discussing his penchant for tangents in his spoken-word appearances—and the occasional necessity for the audience to guide him back to the original fork in the road—Rollins in a 2008 invoked the atmosphere at Grateful Dead shows as a comparison: “It reminds me of when I’d go see the Grateful Dead, and Jerry Garcia would make a mistake and everyone would applaud: ‘Yeah, nice one, Fat Boy!’ It’s a very friendly environment.” So Henry Rollins likes Grateful Dead shows—here’s hoping that he dispensed more miracles than he received!
Wartime (Henry Rollins and Andrew Weiss)
Rollins former Black Flag band member Greg Ginn told Rolling Stone in 1985 that he dreamed of the group opening for the Grateful Dead and Dead tee-shirts were reportedly commonly seen worn by Black Flag’s roadies. As a working musician in California, it’s wouldn’t be all that unlikely that Rollins would meet Jerry—indeed, he probably did. In 1987, while working on Life Time, the first Rollins Band album, his studio was in the same building as the space the Grateful Dead was using when they remastered their back catalog for CD, and they hung out a little bit:

I was in L.A., mastering my first band album, Life Time, at a place I believe was called Digital Magnetics. The Grateful Dead were across from me, working on their first batch of CDs. I was told that all the way down at the end of the hall, a member of The Doors and their producer, Paul Rothchild, were working on remastering the band’s catalog for CD. ... I had someone relay a message to Paul and company that I was in the building. ... Moments later, Paul came into my small room and asked if I wanted to come in and have a listen to what they were doing. Uh, yeah!

Henry Rollins and Grateful Dead
In 1990 Rollins and his longtime bassist Andrew Weiss (who, incidentally, producer of several Ween albums) released an EP under the name Wartime called Fast Food for Thought. The EP’s fifth and final track was a cover of “Franklin’s Tower,” off of the Grateful Dead’s 1975 album Blues for Allah. Since Wartime consisted only of a vocalist and a bassist, it sounds very different from the Dead’s melodic guitar jamming. But the lyrics are entirely unchanged, and, at around eight minutes in length, it’s nearly twice as long as the original album cut, and honors the Dead’s jammy legacy.
In 2009, asked in an email interview “What made you want to cover a Grateful Dead tune?” Rollins replied, “We thought it would sound good with a go-go beat.” As it happens, a block away from my Cleveland apartment is a building with the words “Franklin Tower” written prominently above the entrance, and I think of Wartime’s cover every time I walk my dog. Here’s the original cut and Wartime’s take on it. It’s not for everyone, but I enjoy it.

The Grateful Dead, “Franklin’s Tower”:

Franklin's Tower by Grateful Dead on Grooveshark

Wartime, “Franklin’s Tower”:

Franklin's Tower by Wartime on Grooveshark


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins produced an unheard album by Charles Manson in the 1980s
07:30 am


Charles Manson
Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins has had one fascinating life. He was in one of the most important punk bands of all time, he played Vanilla Ice in a music video, he has been the voiceover actor for Infiniti, he had a talk show on IFC, he had a small part in Jack Frost.....

In the 1980s Rollins also produced a full album by Charles Manson for SST, which would have made the noted psychopath and cult leader, who wanted to bring about a race war, labelmates with Bad Brains. The release of the album, entitled Completion, was cancelled due to safety concerns. Only five copies of the album were ever pressed; two belong to Rollins and the other three apparently are Manson’s.

In December 2010, Rollins participated in an event at the Echoplex in Los Angeles to benefit the Santa Monica radio station KCRW in which he played a variety of ultra-rare tracks, including a live rendition of “Pay to Cum” from the second show Bad Brains ever played, the first-ever Fugazi demo (“Waiting Room”), several Black Flag rarities, and one of the songs from the Manson album Rollins produced for SST. When he played the track—the title of which has, to my knowledge, not been made public—Rollins joked, “I can hear you all listening to your hair grow.”

In 2008 Rollins told the NME of the correspondence with Manson that led to the recordings:

“He wrote me a letter out of the blue once and he said, ‘I saw you on MTV and I thought you were pretty cool’.

“So we corresponded a few times in 1984; I’d just tell him about what we were doing with our new record and he’d send back semi-lucid responses.

“He made references to The Beach Boys stealing his ideas, which sounded like sour grapes, and told me to tell everybody else to take care of wildlife. That must have been the old hippy in him talking.”

Rollins outlined that he was very young when he started corresponding with Manson—who was sentenced to life in 1971 for the infamous Manson Family Murders which took place two years earlier.

“At the time I was very young and having him write me letters made me feel very intense and heavy,” he said. “I’d always know I’d have a letter in my PO Box from him because the woman behind the counter at the post office would give you this awful look.

“His letters would always have swastikas on them so they were easy to spot.”

According to a 2010 article in The Guardian, “A lawyer representing Manson wrote to SST, asking them to help complete and release a collection of Manson’s songs. Then as now, Manson was serving a life sentence for his role in the Tate/LaBianca murders. ... Rollins agreed to produce the songs but a string of death threats forced SST to call off the project.”

In the mind of almost everyone, Manson is first and foremost a homicidal lunatic. It’s quite clear that in his own mind, Manson is first and foremost a musician. During his detainment before his 1971 trial, Manson was “very anxious for his music to be heard” and enlisted his friend Phil Kaufman to get his music released. Indeed, an album called Lie: The Love & Terror Cult was released on March 6, 1970. As recently as 2010-11 Manson has released two albums of folk music on Magic Bullet Records called Air and Trees. Here’s “Gas Chamber,” a track from Air.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
From Brainiac to Buck Owens: King Buzzo guest DJs with Henry Rollins on KCRW
02:41 pm


Henry Rollins
King Buzzo

Melvins’ frontman Roger “Buzz” Osborne guest DJ’d on Henry Rollins’ KCRW show last Sunday. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to these two yap about music and life. Buzz describes his playlist as “musically schizophrenic.” I’m going to have to agree.

It’s definitely a fun listen. Hope you enjoy.

Set List

Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign
Brainiac – Fresh New Eyes
Gang of Four – Paralyzed
Scientists – Set it on Fire
Judy Garland – Stormy Weather
The Fugs – I Want to Know
U-Men – Blight
Birthday Party – Fears of Gun
King Buzzo – Drunken Baby
Jimi Hendrix – Power of Love
Miles Davis – Black Satin
Tweak Bird – Spaceships
David Bowie – Quicksand
Bobby Darin – Beyond the Sea
Gun Club – Ghost on the Highway
MC5 – I Want You Right Now
Tom Waits – Bad as Me
Latin Playboys – Lemon ‘N Ice
Captain Beefheart – Glider
Bob Dylan – It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
Buck Owens – Memphis

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
No batteries required: ‘My Talking Henry Rollins’ doll!
12:02 pm


Henry Rollins

I’m a Rollins fan, but this “My Talking Henry Rollins!” doll fake advert by Down the Show is pretty darn funny.

Admit it, you want this to be real thing... I know I sure do!

h/t Cherry Bombed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins goes to Walmart and tells us what we already know
05:06 pm

Pop Culture

Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins ain’t no George Carlin or Lenny Bruce. He takes aim at sitting ducks like people who shop at Walmart and he isn’t particularly funny and his insights are hardly revelations. But for some reason people really dig him. I don’t get it. I personally don’t turn to rock singers for their analytical thinking or wisdom. Not even the smart ones like John Lennon or Frank Zappa. They may be remarkable musicians but their satirical writings tend to be obvious and sophomoric.

Listening today to my old Mothers Of Invention albums, the stuff that seemed so outrageous and cool to me when I was a teenager seems trite to me now. Zappa’s targets were sitting ducks, too, but at least the ducks were relatively fresh. On the other hand, Henry Rollins’ rants seem tired and cliche-ridden. It’s easy to make fun of the defenseless slobs who work at Walmart or hipster douche-baggery, the military and frat boys. We did that shit back in the Sixties. So when I hear Rollins going on about the culture of greed and the idiocy that surrounds us it all sounds tired and worn out. We know this stuff already. It ain’t funny. In fact, at times, I think it’s cruel and hipper-than-thou classism. Rollins may consider himself some kind of edgy philosopher but I find him to be a dim-witted meathead with a slightly better than average vocabulary and a bunch of half-baked ideas who takes on subjects that have already been beaten to a pulp by superior humorists like the genuinely funny Bill Hicks.

Here’s Rollins in his perfect setting as a cartoon character…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins working at Häagen-Dazs, 1981

Fun photos of Henry Rollins (and Ian MacKaye) back when he worked at a Häagen-Dazs, circa 1981.

Apparently Henry was a model employee at his Washington D.C. area Häagen-Dazs franchise. He was promoted to assistant manager!

More images available like this in the book Punk Love by Susie J. Horgan.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:

Listen to Henry Rollins and Ian MacKaye’s 2-hour DJ set on KCRW




Via BuzzFeed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Killer interview: Henry Rollins shoots the shit with Jerry Lee Lewis, 1995
09:29 am


Henry Rollins
Jerry Lee Lewis

Rollins and Lewis
It’s always a treat to see Henry Rollins interviewing anyone, even more so when it’s one of the early architects of rock ‘n’ roll. Hank’s hosting skills are exceptional. Clearly a fan, he’s very proficient in the relevant rock history, and he knows how to keep an interview interesting. But Jerry Lee Lewis? I mean, hey I love Jerry Lee Lewis’ music, but Jerry Lee Lewis is just as well-known for being a dirtbag as he is for his amazing music.

I don’t expect Rollins to give a damn about petty ethics, of course, but he’s a man with a reputation for being just a teensy bit self-righteous and rigidly moral. It’s weird to watch him interview an artist who very publicly married his 13-year-old cousin, as if there’s not a giant pervy elephant in the room. (And before you go all cultural relativist on me, cousin-marrying was not more common in the south than anywhere else in the US, and while marriages average younger in poorer communities, I can assure you, an adult marrying a 13-year-old would still be considered fucking creepy by every old redneck I know.)

Still, Lewis has great stories about Sun studios, and intergenerational rock ‘n’ roll kibitzing is always a fascinating thing to watch.


Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The Art of Punk: Watch great new doc on Black Flag and Raymond Pettibon’s iconic collaboration

Bryan Ray Turcotte, author the classic chronicle of punk rock handbills and posters, Fucked Up + Photocopied, has one of the largest private collections of punk rock-related ephemera in the world—he’s a one-man Smithsonian Institute of the counterculture, truly a maven’s maven.

When I got advance notice that one of the world’s most prominent archivists and historians on the matter of punk rock’s graphic design had made (with Bo Bushnell) a film about Black Flag and Raymond Pettibon , I was expecting something pretty great and… it’s excellent!

It went live this morning. I got the link a little while ago and promptly sat down and watched the whole thing:

On the first episode of “The Art of Punk” we dissect the art of the legendary Black Flag. From the iconic four bars symbols, to the many coveted and collected gig flyers, singles, and band t-shirts, all depicting the distinctive Indian ink drawn image and text by artist Raymond Pettibon. We start off in Los Angeles talking to two founding members, singer Keith Morris and bass player Chuck Dukowski, about what the scene was like in 1976 - setting the stage for the band’s formation, as well as the bands name, and the creation of the iconic four bars symbol. Raymond Pettibon talks with us from his New York art studio. Back in LA we meet with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, about how the art, the music, and that early LA scene impacted his own life and career. To wrap it all up we sit and talk at length, with Henry Rollins, at MOCA Grand Ave in Los Angeles, about all of the above and more.

What’s so compelling about this piece is how filmmakers Turcotte and Bushnell tell you a story that you haven’t already heard a gazillion times before by focusing in on the graphics and how important an iconic logo was back then for outsider kids to rally around, wear on their chests or have etched into their flesh.

In the film, Flea makes, I thought, an especially valuable contribution, because he was young enough then (like Rollins himself was, of course) to have been in the audience and he speaks to how seeing a group like Black Flag could change your direction in life. From what I have heard from a number of people, Flea’s supposed to have an absolutely first rate modern art collection. He’s really inspired when he speaks here.

A production of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. New MOCAtv  episodes exploring the visual identities of Dead Kennedys and Crass will debut soon at the MOCAtv YouTube channel

Above, Flea in his Pettibon-festooned bathroom

Thank you Tim NoPlace!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Listen to Henry Rollins and Ian MacKaye’s 2-hour DJ set on KCRW
11:29 am


Henry Rollins
Ian MacKaye

This show was originally broadcast on April 6, 2013 on KCRW. Not only are there great tunes to listen to, but good conversation between two old friends.


01: Booker T. & The MG’S — “Green Onions” (Stax Revue Live At The 5/4 Ballroom)
02: Vile Cherubs — “Man With A Photograph”  (The Man Who Has No Eats No Sweats)
03: Q And Not U — “Kiss Distinctly” (No Kill No Beep Beep)
04: Lungfish — “Wailing Like Dragons” (Feral Hymns)
05: Radio Birdman — “New Race” (Radios Appear)
06: Black Eyes –  “Drums” (Cough)
07: Follow Fashion Monkeys – “Managerie” (Unreleased Session)
08: Slant 6 — “Double Edged Knife” (Soda Pop*Rip Off)
09: Stooges Brass Band — “Where You From” (It’s About Time)
10: Eddy Current Suppression Ring — “She’s Dancing Away” (So Many Things)
11: The Ramsey Lewis Trio — “Hang On Sloopy” (Hang On Ramsey!)
12: Led Zeppelin — “The Song Remains The Same” 
13: Happy Go Licky –  “Twist And Shout” (Happy Go Licky Will Play)
14: Medications — “The Perfect Target”  (5 Songs)
15: SPRCSS — “Ours Is Expanding Light” (Unreleased)
16: Funkadelic — “Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow”
17: The Nurses — “D.Y.F.” (Single)
18: Nation Of Ulyses — “SS Exploder” (Plays Pretty For Baby)
19: Red C — “Pressure’s On” (Unreleased demo)
20: Rocket From The Crypt — “Pressure’s On” (All Systems Go)

Via World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins’ high school yearbook photo: ‘Skate mean, live clean’
11:10 am

Current Events

Henry Rollins

Mr. Garfield looks like a fine young man with a good outlook on life.

Thanks Tim

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Punk rock, now more than ever: The gospel according to Henry Rollins and various old punks
02:05 pm


Henry Rollins
punk rock

I’m no Henry Rollins fan but when he’s good he can be very good, as he is in this short piece on punk rock, Is Punk Back From The Dead?, that was broadcast on British TV recently.

The clip also includes some thoughts on punk from John Holmstrom, Tony James (Generation X), Mark Perry (Sniffin’ Glue) and Toyah Wilcox. The consensus: punk now more than ever!

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Dinosaur Jr. play a live set and Henry Rollins interviews them
12:40 pm


Henry Rollins
Dinosaur Jr.

KEXP Radio recently uploaded a video of Dinosaur Jr. performing live in their studio. It was recorded on December 17, 2011.

01: “Little Fury Things”
02: “Freak Scene”
03: “Just Like Heaven”

Henry Rollins also interviews them between songs.

Via Testpiel

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins: Advice to a Young American
12:43 pm


Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins’ advice on self-confidence, self-reliance, coming from a poor background and overcoming obstacles.

This is one of the best Rollins spoken word pieces ever. Might be the best.

Watch the original version at Big Think

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Listen to Ian MacKaye’s two-hour KCRW DJ set
07:41 am


Henry Rollins
Ian MacKaye

I guess I was sleeping under a rock or something, but I completely missed Henry Rollins turning over his KCRW show to Ian MacKaye on April 7. Beyond Ian’s DJ set, it’s a treat to hear these two pals—Rollins and MacKaye—who go way back chatting it up.

Oh, and I’m happy to see Lungfish made the cut on Ian’s set. Do listen!


01. Bikini Kill - “New Radio” / single
02. Scream - “Walking By Myself” / single
03. Lungfish - “Savings” / single
04. Nervous Norvous – “Transfusion” / single
05. Trashmen - “King Of The Surf” / single
06. Cold Cold Hearts - “Broken Teeth” / Cold Cold Hearts
07. The Vibrators – “Petrol” / Pure Mania
08. Viktims - “Television Addict” / single
09. Wire - “Ex Lion Tamer” / Pink Flag
10. Eddy Current Suppression Ring - “Which Way To Go” / single
11. Vernon Walters - “The Truth About You” / single
12. Felt Letters - “600,000 Bands” / single
13. Satan’s Rats – “Louise” / single
14. The Pack - “King Of Kings” / single
15. Skunks - “Good From The Bad” / single
16. The Need - “Let Them Eat Valiums” / single
17. Shine - “Lost Sun Dance” / single
18. Dog Faced Hermans - “Keep Your Laws Off Of My Body” / Those Deep Buds
19. Creation - “Through My Eyes” / single
20. The Arbors - “Hey Joe” / The Arbors

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins’ 2 hour tribute to Iggy Pop: Listen up!
04:18 pm


Iggy Pop
Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins spins some of Iggy Pop’s classic tracks and a few lesser known songs in a nicely done career overview of America’s patron saint of punk rock.

Henry runs it down thusly:

We are going to go at it somewhat chronologically, although I may have a couple of songs out of order on that front but by and large, it’s a trip through the man’s catalog. Two hours isn’t enough time to be completely release-by-release, so I went for what I thought sounded good.”

01. The Stooges - 1969 / The Stooges
02. The Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog / The Stooges
03. The Stooges - Down On The Street / Fun House
04. The Stooges - T.V. Eye / Fun House
05. The Stooges - Search And Destroy / Raw Power
06. The Stooges - Raw Power / Raw Power
07. The Stooges - Open Up & Bleed / Heavy Liquid
08. The Stooges - Scene Of The Crime / Anthology Box - The Stooges & Beyond
09. The Stooges - Gimme Some Skin / Anthology Box - The Stooges & Beyond
10. The Stooges – Johanna / Heavy Liquid
11. The Stooges - Tight Pants / Anthology Box - The Stooges & Beyond      
12. Iggy Pop & James Williamson - Consolation Prizes / Kill City
13. Iggy Pop – Funtime / The Idiot
14. Iggy Pop - The Passenger / Lust For Life
15. Iggy Pop - New Values / New Values      
16. Iggy Pop - Get Up And Get Out / Soldier        
17. Iggy Pop - Run Like A Villain / Zombie Birdhouse
18. Iggy Pop - Repo Man / Repo Man Soundtrack
19. Iggy Pop - Fire Engine / Anthology Box - The Stooges & Beyond
20. Iggy w/ Debbie Harry - Well Did You Evah! / Red Hot + Blue: Tribute To Cole Porter      
21. Iggy Pop - Bang Bang / Party      
22. Iggy Pop - He’s Frank / Heroes Soundtrack
23. Iggy Pop - This Is A Film / Arizona Dream
25. Iggy w/ Teddybears – Punkrocker / Soft Machine
26. Iggy Pop - Fix Me / Rise Above 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the WM3

Rollins, like myself, found much inspiration in the first Stooges album. For me, there was a delayed reaction. It took me seven years after hearing that seminal chunk of punk before I started my own band in 1976. One of my first gigs was at a country and western bar in Boulder, Colorado. The shitkickers, bikers and assorted mountain men grew homicidal when my group, The Ravers, tore into “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” At the end of the song, the place fell silent and it suddenly hit me as hard as a pool cue to the forehead that being a punk in the land of “Rocky Mountain High” was as about as much fun as being set upon by a pack of rabid wolves. But I got used to it.

Of all the records I own, some of the most frequently played, decade after decade, are ones that Iggy has had something to do with. One of the great hot-night listens of all time, perhaps the purest rock & roll recording I have ever heard, is the self-titled first album by the Stooges. So minimal and perfect. Every note, beat and lyric are essential to the whole. The older I get, the more I learn about music, the more amazing this album is to me.” H. Rollins.

So kick back and enjoy the show.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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