The Man, The Force of Nature
Hulking, tattooed front man of seminal punk band Black Flag
and later the Rollins Band, spoken word artist, author of several prose/poetry books, actor, TV and radio host, entrepreneur, outspoken activist, blogger and all-around force of nature. By the age of 30 he had written, sung, performed, acted and published more material in more varied mediums than many artists could aspire to during their entire life.
Henry is quite intelligent, and despite his imposing physical appearance and manic performance style, he's a nice - even shy - guy and something of a nerd, embracing the internet and other technology at the cutting edge. (This may be because he initially cultivated the whole "physically imposing" deal to cope with rowdy, often-violent Black Flag
In 1991, Henry and Joe Cole were accosted by a gunman and Henry watched his best friend get murdered in front of him by a gunshot to the head. Henry escaped unharmed, but this event was a considerable influence on his work for some time as reflected in a lot of his writing and spoken word afterward.
Now 52 years old, Henry is still in the same physical shape he's always been and is actively performing, writing, touring and kicking ass as much as ever.
If you'd like to see a full list of everything he's published during his career, your best bet is to visit his official website at http://21361.com/
or go look
at The Other Wiki
- it's enough to fill a(nother) book.
Tropes embodied by Henry:
- Always Someone Better: For him, it's Iggy Pop. And even worse, Rollins was an Unknown Rival from 1992 to 1996. And even then Iggy kicked his ass.
"What are you doing in Denmark?" I-I played tonight! "You did?" Yes, I was the opening band, I saw you staring at me! "You played? I just remember Iggy Pop.
" [Iggy]'s just like *finger flick* dink
- Ambiguously Gay: Internet rumors persist that Rollins is a closeted Manly Gay. Although he confessed to fantasizing once about one of the Drag Queens on Ru Pauls Drag Race after being a guest judge, he denies that he's actually gay, saying that if he were, he would have demolished the closet many years ago.
- May be fueled by his open admission to being the early victim of sexual abuse, making him something of an Iron Woobie.
- Ascended Fanboy: Rollins was a fan of Black Flag before becoming the band's vocalist. During his first performance with the band, he was merely in the bar to watch them play.
- Badass: 52 years old, still limitless energy, still publishing and performing and still looks like he could punch through a truck.
- Berserk Button: Well, everything, really. He realizes that we live in a Crapsack World, and he doesn't let us forget it.
- One particular thing that pushes his berserk button is techno music, having railed against it multiple times. Of course, his rants have been the fodder for techno remixes for years now.
- He has so many of these that he served as host to National Geographic's documentary on "The Warrior Gene", wondering whether he had it - he did not.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: A punk version rather than a hippy version. He's notably the voice of Infinity luxury automobiles.
- Dark Is Not Evil: In spite of his reputation and overall demeanor, he is generally agreed to be friendly and approachable.
- Death Glare: So constant that it may just be the way his eyes naturally are.
- Determinator: How else is it possible for one person to do so much and still claim to be "just warming up".
- Does Not Like Shoes: You will seldom find a musical performance in which he is wearing shoes.
- Drives Like Crazy: He intentionally drove like a nutter for Steve-O's "off-road tattoo" - while swearing at everyone around him.
- Drugs Are Bad: Due to their effects on friends, he doesn't care much for them.
- The Eponymous Show: The Henry Rollins Show, which aired on IFC from April 2006 to September 2007.
- Evil Feels Good: From "Liar"
"Oooooh I'm a liar, I lie, yeah, I like it, I feel good"
- Expecting Someone Taller: Covered in tattoos and muscles with a reputation for kicking large amounts of ass and on the lower side of of average height at about 5'9".
- Gallows Humor: When he hit his 50th birthday, Henry commissioned some artwork and photos that confronted the issues of aging head on. This poster◊ for a speaking tour shows him in his Superman-esque outfit from the "Liar" video, while the Grim Reaper peers over his shoulder. In two photos taken for a Billboard interview around the same time, one shows the Grim Reaper chasing Rollins while another shows the singer wearing Depends over the Superman outfit.
- Genius Bruiser: Henry is known for being both highly articulate and extremely buff.
- Hardcore Punk: With Black Flag, he helped define the genre.
- Hot Blooded
- Ink Suit Actor: His Batman Beyond character Mad Stan bears a passing resemblance◊ to him.
- Jerkass Fašade: As was mentioned in the introduction, he developed the "physically imposing" attitude to cope with the rowdy Black Flag shows.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Was it that manly chin that caused him to become the Badass that he is today? We may never know.
- Lightning Bruiser: The man is big, smart, and has performed or published material in just about every medium that exists. His stage presence is one of a barely-controlled explosion. He will verbally destroy your crap with logic and common sense at the drop of a hat, and then when you are on the ropes, he'll drop a Precision F-Strike to devastating effect. Good thing he's a good guy.
- Loners Are Freaks: After beating up some bullies, he says that his classmates still felt he was a freak and left him alone. Something of a self-fulfilling trope.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Look at him, listen to his music, learn of his reputation and then speak with him for 5 minutes.
- Mood Whiplash: Most of his stand up shows are like this going from hilarious anecdotes to serious statements on the state of the world.
- Motor Mouth: Occasionally lapses into this in his stand-up shows.
- Nerds Are Sexy: He's not just a big guy who yells a lot. Not only does he embrace technology, but he yells at you to take every advantage you can of it for your own betterment. Often sports Nerd Glasses for extra points.
- Perpetual Frowner: A staple of his appearance. It's quite shocking when he smiles. You can see some video of him laughing his ass off on his website.
- Precision F-Strike, Cluster F-Bomb, Sir Swears-a-Lot: All staples of his work.
- Promoted Fanboy: He was simply a Black Flag fan who was invited to sing "Clocked In" with the band at a concert. He's now recognized as the face of the band.
- Protest Song: Black Flag, Rollins Band, and most of his spoken word works are filled with these.
- Self Proclaimed Liar: Remember that song?
- Smarter Than You Look: He looks like a tattooed thug but, as this page makes absolutely clear, he is very intelligent, well read, and well spoken.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Not Henry by any means, but this guy, who thought it was a good idea to mess with him while on stage.
- Additionally, witness the level head and verbal devastation he uses to completely own this guy, who also thought Henry might be a lot of fun to challenge.
- Took a Level in Badass: Hard to believe, but as a youth, he was skinny and a target of bullying. Then he bought a weight set while in high school and hospitalized one of said bullies (who was three years older than him).
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Henry raised eyebrows for sporting a muscle-bound physique and often performing shirtless, which did not fit into many people's perceptions of what punks looked like.