main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Music: Henry Rollins
The Man, The Chin, 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 shows.)

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 or go look at The Other Wiki - it's enough to fill a(nother) book.

Tropes embodied by Henry's work:

  • Always Someone Better: For him, it's Iggy Pop. And even worse, Rollins was an Unknown Rival from 1992 to 1996. And even when Iggy did realize it, Rollins got his ass kicked.
    Rollins: "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.
  • 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/Badass Grandpa: 52 years old, still limitless energy, still publishing and performing and still looks like he could punch through a truck.
  • Berserk Button:
  • 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's generally agreed to be friendly and approachable.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: You'll seldom find a musical performance in which he's wearing shoes.
  • Drives Like Crazy: He intentionally drove like a nutter for Steve-O's "off-road tattoo" - while swearing at everyone around him.
  • 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.
  • Hardcore Punk: With Black Flag, he helped define the genre.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: His Batman Beyond character Mad Stan bears a passing resemblance to him.
  • 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'll verbally destroy you with logic and common sense at the drop of a hat, and then when you're on the ropes, he'll drop a Precision F-Strike to devastating effect. Good thing he's a good guy.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Look at him, listen to his music, learn of his reputation and then speak with him for 5 minutes. His seemingly perpetual rage is based on the fact that he firmly believes most people are better than they realize and he wants you to know it, even if it seems he wants to beat it out of you.
  • 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?
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Henry raised eyebrows for sporting a muscle-bound physique and often performing shirtless, which didn't fit into many peoples' perceptions of what punks looked like.

Chris RockCreator/Dream WorksElliott Smith
Black FlagMusicians/Rockblink-182

alternative title(s): Henry Rollins
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy