Today is a very special day, Henry Rollins' 50th birthday. The punk legend responsible for some of the greatest punk and hardcore of all time (State of Alert, Black Flag, Rollins Band, and all the talking records) is officially middle aged. So what's Rollins' mid life crisis going to be? I'm sure he'll just travel some more and do some talking gigs like he always does. In fact, he already started. He's scheduled a tour around his birthday this year. He was at Joe's Pub in NYC from the 8th and the 12th, he'll be performing a special one night only show in Washington D.C. tonight and he'll be at Largo in L.A. from the 16th to the 19th. I wasn't able to get tickets to any of them but the D.C. show is being filmed and I'm sure it will be released within the next year on DVD.
I would like to take this space here to wish Rollins a happy 50th birthday. I tried to be down in D.C. tonight but the tickets sold out way too fast. He means a lot to a lot of people and I am definitely one of those people. I grew up on punk rock and the lyrics that he screamed out to me every time I popped in a Black Flag CD are permanently ingrained in my mind. I could identify with a lot of them. I felt as though the song could have been written about me and when you can make that connection to a band at such a young, formative age they become a special part your adolescence.
I also read Get In The Van: On The Road With Black Flag at a young age and to this day it is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. For those of you who (for some reason) haven't read it yet, it's Rollins' tour journals from his entire stay in the band. I think you'd have a hard time finding a band that worked harder than the Flag especially since they always got so little in return, but they kept working, kept touring and kept playing because it was what they loved doing. When I read it, I felt as though I could accomplish anything; I just needed to want it enough and work at it.
Long story short, Rollins played a part in shaping me into the person I have grown up to be. He didn't know it, but he was there with me for all of my awkward teenage years and for that I can never thank him enough.
Happy 50th Birthday Rollins. I hope you you never stop doing what you're doing.
As a special treat, I'm putting up an interview I did with Rollins around this time last year. We talked about his recent adventures, homosexuality, and lots of other things.
The interview is split up into two 30 minute files and you can download both of them here