Happy 50th Birthday Henry Rollins

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Given that he named his publishing company 2.13.61 after his birthday, it’s easy to remember Henry Rollins‘s birthday. Still, it’s always a little startling to be confronted with the fact that the punk rock icons who remain perpetually youthful in our imaginations actually do age, and today, Rollins is hitting the half-century mark.

Though somewhat of a polarizing character in the various realms of punk and pop culture, Rollins has long been a favorite performer of mine, and I’ve had unwavering respect and admiration for the man since I first cracked open a copy of Black Coffee Blues many years ago. The vocalist behind some of the most essential albums in my collection, an engaging spoken word performer, and the host of two excellent shows on IFC, Rollins — given the chance and a good set of queries — is also one of the best interview subjects a young writer could hope for. In 2002, Rollins (as well as his longtime friend Ian MacKaye) was among the first iconic figures I had the opportunity to speak with, and the thoughtful, enthusiastic responses he gave not only made for a memorable chat, but broke down the wall that so many self-important “stars” build between themselves and the public. (Not to mention, Rollins encouraged me to check out a number of authors whose work I’d yet to explore, including Hubert Selby, Jr., Nelson Algren, and Henry Miller.)

Several years later we ran a second interview, conducted by my brother Asher.

Now, to celebrate his big 5-0, Henry is heading out on tour. Below are the dates, as well as some memorable clips from his career as a performer.

Henry Rollins on Tour
2/13/11 Washington, DC @ Grosvenor Auditorium at National Geographic (two shows)
2/16/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Largo at the Coronet
2/17/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Largo at the Coronet
2/18/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Largo at the Coronet
2/19/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Largo at the Coronet
2/20/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Largo at the Coronet
3/17/11 Harrisburgh, PA @ Whitaker Center
3/18/11 Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
3/19/11 Pawtucket, RI @ The Met
3/20/11 Cambridge, MA @ Brattle Theater
3/21/11 Annapolis, MD @ Ram’s Head Live
3/22/11 Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse
3/23/11 Norfolk, CT @ Infinity Hall
3/24/11 Toronto, ON @ The Great Hall
3/25/11 Cleveland, OH @ Museum of Art
3/26/11 Chicago, IL @ Mercury Theater
3/27/11 Madison, WI @ Great Hall at University of Wisconsin
3/28/11 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
3/30/11 Evanston, IL @ SPACE
3/31/11 Dekalb, IL @ Otto’s
4/01/11 Urbana, IL @ Canopy Club
4/02/11 Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar
4/03/11 Denver, CO @ Soiled Dove
4/05/11 Portland, OR @ Alberta Rose Theater
4/06/11 Seattle, WA @ Triple Door
4/08/11 Brookdale, CA @ Historic Brookdale Lodge
4/09/11 San Francisco, CA @ Independent

Black Flag performing in 1984

Music video for Rollins Band “Liar,” the video that launched Hank to superstardom, 1994

Also 1994 — Rollins as cop in The Chase co-starring Charlie Sheen and, more importantly, Josh Mostel

Henry interviews Penelope Cruz on “Henry’s Film Corner” circa 2005 (apparently posted on YouTube by a foot fetishist)

A short spoken word clip circa 2008 (I think)

An excellent Rollins interview from mid-2008