The Old Man and the CDs

Today is the 49th birthday of Henry Rollins, an American singer-songwriter, raconteur, spoken word artist, writer, publisher, actor, radio DJ, and social activist.

Born and raised in the Washington DC area, Rollins formed the short-lived band State of Alert in 1980 before accepting an offer to front the influential California hardcore punk band Black Flag in 1981. Rollins remained the bad’s singer until their eventual breakup in 1986.

Following Black Flag’s dissolution, Rollins established the publishing company 2.13.61 to release his own books and spoken word albums, as well as forming the Rollins Band, which has toured with a number of lineups.

I first “discovered” Rollins in high school, though I had been introduced to him years earlier during his Black Flag days.

While attending the Art Institute of Dallas in 1998, I attended one of his spoken word performances and struck up a brief conversation with him afterward about an obscure jazz musician he had mentioned during his set.

The only thing I remember about the conversation was how surprised he seemed that someone else was familiar with the musician. Not only that, but that someone could engage him on the matter.

I didn’t want to take up too much of his time, as there was a pressing throng of fanboys waiting for an autograph. But he told me to send him an email and he would turn me on to some other obscure acts.

Thus began a correspondence that continues to this day, though the exchanges are far less frequent than they once were.

Nevertheless, today is his birthday and I was thinking of him. I hope he has a great day.


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