No one in this world inspires me more than Henry Rollins. This is an absolute fact and if you plan to understand my motivations and lust for life then you better get on board. Anything that is good about anything I’ve done as a writer or musician has been sparked by the intensity of Henry’s philosophy. It is also worth mentioning that even though Rollins provides the light for my journey I do not partake in being a mimic of his outlook. The philosophies and different ideas that I’ve consumed through his spoken word and his musical output through out the years has indeed served as influence but it is an influence that inspires me to be better and to seek the path that is bathed in my own truth and my own identity. When I muse on what Henry Rollins means to me I think the one philosophy that I adhere too is the idea that “Knowledge without mileage is bullshit.”
My Journey into the Henry Rollins universe began when I was 18 years old. My awareness of his music – Black Flag and Rollins Band – was minimal. I had seen a lot of bands name drop him as an influence and I’d experienced and glimpsed his music through various interactions with underground radio and music video organisations. When I was 18 I made time to invest in his music and spoken word material. This was the turning point where I stopped wallowing in my own pain and used my pain as the motivation to get things done. To take life by the balls and to rip the motherfucking dragons head off and to live with compassion and to crawl into every single corner of the fears that plagued me and to tear that fucking feeling apart and use it as fuel to my flame. I was attracted to his intensity and to the anger. It was his rage that resonated with me and as a misunderstood 18-year-old nothing sounded better than rage. Henry’s rage though had a different spin on it as it wasn’t rooted in the simple “fuck yeah” heavy metal angst. It had a level of intellect beating at its core and it inspired you – the listener, the consumer and the observer – to indulge in some heavy introspection. It was not the guiding light or the happy ending resolve, it was a noise that came from a deep internal struggle. There was no resolve in the message only a plea to go deeper into yourself and learn how to interact with a world so consumed with cruelty. It was optimism with very heavy boots. Henry Rollins didn’t waste time opening up your heart to the world around you, he pulled your heart out and replaced it with a grenade blast (said Thurston) and turned you up, turned you on, plugged you in and gave you the intense compassion to mix and interact with a world so full of misinformation. Henry Rollins was about strength and vulnerability and never once did his art allow you the space to be comfortable and even though this may be confronting to the fevered egos, that lack of comfort allowed you to get connected with your pain and once you locked in you were able to hit the ground running and chase down life with a hunger that very few blank lazy optimists could find the time to source. It was about making sure you never had your time wasted and that despite your situation, you did your best to still seek and be. Henry Rollins provided a mirror to yourself and with this introspection came the desire to chase your muse and to gather truth.
The older I got, the more his message inspired me to be active in my moments of loneliness. To not be a victim of the isolation but to use it as the muse to get it on and experience life. It was about smearing the blood and the loss attached to heartbreak to paint the world new colours and to still seek and destroy but to also build and inspire ideas. To invest in equality and put a spotlight on the injustice that continues to evolve in these modern times. To avoid being predictable in your rage and instead of being obvious with your rebellion it was about making sure you kept learning and you outsmart those that came before you who stood in the way of the truth. Asking the question was not fucking good enough, you had to walk, talk and explore all areas of both inner and outer space to make sure that you witness all walks of life and history and through this knowledge you learn how to keep your mind free of control by the various metrics of mainstream culture and black spray paint that would only serve to censor any kind of real meaningful truth.
Henry Rollins taught me about the importance of Jazz and that in order to be a purveyor of great art you had to invest in discipline. Any asshole could mimic and buy into the myth of sex, drugs and rock n roll but in order to be a revolution like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane you had to practice and focus. Henry Rollins plugged me into many different amazing underground movements of music and how success in the art world isn’t about something as foolish and redundant as money in the bank and mainstream sustainability. Henry Rollins inspired me to read books and to do everything I could to self-educate and most of all Henry Rollins inspired me to write and that under any circumstance that you can find a way to put your thoughts onto paper.
In 2013 I will be turning 30 and a lot of my friends are turning 30 or are already well into their 30’s. To me there are two kinds of people, those that are a victim of age and those who choose to exist and do what they want despite their age. I made a commitment to art and music in my twenties. During that decade I had my time wasted by a lot of fevered egos. When I was faced with the prospect of turning 30 I saw that as a fucking gift. That I had survived and that I was willing to continue to survive. 2013 is the year that I made a deeper commitment to do what I want and live in my truth and to get shit done. I wanted to be a journalist, so instead of wasting time going to university I just went out and did it. I started writing, I started publishing and I started to source all kinds of human beings to interview. I wanted to start a record label so I kick stated Noise Nonsense Records. I wanted to continue to release multiple movements of Music with Galapogos along with making a new full length record. So that is what I’m doing. I want to organise local noise rock shows and to release them under my new “heavy and weird” venture, so that is what I’m doing. There is about a million other things that I want to do and I’m not going to be lazy in seeking it. I’m going to do it regardless of the obstacle because that is what Henry Rollins has taught me. To fucking just get it on, plug-in, turn it up and fucking do it, do it, do it, do it, DO IT!!!!!!!! You’d be surprised how the aging process disappears the more you invest in this philosophy.
So in 2013 as I enter my 30th year and as I still find myself full of pain, anger, loneliness and despair I choose to fucking get it on, get in the fucking van and to grab life and fucking replace my heart with a grenade blast and to keep chasing everything I want out of life but at the same time to still remain plugged in to compassion and do everything I can through all my work as a writer and musician to make sure that I live and seek truth. It wasn’t the angels or divine purpose that put me on this path, I fucking chose it and I choose to live it to the fullest and by living it I understand the discipline and responsibility and sacrifice attached to it.
When I was a teenager I was saying “fuck you,” when I was in my twenties I was saying “fuck you” and now that I’m entering my 30’s I’m still saying FUCK YOU!!!!! and right now it has never felt so vital to be intelligent with your delivery of both anger and compassion.
So thank you Henry Rollins for helping me be me. May you live for 100 million years.
By Dan Newton