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Famous Like Me > Actor > R > Henry Rollins

Profile of Henry Rollins on Famous Like Me

Name: Henry Rollins  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 13th February 1961
Place of Birth: Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Profession: Actor
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins (born February 13, 1961) is an American rock music singer and songwriter; he's also been active as a storyteller, author, actor and poet. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Born Henry Lawrence Garfield in Washington D.C., his parents divorced when he was young, and Rollins was raised primarily by his mother, Iris. He was prescribed ritalin as a child, and due to what he characterises as bad behavior and poor choices, he was sent to Bullis Academy, a Washington D.C. military school. He has expressed mixed feelings for his years at Bullis Academy: He disliked the authoritarian atmosphere and the boys-only campus, which impeded his early attempts at dating and made him uncomfortable around women for several years. More positively, he says Bullis helped instill a sense of discipline and a strong work ethic.

Garfield became involved in the punk scene through his close friend Ian MacKaye (who would later head Minor Threat and Fugazi). Bad Brains were one of Rollins' favorite groups; singer H.R. would sometimes coax Rollins onstage to sing a song with them. Rollins then joined State of Alert, which would release one EP before disbanding. Garfield worked at a number of jobs (including at the National Institutes of Health), before becoming the manager of a Haagen Dazs ice cream store.

In 1981, his friend Mitch Parker gave him a copy of Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown EP. Garfield soon became a huge fan, and began exchanging letters with the group. When Black Flag toured the East coast, playing Washington D.C. and New York City, Garfield attended as many performances as he could. At an impromptu show in a bar, he asked to sing "Clocked In." As vocalist Dez Cadena was going to switch to guitar, the band invited Garfield to a rehearsal. Impressed by his stage demeanor, they asked him to become their permanent vocalist, and despite some doubts, he accepted, due in part to MacKaye's encouragement. He adopted the surname Rollins after jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins. His large, muscular figure and intense personality made him a perfect fit as their frontman.

Rollins toured and recorded with Black Flag from 1981 until their breakup in 1986. During Rollins' tenure, Black Flag's music underwent some dramatic changes. Though guitarist Greg Ginn was the primary songwriter, Rollins wrote a number of songs with Black Flag.

Throughout most of his time with Black Flag, Rollins kept a regular diary of his thoughts and experiences. In 1994 he published these diaries as Get In The Van; the book also featured many photographs, as well as Rollins' reminiscences of his time with the group before he kept a diary. Rollins read portions of Get In The Van for an audio book; this recording won a Grammy. Rollins later characterized the entire affair as "corny" and gave his Grammy statuette to an acquaintance.

Rollins began publishing his own books during his time with Black Flag. His early efforts were self-made volumes (photocopied and stapled), though he quickly began printing chapbooks before moving on to establish 2.13.61, an independent publisher.

Also while in Black Flag, Rollins met Joe Cole, an acquaintance of Ginn's. Cole and Rollins quickly became close friends and roommates. Rollins and Cole were both robbed in 1991. During the incident Cole was shot in the head and died (the crime remains unsolved), and Rollins narrowly escaped without injury. Most of Rollins' efforts since have been dedicated to his late friend's memory.

After Black Flag broke up in early 1986, Rollins quickly formed a new group and released a solo album and an EP with guitarist Chris Haskett. Soon, he added former Gone members Andrew Weiss and Sim Cain, calling the new group the Rollins Band. They gained popularity through the strength of albums like The End of Silence (1992) and Weight (1994). He also gained roles in movies and television shows (particularly as a VJ on MTV).

Beginning in his later years in Black Flag until present, he has toured as a spoken-word artist, focusing mostly on social topics, as well as recounting his life experiences. His blend of self-deprecating humor and serious discussion of important social issues has gained him great popularity. He has released nine spoken word albums through his 2.13.61 publishing company (and several through other record companies); 2.13.61 has also released books by Rollins, Joe Cole, Nick Zedd, Nick Cave, and Michael Gira, as well as albums by Rollins Band, Exene Cervenka, Hubert Selby Jr., The Birthday Party, and Gun Club.

Rollins is an avowed free jazz fan, having released albums by Matthew Shipp and Roscoe Mitchell on his 2.13.61 label. In 1990, Rollins guest hosted a Los Angeles, California college radio program and devoted much of this appearance to saxophone player Albert Ayler's music.

Rollins is also a co-host of the television program Full Metal Challenge on The Learning Channel as well as the host of a monthly series called Henry's Film Corner on the Independent Film Channel. In 2004 he became an outspoken human rights activist, most vocally a crusader for gay rights. He has pinpointed the rights for gays to marry as a "vital issue impeding on the rights of Americans today." He was the host of a benefit concert called "WedRocks" to raise money for a pro-gay-marriage organization.


Henry Rollins

Musical releases

  • 1987 Drive By Shooting
  • 1987 Hot Animal Machine

Spoken word releases

  • 1987 Big Ugly Mouth
  • 1989 Sweatbox
  • 1990 Live at McCabe's
  • 1992 Human Butt
  • 1992 Deep Throat
  • 1993 The Boxed Life
  • 1994 Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag (Audio Book)
  • 1996 Everything (Audio Book)
  • 1997 Black Coffee Blues (Audio Book)
  • 1998 Think Tank
  • 1999 Eric The Pilot
  • 2001 A Rollins in the Wry
  • 2001 Live at The Westbeth Theater
  • 2003 Talk Is Cheap Vol I
  • 2003 Talk Is Cheap Vol II
  • 2003 Nights Behind The Tree Line
  • 2004 Talk Is Cheap Vol III
  • 2004 Talk Is Cheap Vol IV

Black Flag releases

  • Damaged (1981)
  • My War (1984)
  • Live '84 (Live)(1984)
  • Slip It In (1984)
  • Family Man (1984)
  • Loose Nut (1985)
  • Who's Got The 10 1/2? (Live)(1986)
  • In My Head (1986)

Rollins Band releases

  • Life Time (1988)
  • Hard Volume (1989)
  • Turned On (Live)(1990)
  • The End Of Silence (1992)
  • Weight (1994)
  • Come In And Burn (1997)
  • Get Some Go Again (2000)
  • A Clockword Orange Stage (Live) (2000)
  • Yellow Blues (2000)
  • Nice (Rollins Band album) (2001)
  • A Nicer Shade Of Red (2001)
  • The Only Way To Know For Sure (Live) (2002)
  • Come In And Burn Sessions (2004)
  • Get Some Go Again Sessions (2005)


partial list

  • One from None - Collected work 1987 Publishers 2.13.61 Publications 1991 ISBN 1880985047
  • Broken Summers Publishers Group West, (November 2003) ISBN 1880985756
  • Unwelcomed Songs Two Thirteen Sixty-One Pubns, (September 2002) ISBN 1880985713
  • See a Grown Man Cry, Now Watch Him Die Two Thirteen Sixty-One Pubns, (August 1997) ISBN 1880985373
  • Solipsist Publishers' Group West, (August 1998) ISBN 1880985594
  • The Portable Henry Rollins Villard, (February 10, 1998) ISBN 0375750002
  • Get in the Van: On the Road With Black Flag Two Thirteen Sixty-One Pubns, 2nd edition (January 1996) ISBN 1880985241
  • Henry Rollins: The First Five Two Thirteen Sixty-One Pubns, (October 1997) ISBN 1880985519
  • Black Coffee Blues
  • Do I Come Here Often? (Black Coffee Blues, Pt. 2), Shannon Wheeler (Illustrator) Two Thirteen Sixty-One Pubns, (December 1998) ISBN 1880985616
  • Smile, You're Traveling (Black Coffee Blues Part 3) Two Thirteen Sixty-One Pubns, (October 1, 2000) ISBN 1880985691
  • Eye Scream Two Thirteen Sixty-One Pubns, (October 1996) ISBN 1880985322
  • Turned On Flag Henry Rollins by James Parker, Orion Books,

Film and video

  • Feast (2006) - Coach
  • The Alibi (2005) - Putty
  • Henry's Film Corner (2004) TV Series - Host
  • Deathdealer: A Documentary (2004) - Vincent
  • Def Jam: Fight for NY (2004) (VG) - Himself
  • Live Freaky Die Freaky (2003) (voice)
  • Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter (2003) (VG) (voice) - Mace Griffin
  • A House on a Hill (2003) - Arthur
  • Bad Boys II (2003) - TNT Leader
  • Psychic Murders (2002) (V) - Johnny Miracle
  • Jackass: The Movie (2002) - Himself (cameo)
  • Shadow Realm (2002) (TV)
  • The New Guy (2002) - Warden
  • Time Lapse (2001) (V) - Gaines
  • Scenes of the Crime (2001) - Greg
  • Night Visions (2001) TV Series (uncredited) - Host
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000/I) (V) (voice) - Benjamin 'Ben' Knox/Bonk
  • Desperate But Not Serious (1999) - Bartender
  • Morgan's Ferry (1999) - Monroe
  • Jack Frost (1998) - Sid Gronic
  • Lost Highway (1997) - Guard Henry
  • VH1 Legends (1996) TV Series - Narrator
  • Heat (1995) - Hugh Benny
  • Johnny Mnemonic (1995) - Spider
  • The Chase (1994) - Officer Dobbs
  • The Right Side of My Brain (1985)
  • Dennis Miller Live -Guest (1995)


  • Michael Azzerad, Our Band Could Be Your Life

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Henry Rollins