When I was a kid, I used to wait for my older brother to go out with his friends and when the coast was clear, I would slip into his bedroom, sit myself down in front of his stereo and rifle through his records. Any new additions that I hadn't heard were promptly placed on the turntable and reviewed. If I didn't enjoy the selection, which was rare, I gently lifted the record off of the stereo and carefully placed it back into the sleeve, lest my forbidden foray into my brother's room be discovered.
My brother only caught me once. I had found the Who's "Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy" and loved it so much, I wore a pair of can headphones so I could hear every detail over and over again. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear the front door slam and my brother walk into the house. Without a word he had dragged me, kicking and protesting back to my bedroom. He then delivered a swift kick to my ass and slammed my door on the way out.
On another day I noticed a brown paper "Record Mart" bag propped against my brother's dresser. I opened the bag carefully with the sense of excitement I felt only when discovering new music. There were two records, bright yellow and blue and upon closer inspection, I noticed the grotesque and frighteningly-well drawn cartoons that graced each cover. The first, called "My War" depicted the head of a man who looked strikingly like Hitler, brandishing a gleaming knife and an evil grin. The second record showed a man who has obviously just shot his wife, son and daughter and was pressing a pistol up to his own temple. This one was called "Family Man." I listened for about a minute and then abrubtly stopped it. I put it back from whence it came and got the fuck out of there.
Enter my first introduction to Black Flag.
I was renitroduced to Black Flag years later, during my 20's. I was working in a bookstore and came across "Get in the Van." Intrigued, I took it home and perused the photos and text. Taken directly from the pages of the diary he kept, the book chronicled Henry's life on the road with Black Flag. Henry's incisive wit really appealed to me. As did his incredibly chiseled exterior. "He's hot!" I said out loud, while enjoying the photos. "So hot!"
The book is a fantastic read but mildy depressing, as Black Flag was not a band accustomed to any kind of luxury. These guys were not Zeppelin, with hordes of groupies and their own Starship 747. They crashed for the evening in people's flats, on the van floor, on benches, in warehouses, behind the shanty and in the wrong parts of town. Despite the fact that they were poor, cold, hungry and tired, the band foraged ahead, driving all night in their old, brokedown van so that they could get to their next gig on time.
Henry Rollins was lean, mean and clean--- no drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes. He was in peak shape and this incited many a mean little punk to try and jump him as he was on stage performing. According to his personal accounts, Rollins would get attacked almost nightly by some lame gang of guys who would toss beer bottles, mike stands, chairs, tables and anything not nailed down directly at his head. Henry fought back, headbutting or suckerpunching them off of the stage. He screamed and growled and glowered and the lesser men shook in their steel-toed boots while the ladies swooned.
These days, as he nears fifty, Henry seems sweeter, more affable, less maudlin. He has aged extremely well, most likely due to the fact that he works out and takes excellent care of himself. He is also self-effacing and modest about his appearance, choosing to discuss political issues versus how washboard his abs are.
Just once I wish he would talk about his abs.... And all the rest. I mean, look at him. The cut bod, the assortment of scary tats, the classically handsome face and square jaw. This is a guy who dressed up as Superman and didn't have to wear fake muscles, y'dig?
I'll bet his bum is so tight, that you could play ping pong against it. He could crack walnuts between his cheeks or make change for a fifty. His abs could repel a rat-a-tat-tat repetition of bullets from a tommy gun. You could handcuff him and watch him break free, shooting shards of metal in every direction. Drape him with chains, drop him in a locked trunk and watch him bust out. Of course, there's no drinks or joints or cigarettes to get the party goin', but who needs it with Henry? He could role play as the angry sergeant, 'nam crawling across your floor with a knife between his teeth to untie you from the cluthes of the Viet Cong. The possibilties are endless, I tell you!
Joyfully peruse the attached pics of Hank.