If you know me, you know I'm a Henry Rollins superfan. I dig the music (SOA, Black Flag, Rollins Band), and I always enjoy it when Henry turns up in a movie (Heat, Bad Boys II, The Chase). But for me, Henry's spoken word and writing are the main event. I've seen him live* like nine times, and he gets better every show.
There's a lot to admire about Henry- the work ethic, the intensity, the talent - but you've got to respect his commitment to his fans. I offer two examples. When he was last in Toronto (March 24, 2011), I guess he received a few emails complaining about the high ticket price. He checked it out, and the promoter was indeed charging more than his usual price. So, he personally handed out $10 bills to everyone in the crowd. It took twenty minutes, but by god, the audience was ready to die for him at that point.
The second example is more personal. Henry recently found a forgotten box of hardcover, first edition copies of his Black Flag tour diary, Get in the Van. He signed and numbered each one, and put them up for sale. I, being a superfan, bought one. When it arrived, it was indeed numbered (#59 of 75), but not signed. So I emailed him. And
he emailed me back, very apologetic: "I was so busy trying to get the numbers right I screwed up the easy part." And to make it right, he put me on the list for his next show close to Toronto (Kitchener, June 11, 2012). So I went, and we met up afterwards, and he signed my book. He apologized again, and I told him that this was way cooler than just getting a book in the mail.
The book is awesome, by the way. I recommend it to anyone.
I've read a few articles over the years bagging on Henry, and I've never understand why people do that. They call him a macho asshole, or the guy who ruined Black Flag**. But the Henry Rollins I've seen and met is a thoughtful guy who gives many damns about his fans. And probably one of the hardest working guys going.
*Live spoken word, that is. To my eternal regret, I was five when Black Flag played their last show.
** I've got nothing against Keith Morris or Dez Cadena, but the Flag had it's most productive and expansive period with Rollins on vox.
Photo by Catchetism on Flickr.