Henry Rollins Quotes

Best Quotes from Henry Rollins, a pop culture’s pre-eminent entrepreneur and man of all trades.

Born Henry Garfield, in Washington, D.C., Rollins is known as a musician, publisher, writer, and actor.

He took his punk-rock aesthetic and turned it into a brand and an international multi-million -dollar industry. It’s an unusual career path for a punk rock frontman. In high school, Rollins was the lead of a band called SOA.

He moved to Los Angeles and became the second lead vocalist for the band Black Flag, which had released multiple singles and EPs. The band’s first full-length album, Damaged, helped define the Southern California hardocre sound, and would go on to be a punk classic.

The band continued to put out critically-acclaimed punk records until their breakup in 1986. Rollins founded Rollins Band and put out several alternative rock albums, some of them spoken word. The spoken-word pieces allowed Rollins to branch out beyond his hardcore roots.

In 1994, Rollins Band landed a big radio and MTV hti with their single “Liar.” Not only did this land them a slot on the thriving Lollapalooza tour, at its peak at that point, but the fame helped Rollins get a role in the film The Chase.

At the end of the year, he was rewarded as Esquire’s Man of the Year.Rollins proceeded to appear as himself on more than a dozen interview and variety shows, as well as playing guest roles in sitcoms and other series. He became known for his weight-lifting regimen and his disciplined look at life and self-realization. In 2004, Rollins started a musical radio show, Harmony in My Head.

He later began contributing political articles to the online version of Vanity Fair. At any given time, Rollins has several projects in progress, audio books, books, activism and charity events, producing, acting. He is part of a breed that he helped pioneer, of assertive and ambitious artists who use their initial fame to create an empire.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘music’, ‘musician’

At the heart of things for Rollins is the music. He got his start in hardcore, then branched into alternative in the more general sense.

Youths write me and tell me that their band will go nowhere because of all the bad bands in the world. I tell them there has always been awful music and that no great band ever wasted any time complaining, they just got it done. Their ropey ranting is just a way to get out of the hard work of making music that will do some lasting damage.

Amy Winehouse was not a person I ever met, and I can’t say that I am overly conversant in all of her music. I do have her albums, and years ago, when I first heard her sing, I thought she was extraordinary. The tone of her voice, her phrasing, her raw appearance – these qualities were extremely captivating to me.

I wasn’t playing the music, the music was playing me… and once that went away, and I had the feeling I was playing music, I had to stop. The need to go onstage and get my brain flattened every night left me, and what I didn’t wanna do is go onstage and perpetrate a fraud… You cannot fool an audience.

Miles Davis would have this lineup of all these amazing musicians and one day would just say, ‘We’re done.’ After tons of great records and tickets sold, he said, ‘Now I’m going to grow my hair out and play my horn through a wah-wah pedal.’ Rather than play it safe, he went on.

It’s hard to get people at a record company to talk about music. They don’t seem to want to talk about music, it’s all marketing, and that’s part of a record, you gotta get it out there, people have gotta hear it, but you could do it in a way that’s not repulsive.

I am not immune to the lure of a signed record, flier or set list. The fact that your music heroes potentially had, in their own hands, the record you now have in yours is kind of cool. When the musician has departed, it can give the thing a unique power.

One of the most prevalent and undermentioned genres of music is what is known as noise. You can find it all over the world happening in basements, small venues and even some festivals. Often blown off or belittled by critics, the form for the most part goes unheard and unnoticed.

To combat the confusion and depression that assault me when I come off the road in the middle of a tour, I seek the most oblivionated music possible. When it’s the ‘way out there’ that I seek, I go right to my stash of amazing music from Japan.

The ecstatic insanity of romantic pursuit can be so enhanced by music that entire romantic conquests, victories and ruinous, crushing defeats can be tied to songs to such a degree that it’s almost unbearable to listen to them again, as they bring back the memories so vividly.

As far as I have been able to understand, the Japanese seem to keep things close to the vest. Friendly but remote and polite to the point of being invisible. It is in the music, literature, film and art that the Japanese really seem to express themselves.

There is a lot to say about what Bikini Kill and other ‘riot grrrl’ bands were able to achieve when they first set out. They were not some momentary, convulsive, creative spasm of independent music. There was a very real, relevant point of view being expressed.

Each year, every city in the world that can should have a multiday festival. More people meeting each other, digging new types of music, new foods, new ideas. You want to stop having so many wars? This could be a step in the right direction.

It took me until my teenage years to realize that I was medicating with music. I was pushing back against my stupid school uniform, instructors who called me by my last name and my classmates, who, while friendly enough, were not at all inspiring.

I would hate to think that some people have found themselves in a musical cul-de-sac and have ceased to explore new music, or at least music that is new to them, because they are so glued to the past.

Sometimes when you meet a musician you are a fan of, and he or she isn’t the friendliest person, you walk away from the experience wondering if you will ever be able to listen to their music again.

I don’t know if music has ever achieved anything past appealing to the people that it appeals to. If a song could stop a war, then Bob Marley and Bob Dylan songs would have stopped one or two.

One of the nice things about a favorite pop song is that it’s an unconditional truce on judgment and musical snobbery. You like the song because you just do, and there need not be any further criticism.

I tend to gravitate to the darkest or most obscure part of any venue in an effort to have my own space to experience the music on my own, free from unwanted conversations and other distractions.

If you are a musician who has released albums, it would perhaps be morbidly interesting to know how much you would be owed if everyone who now has your music had actually bought your record.

Trying to write music, be in a band and keep it all happening is one of the hardest, morale-destroying, heartbreaking things you will ever try to do – and that’s when it’s going well.

Let’s pretend my career in music is a bell. Whether you like my music or not is up to you. But you’ve got to admit I rang that bell pretty hard and pretty often.

I don’t know if you have ever seen the Woody Allen film ‘Annie Hall,’ but it is, in a way, to Los Angeles and ‘Hollywood’ what ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ is to many musicians.

You could split hairs and bring up words like ‘doo-wop’ and terms like ‘soul’ or ‘R&B’, but I think pop music is what you want it to be – that’s why it’s pop.

My first introduction to African music was by my mother, who bought the ‘Pata Pata’ album by the great Miriam Makeba when it came out. Now that is an album. What a voice.

If I were a doctor, I would prescribe that you addict yourself deeply and irrevocably to music and never, ever seek cure outside of more music. It really is the best drug available.

Lou Reed’s music has been in the lives of millions of people all over the world for decades. He had a truly universal presence and was respected by musicians across all genres.

What does New York sound like? For me, the Charlie Parker at the Royal Roost recordings on the Savoy label are the total embodiment of the New York music experience.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m willing to bet one of my arms right now that as long as there’s electricity, Ramones music is going to be relevant.

As so much music is listened to via MP3 download, many will never experience the joy of analog playback, and for them, I feel sorry. They are missing out.

Jazz music is as American as it gets, and so is the U.S. Postal Service. A Miles Davis stamp is a perfect marriage of two great American institutions.

To burn a CDR of music you like to give as a gift to someone you wish to become closer to is a cold, moist-palmed, mouth-breathing bummer.

As a young person, I was on the road playing music, so I was getting new environments shoved in my face whether I wanted them or not.

The scarcity of the music not only makes the music itself enjoyable but it also gives the collector a strange sense of superiority.

Ramones music has a Pavlovian effect on me – the song starts, and the world blurs around the sound.

In blues music, there’s a lot of borrowing, so it’s often difficult to identify the originator of a song.

A country that has been through as much as Vietnam has to have some crazy music somewhere.

Technically speaking, there is no music whatsoever on a CD. Lots of information, but no music.

Music to me is mankind’s greatest possible achievement because look at all the good it does.

Without the blues, modern music would be nothing like it is now – not remotely.

There’s no rule that you have to like Henry Rollins the musician or the actor.

Music files and downloading have indeed changed the currency of music to a great degree.

One person’s roar is another’s whine, just as one person’s music is another’s unendurable noise.

I come from a town of great musicians: Washington, D.C. It’s no joke, that history.

Music keeps you young. Having music in your life keeps you open to things.

I think Perry Ferrell put independent music on a very good path with Lollapalooza.

Texas is a hotbed of insanely good bands and musicians.

Musicians should not play music. Music should play musicians.

Scott Asheton was a brilliant drummer, a natural musician.

Live music is the cure for what ails ya.

The world’s a better place since I chose music.

Some music really does suck!

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘band’

Rollins is a record collector, as big a fan of music as there is, as well as the artist and producer of dozens of bands. He know what he’s talking about.

Youths write me and tell me that their band will go nowhere because of all the bad bands in the world. I tell them there has always been awful music and that no great band ever wasted any time complaining, they just got it done. Their ropey ranting is just a way to get out of the hard work of making music that will do some lasting damage.

My mother, a very eclectic listener, had the first Doors album and gave it to me when I expressed interest in the band. It was one of the first records I ever had. As the years passed, the babysitters who used to look after me would bring their Doors albums to the apartment, and that’s how I got to hear their later work.

Imagine someone so infatuated by a band that they have every different pressing of every album the band made. Most of the time, the only difference in the album is the matrix number or a different ‘made in’ notation on the back cover or label. This is enough to make some people extremely excited. Actually, much more than excited.

More than 30 years ago, in Washington, D.C., I secured a copy of a single by a Los Angeles band called The Bags. The two-song 7-inch, released on Dangerhouse, had a girl on the cover who looked right at you with huge eyes. The songs, ‘Survive’ and ‘Babylonian Gorgon,’ were great and made many of my mix tapes.

I think the U.K. is an amazing place and has been extremely good to me. Some of my favorite and most-listened-to bands are from England. I have met many good people there and have been in front of some of the most loyal audiences I have ever encountered.

I don’t need to have my convictions confirmed by a show of numbers. However, being among people in front of a band leads me to believe that all is not lost, that humans, now and then, can communicate on a higher level than the political and the practical.

There is a lot to say about what Bikini Kill and other ‘riot grrrl’ bands were able to achieve when they first set out. They were not some momentary, convulsive, creative spasm of independent music. There was a very real, relevant point of view being expressed.

For a long time, when I was very young, I went to go see arena rock bands. I was 16, and it was all I could get in to see, legally. And I saw Led Zeppelin and Ted Nugent and Van Halen and all that.

In the late summer of 1986, the band I had been in for five years stopped playing. Suddenly, I was on my own. This new state of bandlessness was, at first, traumatic. When your group breaks up, a lot of broken parts hit the ground.

I don’t believe in fate or destiny. I believe in various degrees of hatred, paranoia, and abandonment. However much of that gets heaped upon you doesn’t matter – it’s only a matter of how much you can take and what it does to you.

The best compliment I get every year is that a band will write me and say, ‘We were just on tour, and we had people coming to our show saying they had never heard us before they heard us on your show.’

Too bad that Paul Ryan confessed to being a fan of Rage Against The Machine. By doing so, he not only begged for a bucketing by many of their fans but actually got one from the band’s guitar player, Tom Morello.

I have a lot of compact discs. I need them for radio play and convenience. Many bands and artists I am a fan of don’t always release their work on vinyl, so I take what they feel like giving me.

If you listen to the way I speak and watch the way I conduct myself – there’s nothing about me that’s rock n’ roll. It’s like, ‘Hello, I’m in a rock n’ roll band’. ‘No, you’re a narc.’

I get angry about stuff, I get very emotionally intense about stuff and that’s how I get it out – with books, with the band, on my own onstage, but it’s always kind of a wail.

Trying to write music, be in a band and keep it all happening is one of the hardest, morale-destroying, heartbreaking things you will ever try to do – and that’s when it’s going well.

When a band becomes as truly iconic as the Velvet Underground, there will often be a box set released, overburdened with mediocre material that dilutes what was fine left on its own.

I was at the first Minor Threat show, and you could tell, ‘This band is going to be the king of the town.’ It was obvious. They were so good.

Dinosaur Jr. in their live capacity are a band that put me in a state of such overwhelming rock that it often takes quite a while to come down.

Pride is a thing that I have tried to abandon completely. Try as I might, pride still creeps into many of the things I do.

If some band sucks, you’re going to have to find out about it for yourself, because I don’t have the interest in issuing warnings.

Certainly, there are huge, multiplatinum bands whose singers command their audience’s attention. Sadly, much of the time they have little to say.

This is my own little rock theory: In my mind, Nirvana slayed the hair bands. They shot the top off the poodles.

The Ruts were a great punk rock band from England whose songs were as excellent as their time together was short.

The Bad Seeds are a band I will travel a great distance to see whenever possible.

After I left D.C. to join Black Flag, I felt I was in a band.

Contemporary bands often will do tour-only releases pressed and sold only in Australia. Crikey!

Texas is a hotbed of insanely good bands and musicians.

I’m disappointed by bands left and right, every day.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘life’

Rollins is known for being introspective and thoughtful on many areas of life.

I spend several days at a time without enough sleep. At first, normal activities become annoying. When you are too tired to eat, you really need some sleep. A few days later, things become strange. Loud noises become louder and more startling, familiar sounds become unfamiliar, and life reinvents itself as a surrealist dream.

I’m 36 and if I met a woman of my own age and married her, I’d also be marrying her former life, her past. It might be OK for some people – I don’t want to judge it or anything – but it’s not for me. It would destroy my creativity.

The fact is, in the minds of many, Trayvon Martin received the appropriate punishment for a true crime: He was black, male and dared to walk outside. In life, young Trayvon was just a teenager; in death, he has been transformed into a scary, lurking, suspicious, prone-to-violence spook.

Think about it: No matter who you are, the past plays a large part in your life. I am all about living in the present as best as I can. Try as I might, there is only so much I am able to achieve on this front.

The first several years of my life were used to upload incredible amounts of fear, and I just became afraid of everything. I was afraid of my parents, afraid of my classmates, afraid of the streets of Washington, D.C. I would flinch at every gesture.

People like Jefferson, Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and M. L. K. are larger than life to me. I find myself staring at photographs of Lincoln almost in disbelief that he was a man who walked the earth and not merely some fiction writer’s creation.

So I’m more at home with my backpack, sleeping in a hotel room or on a bus or on an airplane, than I am necessarily on a bed. It’s weird being here. It feels like I’m standing next to my real life.

I have been listening to the Stooges’ self-titled first album for well over half my life, and it remains one of the most exciting and essential records I have ever had the good fortune to come into contact with.

Of course same sex marriage is constitutional! The right to be yourself, to pursue life, liberty, and property, is protected several ways over several amendments. John Boehner should know this.

I have had a number of less-than-enviable moments in my life when dealing with other people. I won’t attempt to blunt that by saying I am not the only one.

One of the odd enjoyments in life is to be alone in a room full of people. To have them there as unknowing human filler in your wide shot.

The month of November makes me feel that life is passing more quickly. In an effort to slow it down, I try to fill the hours more meaningfully.

To get a human through a life, lives of broken bones, knock-me-over-with-a-feather susceptibility to myriad viruses, and whatever else might befall someone will cost money.

We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don’t. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success.

I’ve never heard Daft Punk; I’ve never heard a track of theirs in my life. They’re the two guys with motorcycle helmets on?

With age, life becomes complex and difficult, often fraught with risk on several levels, from the practical to the fiscal.

If I had to live my life in anticipation of what others thought of me, little would get done.

Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.

Florida is a crazy place, and I have played some of the wildest shows of my life here.

But I have a good life. I enjoy what I do. I am married to work.

I’ve made some great mistakes in my life, but, you know, they were honest mistakes.

Music keeps you young. Having music in your life keeps you open to things.

I thought I was gonna be in the minimum-wage working world all my life.

War is very sad and small life is pathetically fragile at times.

I don’t want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride.

Life will not break your heart. It’ll crush it.

Life is weird, great and dangerous.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘try’, ‘trying’

One of Henry Rollins’ calling cards is his inner discipline and his commitment to his hectic lifestyle.

Everything I do, writing, touring, travelling, it all comes from the punk and hardcore attitude, from that expression – from being open to try things but relying on yourself, taking what you have into the battle and making of it what you will, hoping you can figure it out as you go. Make some sense of it.

Barack Obama’s administration responded to the Haitian crisis within 24 hours. Here comes the soldiers, here comes the food, go go go… Rush Limbaugh told his multi-millions of listeners that Obama only did that to gain favour with black people in America. This is the kind of idiocy that I have to deal with in my country.

When I’m off the road, and I can really control my diet down to the calorie, I juice seven days a week. Every afternoon, whatever I have at hand, beets, carrots, ginger, whatever. I juice, literally, every single day. And on the road, I try to find fresh juice wherever I can.

Think about it: No matter who you are, the past plays a large part in your life. I am all about living in the present as best as I can. Try as I might, there is only so much I am able to achieve on this front.

When you’re holding people’s attention, I feel you must give them high-quality ingredients. They deserve nothing but your best. And if they need information, get it, cross-check it, and try to be right. Do not waste their time; do not enjoy the ego trip of being onstage.

George Zimmerman is a foot soldier in a rapidly privatizing country. He is a new centurion of 21st-century America. Law enforcement is tied down by the strictures of, well, the law. There is only ‘so much they can do’ to take care of the ‘problem.’

Try driving the streets of Los Angeles without seeing a billboard depicting a film with a lead actor holding a gun. It’s almost as if guns are harmless props used to bring out the cheekbones and jawline of the screen star.

Trying to write music, be in a band and keep it all happening is one of the hardest, morale-destroying, heartbreaking things you will ever try to do – and that’s when it’s going well.

I’ve been in Iraq, and it never occurred to me to go, ‘Hey, this war is bogus,’ to some guy who’s 24 hours a day trying not to get shot at or blown up.

Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

Why do you think the old stories tell of men who set out on great journeys to impress the gods? Because trying to impress people just isn’t worth the time and effort.

I have healthy disagreements with political parties I’m not aligned with, but I don’t think it should be to the point where we’re cursing and trying to strangle each other.

Nelson Mandela will always be the face of South Africa. The traveler passing through the country will see Mandela’s face almost everywhere he looks. Truly, the man is omnipresent.

The month of November makes me feel that life is passing more quickly. In an effort to slow it down, I try to fill the hours more meaningfully.

Even though I am not hungry when I get up, I try to eat to get me ready for the day. Within an hour of getting up.

It is amazing to hear grown-up people rationalize homophobia and discrimination. The lengths they go to trying to prove their points take reason to its breaking point.

Pride is a thing that I have tried to abandon completely. Try as I might, pride still creeps into many of the things I do.

I try to get myself up and moving as early as possible. Optimum is to be on the treadmill while it is still dark outside.

I have been curious about Haiti for many years. The history of the country is as fascinating as it is turbulent.

Rock n’ roll unchained a nation and revolutionized radio and the record industry, not to mention the motion picture business.

I try to be well informed. I don’t know how well I do all the time, but I try nonetheless.

If I had to perform in a comedy club I would bomb; I would be trying too hard.

A country that has been through as much as Vietnam has to have some crazy music somewhere.

America is a country born from semi-mythologized blood, glory and acts of selfless patriotic sacrifice.

When people make my country look bad, I can’t stand it.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘war’

Henry Rollins made a name for himself in the 1990s as a political commentator. He has spent years working for military veterans, and has expressed his liberal political views.

To my ears, jazz sounds better in warm weather and after the sun has gone down. While I will listen to some of my favorite jazz records in cooler weather, it’s the warmer nights that really make them come alive. Something about those sounds and the heat of the night really makes it happen for me.

I think a lot of Americans have never been all that hungry. They’ve never had war on their shore, and they’ve never suffered the way other cultures have suffered. I’m not saying we should go suffer. Not at all. I’m saying we should be more aware of how other cultures exist.

Each year, every city in the world that can should have a multiday festival. More people meeting each other, digging new types of music, new foods, new ideas. You want to stop having so many wars? This could be a step in the right direction.

Edward Snowden, who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, professes to have had access to whatever he wanted to know about anyone’s anything. If he’s telling the truth, why does he have such permeability without any government oversight? Is that OK with you?

I don’t know if music has ever achieved anything past appealing to the people that it appeals to. If a song could stop a war, then Bob Marley and Bob Dylan songs would have stopped one or two.

In many ways, America is on the receiving end of a pendulum that has been swung with great force, and for a long time, outward into the world. The impact is a wake-up call on every level.

I contribute a large amount of money to the Southern Poverty Law Center, so I’m on their mailing list for all their Klan Watch newsletters. I’m very well aware of White Power movements in America.

Before the Civil War, the Southern states were selling a lot of cotton to England and didn’t seem to mind British occupation. By and large, the Revolutionary War wasn’t at all great for business.

I’ve been in Iraq, and it never occurred to me to go, ‘Hey, this war is bogus,’ to some guy who’s 24 hours a day trying not to get shot at or blown up.

To anger female voters in America is to tread on the tiger’s tail. Women turn out in huge numbers, and they are well aware of how their bodies work and what they need.

I have always identified with Joan Didion’s depiction of Los Angeles and Southern California, ever since reading ‘Play It As It Lays,’ ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’ and ‘The White Album.’

I am a veteran of the War on Christmas. I am just emerging from a battlefield strewn with dead trees and torn shreds of brightly colored wrapping paper.

Like a lot of inwardly drawn young people, I spent a lot of time in libraries. At my high school, I often spent my lunch breaks there.

Now and then, someone is able to look at an empty space, conclude it would be a great place to start a revolution, and bravely go forward.

I’d like to talk to Arnold Schwarzenegger, ’cause I live in California and I just want to see that canned, chemical filled body in my office.

If some band sucks, you’re going to have to find out about it for yourself, because I don’t have the interest in issuing warnings.

I love capitalism. It rewards me for being brave – it awards me for being innovative and thinking out of the box.

We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.

War is very sad and small life is pathetically fragile at times.

The truth is an anti-war statement in itself.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘song’, ‘singing’

Rollins has plenty to say on the creative process and on the meeting of art and commerce.

More than 30 years ago, in Washington, D.C., I secured a copy of a single by a Los Angeles band called The Bags. The two-song 7-inch, released on Dangerhouse, had a girl on the cover who looked right at you with huge eyes. The songs, ‘Survive’ and ‘Babylonian Gorgon,’ were great and made many of my mix tapes.

The ecstatic insanity of romantic pursuit can be so enhanced by music that entire romantic conquests, victories and ruinous, crushing defeats can be tied to songs to such a degree that it’s almost unbearable to listen to them again, as they bring back the memories so vividly.

Seven-11 is the pulse-beat of America. I think that Bruce Springsteen should do a song about a 7-11 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, but write it in such a way that American’s youth can identify and slurp along with the Boss. Hail the Boss! Hail 7-11!

Between the Dinosaur Jr. albums and his recent solo albums, ‘Several Shades of Why’ and ‘Heavy Blanket,’ J Mascis is emerging as one of the last men from all that ’80s indie madness, still writing songs that you want to listen to over and over.

I once asked Ozzy Osbourne, truly one of my favorite people in the world, if he was cool with singing Black Sabbath songs year after year, whether he was performing with Black Sabbath or out on a solo tour. He said it was great.

I don’t know if music has ever achieved anything past appealing to the people that it appeals to. If a song could stop a war, then Bob Marley and Bob Dylan songs would have stopped one or two.

When I think of Mick Jagger still singing that he can’t get any satisfaction in over forty years of being in the Rolling Stones, I have to conclude that he’s either lying or not all that bright.

One of the nice things about a favorite pop song is that it’s an unconditional truce on judgment and musical snobbery. You like the song because you just do, and there need not be any further criticism.

Whenever any great song or album gets lost in the ether, someone is deprived of the joy of hearing it, and the great effort of those who created and recorded the work is damaged.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a hopeless romantic who listens to love ballads and doo-wop songs all the time.

The Ruts were a great punk rock band from England whose songs were as excellent as their time together was short.

Ramones music has a Pavlovian effect on me – the song starts, and the world blurs around the sound.

In blues music, there’s a lot of borrowing, so it’s often difficult to identify the originator of a song.

Songs sung under duress are often very powerful.

I don’t cuss in songs. It’s too easy.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘rock’

In these quotations, Rollins talks about various definitions of rock ‘n’ roll and about his place in the rock universe.

In Israel, there’s a lot to learn from anyone, because to live there you’ve got to deal with the truth. Things happen real fast. Your day goes from cool to catastrophic in one second. Israelis know that the cafe you’re in could blow up, or the shopping mall, and they rock that.

For me, Memphis has always been a city that holds a great deal of meaning and also leads me to a lot of thinking. Besides Sun Studio, which helped put rock n’ roll on the map all over the world, the legendary Stax Studio also called Memphis home.

For a long time, when I was very young, I went to go see arena rock bands. I was 16, and it was all I could get in to see, legally. And I saw Led Zeppelin and Ted Nugent and Van Halen and all that.

If you listen to the way I speak and watch the way I conduct myself – there’s nothing about me that’s rock n’ roll. It’s like, ‘Hello, I’m in a rock n’ roll band’. ‘No, you’re a narc.’

Republicans just can’t help themselves. They get in front of a live microphone and within a few sentences are rocketing down the swiftest and most direct route to the all-you-can-eat comedian-and-talk-show-host buffet.

Dinosaur Jr. in their live capacity are a band that put me in a state of such overwhelming rock that it often takes quite a while to come down.

Rock is ironic in that, up to a certain point, you can get better and better at it if you don’t mind possibly looking more and more ridiculous.

This is my own little rock theory: In my mind, Nirvana slayed the hair bands. They shot the top off the poodles.

The Ruts were a great punk rock band from England whose songs were as excellent as their time together was short.

Rock n’ roll unchained a nation and revolutionized radio and the record industry, not to mention the motion picture business.

My father did not rock. He just earned and hated. Don’t end up like this man.

I have always maintained that Iggy Pop is the Heavyweight Champion of Rock & Roll.

Where there is young people and vitality, you’re going to find punk rock.

Questioning anything and everything, to me, is punk rock.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘write’, ‘writing’

Rollins has written books, has performed spoken-word audiobooks; and is also the author of music reviews, articles on music and culture, and many editorials on political topics.

Youths write me and tell me that their band will go nowhere because of all the bad bands in the world. I tell them there has always been awful music and that no great band ever wasted any time complaining, they just got it done. Their ropey ranting is just a way to get out of the hard work of making music that will do some lasting damage.

Everything I do, writing, touring, travelling, it all comes from the punk and hardcore attitude, from that expression – from being open to try things but relying on yourself, taking what you have into the battle and making of it what you will, hoping you can figure it out as you go. Make some sense of it.

If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light, If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you.

Seven-11 is the pulse-beat of America. I think that Bruce Springsteen should do a song about a 7-11 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, but write it in such a way that American’s youth can identify and slurp along with the Boss. Hail the Boss! Hail 7-11!

Between the Dinosaur Jr. albums and his recent solo albums, ‘Several Shades of Why’ and ‘Heavy Blanket,’ J Mascis is emerging as one of the last men from all that ’80s indie madness, still writing songs that you want to listen to over and over.

People like Jefferson, Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and M. L. K. are larger than life to me. I find myself staring at photographs of Lincoln almost in disbelief that he was a man who walked the earth and not merely some fiction writer’s creation.

The best compliment I get every year is that a band will write me and say, ‘We were just on tour, and we had people coming to our show saying they had never heard us before they heard us on your show.’

I’ve always seen it as the role of an artist to drag his inside out, give the audience all you’ve got. Writers, actors, singers, all good artists do the same. It isn’t supposed to be easy.

Trying to write music, be in a band and keep it all happening is one of the hardest, morale-destroying, heartbreaking things you will ever try to do – and that’s when it’s going well.

The opportunity to write for the ‘L.A. Weekly’ has been one of the better breaks that has come my way in a long time.

I can only write about personal stuff, about my point of view.

I’m not a very good writer. I’m working at it.

All my big heroes are literary, writers.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘love’

Henry has many controversial opnions and several unconventional views. Here he uses the word “love,” often ironically, to discuss many of them, and also mentions some of the things he professes to truly love.

If the death of Osama Bin Laden brings any peace to those who lost loved ones on that awful day in September 2001, that is a great thing. It is more likely, however, just a painful reminder of what was lost.

In the city of Pyongyang, you don’t have to look very far to see an image of the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung. They love the guy. He is responsible for the wonder that is North Korea.

Don’t do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts.

I’d love to talk to Janeane Garafalo or Randi Rhodes or Stephanie Miller from Air America. I’m an Air American junkie; I listen to them every day.

And I love the hate mail I get, the unsigned, misspelled letters I get telling me to go back to Russia or wherever.

I love capitalism. It rewards me for being brave – it awards me for being innovative and thinking out of the box.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a hopeless romantic who listens to love ballads and doo-wop songs all the time.

The blues is losing someone you love and not having enough money to immerse yourself in drink.

Giving a good performance, giving it all is what it’s all about. I love to perform.

Kids need parents who love and support them unconditionally, full stop.

I love being a storyteller. I love telling stories.

I love to go on stage and sing.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘pain’

Here, Henry Rollins discusses mental and emotional pain, as well as physical pain.

I hate painting with a broad brush, but I think the birther thing, at its root, is racist. The guy was born in Hawaii. A black guy is president. It’s cool. Get over it. Just deal with it. There’s nothing you could show these birther people that would shut them up.

It is instilled in thousands of American males from an early age that one of their requirements is to be able to both dish out and take a lot of pain. They are taught the rules of this road in gyms, rings, backyards and fields all over America.

I think that humans have a huge capacity to carry pain and sadness. There are things that haunt us our entire lives; we are unable to let them go. The good times seem almost effervescent and dreamlike in comparison with the times that didn’t go so well.

Death metal uses a lot of white face paint and black hair dye to make its point. I quite enjoy this genre for its intensity, extremism and underlying irony: You have to be alive to play it and listen to it.

If the death of Osama Bin Laden brings any peace to those who lost loved ones on that awful day in September 2001, that is a great thing. It is more likely, however, just a painful reminder of what was lost.

I know that collector types can be a pain in the neck and seem perpetually frozen in time – or at least in their parents’ basement – but someone has to look out for the past, lest it slip away forever.

We spend millions of dollars to remove pain from our lives. It’s why so many people get hooked on painkillers. The body becomes addicted to painlessness. That tells you a lot.

I think about the meaning of pain. Pain is personal. It really belongs to the one feeling it. Probably the only thing that is your own. I like mine.

The only thing about sanctions is that, like a lot of drone strikes, there are countless unintended victims. Cutting off aid to Uganda only increases the pain there.

You might as well enjoy the day – you never know when and how painfully it could all end.

We are misery-making machines! Homo sapiens has perfected the art of causing suffering. Pain is humankind’s collective GDP.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘records’

Whether it’s listening, recording, producing, or collecting, Rollins has a lot to tell the public about records.

My mother, a very eclectic listener, had the first Doors album and gave it to me when I expressed interest in the band. It was one of the first records I ever had. As the years passed, the babysitters who used to look after me would bring their Doors albums to the apartment, and that’s how I got to hear their later work.

To my ears, jazz sounds better in warm weather and after the sun has gone down. While I will listen to some of my favorite jazz records in cooler weather, it’s the warmer nights that really make them come alive. Something about those sounds and the heat of the night really makes it happen for me.

I’m a big fan of the American Tapes label. But that’s very hard to keep a grip on that because you blink your eyes and they’ve released three records, all of which are limited edition, all sold at one show. So you have to follow in drips and drops on eBay, which I do.

Miles Davis would have this lineup of all these amazing musicians and one day would just say, ‘We’re done.’ After tons of great records and tickets sold, he said, ‘Now I’m going to grow my hair out and play my horn through a wah-wah pedal.’ Rather than play it safe, he went on.

My laptop seems to know where I am, even if I don’t. My cellphone asks me if I want directions to anywhere from the spot I am standing in. I buy a record online and Amazon.com sends me letters, telling me that people who bought what I bought also bought these other records.

I have been listening to the Stooges’ self-titled first album for well over half my life, and it remains one of the most exciting and essential records I have ever had the good fortune to come into contact with.

I don’t mind The Boss. I think he’s an honest guy. I have some of his records, not all of them. I’ve met a couple of the E-Street guys, and they seem really cool.

I have been an XL fan of Devo since I was in high school in the 1970s. Their records only sound better with time.

Castle Face Records, run by The Oh Sees main man, Johnny Dwyer is always worth checking in with.

There are records that, in my opinion, only reach their full potential when the listener is disoriented.

Collecting records is, for many, beyond a hobby.

Henry Rollins quotes on: ‘money’

Money means a lot of things to society and to Rollins; he doesn’t covet it for it’s own sake, but as a result of hard work.

The prison-industrial complex and the military-industrial complex are here with us and are multi-billion dollar enterprises. We can make more money off the kid in Compton if he’s a criminal instead of a scholar. It’s business.

I contribute a large amount of money to the Southern Poverty Law Center, so I’m on their mailing list for all their Klan Watch newsletters. I’m very well aware of White Power movements in America.

Rush Limbaugh makes money getting simpleminded people to feel good about their intellectually undernourished brain spasms. He’s very good at it, and I scarcely believe a fraction of what he says.

I’m not into fame. I’m not into making money, outside of financing my books. I’m not into status. My thing is basically about time – not wasting it.

To get a human through a life, lives of broken bones, knock-me-over-with-a-feather susceptibility to myriad viruses, and whatever else might befall someone will cost money.

The blues is losing someone you love and not having enough money to immerse yourself in drink.

I think Naomi Klein was very astute with her book ‘Shock Doctrine.’ We make money on disaster.

Citizens United didn’t work. Hey, Koch brothers, Karl Rove, Shellgame Adelson: Democracy trumps money sometimes.

Other quotes from Henry Rollins

Here we see Henry Rollins musing on music, fame, passion for art, and other facets of life on which he has philosophical views.

Youths write me and tell me that their band will go nowhere because of all the bad bands in the world. I tell them there has always been awful music and that no great band ever wasted any time complaining, they just got it done. Their ropey ranting is just a way to get out of the hard work of making music that will do some lasting damage.

Amy Winehouse was not a person I ever met, and I can’t say that I am overly conversant in all of her music. I do have her albums, and years ago, when I first heard her sing, I thought she was extraordinary. The tone of her voice, her phrasing, her raw appearance – these qualities were extremely captivating to me.

I wasn’t playing the music, the music was playing me… and once that went away, and I had the feeling I was playing music, I had to stop. The need to go onstage and get my brain flattened every night left me, and what I didn’t wanna do is go onstage and perpetrate a fraud… You cannot fool an audience.

Miles Davis would have this lineup of all these amazing musicians and one day would just say, ‘We’re done.’ After tons of great records and tickets sold, he said, ‘Now I’m going to grow my hair out and play my horn through a wah-wah pedal.’ Rather than play it safe, he went on.

It’s hard to get people at a record company to talk about music. They don’t seem to want to talk about music, it’s all marketing, and that’s part of a record, you gotta get it out there, people have gotta hear it, but you could do it in a way that’s not repulsive.

I am not immune to the lure of a signed record, flier or set list. The fact that your music heroes potentially had, in their own hands, the record you now have in yours is kind of cool. When the musician has departed, it can give the thing a unique power.

One of the most prevalent and undermentioned genres of music is what is known as noise. You can find it all over the world happening in basements, small venues and even some festivals. Often blown off or belittled by critics, the form for the most part goes unheard and unnoticed.

To combat the confusion and depression that assault me when I come off the road in the middle of a tour, I seek the most oblivionated music possible. When it’s the ‘way out there’ that I seek, I go right to my stash of amazing music from Japan.

The ecstatic insanity of romantic pursuit can be so enhanced by music that entire romantic conquests, victories and ruinous, crushing defeats can be tied to songs to such a degree that it’s almost unbearable to listen to them again, as they bring back the memories so vividly.

As far as I have been able to understand, the Japanese seem to keep things close to the vest. Friendly but remote and polite to the point of being invisible. It is in the music, literature, film and art that the Japanese really seem to express themselves.

There is a lot to say about what Bikini Kill and other ‘riot grrrl’ bands were able to achieve when they first set out. They were not some momentary, convulsive, creative spasm of independent music. There was a very real, relevant point of view being expressed.

Each year, every city in the world that can should have a multiday festival. More people meeting each other, digging new types of music, new foods, new ideas. You want to stop having so many wars? This could be a step in the right direction.

It took me until my teenage years to realize that I was medicating with music. I was pushing back against my stupid school uniform, instructors who called me by my last name and my classmates, who, while friendly enough, were not at all inspiring.

I would hate to think that some people have found themselves in a musical cul-de-sac and have ceased to explore new music, or at least music that is new to them, because they are so glued to the past.

Sometimes when you meet a musician you are a fan of, and he or she isn’t the friendliest person, you walk away from the experience wondering if you will ever be able to listen to their music again.

I don’t know if music has ever achieved anything past appealing to the people that it appeals to. If a song could stop a war, then Bob Marley and Bob Dylan songs would have stopped one or two.

One of the nice things about a favorite pop song is that it’s an unconditional truce on judgment and musical snobbery. You like the song because you just do, and there need not be any further criticism.

I tend to gravitate to the darkest or most obscure part of any venue in an effort to have my own space to experience the music on my own, free from unwanted conversations and other distractions.

If you are a musician who has released albums, it would perhaps be morbidly interesting to know how much you would be owed if everyone who now has your music had actually bought your record.

Trying to write music, be in a band and keep it all happening is one of the hardest, morale-destroying, heartbreaking things you will ever try to do – and that’s when it’s going well.

Let’s pretend my career in music is a bell. Whether you like my music or not is up to you. But you’ve got to admit I rang that bell pretty hard and pretty often.

I don’t know if you have ever seen the Woody Allen film ‘Annie Hall,’ but it is, in a way, to Los Angeles and ‘Hollywood’ what ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ is to many musicians.

You could split hairs and bring up words like ‘doo-wop’ and terms like ‘soul’ or ‘R&B’, but I think pop music is what you want it to be – that’s why it’s pop.

My first introduction to African music was by my mother, who bought the ‘Pata Pata’ album by the great Miriam Makeba when it came out. Now that is an album. What a voice.

If I were a doctor, I would prescribe that you addict yourself deeply and irrevocably to music and never, ever seek cure outside of more music. It really is the best drug available.

Lou Reed’s music has been in the lives of millions of people all over the world for decades. He had a truly universal presence and was respected by musicians across all genres.

What does New York sound like? For me, the Charlie Parker at the Royal Roost recordings on the Savoy label are the total embodiment of the New York music experience.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m willing to bet one of my arms right now that as long as there’s electricity, Ramones music is going to be relevant.

As so much music is listened to via MP3 download, many will never experience the joy of analog playback, and for them, I feel sorry. They are missing out.

Jazz music is as American as it gets, and so is the U.S. Postal Service. A Miles Davis stamp is a perfect marriage of two great American institutions.

To burn a CDR of music you like to give as a gift to someone you wish to become closer to is a cold, moist-palmed, mouth-breathing bummer.

As a young person, I was on the road playing music, so I was getting new environments shoved in my face whether I wanted them or not.

The scarcity of the music not only makes the music itself enjoyable but it also gives the collector a strange sense of superiority.

Ramones music has a Pavlovian effect on me – the song starts, and the world blurs around the sound.

In blues music, there’s a lot of borrowing, so it’s often difficult to identify the originator of a song.

A country that has been through as much as Vietnam has to have some crazy music somewhere.

Technically speaking, there is no music whatsoever on a CD. Lots of information, but no music.

Music to me is mankind’s greatest possible achievement because look at all the good it does.

Without the blues, modern music would be nothing like it is now – not remotely.

There’s no rule that you have to like Henry Rollins the musician or the actor.

Music files and downloading have indeed changed the currency of music to a great degree.

One person’s roar is another’s whine, just as one person’s music is another’s unendurable noise.

I come from a town of great musicians: Washington, D.C. It’s no joke, that history.

Music keeps you young. Having music in your life keeps you open to things.

I think Perry Ferrell put independent music on a very good path with Lollapalooza.

Texas is a hotbed of insanely good bands and musicians.

Musicians should not play music. Music should play musicians.

Scott Asheton was a brilliant drummer, a natural musician.

Live music is the cure for what ails ya.

The world’s a better place since I chose music.

Some music really does suck!