Friday, October 12, 2007

Henry, Henry, Henry!

As mentioned previously, Winifred and I went to see Henry Rollins on his Provoked tour. It is worth discussing, even briefly, because Winifred is not a typical Henry fan.
...But I am. I regard Henry, or as my friends have taken to calling him, "Hank", with the utmost reverence. The only pedestals higher than Henry's and Joe Strummer's, are Lisa Simpson's and, finally, my family. Oh, but my love, for Henry! First, there is his career in music--he left his job at Haagen Daaz to sing for Black Flag, a band that pioneered hardcore punk with an unmatched ferocity. Musically, Black Flag took jazz and played it really fast. I'd like to see My Chemical Romance give that a shot. (Actually, I'd prefer they don't; I'm not fond of MCR and their ultimate failure would probably give way to frustration.) Henry didn't write the music, but he took copious notes in the form of journals, which turned into his book Get in the Van. After Black Flag, he started his own publishing company. He hosts/ed his own TV show on IFC, radio show, and tours tirelessly with stand up and The Rollins Band. I saw the band last summer in DC, and lost my mind in the excitment when Provoked was announced. The man never stops, and I think it's cool. I find a solace in his anger; like Jeffrey Rowland, he Takes One for the Team and watches Fox News so I don't have to. He's angry with the State of Things. I'm surrounded by apathy and I need to see someone riled up; Henry is the man for me. He also let me interview him in what is my biggest journalistic accomplishment to date, if only because I find it so incredibly exciting.
Winifred decided the night before that she might like to go too, so I bought her a ticket. I warned her, Henry is an angry man. Henry yells, and he uses profanity. Henry is angry with President Bush, furious with Ann Coulter (where to now, my sweet fascist? will learn the meaning of respect and learn every word of Caddy Shack!), and aggressive. He is The Biggest Neck in Rock 'n' Roll, I say. But The King nods enthusiastically and says, "Your mother hates Bush, too!"
So onward we went, though I was hesitant. We secured the last two seats at the venue after a delicious lunch down the street. A life altering lunch in which Winifred discovered that she loves chimichangas.
...And...nothing bad happened. Henry yelled, he used profanities, but he encited laughter from Winifred. Winifred nudged me as she agreed with Henry, and she nudged often.
She said the following in an e-mail to the family, cementing her approval of Hank:

Henry Rollins was very entertaining. He talked non-stop from 7:30 pm to 10:10pm. No intermission and not a sip of water from the bottle he brought on stage with him. There was a story about his singing at a benefit with the Ruts, an English band that, in my mind, did not need to go on for 40 minutes or so, but KMH enjoyed every one of those words. My most enjoyable moment was his take on Condoleeza Rice.

Questions followed. CondRo? What could he have said about CondRo? It must have been revolutionary, they agreed. (You can read a review from DCist here.)
The biggest accomplishment, however, was not that she agreed, but that the drive home was filled with questions. Who were The Ruts? I didn't need to know so much, but... and Tell me more about Henry.
And because I am obsessed, I did. I was able to answer questions about his upbringing (mother, DC), college (American University, but it was short-lived), music (Black Flag, The Rollins band), friends (Ian MacKayeww, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Discord Records people, Bad Brains), bands he mentioned (The U.K. Subs, Iggy Pop, The Stooges, The Damned), DC's then-burgeoning hardcore scene. How he walks through his old neighborhood, pays regular visits to his mother and MacKaye's family, etc.
I am always over-the-moon when Winifred wants to know about a topic she thinks I am well-versed in. But this time, she wasn't asking about current events, she was asking about hardcore, and it was the coolest thing I'd told her about in a long time.

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