Henry Rollins

Just got an email from Concord Records about the Claremont Folk Festival. Henry Rollins is one of the headliners. Now I’ve seen Henry Rollins in some unexpected places….in particular a Miles Davis tribute party telling the MTV cameras that he we was SO influenced by Miles’ MUSIC and sounding like a steroidal eruption (the reporters ate it up), but no matter how hard I try I can’t see how he fits in at a folk festival. Maybe he was SO influenced by Pete Seeger’s MUSIC. Maybe he plays the ukulele. Maybe he’s added a twang to his spoken word. Whatever.

Actually I like Henry. He’s done really well and done it all himself. He’s got that great radio show on KCRW, and I like his column in the LA Weekly. I remember him from the Black Flag daze, way back in the last century. He even used to live in Silver Lake, right behind me, he on Maltman, we on Edgecliffe. His solo career was just underway, and he was already a bit of a rock star. We had a nice chat on the sidewalk once which he wouldn’t remember but I do (rock stars never remember). I saw him once coming out of Big Mac’s liquor store on Sunset with a bevy of punk rock babes and was impressed. But I especially remember him at the local market, where I loutishly grabbed tomatoes like they were tennis balls but he gingerly squeezed each, looking for perfection. I felt shame. I saw Glenn Danzig do the same at a different market not long after. Both had a lot of tattoos, I had none. And both knew a lot more about squeezing tomatoes than I did, tho’ now, when I carefully pick through a pile at Super King, I ought to thank Henry at least. Henry, incidentally, was a lot taller than Danzig,  Danzig was more tatted. I was always hoping to run into Lemmy squeezing tomatoes, or all of Metallica or even Pat Boone during his heavy metal stage. Nope. There was Henry and there was Danzig. I’d seen Danzig at Al’s Bar with the Misfits. We talked about that over the tomatoes. I can’t remember what I said to Henry over those tomatoes. Maybe nothing, maybe I was too jarred by the sight of the way gnarly dude from Black Flag who’d smashed that mirror on the cover of Damaged and was here with that very same fist–well, same hand anyway–handling tomatoes like they were baby sparrows, just fragile little things, so easy to bruise.

And now he’s one of the headliners at the Claremont Folk Festival. One never knows, does one.