Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rollin' Along with Muse #3

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"When those walls close in around you,
When all around you doubt you,
When the world can live without you,
Get a grip and keep it"--Henry Rollins 'Grip'

The first time I read those words they were quoted in probably one of the last issues of Creem magazine. The journalist clearly worshiped Mr. Rollins, praising this verse as a profound message to the masses on how to survive. 

As a matter of fact, I found them to be the exact words of wisdom I needed to get through my teens. I figured if he could not only exist, but THRIVE in the chaos that was HIS life, then so could I. This verse became a kind of mantra for me, and I've been an admirer of his ever since.

And over the years my respect for him grows. He's a punk icon, having fronted Black Flag and The Rollins Band. And when the punk scene gave way to metal, glam rock, and grunge, he traveled the world. He got his own radio show. He did documentaries for National Geographic.He went on spoken word tours. (You may have noticed I appreciate musicians who evolve their careers to stay relevant.)

And guess what? He's funny, educated, and cares a great deal for the world and its inhabitants. And he's' absolutely fearless. 

My husband and I got to see him here in Edmonton on his "The Long March" Tour. He told us stories about the punk scene: Like the poor girl who lost an eye when a large stagediver landed on her. He told us about trying to decide between a chocolate bar he loved and a larger one he hated because the gross one was bigger and he was down to his last 30 cents. How while he was deciding this, two cowboys tried to bully two cross-dressers and ended up running away like frightened little girls. He told us how he was filming for National Geographic and drank a glass of cow urine...Only to discover he was drinking the unsterilized version...Then his cameraman insisted on another take. Even my jaded troll loved him.

He made us laugh, cry, and think for three hours without missing a beat and without even a drink of water. It was after that show that he became an official muse for me. As my career waxes and wanes, will I have the same courage he does? 

I learned so much about him. What I don't understand is how a man who has been through so much can be so strong, humorous and caring. He's a brave and passionate man and I guess he never lost his grip.

And for those reasons, Henry Rollins is museworthy.