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Henry Rollins - singer, spoken word artist, writer, actor and much more!

Updated on February 18, 2013

About Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins (born Henry Lawrence Garfield; February 13, 1961) is an American singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, writer, publisher, actor, radio DJ, and activist.

After performing for the short-lived Washington D.C.-based band State of Alert in 1980, Rollins fronted the California hardcore punk band Black Flag from August 1981 until early 1986. Following the band's breakup, Rollins soon established the record label and publishing company 2.13.61 to release his spoken word albums, as well as forming the Rollins Band, which toured with a number of lineups until 2003 and during 2006.

Since Black Flag, Rollins has embarked on projects covering a variety of media. He has hosted numerous radio shows, such as Harmony in My Head on Indie 103, and television shows such as The Henry Rollins Show, MTV's 120 Minutes, and Jackass. He had a recurring dramatic role as a white supremacist in the second season of Sons of Anarchy and has also had roles in several films. Rollins has also campaigned for various political causes in the United States, including promoting marriage equality for LGBT couples, World Hunger Relief, and an end to war in particular, and tours overseas with the United Service Organizations to entertain American troops.

Henry's High School Year Book Picture
Henry's High School Year Book Picture

Early life

Born Henry Lawrence Garfield in Washington, D.C., he was raised in the Glover Park neighborhood of the city. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and was raised by his mother. As a child, Rollins suffered from depression and low self-esteem. He was raised primarily by his mother, Iris, who taught him how to read before he was enrolled in kindergarten; however, due to "bad grades, bad attitude, poor conduct," he was soon enrolled at The Bullis School, a preparatory school in Potomac, Maryland.

According to Rollins, the Bullis School helped him to develop a sense of discipline and a strong work ethic. It was at Bullis that he began writing; his early literary efforts were mainly short stories about "blowing up my school and murdering all the teachers." Despite the relative affluence of Glover Park, for Rollins "it was a very rough upbringing in a lot of other ways. I accumulated a lot of rage by the time I was seventeen or eighteen."


1980's Era Henry Rollins
1980's Era Henry Rollins


No Policy (1981)

three songs on the sampler Flex Your Head (1982)


Damaged (1981)

My War (1984)

Family Man (1984)

Slip It In (1984)

Loose Nut (1985)

In My Head (1985)


Life Time (1987, re-release 1999)

Hard Volume (1989, re-release 1999)

The End of Silence (1992, double-CD re-release 2002)

Weight (1994)

Come in and Burn (1997)

Get Some Go Again (2000)

Nice (2001)

Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three (2002)

Get Black Flag songs at Amazon MP3

Rollins Band MP3's on Amazon


Rollins began his film career appearing in several independent films featuring the band Black Flag. His film debut was in 1982's The Slog Movie, about the West Coast punk scene. An appearance in 1985's Black Flag Live followed. Rollins' first film appearance without Black Flag was the short film The Right Side of My Brain with Lydia Lunch in 1985. Following the band's breakup, Rollins did not appear in any films until 1994's The Chase. Rollins appeared in the 2007 direct-to-DVD sequel to Wrong Turn (2003), Wrong Turn 2: Dead End as a retired Marine Corps officer who hosts his own show which tests the contestants' will to survive. Rollins has also appeared in Punk: Attitude, a documentary on the punk scene, and in American Hardcore (2006).

Some feature length movies Henry Rollins has appeared in include:

Kiss Napoleon Goodbye (1990), with Lydia Lunch and Don Bajema.

The Chase (1994), with Charlie Sheen.

Johnny Mnemonic (1995), with Keanu Reeves, Ice T and Dolph Lundgren.

Heat (1995), with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer.

Lost Highway (1997), with Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette. Directed by David Lynch.

Jack Frost (1998), with Michael Keaton.

Morgan's Ferry (2001), with Billy Zane and Kelly McGillis.

Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001 documentary)

Scenes of the Crime (2001), with Jeff Bridges.

The New Guy (2002), with Tommy Lee and DJ Qualls.

Jackass The Movie (2002) with Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera.

Jackass Number Two (2006) with Preston Lacy, Steve-O, and Chris Pontius.

Bad Boys 2 (2003), with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Feast (2005), with Balthazar Getty and Navi Rawat.

The Alibi (2006)

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

The Devil's Tomb (2009)

H for Hunger (2009 documentary)

William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet (2009 documentary)

Spoken word

Short Walk on a Long Pier (1985)

Big Ugly Mouth (1987)

Sweatbox (1989)

Live at McCabe's (1990)

Human Butt (1992)

The Boxed Life (1993)

Think Tank (1998)

Eric the Pilot (1999)

A Rollins in the Wry (2001)

Live at the Westbeth Theater (2001)

Talk Is Cheap: Volume 1 (2003)

Talk Is Cheap: Volume 2 (2003)

Talk Is Cheap: Volume 3 (2004)

Talk Is Cheap: Volume 4 (2004)

Provoked (2008)

Spoken Word Guy (2010)

Spoken Word Guy 2 (2010)

Spoken word videos

Talking from the Box (1993)

Henry Rollins Goes to London (1995)

You Saw Me Up There (1998)

Up for It (2001)

Live at Luna Park (2004)

Shock & Awe: The Tour (2005)

Uncut from NYC (2007)

San Francisco 1990 (2007)

Live in the Conversation Pit (2008)

Audio Books

Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag (1994)

Everything (1996)

Black Coffee Blues (1997)

Nights Behind the Tree Line (2004)


Iron and the Soul First published in Details magazine, 1994.

Cover of Black Coffee Blues by Henry Rollins
Cover of Black Coffee Blues by Henry Rollins


Rollins has written a series of books based on his travel journals referred to as the Black Coffee Blues trilogy.

They include the namesake book, Black Coffee Blues

Do I Come Here Often?

The First Five and Smile, You're Traveling.

Others include See a Grown Man Cry, Now Watch Him Die

Get in the Van

Eye Scream

Broken Summers



Order Henry Rollins Books on Amazon


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