Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A review of A Dull Roar by Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins, A Dull Roar is another journal of his life depicting events and moods in the spring and summer in 2006. The first half deals with his experiences getting his band back together & then hired and working on a film in Vancouver. After each entry is a short list of what Mr. Rollins ate and drank. The book like a life has a few themes, the first the movie and the second, the last tour with The Rollins Band. As with most of Rollins’ works I felt his pain as he honestly deals with depression and a constant struggle to maintain an internal and physical strength. The mind is a powerful weapon and Henry is - as he declares - is,” The Spear.”
If there is any question as to what makes this man tick, here as with most of his writing is an open door into the mind of Rollins. His themes revolve around an obsessive work habit, his experiences in his old band Black Flag, to his self induced isolation since he has little patience for anyone other than a few key players. In an amusing sidebar, Jeannie Garoafalo appears, she insists that Henry will paint her apartment next time he is in New York. The Rollins Band themselves is an assortment of characters, and yet throughout I felt there was a murky distance between Rollins and the players. He does not go into detail about what they’ve done since the last time they were together which was close to ten years. Doesn’t share if they married and had children, a little report would be satisfactory. I was left wondering what or who the other member were, but reading Rollins you need to prepare yourself since he writes about what he assumes the reader will find enlightening - himself and has little regard for others except for the writers, Wolfe and Fitzgerald. He’s obsessed with Tender Is the Night, and declares it’s his favorite book; I started reading it last night and was surprised by the flowery writing compared to Henry Miller who is another one of his favorites or some other French poets.
Other notable passages are when he goes back to his childhood in DC, and how important it is for him to get back at least once a year. There is a good scene when he hangs out with his long time friend Ian MacKaye. There are other scenes of meeting fans outside his bus and of course his discipline preparing for each performance.
I’m looking forward to reading more of his works, I appreciate his blunt and honest depictions, what’s intriguing is his passion for knowledge, his love of music is contagious, and yet I would always give the man his space to discover his demons.

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