Category: Henry Rollins / Rollins Band

Black Flag – Hard Volume

ARTIST: Rollins Band                   Rollins_Band_Hard_Volume

TITLE: Hard Volume

YEAR RELEASED: 1989

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Hard, Planet Joe

LINEUP: Henry Rollins, Chris Haskett, Andrew Weiss, Sim Cain

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second full studio album hampered by production, redundancy, and a too long jam (later expunged)

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Normally, Theo Van Rock makes the Rollins Band crackle and burn, but this mastering or mix here seems muddy and flat. The same could be said about some of the material.

While Andrew Weiss’s bass takes a starring role, and Chris Haskett’s guitar can still heat up igloos, the back half of the album finds Rollins in the midst of howling his dirges, and using a lot of repetition to get his point across.

The last track of the original release was a way-way too long jam that was thankfully snipped out on re-release in favor of demos and some outtakes that would be re-recorded to make future appearances on records. This is one Rollins record that’s not vital to own.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: It would be three years before the Rollins Band released another studio album, though they still toured constantly.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, see above. 

GRADE: C: A clunker with a few glimmers of hope (and a good bass sound).

The Rollins Band – Do It

ARTIST: The Rollins Band               Rollins_Do_It

TITLE:  Do It

YEAR RELEASED: 1987

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None.

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The live set has  a lot of Rollins Band faves.

LINEUP: Henry Rollins, Chris Haskett, Andrew Weiss, Sim Cain

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Rollins band releases a half-live, half-studio “EP”, and expanded it for CD later on.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The original version of the Rollins Band was a force live, and you can feel the energy ooze through the speakers on songs like “Lonely”, “Turned Out”, “Black and White” and others. The studio cuts were three covers from the Pink Fairies, the Velvet Underground and Louis Prima (!) do it 2

What drags the extended version out are the two verrry long, slow diatribes (standard for Rollins) which are taken from different shoes from the Dutch show the original tracks were from. This isn’t streaming, and the 2007 version is probably the one that’s easiest to find, so that’s what I’ll grade.

 

You can skip those, though, and focus on the hot heat and bile generated by Rollins and his band. Haskett, Weiss and Cain are so powerful and focused and are locked in tightly.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: One of the bonus cuts showcases Rollins’ sense of humor, though, as it’s the intro to the show from the Netherlands.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: As noted.

GRADE: B+: Those two long track drag down the end of the record. But man, this really cooks besides that.

Rollins Band – Life Time

ARTIST: Rollins Band 220px-Life_Time_cover
TITLE: Life Time
YEAR RELEASED: 1987
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No, but you really should if you’re in a horrible awful mood.
LINEUP: Henry Rollins, Chris Haskett, Andrew Weiss, Sim Cain
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Henry puts together a hot, tight, loud band and terrorizes stereo equipment everywhere. That’s a good thing.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When the first track is called “Burned Beyond Recognition”, and it sounds very convincing, you know you’re in for a very hard and angry time. The Rollins Band is as loud and angry as their front man. You think Henry is a little intense now? This record…this is intense.

The band itself cooks. Unlike Black Flag, they’re pretty traditional hard rock (no wild explorations) and they’re excellent musicians, and also seem to want to pummel you as well. Weiss and Cain are really locked in, and Haskett’s guitar work has the right combo of power and chops where his riffs and solos add and complement the song instead of distracting from it.

Rollins isn’t really ‘singing’ – does he ever? He vocalizes and I pity his vocal cords. He’s really into it. Lyrically, though, it kind of gets wearing on you after a while, and his slower diatribes can get a bit long and overdone.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was produced by Rollins’ friend Ian MacKaye, famous for Dischord Records, Minor Threat and Fugazi. This isn’t streaming, like most all of Rollins’ independent stuff – but you can find it on You Tube.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Originally this had a lot of live tracks recorded in Belgium. A later re-issue axed the live tracks and added three studio cuts that were part of his next album. The current vinyl re-issue restores everything the way it was.

GRADE: B+: I can’t give it an A grade because a couple of the tracks (“Gun in Mouth Blues”, for one) really wear on me. Still, several cuts are go to for me if I’m every really angry and want to just have something to yell along with. You should try it.

Henry Rollins – Hot Animal Machine / Drive-By Shooting

ARTIST: Henry Rollins 220px-Hotanimalmachine

TITLE:  Hot Animal Machine / Drive-By Shooting

YEAR RELEASED: 1987

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: If you went to Rollins concerts, yeah. Otherwise… 220px-Drivebyshooting

LINEUP: Henry Rollins, Chris Haskell, Bernie Wandel, Mick Green

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Henry Rollins decides to continue his music career after Black Flag disbands, and records an album and EP split between originals, covers and parodies.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Henry Rollins had already moved on from Black Flag and was getting some rep as a spoken-word artist when he decided to make more music – and worked with some old friends and musical acquaintances in DC to record this album and EP.

Musically, it’s more together and conventional than Black Flag, as the backing group is more straight-forward and less experimental than that punk rock standby. It fits Rollins’ voice and mannerisms well, as the front man can lean into songs and deliver his powerful bark.

What’s lacking are the songs – Greg Ginn wrote the lion’s share of Black Flag’s tunes so Rollins filled the time with some covers – and at times cringeworthy parodies on the EP. Those really drag things down and you really need to pick and choose your tracks.

It’s an OK first step for Rollins. When the Rollins band formed he would deliver the goods.

NOTES & MINUTAE: The EP was credited to Henrietta Collins and the Wife-Beating Child Haters.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION:  Well, the only way to get this now is with the LP and EP together. That’s why I reviewed them together.

GRADE: C: There are enough “A” cuts to justify getting this, even with the less than stellar tracks throughout the combo. But as a whole…meh.