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A Cursory Appreciation of Henry Rollins / Mark Rogers

I’m not a reviewer. If anything. I’m more of an appreciator. And that’s what I’m doing while reading The Portable Henry Rollins.

I’ve never really followed Henry Rollins' career. I remember him back in the 90s as a kind of monstrous figure in a video on MTV, the song “Liar.” I used to live on the top floor of Maxwell’s, a rock club in Hoboken. A waitress with white-blonde hair told me Rollins had been rude to her when his band played there. But folded into the story was an undercurrent of mutual (or maybe one-sided) sexual attraction. When I lived in LA, Rollins and I briefly made eye contact in a Trader Joe’s parking lot. Then later, Rollins was excellent playing a white power soldier on Sons of Anarchy. When Rollins was a guest on the Joe Rogan podcast, I was impressed by his humility and I searched out his photographs from his travels around the world, in which he'd make his way solo through downtrodden areas of the world.

This eventually led me to buying The Portable Henry Rollins. The book is composed of selected writings from a dozen of his self-published books that he used to sell at his gigs. The man remains an enigma to me in the best way. Here are some of the passages that jumped out at me:


The disease died


There was no one left to infect


All the beaten down men got on the bus long before I did…

Look at these guys riding into the night

Like a sad song played out of a cheap radio


Hot night breaks jaws

All is fair in love and hell

If you don’t like it, crawl on your hands and knees

And stick your head in the oven


…Oh, there goes another siren. holy shit, they’re dropping like flies out there. Tomorrow is just another day. You pack your lunch in a brown bag, make sure your gun is loaded, and get your ass to work. You don’t want to be late.


I met a guy once

He had been locked away in solitary for a stretch

When they came to let him out, he didn’t want to go

He liked it better in there

Said it was a world that he could understand and control


I’d be interested in hearing your opinions about Rollins—he seems to be out there on his own, even though he’s a public figure.


MARK ROGERS is a writer and artist whose literary heroes include Charles Bukowski, Willy Vlautin, and Charles Portis. Rogers lives in Baja California, Mexico with his Sinaloa-born wife, Sofia. His award-winning travel journalism has brought him to 56 countries. His crime novels have been published in the U.S. and UK. Uppercut, his memoir of moving to Mexico, is published by Cowboy Jamboree Press. NeoText publishes his Tijuana Novels series and Gray Hunter series. You can reach him at

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1 commentaire

Mark Reep
Mark Reep
22 déc. 2023

Enjoyed, thanks. I knew a little about Henry Rollins' music, but his first appearance on JRE made me a fan. Much respect for Henry's curiosity, compassion- and of course his worldclass work ethic.

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