Henry Rollins has surreptitiously become the king of all media. He?s recently put out a new book called ?A Dull Roar,? with a second one based on his radio show (?Harmony In My Head? ? the first book was called ?Fanatic?) coming down the pike next. He?s recently come back from a USO tour, on which he shook his minder and explored Iran, along with a half-dozen other Middle East countries. He?s also, of course, a spoken word artist, seminal punk rocker through his frontmanship of Black Flag and then Rollins Band, an actor, and perhaps most prominently now, the host of The Henry Rollins Show on the Independent Film Channel. Now it?s time to meet Henry, the record collector.
Goldmine: How serious of a hobby is this for you?
Henry Rollins: Basically, it?s awful for me. It?s a horrible preoccupation: punk rock 7-inches since I was 18 or so. And I?ve got some pretty rare ones.
GM: What are some of your favorites?
HR: Dischord press testings of the early catalogue, a few very, very rare acetates. Punk rock acetates are about as common as a hen?s tooth. First singles from big bands, like The Cramps, which I bought at the shows for two bucks. Lux Interior hand-painted in glow-ink logo on a few Cramps records. There were about 32 of them, and I have one of those. Test pressings of stuff like the UK Subs or the Ruts, which is like insanely rare at this point. I don?t have all that super-rare Sex Pistol stuff, which you pay $8,000 for. I do have some cool punk rock test pressings of stuff like The Damned, but the big areas of punk collecting ? Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones ? that?s where you?re paying 800 bucks, 1,500 bucks, 2,000 bucks, I don?t collect those guys. I just have the records; I like the records.
GM: How about signed stuff, autographs?
HR: A ton. Yes, all of my Ruts singles are signed, my Lurkers singles, UK Subs, tons of Damned autographs, Adverts. First-wave punk rock stuff is my thing, the funnest stuff to collect. Foreign stuff. The first Buzzcock record I have test pressing, Japanese, Australian, New Zealand? I have like this many of the first album (holds his fingers 3 inches apart), all the different pressings. A little much. A little stupid. First Damned album, I think I have every pressing and test pressing, which was not cheap. That?s what I like to do. That?s my geek thing. The people in the office make fun of me, but I just love the artwork. Like I was going through your Black Sabbath book and looking at those foreign sleeves of all those Sabbath singles. To me, that?s why I collect this stuff. I love the alternate sleeves. I love the artwork, the flyers, fanzines, just because here are people working all night with razor blades cutting all this stuff together, and I admire the dedication. So yeah, that?s what I collect. But I have 9,000, 10,000 CDs. The CDs, sometimes they?re rare, but that?s more because of some kind of label commitment or bad contract. Sometimes the CDs end up being insanely rare, in cases like the Misfits 12 Hits From Hell CD, which cost me quite a bit. It?s worth it.
GM: Have you figured out a way to display things nicely?
HR: I collect punk rock posters. That?s another thing you can throw a lot of money at. Most of my punk rock posters are framed, museum-grade, glare-free UV-coated plexi, which is very expensive. It sometimes costs more than the actual poster, but it?s how you?ll have them for a long time. So I have like, Buzzcocks, X-Ray Spex, Adverts, Lurkers, Ruts, first-wave punk rock stuff framed. Damned. I just bought somebody?s Dammed collection of negatives and poster, for a very obscene amount of money. But it?s a lot of negatives. It?s one of a kind.