Henry Rollins Quotes

After I left D.C. to join Black Flag, I felt I was in a band.

And I laugh at myself when I screw things up, which happens all the time.

And I love the hate mail I get, the unsigned, misspelled letters I get telling me to go back to Russia or wherever.

As long as I tell the truth I feel that nobody can touch me.

August, the summer’s last messenger of misery, is a hollow actor.

Being an artist is dragging your innermost feelings out, giving a piece of yourself, no matter in which art form, in which medium.

But I have a good life. I enjoy what I do. I am married to work.

Collecting records is, for many, beyond a hobby.

Don’t do anything by half. If you love someone, love them with all your soul. When you go to work, work your ass off. When you hate someone, hate them until it hurts.

Every summer, around late July and into August, I find myself in Europe, performing at any festival that will have me.

Every year, August lashes out in volcanic fury, rising with the din of morning traffic, its great metallic wings smashing against the ground, heating the air with ever-increasing intensity.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a hopeless romantic who listens to love ballads and doo-wop songs all the time.

Giving a good performance, giving it all is what it’s all about. I love to perform.

Hope is the last thing a person does before they are defeated.

I am an optimist because I want to change things for the better and I know that blood has to be spilled and disharmony and cruelty are necessary to do that.

I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.

I can deal with people who watch me on stage but I am not good in communicating with people any other way than through my work.

I can only write about personal stuff, about my point of view.

I can’t remember that I ever had just a minute of stage fright.

I don’t believe in fate or destiny. I believe in various degrees of hatred, paranoia, and abandonment. However much of that gets heaped upon you doesn’t matter – it’s only a matter of how much you can take and what it does to you.

I don’t mean to be arrogant and I really appreciate my fans but talking about what I am doing is not something I’m good at. I do what I do and that’s it. I want to get back to my work and do more of it instead of talking about it.

I don’t mind The Boss. I think he’s an honest guy. I have some of his records, not all of them. I’ve met a couple of the E-Street guys, and they seem really cool.

I don’t want to fail the audience. I don’t want to let them down.

I don’t want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride.

I forged myself out of a vacuum. I crawl along the highway on hacked off stumps year after year. Some wonder how and why. I never do.

I get angry about stuff, I get very emotionally intense about stuff and that’s how I get it out – with books, with the band, on my own onstage, but it’s always kind of a wail.

I guess, topic to topic, you could consider me a left-leaning person.

I have always thought that change you can see and feel is best.

I have never experienced anything like walking out onto the stage of an oversold venue and, before the first note is struck, realizing that there is not going to be enough oxygen for all of us.

I have not the smarts or patience for political office.

I just get things done instead of talking about getting them done. I don’t go out and party. I don’t smoke, drink or do drugs and I’m not married, that leaves a lot of time for my work.

I just travel the world with my backpack and my cameras and a bunch of Clif bars.

I know I was a generic dysfunctional child, but I think a lot of people are.

I love to go on stage and sing.

I mean Black Flag happened. I was lucky. I don’t think I could have put together something with one percent of that oomph on my own.

I mean I appreciate fan mail and that the people like what I am doing but I can’t answer it. If I would answer 25 letters a day I would be just a guy answering mail and not an artist anymore.

I need to do things on my own, need to be left alone.

I never thought about getting any tattoos removed.

I take the work seriously, just not myself in it.

I think about the meaning of pain. Pain is personal. It really belongs to the one feeling it. Probably the only thing that is your own. I like mine.

I think more tolerance, more people having more access to a chance to be literate, and a chance to stay healthy makes for a more peaceful planet.

I think politicians get hamstrung by the nature of politics when the private sector can really do great things.

I want to change things for the better, just like everybody else.

I want to learn more about the world. It makes me want to get up and go.

I was a very repressed young person. I wasn’t good at school. I didn’t fit in.

I’d like to talk to Arnold Schwarzenegger, ’cause I live in California and I just want to see that canned, chemical filled body in my office.

I’m 36 and if I met a woman of my own age and married her, I’d also be marrying her former life, her past. It might be OK for some people – I don’t want to judge it or anything – but it’s not for me. It would destroy my creativity.

I’m mellower now, I’m over 50. But I don’t think I’m too mellow. I’m still angry at a lot of things.

I’m most comfortable on stage.

I’m most in my element on tour, with a gig that day, like today. I’m on the road where I am supposed to be. I will be where I’m supposed to be at nighttime, on stage, in front of people, doing my thing.

I’m not artistic nor am I all that creative.

I’m very boring.

I’ve always seen it as the role of an artist to drag his inside out, give the audience all you’ve got. Writers, actors, singers, all good artists do the same. It isn’t supposed to be easy.

I’ve made some great mistakes in my life, but, you know, they were honest mistakes.

If I had to perform in a comedy club I would bomb; I would be trying too hard.

In the summer of ’84, you just couldn’t escape the Born in the USA record.

It is just that I don’t want a wife and I don’t want kids.

It’s sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew.

Keep your blood clean, your body lean, and your mind sharp.

Life will not break your heart. It’ll crush it.

Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.

Maybe I’m ego-tripping, but I don’t find myself a particularly horrible person, so I don’t think I need to hold back anything I think or feel.

Most Americans are very cool people.

Most of the people who call me a sellout were 7 when I was down face-first in the punk trenches.

Most poets are elitist dregs more concerned with proving their skill with a dictionary than communicating ideas with impact.

My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.

Nothing brings people together more, then mutual hatred.

Now, if someone wants to spit on me, I just roll up the window of my BMW 540i.

Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.

So I’m more at home with my backpack, sleeping in a hotel room or on a bus or on an airplane, than I am necessarily on a bed. It’s weird being here. It feels like I’m standing next to my real life.

So, one way or another, I found myself in a few movies. I take it seriously when I’m on the set, but I don’t take myself seriously as an actor.

Some music really does suck!

Sometimes the truth hurts. And sometimes it feels real good.

The blues is losing someone you love and not having enough money to immerse yourself in drink.

The only difference between me and others is that they think they can change something with cute little poems, nice cards or embracing trees and being nice to little lapdogs.

The scarcity of the music not only makes the music itself enjoyable but it also gives the collector a strange sense of superiority.

The world’s a better place since I chose music.

There is no way you are going to be forgiven for blowing up a village and killing a bunch of people.

There’s a lot of mountain climbers trapped inside of bodies of people behind the counter at Kinko’s.

There’s no rule that you have to like Henry Rollins the musician or the actor.

There’s no such thing as an ex-junkie.

This is my 25th year of being on stage. A lot of people who I kind of toed up to the starting line with are no longer in this position. I feel very, very lucky.

To hate is to show you still care, who needs that, focus on what’s really important.

To this day, my haircut is the number two clippers, which I apply to myself every month.

War is very sad and small life is pathetically fragile at times.

We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.

What I don’t want to do is go out there and not be able to mean it, you know?

When people hold you in high esteem, it’s very delicate relationship. When they meet you they’re putting all their chips up. It’s make or break.

When the movie comes out, what anybody thinks of it doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t go to the wrap party. I don’t go to the premiere.

When you start to doubt yourself the real world will eat you alive.

Why do you think the old stories tell of men who set out on great journeys to impress the gods? Because trying to impress people just isn’t worth the time and effort.

Yes, I guess you could say I am a loner, but I feel more lonely in a crowed room with boring people than I feel on my own.

You don’t have to twist my arm to work.

You need a little bit of insanity to do great things.