Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Melody Maker | Info Freako | 13 February 1993 | Photo: Steve Gullick

After reading the Henry Rollins interview in this week's Melody Maker, I'm eager to learn more about the books he has written over the years. I'm sure I'm not alone. How about some sort of "Rough Guide To Rollins' Writing"?
Steve Carroll, London E8

Good idea. Let's start with a list of Henry Rollins' books, all of which are published on his own 2.13.61 imprint:

"High Adventure In The Great Outdoors" (written 1983-5)
"Pissing In The Gene Pool" (1985-6)
"Art To Choke Hearts" (1986)
"Bang!" (compilation of material written 1983-7)
"One From None" (1987)
"See A Grown Man Cry" (1988-91)
"Black Coffee Blues" (published in the UK last week)
"Now Watch 'Em Die" (published in the US any day now)

And who better to present a "Rough Guide To Rollins' Writing" than the man himself? Over to you, Rollins:

"Most of my books are miscellaneous shit pieced together in yearly blocks. I guess they're like annuals, although 'Bang!' and 'Black Coffee Blues' are more conceptualised. The last part of 'Bang!' is called '1,000 Ways To Die' and consists of 1,000 four-line pieces. 'Black Coffee Blues' is 124 numbered stories and essays written in a state of exhaustion on the road.

"I first started writing in high school, but it was no big deal. I started taking it seriously when I was with Black Flag, partly to pass the time on the tour bus and partly to document the intense swirl of events we were caught up in. I've tried to write constantly since then. I always carry a portable computer with me and I'm always tapping stuff into it. Sometimes it's like I'm taking refuge in words.

"At the moment, I have five different writing projects on the go. There's 'Everything Fear And Nothing', which is basically my version of Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl', and 'Incinerator', which I've been working on since 1986. I'm also putting together an annotated lyric book and a Black Flag book full of old photos and clippings of reviews saying things like 'This band is shit' and 'Rollins sucks'. It'll be a really cool read.

"The 2.13.61 publishing company isn't just for my work and in the coming months I'll be bringing out a new version of Iggy Pop's 'I Need More' and also books by Exene Cervenka, who used to be in X, and Alan Vega of Suicide. Then there's Bill Shields' second work, 'The South East Asian Book Of The Dead'. Shields was a hit-man in Vietnam, so we're talking heavy shit here. We're talking severed heads on sticks and pigs chewing corpses.

"For some time now, I've also been writing an irregular column for an American magazine called Details, but I'm finding it harder and harder to keep that up. I don't get too much fun out of trying to fax six-page articles from Sweden. I don't like the idea of having to deal with an editor either."

Rollins is currently negotiating a full UK distribution deal for 2.13.61. In the meantime, "Black Coffee Blues" can be purchased or ordered from record shops for £4.95. The catalogue number is ROLLINS 92 and the distributors are BMG.

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