Henry Rollins Quotes

Henry Rollins is a musician, actor, writer, spoken word artist and comedian. He was the lead singer of the punk band Black Flag. Rollins has hosted numerous television shows and written columns for several major publications. His writing covers a variety of topics, including politics, culture and social issues. Rollins is known for his acerbic wit and he has a reputation for being outspoken and confrontational. Here are some of the best quotes from Henry Rollins that will let you see life from a different perspective.

  • August brings into sharp focus and a furious boil everything I’ve been listening to in the late spring and summer.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • I love to go on stage and sing.

    Henry Rollins
  • We Americans are hard on almost everything. We are hard on our vehicles, our marriages and our heroes. Mostly, however, we are hard on ourselves.

    Henry Rollins
  • With age, life becomes complex and difficult, often fraught with risk on several levels, from the practical to the fiscal.

    Henry Rollins
  • I don’t hate the government. I don’t think the Second Amendment is being infringed upon.

    Henry Rollins
  • I am a veteran of the War on Christmas. I am just emerging from a battlefield strewn with dead trees and torn shreds of brightly colored wrapping paper.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • As a young person, I was on the road playing music, so I was getting new environments shoved in my face whether I wanted them or not.

    Henry Rollins
  • The month of November makes me feel that life is passing more quickly. In an effort to slow it down, I try to fill the hours more meaningfully.

    Henry Rollins
  • I think it’s fantastic when the young enrage their elders. I really do believe that if it’s too loud, you are indeed too old, and that if it has been standing for too long, it needs a thorough inspection.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

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

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

    Henry Rollins
  • I’m terrified of motorcycles. I’ve been on one a couple of times. I did not like it.

    Henry Rollins
  • Jazz music is as American as it gets, and so is the U.S. Postal Service. A Miles Davis stamp is a perfect marriage of two great American institutions.

    Henry Rollins
  • People will remember that the Tea Party was co-opted and funded by billion-dollar corporations, and that it was supported by Fox News and other outlets with the same vigor with which they attempt to denigrate the Occupy protesters.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • I know that collector types can be a pain in the neck and seem perpetually frozen in time – or at least in their parents’ basement – but someone has to look out for the past, lest it slip away forever.

    Henry Rollins
  • I would like to become a better photographer. I’m working on that.

    Henry Rollins
  • Change is hard, but change is good.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • I’m very boring.

    Henry Rollins
  • I love being a storyteller. I love telling stories.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

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

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

    Henry Rollins
  • In many ways, America is on the receiving end of a pendulum that has been swung with great force, and for a long time, outward into the world. The impact is a wake-up call on every level.

    Henry Rollins
  • Keep your blood clean, your body lean, and your mind sharp.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • The public library system of the United States is worth preserving.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • I wasn’t playing the music, the music was playing me… and once that went away, and I had the feeling I was playing music, I had to stop. The need to go onstage and get my brain flattened every night left me, and what I didn’t wanna do is go onstage and perpetrate a fraud… You cannot fool an audience.

    Henry Rollins
  • For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.

    Henry Rollins
  • I think marriage is a boring and fault-ridden contractual obligation.

    Henry Rollins
  • Shirley Sherrod seems like a good and dedicated person.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • Voting is completely important. People in America think democracy is a given. I think of it as an ecosystem, and what gets in the way of it is politicians and apathy.

    Henry Rollins
  • I think Naomi Klein was very astute with her book ‘Shock Doctrine.’ We make money on disaster.

    Henry Rollins
  • The only thing worse than the Pastor Terry Jones scheduled Koran burning is the fact that he canceled the proposed event.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • SMiLE’ is perhaps the Beach Boys’ most legendary album. It was recorded in 1966 and 1967 but only saw a formal release in 2011. That’s a long time to wait for what was said to be Brian Wilson’s masterpiece.

    Henry Rollins
  • Imagine someone so infatuated by a band that they have every different pressing of every album the band made. Most of the time, the only difference in the album is the matrix number or a different ‘made in’ notation on the back cover or label. This is enough to make some people extremely excited. Actually, much more than excited.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

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

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

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

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • I think that humans have a huge capacity to carry pain and sadness. There are things that haunt us our entire lives; we are unable to let them go. The good times seem almost effervescent and dreamlike in comparison with the times that didn’t go so well.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • Castle Face Records, run by The Oh Sees main man, Johnny Dwyer is always worth checking in with.

    Henry Rollins
  • I think it is incumbent on anyone who can to lift human dignity to the highest possible levels, maintaining one’s own and helping to raise that of others.

    Henry Rollins
  • It’s not lost on me that everyone dies, but some people have a kind of immortality about them, and you can’t imagine that they will ever be gone.

    Henry Rollins
  • Death metal uses a lot of white face paint and black hair dye to make its point. I quite enjoy this genre for its intensity, extremism and underlying irony: You have to be alive to play it and listen to it.

    Henry Rollins
  • The Great Gatsby’ is a book I have read a few times, and it seems to get heavier every time I come to visit.

    Henry Rollins
  • Sometimes the truth hurts. And sometimes it feels real good.

    Henry Rollins
  • Each year, every city in the world that can should have a multiday festival. More people meeting each other, digging new types of music, new foods, new ideas. You want to stop having so many wars? This could be a step in the right direction.

    Henry Rollins
  • To me, getting muscular was the first thing I ever achieved by working at it, and it was a game changer for me, because it was the first time I ever had confidence.

    Henry Rollins
  • You don’t have to twist my arm to work.

    Henry Rollins
  • I try to get myself up and moving as early as possible. Optimum is to be on the treadmill while it is still dark outside.

    Henry Rollins
  • I plan to be a part of Haiti’s reconstruction and future.

    Henry Rollins
  • You want to meet a bunch of really friendly people? Go to a Slayer concert. There’ll be some real psychos there, but most of those people will take care of each other.

    Henry Rollins
  • I consider any gun that can chamber a round and send a projectile down its barrel at a high rate of speed into my body – causing me injury or death – to be an assault weapon.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • Rock n’ roll unchained a nation and revolutionized radio and the record industry, not to mention the motion picture business.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • I would like go to Palestine and interview people there about what their lives are like; same thing in Iran.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • It is only our humanity that can deliver us from the brutality of our achievements.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • Whenever any great song or album gets lost in the ether, someone is deprived of the joy of hearing it, and the great effort of those who created and recorded the work is damaged.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • If I hear, ‘Be afraid of Tehran,’ I’m like, ‘I’d better go to Tehran.’

    Henry Rollins
  • A country that has been through as much as Vietnam has to have some crazy music somewhere.

    Henry Rollins
  • Adolescence is a plague on the senses.

    Henry Rollins
  • Pizza makes me think that anything is possible.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • If the death of Osama Bin Laden brings any peace to those who lost loved ones on that awful day in September 2001, that is a great thing. It is more likely, however, just a painful reminder of what was lost.

    Henry Rollins
  • I’ve been on ‘Jay Leno,’ and everyone likes Jay, but being on that show is a really boring afternoon. I sincerely like Jay, but I wouldn’t want his job, because I’d have to interview Kathy Ireland, and there’s nothing there I’d want to know.

    Henry Rollins
  • Before any American points a finger at President Putin and calls him nasty names, they should recognize that a lot of Americans agree with Putin on his stance against homosexual and transgender people.

    Henry Rollins
  • I get letters from young people telling me that they’re broke and download my albums for free. They ask me what I think about that. I now have a standard line. I tell them, ‘I would rather be heard than paid.’

    Henry Rollins
  • Collecting records is, for many, beyond a hobby.

    Henry Rollins
  • As the middle class is predated upon with an ever greater malicious intensity, their children stand to lose more and harder than their parents ever did.

    Henry Rollins
  • Some music really does suck!

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

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

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

    Henry Rollins
  • To my ears, jazz sounds better in warm weather and after the sun has gone down. While I will listen to some of my favorite jazz records in cooler weather, it’s the warmer nights that really make them come alive. Something about those sounds and the heat of the night really makes it happen for me.

    Henry Rollins
  • I don’t know how much you follow current events. For some, there’s not enough time to keep up on what’s happening; for others, the news is too depressing, and peering too deeply fills one with boiling frustration all too quickly.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • Certainly, there are huge, multiplatinum bands whose singers command their audience’s attention. Sadly, much of the time they have little to say.

    Henry Rollins
  • All my big heroes are literary, writers.

    Henry Rollins
  • There’s always going to be a need for activism; there’s always going to be a need for you and me doing the right thing, being very Lincoln-sonian in looking out for each other.

    Henry Rollins
  • To see change in your own area code is very powerful. There’s a little orphanage down the street from my company, and we donate $1 from the sale of each CD we sell to the orphanage.

    Henry Rollins
  • America was cool with Saddam Hussein when he was killing Iranians.

    Henry Rollins
  • I urge you to read the Occupy Manifesto, written by the New York City General Assembly. It is unavoidably clear. This is not directionless action. If it were, the media would have moved on.

    Henry Rollins
  • A lot of Americans don’t have a passport, never will have a passport. Not only will they not travel, they don’t want to travel.

    Henry Rollins
  • If you paid Americans a living wage, they would be able to pay for products made by Americans in America.

    Henry Rollins
  • South Sudan is one of the most hard-put places in the world.

    Henry Rollins
  • If I had to live my life in anticipation of what others thought of me, little would get done.

    Henry Rollins
  • I’m actually on the Twitter like all those crazy young kids are, and if I’m going to do an in-store appearance or I post something on my website, I tweet these followers, a word I don’t like so much, and over 50,000 people go, like, ‘Okay, I got it.’

    Henry Rollins
  • My father did not rock. He just earned and hated. Don’t end up like this man.

    Henry Rollins
  • One of the nice things about a favorite pop song is that it’s an unconditional truce on judgment and musical snobbery. You like the song because you just do, and there need not be any further criticism.

    Henry Rollins
  • Having an identity is one thing. Being born into an identity is quite a different matter.

    Henry Rollins
  • I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m willing to bet one of my arms right now that as long as there’s electricity, Ramones music is going to be relevant.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • Do you know why Albert Camus was so prolific? He wrote to keep from screaming.

    Henry Rollins
  • The kid who throws his spaghetti from the high chair onto his father’s face, he’s pushing back. He’s sticking it to the man as he sees it. I like that. So that is punk.

    Henry Rollins
  • I’m not into fame. I’m not into making money, outside of financing my books. I’m not into status. My thing is basically about time – not wasting it.

    Henry Rollins
  • I’ve never heard Daft Punk; I’ve never heard a track of theirs in my life. They’re the two guys with motorcycle helmets on?

    Henry Rollins
  • I don’t think you’ll ever have a perfect world because we humans are prone to error, and so we’re always in search of an upgrade.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • For many, an album is no longer a considerable feat of an artist but just sounds to be half-listened to while one is halfheartedly engaged in something else.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • It took me until my teenage years to realize that I was medicating with music. I was pushing back against my stupid school uniform, instructors who called me by my last name and my classmates, who, while friendly enough, were not at all inspiring.

    Henry Rollins
  • Never once have I thought that Social Security would be something that would ever be available to me.

    Henry Rollins
  • More than 30 years ago, in Washington, D.C., I secured a copy of a single by a Los Angeles band called The Bags. The two-song 7-inch, released on Dangerhouse, had a girl on the cover who looked right at you with huge eyes. The songs, ‘Survive’ and ‘Babylonian Gorgon,’ were great and made many of my mix tapes.

    Henry Rollins
  • Rock is ironic in that, up to a certain point, you can get better and better at it if you don’t mind possibly looking more and more ridiculous.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • I’m most comfortable on stage.

    Henry Rollins
  • I have been listening to the Stooges’ self-titled first album for well over half my life, and it remains one of the most exciting and essential records I have ever had the good fortune to come into contact with.

    Henry Rollins
  • Maybe I’m just a psycho, and the stage is a better place to go than either the loony bin or somewhere else.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • Duck Dynasty’ is a ridiculous show, and long may it wave. America and democracy will endure. They’ve seen a lot worse.

    Henry Rollins
  • As a young person, I wanted everyone to agree with me.

    Henry Rollins
  • I was in Pakistan in Islamabad when Bhutto was assassinated, and the next day, you know, there’s just plumes of smoke everywhere. I mean, Islamabad is on fire.

    Henry Rollins
  • America’s foreign policy lacks the backbone to do the right thing in Afghanistan – which is leave.

    Henry Rollins
  • To burn a CDR of music you like to give as a gift to someone you wish to become closer to is a cold, moist-palmed, mouth-breathing bummer.

    Henry Rollins
  • Musicians should not play music. Music should play musicians.

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

    Henry Rollins
  • Most Americans are very cool people.

    Henry Rollins
  • I have been curious about Haiti for many years. The history of the country is as fascinating as it is turbulent.

    Henry Rollins
  • It’s sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew.

    Henry Rollins
  • When people make my country look bad, I can’t stand it.

    Henry Rollins
  • I think more airtime should be given to Donald Trump and Orly Taitz. They should run for office together. They should open for Charlie Sheen.

    Henry Rollins
  • In blues music, there’s a lot of borrowing, so it’s often difficult to identify the originator of a song.

    Henry Rollins
  • I’m not a very good writer. I’m working at it.

    Henry Rollins
  • Some people see Black Friday as a much-needed break for their wallet. I see it as retail outlets showing the customers the full weight of their contempt. The frenzy to buy cheap crap from China, the human downgrade of people fighting with each other over items they can probably live without, to me, is an insult.

    Henry Rollins
  • I have a lot of compact discs. I need them for radio play and convenience. Many bands and artists I am a fan of don’t always release their work on vinyl, so I take what they feel like giving me.

    Henry Rollins
  • I’m not harmful, just introspective. You can probably think I’m weird, but it’s not harmful weird.

    Henry Rollins
  • Now and then, someone is able to look at an empty space, conclude it would be a great place to start a revolution, and bravely go forward.

    Henry Rollins
  • I love capitalism. It rewards me for being brave – it awards me for being innovative and thinking out of the box.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins
  • When I’m off the road, and I can really control my diet down to the calorie, I juice seven days a week. Every afternoon, whatever I have at hand, beets, carrots, ginger, whatever. I juice, literally, every single day. And on the road, I try to find fresh juice wherever I can.

    Henry Rollins
  • There are records that, in my opinion, only reach their full potential when the listener is disoriented.

    Henry Rollins
  • 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.

    Henry Rollins

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