Learn From Legends: Henry Rollins (Black Flag)

November 13, 2017

Henry Rollins got most of his notoriety as frontman of the Californian hardcore punk band Black Flag back in the 1980s. Since then Rollins has been involved as an actor, writer, television and radio host, and comedian appearing in various media. Always bringing his own personality and strong opinion to the fore, showing his stripes as a punk artists. But what can we learn from this hardcore punk veteran? His strong voice is one of his favourite assets as an artists, but something that's very much overlooked is the highly professional level and mindset Rollins works in as an artist. (See picture)​​

Do not mistake this message as "just a joke". Not taking in account the crude language, this message says a lot about artists and all the bullshit people have to deal with when handling artists. Crazy riders aside (note; a rider is a set of requests or demands that a performer sets as criteria for performance), artists can be a real handful. It may sound harsh, but artists know that everything eventually depends on them, giving them a lot of leverage when they want to do or have anything on a festival, during a concert, or in any kind of professional situation.

Sometimes, artists can use their liberties to brighten up a place and I have heard enough delightful stories about artists that take their liberty to only improve the working condition. Small things like passing beers to the sound engineer because they have plenty, or just thanking everybody in the backstage for doing their best even though not everything went as planned. Besides that there are also crazy stories such as artists arriving one and a half hour late for their show, pushing volunteers, refusing to play because the walkway to their stage was too close to the crowd and other stuff that makes you wonder why people still listen to their music.

Rollins' quote shows a lot of awareness of his surroundings. A lot of artists are so stuck in their bubble that they do not realise what kind of effort goes into a concert or any kind of production. Stage management, sound engineers, stagehands, security, bar personnel, front office workers and many others are working their best to make sure the production goes as planned. Rollins' multidisciplinary career and trademark personality shows professionalism and grounded mindset that should be a standard for any professional musician. 


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