Broken Summers
Henry Rollins
2.13.61 Publications 2004

Ain't it good to be enlightened and see someone in a different light. Well that's what
this book did for me. And I ain't on about the plight of the West Memphis 3 who are
currently fighting for their life and freedom, and the main reason behind why this
book was written. The pursuit of the truth as Henry Rollins so eloquently puts it, is
still an ongoing issue. Whatever your views on this case, you can read more on
their website to decide for yourself. So don't worry this book ain't
some noble, crusading rant about the inadequacy of the American justice system,
thank fuck! The real pull of this book is Henry Rollins day to day existence be it in
LA or on the road with his band. This book shows the psychopathic, man machine
of the hardcore fraternity in an almost human light. And that burning passion he's
postively loaded with has just gotta be applauded.

This intriguing read gains momentum from page 1 as he slowly puts together his
Rollins band for a strenuous 14 month world tour of duty, and lets us in on the
behind the scenes action, moods and vibe as they create the 'Rise Above' benefit
CD for the West Memphis 3. 'Rise Above' is a collection of 24 classic
Black Flag songs played by the Rollins band
with guest vocalists including Iggy Pop, Lemmy, Keith Morris and Exene Cervenka amongst others. I ain't heard
the end result, which was released a few years ago. It sounds like it's got all the classic ingredients of an enticing
punk document. And from the details gleaned from this book I fully intend to check it out. We are glued to the
highly readable journal extracts for almost the entire 237 page read. It never gets stale (apart from his Amerika
spelling), and ain't all squat thrusts and regimented hardship that you'd associate with the Rollins persona. His on
the road
lifestyle is gritty and I like his no messin' approach to people and detail. We watch him squirm, sneer, cry and get
nasty along the way as it all adds up to an absorbing read. You get the feeling he's running away from the
loneliness of his almost monk like existence in LA. And he's running into the arms of the road and those cold damp
dressing rooms, foreign climates and different cultures. You get to see the attitude laded Rollins in a less robotic
mode as he relaxes almost. You'll be agreeing with him, laughing with him, and at him, and also seeing some
chinks in his cold black armour wear thin as age and time rolls on. He even gives subtle insights into his rare
personal relationships along the way. He reflects back on his old
Black Flag days with some hilarious moments
and also some bitterness. He hates LA almost as much as he hates shaking hands with drunks at shows. He also
don't care too much for Lenny Kravitz, Michael Jackson and
GBH tee hee. But he has a fan like passion for his
music and the music of others. He's a big fan of
the Ramones and the Damned. He's also a well read geezer
citing F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemmingway and a load of other authors I've never even heard of. He wishes Janis
Joplin had been his mother (snigger), but gives wankers like Tony Blair the thumbs up for his speech delivery!
However Bush is banished to the corner for being weak. Weakness is one thing Mr Rollins can't hack. His
methodical touring regime is almost military in it's execution. He counts down the hours, minutes and seconds till
showtime. I get the feeling he don't mix much with his band mates on the road, as he rarely mentions them as he
hits yet another hotel room while they probably hit the bar. He lives totally for the 45 minutes on stage which
deserves respect in anyone's book.

Highlights of 'Broken Summers' for me were his personal meetings with Johnny Ramone just before his death. He
had an hilarious one with another loner, Lemmy from
Motorhead while recording the album. Lemmy invites Henry
back to his tiny cluttered apartment to view his nazi World War two collection of memorabilia, and gives Henry a
dagger for his trouble. He also tells us about his run in with a highly disturbed Dee Dee Ramone one of his
heroes, at the Chelsea hotel. This book is full of great little accounts and details like those. I don't always agree
with his methods or his views, but he sounds a genuine geezer as he gives an entertaining opinion on all walks of
human it dodgy promoters, burglars, sycophant fans and hookers in drag on the strip. It gives you a
serious look at life through the eyes of a very intense intelligent man, who simply loves his music but ain't got
much time for much else. I gotta get his 'Get Out The Van'
Black Flag tour journal after reading this. But it also
makes you
wonder what's he gonna do when all the touring stops? Comes with some candid shots of the tours and recording
of the album. Highly recommended.
ISBN 1-880985-75-6

Broken Summers - Henry Rollins
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