Henry Rollins on Rave

I’m all for people bashing electronic music if they are funny while they do it. He’s not funny. My advise to him would be to stick to music… if I liked any of his music.

“As a child and teenager, Rollins suffered from depression and low self-esteem.[1] In the fourth grade, he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and took Ritalin for several years so that he could focus during school.” – Wikipedia.org

For more info: henryrollins.com

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to: thehorrorist.com

21 thoughts on “Henry Rollins on Rave”

  1. I think he would love Venetian Snares or maybe Merzbow, but chances are he’s only listened to douchy trance and house in order to form these types of opinions.

    1. Rollins is actually well known to be a huge fan of American Tapes and a handful of other noise labels, to the point where he has a rep as a collector. I remember a few years ago people talking about getting in bidding wars with him on eBay for certain noise tapes.

  2. That video is nuts (baltimore break style party), but at least the crowd is totally into the tunes and.. doggy-style.

    Too bad ol’ Hank hasn’t seen the other side of electronic music where one does not need tons of pills to think it’s the best thing. I reckon everything, including Henry’s music, would sound ‘good’ on drugs.

  3. I grew up listening to Black Flag, and I’ve caught his live “talks” too. The guy IS funny as hell, and he’s totally spot on in this video. As to what he listens to or if he would like Venetian, I would say not at all. I think Aaron is amazing, and inspiring and I think HR would chalk that up to “too much meth” or whatever. But Oliver… come on man, HR is one funny fucker ya gotta admit.

  4. Pretty bad example of Rollins, my guess is he simply doesn’t like dance so never explored it. His opions here are particularly uninformed. Doesn’t make me think much less of him. He is funny on topics he does understand, like Maraliyn Manson. I still enjoy Black Flag, but kinda prefer Ron Reyes over Henry.

  5. I respect anyone doing there thing and Rollins is full of energy so I give him that. I think it reminds me of a time a long time ago when it was difficult to tell any normal person what I did for a living. These days luckily it’s quite respected. It also reminds me that once the subject “guitars vs. keyboards” actually existed… silly really when you think about it!

  6. I don’t agree with everything he says but it can not be denied that there ARE a lot of DJs who fancy themselves as ‘musicians’ when really this is not always the case…. If you play other people’s music you can at best be described as an ‘artist’, as a ‘curator’ of playlists, and that in itself is a skill, but that skill is not ‘music’. Similarly, if you’re a ‘DJ’ who does live remixes of other people’s songs then that’s closer to being a ‘musician’, but come on….it’s not like they’re playing a f*cking HARP or something……

  7. Music criticism from a singer who by his own admission can’t hold a note if his life depended on it.

    Henry,you look kind of dumb in that glass domicile you smashed to pieces.Especially since you live in it.

    His entire musical aesthetic has it’s basis in a post punk amateurish denial of craftsmanship in art,that seems to elevate a naive emotional incoherence above any actual skill,so his words here ring extremely hollow indeed.He looks even more foolish,when his characterisation of numerous disparate subcultures is simply a tired and clichéd exposition of common parodies,stereotypes and misconceptions derived from the worst examples of those cultures.


    Well,that’s old Punk Rockers for you.

    Is he even aware of the work of Orbital,Aphex Twin,Venetian Snares,Jaga Jazzist,µ-Ziq,The Cinematic Orchestra,Public Enemy,Tomas Dvorak,Tim Exile,Efterklang,Plaid,Silencide,Matthew Herbert,or numerous others that he lumps together in his ill informed taxonomy?

    Short answer,no.

    If I was looking at the best in Rock music I might cite King Crimson,Frank Zappa,Todd Rundgren,or Funkadelic* as exemplars of that form.Hopelessly retro I know,however,I will concede his point about much of contemporary rock.

    Black Flag?

    You’re fucking kidding me.

    At the moment,in my vocation as maker of electronic music,I’m working through Slonimisky’s Thesaurus Of Scales And Melodic Patterns;George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization;and the Study of Fourths by Walter Bishop Jr**.While simultaneously exploring the limitless sonic possibilities of Kontakt and Reaktor;the sheer madness of Max 4 Live,Reapers Insane Audio Routings,Melodyne’s Tonal plasticity and FL Studio’s Automation Mania in order to realise my vision of a sort of Autechre meets Chic Corea in a Crack Lounge,drill and bass insanity.

    All of this takes knowledge and skill,out of tune screaming in front of a bunch of limited “musicians” really doesn’t.

    Apologies for the long post,but arrogance and ignorance paraded as dubious wisdom brings out the erudite and loquacious in me.Twatting on Twitter is something I find physically impossible.That being stated,other than these silly comments(which have bugged me for a while),I actually find Mr Rollins pretty funny.He ain’t no Doug Stanhope,but the guys got chops in this area,just not as a music critic or musician.

    * Arguably early Funkadelic was more Rock than Funk imo.Despite the name.

    **The Study of Fourths by Walter Bishop Jr,is of particular interest since many of the concepts can be used to make some Phat Funky licks in a Blues setting,which is of course the basis of 99% of all funk tunes.Funk is also the basis of much Electronic music,so…

    I would recommend checking out the free Pdf of his book here: http://playpianowithsparks.com/.

    With some Youtube examples here:

    The piano he uses is a bit rough,but you should get a good idea of the vibe.

    Overall Concept:

    Some wicked Voicings here.Though the Scatting at the beginning isn’t that good imo.

    Good solo here.

  8. On the one hand you could take a structured analysis of Rollin’s shortcomings as an authoritative commentator on contemporary Electronic Music,by talking up the limitations of his own dire music,while giving loads of examples from the diverse pluralities of Electronic Music of sonorities that far surpass the confines of his tiny adolescent playpen.Which is what I did.

    On the other hand you could crush him under the enormous weight of a Dubstep wobble,then have Techno Viking kick his fucking face off.Which is what Ta! did.

    More than one way to strangle a yappy annoying Chihuahua,as they say in old Moldova.Skinning cats is of course so last season.

    The only criticism I have of the Dubstep version is that it didn’t end with Jax Teller putting a bullet through his nut.Which is of course what happened to him at the end of Sons Of Anarchy season two,in his role as AJ Weston (Aryan dumbfuck).

  9. Since you wanted him to be funny, I think your criticism of Rollins could have used some humor as well, instead of quoting the part of his Wikipedia page that talks about mental health problems. This is a guy with a 30+ year career in music, spoken word, books, some absolutely horrible movies, etc. Surely you could have found something to laugh at.

    The other thing about slagging his music, is that some of it is legitimately great (who can’t get into silly three-chord punk songs about beer or TV), some of it you only realize how brilliant it is once you ‘get’ it (side B of “My War” in particular), and some of it is garbage. And he’s done almost all of it on his own terms.

    Just like how you’d want electronic music to be.

    1. I think Rollins would agree on this… it’s totally ok to dislike people, tell them you dislike them, what they stand for, their music and more. We are talking about him and not the other way around so he wins in that way. Yeah I don’t like much about him but mostly it’s because he seems like a bit of a bully: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIhyZaA8yqo … I’m careful here because someone once told me you hate the people most like yourself. Yikes.

  10. Heh. The commentators here sound as fiercely passionate about music (and the vital need for diversity) as Henry’s obviously been for the last 30-something years. This alone makes them (non-paradoxically) big Rollins fans.. Strange world, isn’t it?

    Rather than discuss anyone’s potential hipster shortcomings as authoritative commentators on The Mighty Hank, I can only point the unbelieving in the general atomic direction of “Audio Airstrike Consultants 1986-1988.”

    @ Fid The Fosh Know which Aphex album I like most? The one that goes ‘bip blop blip bloop bleep’ *stylish troll hat on* ;-)

  11. I love Rollins, I love Electronic music more than him, but I still love this skit. I really think he’s aiming it more to the pretentious DJs than those who actually create a sound that even if it has samples sounds original. If you listen to one of Germany’s many mainstream compilations of electronic music (in my mind Future Trance comes to mind) I think it’s apparent that some of his criticisms are true.

    Maybe I’m corrupted by his love of Slayer and my love of Slayer as well is why I just laugh and let judgement for out the backdoor.

    I can’t think of a direct link but Rollins is critical about everything and everyone, even himself. For the most part though he does come off as a cynic which for some is extremely annoying which throws people off the wagon so to speak as seen my the conversation.

    oh by the way this has been one of the most unique dialogs in Wire to the ear’s comment section that I’ve seen in a year.

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