Henry Rollins: Coming to an End
[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Saturday KCRW broadcast.]
It's a night off in Chicago. All the New York shows are behind me and now I have three here starting tomorrow night.
I have been doing shows here since 1981. The first one was one of the most memorable and instructive. I had just joined Black Flag. I was learning the songs at soundcheck and singing on the encores. Otherwise, I was learning the ropes while Dez Cadena held down the vocals during the set. We came through Chicago in July, on our way back to Los Angeles. We had a show in a venue called Tuts; the Effigies were the opening band.
Black Flag was playing and I was on the stage, keeping things from getting knocked over from all the people bouncing into the gear. At one point, one of the bouncers started shoving a girl around. The band's bass player, Chuck Dukowski, found this very much to his disliking and demonstrated his feelings by jamming the headstock of his instrument into the man's head.
I honestly don't know what Mr. Dukowski's intent was. Perhaps he just wanted to give the man a friendly reminder that this kind of behavior wasn't acceptable? I don't know. I do know that Chuck cracked this moron upside the head with such force that he was rushed to a hospital and had to get stitches. Good ol' Dukowski.
Postshow, a large amount of our equipment magically disappeared. We were told that it was in the club owner's office. I went in and there was our stuff with the bouncers standing all around it, including the one with all the new sutures in his head. I honestly don't remember how we were able to extract ourselves and our property out of that venue but I do remember that we never played there again.
Another time, we played the Metro and some audience members beat me up pretty good, I don't remember what started it. In those days, it didn't take much.
A couple of years later, in reaction to some bouncers acting out on some of the more lively members of the audience, they vented their frustrations by hurling every glass bottle they could find at the stage. We sat behind our gear, listening to our amps and cabinets take a good bashing, but as soon as it was over, we came out amidst the debris and finished the show.