Review Revue: Rollins Band – Hard Volume

Like a lot of people my age, I dabbled in the world of Henry Rollins in my teenaged years. I had a couple Black Flag records, and at least one Rollins Band record (though not this one – I think it was the live album Turned On, released right after Hard Volume). Perhaps tellingly, I remember purchasing the album at Newbury Comics — the dangerous, transgressive thrill I got from the stark, macho album art and the vaguely sexual album title — much more clearly than I do any of the music on the album. I do respect Henry Rollins — I think he’s a funny, smart, talented guy who has made some important contributions to our culture – but at the same time, his solo musical output has just never really grabbed me. It sounds like, at least with this release, the KCMU DJs felt about the same.

“I like a lot of Henry’s post-Black Flag stuff, but I think this falls a bit short. His voice doesn’t pack such a wallop of emotions if he’s just screaming, like he is throughout this record. Not as interesting as ‘Hot Animal Machine’ or ‘Lifetime’ or even ‘Drive By Shooting.’ I’ll give him a ‘C’ for trying but an L for content. Too bad.”

“I still like Henry’s vocals, but he definitely has been musically stagnant for a few years now. This is possibly for the library and not for rotation.”

“It’s not that bad.” [High praise indeed!]

“Coming in 1990 — Rollins Band Sub Pop 7″ where they cover King Crimson’s ’20th Century [sic] Schizoid Man.” I did not make this up! [I can find no evidence that this exists.] Sounds more like Soundgarden or Die Kreuzen than Black Flag. There’s some funky/jazzy stuff here I like, esp. the drums.”

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