Henry Rollins on the Art and Business of DIY Media

I vividly remember the first time I heard Black Flag. It was in a kid named Mike Goodman’s bedroom, and the record was called Damaged.
That’s how it was pre-Internet in suburban Houston. If it wasn’t on the radio or MTV, it was invisible — unless some cool kid turned you on to something new (who probably got it from the older sibling of some other cool kid).
And by “cool,” I mean a misfit who couldn’t abide in a Top 40 world.
My first impression was, “Wow, this guy is pissed off!” And sarcastic, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. I loved it.
At the time, I had no idea that the guy’s name was Henry Rollins, or that he wasn’t the first lead singer of Black Flag. So we can’t really say it’s his time fronting that band that makes him a personal hero to me … but it started there.
Black Flag recorded, financed, and distributed their own records, set up and promoted their own shows, and created their own merchandise. There was no one in the mainstream music world who wanted to help, so they did it themselves.
The band broke up in August of 1986, just before I started college. Henry carried on in true DIY fashion, using his own publishing and record company to release his first book, his spoken word recordings, and albums by the first iteration of the Rollins Band.
By 1994, Rollins is all over MTV, and he’s featured in the film The

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