Rollins Band

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The End Of Silence

Rollins Band - The End Of Silence ©1992 Imago
1. Low Self Opinion
2. Grip
3. Tearing
4. You Didn't Need
5. Almost Real
6. Obscene
7. What Do You Do
8. Blues Jam
9. Another Life
10. Just Like You

In the years following the demise of Black Flag, vocalist Henry Rollins wasted little time in putting together another lineup to continue pursuing the only life he knew: playing in a band and touring. The eponymously named band toiled away for several years on a dinky record label until finally landing with Imago in 1992 and receiving a big name producer in Andy Wallace. The result is The End of Silence, a lumbering and extremely weighty record that may have captured the essence of Rollins Band perfectly.

While Rollins himself may not exactly be blessed as a gifted singer, he certainly knew how to assemble a lineup of some of the best musicians around. Guitarist Chris Haskett, bassist Andrew Weiss and drummer Sim Cain are all top notch musicians who have the ability to throw a bevy of small touches into the music and create a wonderful depth that lesser folks would completely forego. Rollins, meanwhile, just proceeds to yell at the listener for the length of the album. However, considering the textures and excellent backdrop behind him, he has the perfect setting to bare his soul with his lyrics. Rollins never holds back in delivering thoughts close to the heart. With the production of Andy Wallace allowing for the band to achieve maximum power, The End of Silence holds true to its declaration in the title. The guitar has an incredible tone and thickness to it and Haskett is a master of creating texture beyond the riff the song asks for. Bubbling underneath, both Sim Cain and Weiss also throw in their little fills and special touches. There is an occasional sense of improvisation, as in "Obscene" or "Blues Jam", which is only the blues in concept, not execution.

The End of Silence is a mix between a more accessible, catchy variety of songs, such as "Tearing", and the lengthy, grinding crush of "What Do You Do" and "Blues Jam". It has taken me quite some time to truly appreciate what the band was accomplishing here and now the album is a very rewarding experience. Between the musicianship and Rollins' trademark disarming honesty, you have one of the best albums Henry Rollins has ever been involved with.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2001

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Rollins Band - Weight ©1994 Imago
1. Disconnect
2. Fool
3. Icon
4. Civilized
5. Divine Object Of Hatred
6. Liar
7. Step Back
8. Wrong Man
9. Volume 4
10. Tired
11. Alien Blueprint
12. Shine

Weight might be one of the more memorable albums of the 90s, most likely because of the video for "Liar", which featured the bulging neck veins of a certain Henry Rollins. The album ultimately became Rollins Band's most well known release and biggest seller, leading to Rollins Band appearing in such events as Woodstock and perpetuating Rollins' path to media icon. Considering these days Rollins is best known for being an omnipresent entertainer in nearly every medium (books, TV shows, VH-1 Opinion Giver), it's hard to remember a time when he was essentially known for being a singer for a heavy rock band. That said, his ascension to his current fame level is well deserved and built on hard work as opposed to, say, being children of famous and/or rich people.

This album signified the first major change in Rollins Band as longtime bassist Andrew Weiss had been given the boot. His low end rumblings were replaced with jazz musician Melvin Gibbs, who may have been one of the few bassists out there who could adequately fill Weiss' shoes. Weight surprisingly shows less of the wandering jazz feel you'd expect as The End of Silence featured more unorthodox song structure and experimenting. The twelve songs on Weight generally fall into the shorter, more concise format, sticking to the three to five minute range for the most part. Revisiting this album nearly two decades later (which is a bit startling that so much time has passed since this album was released), it's interesting to note that some of the songs I originally overlooked have aged well. At the time I first heard it, I mostly grooved to "Disconnect" and "Shine", but the meat of the album never quite connected with me. However, upon further review (the whole point of this website, perhaps), it turns out that much of Weight is full of strong musicianship with above average songs that warrant more listening. This album is certainly more than just the "Liar" video on Beavis and Butthead.

Rollins Band's first few albums often were uneven affairs or had moments where you just had to be patient with the band while they were busy flexing their musicial muscles (and not necessarily giving us great songs in the process). Weight tends to cut out the excessive tendencies and gives us a solid release. While not necessarily the best album of the 90s, it deserves some recognition as one of the better ones, and least pretentious considering the abundence of aggravating "alternative rock" that was cluttering up record stores at that point in time.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2012

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Get Some Go Again

Rollins Band - Get Some Go Again ©2000 Dreamworks
1. Illumination
2. Get Some Go Again
3. Monster
4. Love's So Heavy
5. Thinking Cap
6. Change It Up
7. I Go Day Glo
8. Are You Ready?
9. On The Day
10. You Let Yourself Down
11. Brother Interior
12. Hotter And Hotter
13. Illuminator

Having shed the entire backing band for a new lineup, Henry Rollins returned to music in 2000 sporting a slightly new sound and an entirely good record. For whatever reason, the old lineup was sent away and Rollins recruited members of an L.A. band called Mother Superior to churn out a very grooving and energetic album, one of the best in Rollins Band's history. If nothing else, Get Some Go Again could be retitled "How Henry got his Groove Back" as this record contains some of the sweetest hooks and musical grooves Rollins Band has layed down in years. While it's hard to match musicianship with some of the previous members of his backing band, Rollins did a fine job with these boys from Mother Superior.

As with older Rollins Band records, emphasis is placed on delicious guitar grooves and a driving rhythm section. This time around there is a little less showiness and more straightforward playing, while Rollins delivers his typical "I'm going to yell at you for awhile" vocal approach with lyrics about life in Southern California and interpersonal relationships in general. The band throws in some funkier vibes here and there, such as on "Love's So Heavy" (which also contains a grinding crunch for the chorus). The guitarist, while not quite as phenomenal as his predecessor, Chris Haskett, has a good sense between rock solid rhythms and tasty textures. On a whole the record contains the type of songs that are meant for playing loudly in the car, windows down, sunroof open and the sun shining. There is simply a ton of catchiness and good time heavy grooves to capture the listener's attention all the way through. Get Some Go Again is easily one of the better Rollins Band albums in quite some time.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2001

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Rollins Band - Nice ©2001 2.13.61 Records/Sanctuary
1. One Shot
2. Up For It
3. Gone Inside The Zero
4. Hello
5. What's The Matter Man
6. Your Number Is One
7. Stop Look And Listen
8. I Want So Much More
9. Hangin' Around
10. Going Out Strange
11. We Walk Alone
12. Let That Devil Out

From the sardonic title to the American Beauty-styled cover, Rollins Band's Nice minces no words and takes no prisoners for this 2001 release. Upon one listen to this album, one can quickly ascertain that Mr. Henry Rollins and his crew are concerned with only one thing and that is rocking out as hard as possible. Nice follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, Get Some Go Again, and wastes no time in setting down fast paced grooves and memorable numbers outlining the alienation and disgust of society that tempers all of Rollins' lyrics. A couple of the songs include a female soul backing chorus and add a great new dimension while other songs streamline the Rollins Band sound into a frenzied, upbeat and energetic juggernaut of rock. Rollins' singing has actually improved over the years and while he still relies on his talk/shout approach, there is a semblance of carrying a melody throughout the entire CD. Nice is the kind of record one should put on in the car and sing along all while winding madly through freeway traffic. Regardless of all the genre permutations and crossbreeding that goes on in modern music, Nice proves there is still quite a bit left to be said in the world of straight ahead, pistons firing and throttle set to max rock and roll.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2002

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