Friday, May 30, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 95: Rollins Band - Weight

Album - Weight
Artist - Rollins Band
Key Players - Melvin Gibbs - bass. Sim Cain - drums. Chris Haskett - guitars. Henry Rollins - vocals.
Produced By - Theo Van Rock

Release Date - April 12, 1994

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I heard a track from the disc on satellite radio a week or so. It had been a while since I had listened to any of the Rollins Band stuff.

Overview - The seventh release, but fourth full length from the Rollins Band. Singer Henry Rollins formed the band, after his prior band Black Flag disbanded. This version of the band would release one record after (Come in and Burn) on a major label, and Henry would disband that version. The band would continue on under the Rollins Band name and release 2 more studio albums as well as a live album before breaking up, or going on extended hiatus...depends on who you ask. "Weight" would be the bands highest charting album as well.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Opening with "Disconnect" guitars buzz overhead. Gibbs bass line hold steady as the first verse is delivered. At the chorus the band opens up. Henry, what he may lack in vocal abilities makes up for with enthusiasm. He wanted to grab and shake the listener. The track follows the sort of quiet loud aesthetic, but the song over all is a very strong lead off track. "Fool" fades up with a solo guitar before the band hammers down. The Rollins "band" has always been a set of strong players. Henry feeds off this. The song pushes Hank to the brink of hoarseness. The band pushes him even harder. We continue to follow the same urgency on "Icon". The bass and drums are sort of buried in the mix, but are pulled up at times. The guitar doesn't over power everything either, its an even balance, but part of you wants one instrument to stand out a little more than the other. This track has the first breakdown of any preceding tracks, we slow the pace, but its only for a few bars before an extended instrumental section brings the vocals back. Gibbs bass gets sort of tricked out with a wah/delay sound as "Civilized" comes forward. The track moves along nice, and then a sort of trademark Rollins moment occurs. Henry goes to a spoken mode of lyrical delivery. Towards the end is "sings" it, but he will incorporate spoken lyrics over the next series of albums (and did so prior). Vocals open up "Divine Object of Hatred" and the rhythm section has a strong vibe to it. The guitar and bass feed off each other with a great buzz saw sound. Overall, one of the strongest songs on the record. Up next is the familiar to some "Liar". A rather long track that is mostly spoken. I recall seeing Henry do this in a tuxedo at some awards show. It honestly stuck out like a sore thumb. I am sure he laughed on the inside. The rock returns as "Step Back" hits down hard. Both this and "Wrong Man" have a strong grinding rock feel. "Wrong Man" has a flashy guitar solo but the bass and drums really lock in and keep the track chugging right along. "Volume 4" is another track that showcases the guitar work of Haskett. Henry wants the band to really shine, and lets them go off at times, but brings it all right back. "Tired" slowly intros with bass and drums. Its a quiet, almost reserved intro. Henry whispers the opening lines and this is a trend that remains, it is a bit like "Liar" but never gets over the top. All that is thrown out the window as "Alien Blueprint" comes out of nowhere. Once again Haskett shines, but Cain and Gibbs need a nod as well. Gibbs keeps the ship steady on this track. The album wraps up with "Shine". This is a great track, and has a great Rollins Band feel to it.

Where are they now? Melvin Gibbs is very busy as a composer and producer. Chris Haskett continues to perform and has worked with many artists, including David Bowie. Sim Cain continues to works as both a session and touring drummer. One of his bigger gigs in recent years was the drummer for J Geils Band in 1999. Henry continues to tour and perform spoken word concerts. Henry has said he is adamant about touring with the Rollins Band unless there is new material. The band did reform for a bit in 2006 but Henry wants to have new material to tour on as noted. On top of the lengthy spoken word tours Henry has appeared in film, written many books and hosts his own Television and Radio shows.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) The very first time was August 8, 1991 as part of Lollapaloosa. The Rollins Band opened the whole day of Lollapaloosa and played like mad men to the few that even bothered to come in to the gate. It was an epiphany for me. I grabbed as much as I could soon after on cd and caught him a live a few more times. The second was May 12, 1994 at Avalon in Boston. Adding to the awesomeness of this show was the fact that the support band was Irish rock band Therapy? whom I loved, and still love. Later in 94, August 9th to be exact I saw the Rollins Band once more at the Wallace Civic Center in Fitchburg, MA. A college hockey rink a solid hour outside of Boston was host to a fair number of "general admission" rock shows at the time. Once more, the opener was great, this time it was Helmet. The last time I was the band live was May 13, 1997 at Avalon. Keeping the tradition of great openers alive, Skunk Anansie tore the roof off the joint. Henry was standing right behind me for their set and the second I spun to say hi, he was gone. The band always gave intense shows...

FDF Overall Take - As noted Henry is not really well known as a great singer but he means well, and in a live setting he brings it. If you are curious about the Rollins Band this is a pretty good record to start with. Some of the later records are a little tighter musically, but this is a good launching point.


Melvin Gibbs on myspace
Chris Haskett official site
Henry Rollins official site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

**all mp3's have been removed**


All three of these tracks were taken from "Weight" which you can buy here

Bonus download

As noted, Henry is a writer, and great story teller. Here are two excerpts from his book about being in Black Flag called "Get in the Van". Henry won a grammy award for the audio on this. It is a great great book, a must for any band that thinks they have what it takes to be a touring band (granted times have changed)..

*the excerpts are edited for language and are not too long*
How I Joined Black Flag
Slightly to the Right

The text version of the book you can buy here or for your next road trip, get the audio/cd version of the book here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 9:11 AM, Blogger Rinjo Njori said...

Great post.. I prefer the Texas Hotel days to the Imago years. This album was remastered and re-released by henry for 2.13.61 Records. You can get that at eMusic. I have not downloaded it yet. henry might not be the vocalist but he is the definitive Black Flag singer and hasn't let his lack of talent keep him from trying to entertain us for the last 25+ years.

At 9:36 AM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

i need to check out some of the earlier stuff. I have 2-3 Black Flag tapes..but know how tapes are. I do like the musicianship of the later records w/mother superior..but still..a fun listen almost always! Thanks for stopping over and commenting.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger cubmommy said...

My husband loves Rollins. We pretty much have all his stuff and have seen him several times in concert. He does bring it and that is why it is so enjoyable. no bull****.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Travis Erwin said...

Guess I've been under a rock or I was drunk those years. I don't remember this band at all.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

cub - he is great musically and I have seen a series of the DVDs and have a few of the spoken word cds. What I do understand is those are 2+hr MARATHONS!

Travis - its cool..dig in to an mp3..

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous brian said...

this was certainly a crucial disc for the band (and yet one more great tour) but showed a direction change that tried to tap into the grinding, slow burn of "end of silence." that spitting hate through gritted teeth was him through and through. i think more a consistent boil than flash fire.

it is interesting to hear the different styles between flag and texas hotel days vs. later. i do enjoy the mother superior lineup. that "clockwork live" intro then "get some go again." great tunes and title.

but for "weight," "liar" is hilarious and a nice direction of musicianship. "step back" rocks. i do like "disconnect" and "vol. 4" too. "shine" was a preview to "come in and burn." i loved when he made fun of "liar" later on spoken word tours.

pick up "hot animal machine" and hear two versions of songs he perfected later. the first "ghost rider" the alex vega/suicide cover. it's true to the original and the tightly wound flag/punk edginess of those days. later, released for the "crow" soundtrack, is a slow burn that just makes me want clench my fist and "find a wall to kiss." the other is "move right in," which changed quite a bit only one album later.

bottom line: uncompromising in his efforts and that is what i admire.

thanks for dusting this one off. it redeems you after that duran duran slip.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger JamieSmitten said...

There you go again, March, sending me to the record store. I saw Henry front Black Flag at Hardcore 84 -- an amazing show I snuck into DC to attend. Loved Black Flag, but have never gotten around to checking out HRB. I'll start here -- thanks. p.s. No Duran Duran complaints here

At 8:48 AM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

brian - thanks for your comments. I def. want to check out a few earlier cds. I apprecitate your comments, looks like I struck a good nerve w/you. Thanks again for stopping over and commenting..
sorry about Duran Duran! haha.

jamie - sorry..i should post disclaimer(s) "Warning this review might spend your money". Thanks for commenting as well!

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks again for the post. re-read it and i'm starting to forget duran2


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