Don't Mince Words


O Henry

Posted on April 25, 2009 by Marna

Before the internet and widespread MTV adoption, college radio was what we relied on to hear new and different music. It is what prompted me to DJ at my college and at the all-boys school seven miles down the road. It’s also when I started my 25 year long-distance relationship/obsession with Henry Rollins.

My shows were a smorgasbord of punk, new wave, world music, cool pop, and rock. I admired Henry for leaving DC and moving to LA to stalk Black Flag, eventually becoming their singer. There was a poetic anger about him that kept me interested. I watched his career continue to move in various directions and was proud he didn’t become a punk flame out.

I watched us both get old.

I now admire his politics and his hunger for social understanding. Most of all, his musical knowledge is probably unmatched. As a DJ, the stuff he has is amazing. Old vinyl and obscure foreign music; the guy is a musical encyclopedia.

Friday night I finally had the opportunity to meet him. The myth in my head finally met reality face to face and I wasn’t sure what to say. I regressed into a stupid 15 year-old girl. What do I say? Do I request a song? Do I comment on his views on apartheid? Do I thank him for moving his show to KCRW? Three vodkas into the evening and I was off my game.

“I’ve never seen a shy side of Marna,” a girlfriend commented.

I realized it comes back to LA. I’ve never had a serious conversation with a smart person since I’ve lived in LA. I was verbally paralyzed. The best I could do was walk up to him while his DJ cans were off his head and say “Hi Henry. I’m a Navy brat from DC and love your stuff.” His response was a smile and “Right on” with a thumbs up.

My girlfriends weren’t satisfied and a half-hour later, my friend with the camera approached Keith Morris and said, “My friend is shy. Do you might a photo together?” I was pushed in between the Black Flaggers, stooping down so Keith could reach my shoulder. The result was confusion and crazy elation.

The Rollins demystification is over. Now I need a new crush.

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  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 369 Posts, 128 Comments

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