• 2.13.61, or, Henry Rollins is a Stand-up Guy

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    A few days ago I was researching book reviews and came across an interview with Henry Rollins at the excellent websiteThe Modern Word. In the interview he called Jack Kerouac "a pussy" and thought that "On the Road" wasn't the great classic that it was made out to be..."because it was so nothing like what I was enduring on the road". Well, I thought he was full of shit and was all set to let him have it here at booklad. Ah, but reality likes to reach out and smack you sometimes. Who shows up at the bookstore where I work the very next day? That's right, Henry Rollins. Before I could jump on him for the Kerouac crack, he's going "Wow! What a great bookstore!" Drove by here last night and saw the lights on in the store. We went around the block twice. What a great place!" and proceeded to charm and entertain the hell out of me for the next hour. All thoughts of Kerouac's pussyness went out the window. I'm here to say that Mr. Rollins is now one of my favorite people. He loves books. He had a copy of Fitzgerald's journals in his hand and was incredibly enthusiastic. But here, let me quote a bit from the interview at Modern Word...

    How long have you been reading and writing?

    Well I was raised primarily by my mom, and my mom’s place was always shelves, many shelves, groaning under the weight of many many books. And so she taught me to read before I was in school. And we would read aloud to one another. And that’s how she helped me with reading and as a kid I would read a lot from Dickens’ Great Expectations. In school I really didn’t dig math or science but I liked literature. I was one of those introspective skinny boys who read because I would get my ass kicked on any level playing field with athletics, so I read my mom’s Dylan Thomas and E.E. Cummings and I really enjoyed John Steinbeck – I read Grapes of Wrath when I was in 6th grade and completely dug it. So as a kid, I read voraciously as kids do. You know, you just tear through stuff. And I was very fond of Truman Capote, who I still really like. American literature, I read a lot of it, like Hemingway, so I’ve been a fan of books since I was a little kid."

    Now, that's my kind of guy! He takes the money he makes and puts it into a publishing company, hence the 2.13.61 (the date of his birth) In addition to publishing his own excellent work, he's got Nick Cave, Tricia Warden , Joe Cole and others. I can't wait to listen to him reading from his classic "Get in the Van" which is his account of touring with the punk group Black Flag. I picked it up in the spoken word section of Amoeba Records over the holidays.

    Henry walked out with a couple Fitzgerlad books and some Theodore Dreiser. We were all so happy to meet him. His enthusiasm and love of life is infectious.. I admire his frank, no-nonsense style. Thanks, Henry! I'll remember not to judge people so quickly next time (However, I still think you are full of shit about Kerouac ....)

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