From the dawn of time, Man has had an animalistic instinct about him. The power to hurt, the power to kill, and the power to ultimately destroy. Man has also possessed the power to rise, influence, and create. In one of the strangest experimental albums ever created by punk rock vocalist and spoken-word writer, Henry Rollins.
Rollins who was known for his ability to capture an audience, and with a will that never seemed to break; Rollins was an inspiration to just about any punk rock fan in the 1980’s. As Rollins began to break away from Black Flag and start to form his own name through an experience of work, Rollins stumbled on to a new alias and access to some of the darkest and more comedic resources of the mind.
Already known for his hatred of the mainstream, Rollins took a stance with his precursor to Rollins Band with a short, 19-minute mix of spoken word and instrumentation that works to makes for one of the more memorable journeys of his career. As the title song suggests “Drive by Shooting”, there is something off about Rollins’ style here. It is something that has been off about his entire career and the process of shifting the listener to automatically pick up their ears and listen to what he has to say.
In a Beach Boys styled grand opening, Henrietta Collins and the Wifebeating Childhaters begin Drive By Shootingwith a staged interview where Rollins speaks about his newest tour in Leeds, mocking the Ed Sullivan days of music television. “We’re gonna get in our car and go-go-go, We’re gonna drive to a neighborhood and kill someone we don’t know… We’re going to go out killing that’s what we’re gonna do. It might be your sister or it might be you” Rollins calmly explains behind the 60’s pop-rock anthem instrumentation. It is a twisted look into the extension of Rollins’ creative output.
With Chris Haskett on the guitar, Bernie Wandel on the bass, and Mick Green on the percussion, (all of which who have been present in Rollins Band releases in the future) there was a real chemistry behind the band and they worked well in the post-punk-rock world. With angry glares and cynical grins, Henrietta Collins And The Wifebeating Childhaters was a low-key display of musical athleticism and framework that would spawn one of the hardest working bands in Rock N Roll history.
On some of the later portions of Drive By Shooting, there is more than enough genre blending and noise to keep the listener interested in what would happen next. It is some of the wildest transitional blends of poetry and work and is shown well on “Men Are Pigs”. Rollins takes the heavy, sensual breathing as he explains the act of oral sex and then cutting off the partner’s dick.
It is Henry Rollins and his artistic vision takes the listener to some unorthodox places but in all honesty, that is the best part about him. He is a wild rise and fall of movement through barriers that consistently shift and break. They mold then fold, and Drive By Shootingis one of the better showcases of this outrageous style working out well.