Henry Rollins is an American singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, writer, comedian, publisher, actor, and radio DJ.
Rollins fronted the California hardcore punk band Black Flag from August 1981 until mid-1986. Following the band's breakup, Rollins soon established the record label and publishing company 2.13.61 to release his spoken word albums, as well as forming the Rollins Band, which toured with a number of lineups from 1987 until 2003, and during 2006.
Rollins has become an outspoken human rights activist, most vocally for gay rights, while deriding any suggestion that he himself is gay. On his 1998 spoken word album Think Tank the straight ally declared: "If I was gay, there would be no closet. You would never see the closet I came out of. Why? Because I'd have burned it for kindling by the time I was twelve... If I was gay, at this stage of the game—age 37, aging alternative icon—I'd be taking out ads." Rollins frequently speaks out on social justice on his spoken word tours and promotes equality, regardless of sexuality. He was the host of the WedRock benefit concert, which raised money for a pro-gay-marriage organization.
During the 2003 Iraq War, he started touring with the United Service Organizations to entertain troops overseas while remaining against the war, leading him to once cause a stir at a base in Kyrgyzstan when he told the crowd: "Your commander would never lie to you. That's the vice president's job." Rollins believes it is important that he performs to the troops so that they have multiple points of contact with the rest of the world, stating that, "they can get really cut loose from planet earth". He has also been active in the campaign to free the "West Memphis Three"—three young men believed by their supporters to have been wrongfully convicted of murder. Rollins appears with Public Enemy frontman Chuck D on the Black Flag song "Rise Above" on the benefit album Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three, the first time Rollins had performed Black Flag's material since 1986.
Continuing his activism on behalf of troops and veterans, Rollins joined Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) in 2008 to launch a groundbreaking national public service advertisement campaign, CommunityofVeterans.org, which helps veterans coming home from war reintegrate into their communities. In April 2009, Rollins helped IAVA launch the second phase of the campaign which engages the friends and family of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at SupportYourVet.org.