Get in the Van: On the Road With Black Flag

Get in the Van: On the Road With Black Flag



The Pequod Review:

Henry Rollins was the lead singer of the California hardcore band Black Flag, and his memoir Get in the Van is a diary of his touring experiences between 1981 and 1986. Rollins's book captures the violence and anarchy of life on the road, but too many of his entries fail to do more than recount the basic events of each day. Here is his account of a day in 1986:

02-03-86 CHARLOTTE NC: Feeling very rundown today. Last few days have been good. The sets are starting to sound better every night. The shows in Athens were real good. We did a weekend at the Uptown Lounge. The first night, Michael Stipe came up and said hello. He suggested that we get together the next day and go hang out. Sounded like a good idea. The set went real good that night. During the encore, I collided with Greg’s guitar. The tip of the tuning board caught me in the right eye. I almost vomited on stage. Head shots make me do that. I finished the set okay I think. I really don’t remember. Oh yeah, earlier in the set some woman poured beer on me. I went off stage, grabbed her and spat in her face. Disrespect is a two-way street. Right after that, someone put a wrapped present on stage for me. I didn’t touch it. Might have been a bomb for all I knew. Some kid said, “Open it Henry!” I told him that he could open it. Let it blow up in his face.

The next day we did a photo session for Interview, I probably looked wonderful with my right eye swollen shut. Michael came and got me at the club at around 2 p.m.. We went here and there and basically hung out for about six or seven hours. We talked about all kinds of shit. Michael is definitely one of the coolest people I have ever met.

That night we did our second night at the Uptown Lounge. I thought it was good. I spent the night at Michael’s house.

"I thought it was good"? "Michael is definitely one of the coolest people I have ever met"? Rollins could have done so much more with these entries.