“Tough and Smart. That’s What You Want to Be. The World Can’t Handle People Who can Mainline Aggression and Still Rock”

According to Nicholas Pell, Henry Rollins saved his life. In 2002, Mr. Pell suffered from depression. He wrote to the LA Weekly that “my antisocial depression reached its lowest point. I was living in Washington, D.C., surrounded by the nadir of early-2000s hipster culture, privileged officers’ wives and Beltway snipers. My extroverted, upbeat roommates overwhelmed me, never more so than when they held a cookout swarming with angular haircuts, skinny jeans, and Locust T-shirts. Borderline suicidal, I spent a lot of days in bed, staring at the walls, too depressed to stand up.” For some reason, he wrote a letter to Mr. Rollins, perhaps because Mr. Rollins had originally come from Washington D.C. In the letter, Mr. Pell listed a number of things that he hated about his life. He mailed the letter, and then he forgot about it. A few weeks later, he received a postcard from Mr. Rollins. It stated, “Dear Nick, Tough and smart. That’s what you want to be. The world can’t handle people who can mainline aggression and still rock. Best, Rollins.” Mr. Pell wrote, “The postcard is gone now, though I’m not entirely sure where it went. One day I went to look for it and it just wasn’t there. Sometimes I feel an absence, like a missing tooth. Still, it’s not the physical object that matters. Having the postcard or not having it doesn’t make my memory, or the impact Old Man Rollins had on my life, any less real.” Mr. Rollins is a former lead singer for punk group Black Flag. In 2013, he was asked to reunite with some other members of Black Flag and go on tour, but he prefers to move forward rather than to go backward. To him, performing old music often seems like going backward. However, this does not mean that he never performs old music. In 2013, he pointed out that “I went out 10 years ago and took those songs on a brief lap around the world, but that was mission-specific. I took all that money and gave it to the West Memphis Three’s attorneys, and that is how the DNA evidence got tested to help free them. We went from L.A. to Tokyo, everyone showed up, and we made a whole bunch of money and I didn’t even take a dime.” The West Memphis Three are three people from West Memphis, Arkansas, who were convicted of murder in 1994 when they were teenagers.

For Further Information: “‘Henry Rollins Saved My Life’ and Other Fan Encounters.” LA Weekly. 6 June 2013


For Further Information: Ben Westhoff, “Henry Rollins: The Interview! Anger, Drugs and the Black Flag Reunion.” LA Weekly. 6 June 2013


Free eBook: The Kindest People: Be Excellent to Each Other (Volume 2) by David Bruce


For some stories of good deeds and anecdotes, check out the rest of


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s