Henry Rollins made a recent appearance on producer Rick Rubin’s “Broken Record” podcast and discussed his decision to stop making music 15 years ago.
Henry said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “The smart thing I did as a younger man was one day I woke up in my bed and I went, ‘I’m done with music. I don’t hate it. I just have no more lyrics. There’s no more toothpaste in the tube.’ I called my manager at the time and I said, ‘I’m done with music.’ And 15 percent of that was a good thing for him. He was, like, ‘No. No.’ I [was, like], ‘Yes.’ And so luckily, I had enough movies, voiceover, documentary work, writing, talking, where that just filled in, and now I’m busier than ever. But I walked away before I had to start saying, ‘Hey, kids, remember this one?’ So I didn’t have to put it on and go up there and put on the dog and yelp for my dinner.
“I’ve had gentle discussions with major rock stars,” he continued. “I [go], ‘You go out and you play those same songs every night for the last 40 years.’ And one of these people, who I love dearly, said, ‘Yeah, that’s what people want.’ I go, ‘You wanna give ’em what they want?’ ‘Yeah.’ He’s an older-school guy — even older than me. And he said, ‘Yeah. You wanna make people happy.’ I’m, like, ‘You do? Huh. I never thought of that. That never once occurred to me.’ And he went, ‘What do you do?’ I go, ‘Just what’s on next.’ And he went, ‘Huh. How’s that treating you?’ I’m, like, ‘Well, I need bus fare to get home.’ [Laughs] But just two different schools.
“His whole thing is you put on the show, everyone goes ‘yay,’ you play what everyone wants to hear and everyone’s happy. And he said, ‘You’re not?’ I’m, like, ‘No, not necessarily. If they happen to like what I’m doing, cool. If they don’t, they can bite me.’ And I’m sure in the last few years he has sung that one, that one, that one and that one for the five hundred and seventy millionth time. And 50 thousand people went ‘yay.’ That’s just not for me. I’d rather take the risk.”
As a spoken-word artist, Rollins regularly performs at colleges and theaters worldwide and has released a number of spoken-word recordings. His album “Get In The Van” won the Grammy for “Best Spoken Word Album” for 1995.