Eight Times Henry Rollins Proved He’s Really Good At Insults

Former Black Flag frontman and punk-as-fuck hardcore legend Henry Rollins is back on the campaign trail, promoting his upcoming Uk spoken word tour, The Charmingly Obstinate tour, which will see him rant and rave in venues up and down the land later this month. In a recent audience with The Guardian, he revealed that Morrissey is no longer on his “kill list”. Speaking about the delicate Smiths singer, Rollins said: “I think the world is a much better place with him in it.” Yet he’s capable of a killer putdown, some shockingly barbed, and we’ve compiled eight of the best for your cathartic enjoyment.


He made the infamous comment about Morrissey on the Australian TV show Rage in the early ’90s:


“Morrissey embodies every horrible human trait that a human could possibly possess. I mean, he’s British, he doesn’t have to work very hard, they have a handicap anyway… I love [the video for ‘November Spawned A Monster’] because it catches our hero, Morrissey, lounging about on lonely, isolated terrain in this hilarious shirt… I always feel twinge of regret it was not I who got to direct this video because in the last scene Morrissey would be doused on gasoline and set on fire. e’d get a sound mic up and catch the sound of his hair and the polyester shirt burning into this skin and his last cried on Earth. We could put a house beat behind it and put it on a 12-inch.”


Don’t expect to see angry man Rollins, who hates the capitalist machine almost as much as he hates biting his tongue, on The Apprentice any time soon:

“Ultimately, some people just want to keep you on the cotton farm, keep your mouth shut and keep you working for cheap and make you feel lucky that you have a job. How do you make it better? Don’t fall for it — racism is a scam, homophobia and misogyny, it’s a distraction. So is alcohol and tobacco and PCP. It’s for the idiots to pacify themselves; so is all that bad food. It is to keep you quiet and stupefied.”

Barack Obama

The punk musician and activist has been supportive of Obama, but also claimed that his failure to take on big business had inadvertently created the Occupy Wall Street movement:


“Barack Obama can take credit for dropping the ball. That is why there is Occupy Wall Street. It’s okay Mr. President. The people picked the ball up and if anyone should be shook by this thing it should be him because this was on his watch. He should have been making moves where this didn’t have to happen, but it’s okay. We got this one. Even if he doesn’t, we do and he’ll have to answer those questions at all the campaign stops. I hope he gets asked about it about three times a day.”

Mitt Romney

More predictably, he was never a fan of Mitt Romney, the right-wing politician who ran against Obama in 2012:

“Nothing [Romney] can say at this point surprises me. You know who he is when he walks in through the door,” the former Black Flag singer tells Rolling Stone. “He has waterboarded and steam-pressed every bit of humanity out of himself. I’ve never heard a more robotic, dehumanized person in my life. Everything he says just sounds like a thoroughly wiped ass when it comes out of his mouth.”

U2 and Bono

According to Rollins, U2 are rubbish and Bono may be little than a grandstanding poser. Duly noted.

“They have the worst rhythm section in big rock. That is the most plodding, corny rhythm section ever to fill a stadium. If you look at some of those records, they’re mediocre Brian Eno records with a bad band in the way. They need a producer like Eno or Daniel Lanois to kind of prop up this cabaret singer and his one-trick pony… I just think when you campaign [to promote both your band and world peace], it turns into a little bit like grandstanding, to me. Some people are completely immersed in charities for 80 to 100 hours a week and he just kind of goes from one to the other. Is he on the road working for that? Or was it just for Newsweek?”

Robin Williams

Ah, now this a bit much. Writing in his column for LA Weekly, the singer criticised beloved comic actor Robin Williams for taking his own life in 2014:

“As far as I was concerned, he was a good man. But it’s here where I step off the train… I also understand that his personal struggles were quite real. I can’t argue with that. But I simply cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves. How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children? I don’t care how well adjusted your kid might be — choosing to kill yourself, rather than to be there for that child, is every shade of awful, traumatic and confusing. I think as soon as you have children, you waive your right to take your own life.. I have many records, books and films featuring people who have taken their own lives, and I regard them all with a bit of disdain.”

Steven Seagal

He also revealed in 1995 that he’s no fan of Steven Seagal, but we’re not so bothered about that:

“The guy was beyond belief. I think I would rather drink latex paint than be in a movie with him. However, he does know his shit about aikido: I would not want to mess with him. He stalled, asking me what I was doing in his office, why I wanted to meet with him. And that was really strange because I didn’t even want to be there. He called me. I only went because my agent asked me to go… That clown is a guy who definitely lives in his fucking scene. And there is danger there.”

The human race

Finally – and this feels like a good place to leave it – the former Black Flag frontman took on you, me and everyone we know:

“There are a lot of living things on the planet — for now. Perhaps the most ill-suited for existence would be human… Organisms invisible to the naked eye wipe us out; allergic reactions to everything from an insect’s sting to nuts can cause death… We can’t run all that far or fast, climb all that well or endure for very long without water. Thinking of us in this way, we are simultaneously a miracle and, for Mother Nature and the planet, a vexing frustration. The fact is that in the ‘real world’, Homo sapiens can’t cut it.”