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Rollins Band – Weight (Japanese)

Whilst in Toronto a couple of days ago, I scored this version of the monstrous and punishingly awesome Weight album. I love every track here. This is punk, metal, jazz… superb musicians at the top of their game.

But the real score was, as with most Japanese issues, a bonus track that I had no idea ever existed. The title floored me:

Mooseman.

What?

Mooseman.

Oh, Rollins.

So I’m listening to this track, and it fits perfectly with the rest of the record. The slinky and howling guitars cut like liquid sword blades, the bass and drums locked into an unshakeable groove that, at high enough volume (which is the only way to play this) will pound your brain into happiness. Rollins’ delivery of the lyrics is his typical half-shouting, half-singing thing. The words themselves are also standard Rollins songbook fare – disillusionment, weakness, a need to get control of life. You know the drill.

Then, at the 2:40 mark, this absolutely HUGE riff comes stomping out of nowhere, on the heels of some time signature playfulness. It’s pure Sabbath homage. So awesome. And the song crashes to a close, as that same riff returns, with brutal efficiency. No extraneous notes here! The message is delivered, and now it is time to GO.

There’s nothing amiss with this track. It should have been an album track for all release versions. Interestingly, it never appeared on the Weighting release, which was to collect all the album off-tracks, etc. Hm. Makes me wonder if there’s more out there yet…

I’m sad that he never uses the word Mooseman in the song, and for the life of me I cannot imagine why the song was given this name, unless we’re to believe that this song is a story being told from the perspective of said Mooseman, but if so we are never properly introduced.

Whatever the case, Mooseman it is. And it ROCKS.

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Rollins Band – Nice (with promotional epk footage)

I’ll buy anything Rollins, so this advance promo CD for the 2001 record Nice was a no-brainer for me to snag on our recent trip to the Big Smoke. I’m glad I did. I mean, sure, I already own the record and it fucking rocks and I’ve played it many times over the years. So many great songs on this follow-up to Get Some Go Again from Rollins and the Mother Superior line-up. But I’m not here to tell you what you already know about the record. This entry is a short note about the extra promotional footage packed into the CD, 11 minutes of video hilarity. It’s so hard to tell whether Rollins is serious or not sometimes. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who really wants to sell himself, yet everything he does (and in order to survive, he must) revolves around selling himself to you, me, and every other potential fan. So this promotional video, full of stage, recording studio and interview footage to sell the record Nice, plays well for record company executives and purchasers, but for anyone who knows the man and what he does, it’s just a hoot. He’d probably cringe to know I got my hands on this. But hey man, it was filed under Rollins for cheap and there was no question in my mind that it was coming home. I’ll probably never watch this again. But the collector-geek in me loves having it in my collection.

Rollins Band – Illumination

Gotta love Hank. Even when he gets remixed.

Found this single in Toronto and, of course, it had to come home with me because I am a completist obsessive-compulsive when it comes to this man’s output.

I seem to recall that, around the time of the release of Get Some Go Again, some copies of that album did not include the remix of this song and so Rollins posted on his site that people who got left out should write in with shipping info and he’d make it right by sending out a single to them. He’s cool like that. Anyway, this copy has Promotion Only – Not For Sale marked on it, so I’m wondering if this is one of those freebies he sent out. Maybe? Cool! In case you’re wondering, my copy did have the remix so it was all good.

So, what we get here is the Illuminator remix of the song from the album, a shortened edit of that same remix (which shaves off 44 seconds – inexplicably, to my ears), and then the original track from the record. The remix is pretty neat, with it’s chugging beat right off the start, but something makes me like the original track best. I love those soaring guitars and the slower build. And then come those pounding drums!! It’s so much more menacing.

Still, cool single!

Track Listing:
01 Illumination (Illuminator Remix edit)
02 Illumination (Illuminator Remix)
03 Illumination (album version)

Rollins Band – Tearing

Taken from the blistering and absolutely unstoppable End Of Silence record, this single is another one of those discs that fill the world out there with one track and then an edit version. Do they matter? Do they count at all? I mean, we get the album version on track 2, before which is an edit version that cuts 42 seconds from the original, presumably for radio play.

To their credit, this is marked as a promotional copy through Imago, not for sale, so we have to imagine a zillion of these going out to radio stations in the hopes of getting some airplay and exposure for an album that should be in everyone’s Top Ten Of All Time list. That’s cool. But not everyone needs to own this single, except me, of course, because I am a huge Rollins fan and it gets me that one step closer to a complete collection of his work.

Well whatever, this is a great tune from an absolute monster of a record. If you don’t own the album and play it often, there’s something seriously, seriously wrong with your record collection, not to mention your listening habits.

Track Listing:
01 Tearing (edit)
02 Tearing (album version)

Rollins Band – The End Of Something

You know that I’m a big fan of Henry Rollins’ work, and I’m also a collector of all the oddities and rare things I can find with his name on them. Very rarely am I disappointed when such things appear, such is the quality of his output.

So, I recently found this single and I felt that old familiar Collector Geek thrill. This UK single centers around a track from the original Rollins Band line-up’s last album, 1997’s Come In And Burn. And here I should note that it was their last album to date – who knows if they’ll reunite, after all they did tour together again recently with X. Anyway, this single offers the title track, the title track re-mixed, and a song called Threshold which had previously been unreleased in the UK (and in North America, for all I know. Maybe the Japanese version of the album had it) in 1997.

I got Threshold on the 2002 re-release 2-CD set of the Come In And Burn Sessions. But it’s all good, I don’t mind. These are great tracks, and they go well together. They are both slinky, heavy Rollins songs full of the usual lyrics and themes. Perfect! The re-mix of End Of Something isn’t much of a re-mix, more like an after thought, like they recorded two versions that were close to each other, chose one for the album but liked both so much they released the other version here, to cover the bases and let the fans decide.

It takes a certain set of ears and some determination to immerse yourself into this man’s music. On the surface you might arguably says he’s just angry and ranting and that’s about it. But if you take the time and listen more closely, you’ll realize that this music is coming from somewhere deep, fully informed by all of the music that has gone before it and nodding to those influences as it barrels on past. There’s a respect here, and a full-on effort to give the very best that screams from every note of the excellent musicianship and every pore of Rollins too. This band was tight, and they hit hard and deep every time. Just like Black Flag before them, they were proof that hard work definitely pays off. I feel the same way about the work he did with Mother Superior too. Bloody brilliant.

OK, so maybe I’m a little too close to this stuff. This wasn’t their most popular album, and this wouldn’t even have been the first single from it, but to me that doesn’t negate the awesomeness of this find in any way. I liked it, and I’ll play it again soon.

Rollins Band – Insert Band Here: Live In Australia 1990

Recorded at a radio station in Australia on their 1990 tour, Insert Band Here is a fantastic time capsule recording of the original line-up of the band as they punish everyone within hearing distance. They hit hard on every track, the solos are blistering, and the ferocity bleeds out of your speakers and permeates everything. Highlights include a very stripped-sounding What Have I Got, the always-excellent You Didn’t Need and, improbably (though it works, here), a cover of Cheech and Chong’s Earache My Eye.

I never got to see this incarnation of the Rollins Band in concert myself, largely because I wasn’t into this kind of music when they were doing it. Sad, I know. But if their recent tour with X is any indication, they may well be back together again. We’ll just have to wait and see about that one, but I can always hope!

Rollins Band – A Clockwork Orange Stage

I was fortunate enough to see the Mother Superior version of the Rollins Band in concert in Montreal (3-28-00), for the Get Some Go Again tour. I’ve never seen a show with that much energy and force, and I’ve been to my fair share of concerts. Rollins looked like he was going to jump off the stage and pummel all of us for the entire duration of the show. He had enough energy in himself for everyone in the room, and the band flew along relentlessly. It was awesome. Recorded at the 100th show of that same tour, A Clockwork Orange Stage comes from the Roskilde Festival (7-1-00) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It should be noted that live albums are sometimes a really dodgy business. If you listen closely, you can just tell it’s been “touched up” so much in a studio, after the fact, that it’s not even the concert anymore. Some even go so far as adding canned audience applause! Yeesh. This record, however, comes straight from the stage, no meddling with the tracks. It’s like bringing the concert straight into your stereo. When you hear it, you realize just how much courage it took to do it this way, how well-honed they were by that point, and just how impressive the outcome is.

Rollins may have taken some flack in the aftermath of the break-up of the original line-up of the Rollins Band, for getting new musicians, but I can’t imagine why. Mother Superior kick some serious ass and leave no question in my mind about whether they fit in or not. Purists can cry all they want, this line-up is great too.

Rollins talks a lot about integrity, and being true and cutting through all the bullshit that fills up your life, and a recording like this is proof that he’s doing his damndest to follow his own best advice.

Folks, get on over to Rollins’ web site and check the sale section. This record is only $5, which is a total shame because it is worth way, way more than that. Why don’t you own it already?!?!

Rollins Band – The Only Way To Know For Sure

The Only Way To Know For Sure is a no-fixes, no-overdubs recording of shows the Rollins Band played in Chicago in 2002. In the liner notes, Rollins states that any band can sound good with the help of a studio, but once they get on stage it’s easy to see whether they have the actual goods or not. Hence the title. Bearing this in mind, it’s incredible to hear how tight and mind-blowingly talented these musicians are… every track on these discs is proof that hard work pays off.

Highlight tracks here are hard to pick, since they all tear the roof off the mothersucker. I will tell you that this is one of the most amazing versions of Do It I’ve ever heard, the energy level of which just crushes weaker bands, especially considering it comes along 22 songs into an already searingly hot setlist. These guys were untouchable.

It’s rather hard for me to pick between such things, but if I were really forced to choose I’d have to say that this is my favourite live Rollins Band recording so far. It really is that good.

Recommend it? Hell, if you don’t own it already you are sorely lacking. Hop to it.

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