Henry Rollins PhotoBORN: February 13, 1961, Washington, D.C.

In the '90s, Henry Rollins emerged as a post-punk renaissance man, without the self-conscious trappings that plagued such '80s artists as David Byrne. Since Black Flag's break-up in 1986, Rollins has been relentlessly busy, recording albums with the Rollins Band, writing books and poetry, performing spoken-word tours, writing a magazine column in Details, acting in several movies, and, most surprisingly, appearing on MTV as an occasional VJ. All the while, he has kept his artistic integrity, becoming a kind of father figure for many alternative bands of the '90s on the strength of albums like 1992's The End of Silence, 1994's Weight, 1997's Come In and Burn and 2000's Get Some Go Again.

The Rollins Band's records are uncompromising, intense, cathartic fusions of hard rock, funk, post-punk noise, and jazz experimentalism, with Rollins shouting angry, biting self-examinations and accusations over the grind. On his spoken-word albums, like 1998's Think Tank, he is remarkably more relaxed, showcasing a hilariously self-deprecating sense of humor that is often absent in his music.

By this point, Rollins felt that his partnership with the Rollins Band had run its course, as their music grew more experimental and less unremittingly intense. He had been producing a Los Angeles hard rock trio called Mother Superior, and wound up inviting the band guitarist Jim Wilson, bassist Marcus Blake, and drummer Jason Mackenroth to back him as a brand-new incarnation of the Rollins Band. The first fruits of this new collaboration were released in 2000 as the album Get Some, Go Again. A new spoken-word release, Rollins in the Wry, followed in 2001, culling performances from Rollins' residency at the L.A. club Luna Park during the summer of 1999. Another live album appeared in the summer of 2002, The Only Way to Know For Sure. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide