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NewCityNet A Superior Band

By Dave Chamberlain

APRIL 3, 2000:  Henry's back.

He was never gone, really. In fact, the only people who ever proclaimed Henry Rollins gone were in the disillusioned music press. "Sellout!" they cried in unison after the former lead singer of Black Flag made his way into movies, MTV and Gap commercials.

But even the naysayers have to agree: The man is making a living in the entertainment industry, and he's in demand. Proof is in the numbers: The Rollins Band show at the Metro, April 1, sold out almost a month ago.

This time through, Chicago marks the first official show for Rollins with a new backing band, L.A.'s Mother Superior (they played here last year while still rehearsing and tightening up), and in support of "Get Some Go Again" (Dreamworks), the first output by the new Rollins montage.

According to Rollins, the first Band had simply reached an end. "By the end of 1997," he says, speaking from his Los Angeles office, "we all felt that there wasn't anything else to do. It was time to leave the nest. We all had our black belts. Eventually, you just run the gamut of things to do." That band ended with no hostility, unlike Black Flag. "That [Black Flag's disbanding] was acrimonious, not at all civil. It was one phone call and over."

Having already worked in the studio with the members of Mother Superior (Marcus Blake, Jason Mackenroth, Jim Wilson), the match-up was a natural. "They are all longtime friends; it worked."

Don't think that the sound hasn't changed. Rollins' vocals are, well, Rollins -- hard-edged and sweaty with enough growl to beat down a pit bull. The integration of Mother Superior, however, brings the metallic and treble factors up to snuff. More crunch now screams behind the growls.

As for Rollins, he just keeps plugging away. In addition to the Rollins Band, he also has just finished filming parts in three films and does the voice for Mad Stan on the animated "Batman." He never takes the work for granted.

"As you get a leg up in this business, you get more opportunity. I choose to take the work," he says. "I always count on it [his career] ending next week."

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