Daniel's Reviews > Get in the Van: On the Road With Black Flag

Get in the Van by Henry Rollins
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's review
Apr 06, 2011

really liked it
Read from April 06 to November 06, 2011

Great memoir of Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins detailing the insane life on the road touring with the band in the early 80s. Pretty much the godfathers of hardcore music Black Flag's shows were as legendary as they are. Rollins and the brilliant Greg Ginn as well as the other Flag members endured countless chaotic shows that constantly resulted in violence and their being spat on by fans.

What's most impressive is the passion for the music displayed through their relentless touring, ferocious performances, and DIY lifestyle. It was raw music at its core. Stripped bare of all the commercial success and glamor that rock stars (particularly in the 80s) indulge in. They never played for the money, it was all about the music. And there is a lot to be said about their attitude as a band whether you enjoy hardcore music or not. They stayed true to their values and their own artistry.

The book is a collection of journal entries Henry Rollins compiled over their years touring. It can be very dark at points giving an insight into Henry's mind and what drove him. The book is brutally honest; he hides nothing. Funny how he was working for Haagan-Das and was a huge fan of the band and when they came to DC he hung out with them. Next thing he knew he was invited to be their lead singer. A dream come true. Rollins is now famous as a spoken word artist but in Get in the Van we see Henry as a young man coming to grips with stardom and the passion and energy he delivered on stage. There is a lot of anger and he expressed it night after night more honestly in his performances than damn near anyone else. He was and still is the definition of intensity incarnate.


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