Henry Rollins Pauses For The Murder Rap Cause; Launches Tour

To promote album, tour, Rollins recently shot video for Rise Above's title track with rap pioneer Chuck D.

Henry Rollins guarantees fans will be blown away by the frontman of the Rollins Band's latest tour. And, no, he's not being self-righteous.

Rollins and the current incarnation of his band are on the road with former Black Flag and Circle Jerks singer Keith Morris.

"He's like Iggy [Pop], he's timeless," Rollins said before the tour kicked off earlier this week. "He just walks in and grabs the mic and it's on. He explodes up there. You see why he got the job in the first place. To me, he's the voice of Black Flag."

And that's a good thing, since the tour is a special trek featuring all songs by Black Flag, which is also Rollins' former band. The outing, like last year's Rollins-organized, star-studded Rise Above album (see "Rollins Raises Black Flag To Salute West Memphis Three"), will benefit the legal fund of the West Memphis Three, the teenagers whose controversial murder trial was the subject of the documentaries "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Lost 2."

Rollins, like Metallica and Pearl Jam before him, is doing what he can to get West Memphis, Arkansas, natives Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin a new trial. The men have been in prison 10 years, despite what many consider to be a lack of evidence.

"What we need is compelling evidence and that would be DNA evidence," Rollins explained in his commanding voice. "Apparently, there were DNA samples in the evidence lockers in Arkansas that no one had the budget to test. They are being tested [now, but] apparently it's oh so expensive, so a lot of money has gone in and is still needed.

"The boys in prison are ecstatic," he continued. "I think that's because they are innocent. If I were guilty I don't think I would be jumping up and down over something that could totally implicate me."

Along with ticket revenue, the tour will also raise money through a raffle for the guitar used to record Rise Above and autographed by many of the album's guests, which include Slipknot's Corey Taylor, Queens of the Stone Age's Nick Oliveri and Ice-T.

Rollins Band, with Rollins and Morris trading off on vocals, will play the songs from the benefit album, along with "Damaged 1," "Can't Decide," "Clocked In" and other favorites, according to Rollins.

"People can be part of something real cool," Rollins said. "And these will be all the shows we're doing, this isn't going to be something we're revamping every once in a while. We're going to hit it and then we're going to quit it."

To promote the album and tour, Rollins recently shot a video for Rise Above's title track with rap pioneer Chuck D.

Rollins Band tour dates, according to the group:

  • 6/4 - Memphis, TN @ The New Daisy Theater

  • 6/5 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade

  • 6/6 - Tampa, FL @ The Masquerade

  • 6/7 - Boynton Beach, FL @ Club Ovation

  • 6/9 - Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues

  • 6/11 - Charlotte, NC @ Tremont Music Hall

  • 6/12 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club

  • 6/13 - Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa

  • 6/14 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza

  • 6/15 - Boston, MA @ Axis

  • 6/16 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Theater of Living Arts

  • 6/18 - Cleveland, OH @ Odeon

  • 6/19 - Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall

  • 6/20 - Detroit, MI @ Harpo's

  • 6/21 - Chicago, IL @ Vic Theater

  • 6/22 - Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave

  • 6/24 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue

  • 6/26 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theater

  • 6/27 - Salt Lake City, UT @ DV8

  • 6/29 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox

  • 6/30 - Portland, OR Roseland Theater

  • 7/1 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore