Some weeks, it is difficult to choose a song, but this week was no contest. And herein lies a tale of a love of Henry Rollins, a very bad work week and a tradition of coffee.
I have harbored a not so secret crush on Henry Rollins since my punk college days. To a radical female punk, he was perfection–political, in your face and um, really good looking. Henry was my idea of a dream mystery date. As he and I have aged, he’s fallen into that category of good looking guys who’ve gotten impossibly better looking as they’ve aged. And he writes poetry, books and loves history!
I would still love a dinner date with Henry, platonic of course.
Another reason this song struck a chord was because the last hold out for coffee drinkers in my immediate family, my son, finally starting drinking a morning cup. Black with no sugar or milk. No gateway drug of Starbucks lattes for this kid. His Nana Butler would have been proud. She was the person who hooked me on coffee at the tender age of three through Friday night “Kaffee mit Milch” . I think my mother was slightly appalled when she found out, but by that time I was seriously addicted. I still drink a few cups a day, milk no sugar, to get me through my day. The only time I didn’t drink java was when I was pregnant.
My daughter recently interviewed for a job and while she was interested in the pay, one of the reasons she was quite excited about the position is that her employer offers free coffee and pastries. Yes, we are that much in love with coffee in my family.
Black Coffee is from the Slip it In album, whose controversial cover I had to hide in my record collection while I lived in the parental abode. (Mom was pretty open minded but that one really would have pushed the envelope for her). Its my favorite line up of Black Flag, with Kira Rossiter on bass and Henry on vocals. Both would eventually leave Black Flag; Henry to form the Rollins Band and Kira to team up with another one of my bass heroes, Mike Watt, to form Dos.
The song is about a break up and anger, and trying to figure out what went wrong. And yes, while drinking black coffee. Its filled with the energy of over caffeinated anger. The music behind Henry’s singing /shouting is driving and buzzes with adrenaline.
The lyrics are perfect for a drive home at the end of a horrible work day which has been survived in part by imbibing Henry’s and my favorite beverage. And yes, you are required to shout along.