I spent the entire weekend visiting family in upstate NY, which made for a truly pleasant couple of days but which didn’t leave me with a whole lot of music-related experiences to write about here. And there haven’t been any major breaking music-news stories worth talking about beyond the Idlewild leak, and I’ve already made my opinions on that one known. So this seems like a pretty good time to go back and settle probably the most hotly debated question of my eighth grade year: Who would win in a fight between Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig? Back in 1994, both of them were at their commercial peak, and both were pretty scary and diesel. They’re a long way from relevance these days (Rollins is playing the Nokia Theatre with the reconstituted Rollins Band on Wednesday, and Danzig is doing, um, absolutely nothing), but it’s still fun to think about what might happen if these two ever threw down. Let’s consider the relevant factors.
History: Both of these guys got their starts singing for seminal hardcore bands: Rollins for S.O.A. and Black Flag, Danzig for the Misfits. But the Misfits continued to play straight-up goofy horror-movie punk until they broke up, and Black Flag started to make the transition from no-frills hardcore to awful discordant sludgey art-rock pretty soon after Rollins joined the band. When their hardcore bands broke up, both of them started playing different sorts of arty metal: Danzig honing his horror-movie shit with a heavier stomp in Samhain and Danzig, Rollins making generally terrible jazz-metal with the Rollins Band. “Liar” remains pretty awesome, but Rollins has never participated in the creation of a song anywhere near as great as the Misfits’ “London Dungeon” or Danzig’s “Twist of Cain,” so Danzig wins this battle.
Musical talent: This probably isn’t actually a relevant factor at all, since the quality of someone’s music says absolutely nothing about their fighting ability, as the dubious rap careers of Roy Jones and Ron Artest will illustrate. But it’s worth mentioning that Rollins’ voice has always been a strained bark and Danzig is actually a pretty great singer with a wide-open Elvis bellow. Danzig wins again.
Physique: This one is tough, since both of these guys are obsessed with lifting weights and are thus totally jacked even though they’re both old. They’re also both short. But Danzig is slightly shorter; he’s about 5 ft 6 according to Wikipedia. It’s tough to find reliable statistics on Rollins’ height, but Celebheights.com puts him at about 5 ft. 9. That gives Rollins a slight reach advantage, so he wins this category.
Tattoos: Rollins has a lot more tattoos than Danzig, but one of Rollins’ tattoos is the Misfits’ skull logo, which you’d have to think would give Danzig the psychological advantage.
Age: They’re both really old, but Danzig is (seriously) 51, and Rollins is a relatively fresh-faced 45. Rollins wins.
Literary ambitions: Danzig and Rollins are both independent publishers. Rollins runs the company 2.13.61., which specializes in shitty books of freeform poetry, mostly by musicians including Rollins himself. Danzig founded the terribly named comic book company Verotik, which apparently publishes violent and erotic comics; I don’t know if he actually writes any of these comics. These are both pretty lame, so this is a tough category to decide. But Rollins is a touring spoken-word artist; he’s spent years going up on stages and reading bad poetry and telling funny anecdotes. As a hybrid slam-poet and stand-up comic, Rollins wins no badass points. If Danzig just signs the checks for his comic-book company, he wins here.
Hollywood resumes: Rollins has spent a lot of time acting in shitty movies. He redeems himself slightly by being responsible for the best moment in Johnny Mnemonic (the part where he says, “He’s that guy …. who fucks your mom” and then Dolph Lundgren kills him) and by playing Vanilla Ice in the video for 3rd Bass’s “Pop Goes the Weasel.” He’s also the host of a talk show that I’ve never seen. Danzig’s acting roles have been limited to a voice-acting part in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and a cameo in The Prophecy II, which I haven’t seen. Danzig also reportedly made the unbelievably stupid decision to turn down the role of Wolverine in the first X-Men movie, which makes him indirectly responsible for Hugh Jackman’s career. For that reason alone, Rollins wins this category.
Fighting experience: Ultimately, this is the only category that matters. Back on the early 80s DC punk scene, Rollins was notorious for wearing a chain around his waist and getting into huge fights with frat-boys in Georgetown for absolutely no reason. That was a long time ago, but Rollins at least has a history. All Danzig has is the videotaped evidence of him getting his ass knocked out. After watching that, it’s pretty obvious that Rollins would not have a lot of trouble handling Danzig.
Final result: Rollins wins easily. Still, I would happily pay at least $40 to see this fight. Let’s make this happen.