Get our free newsletter
For last week’s cover story, I talked to a lot of people about their experiences at Fort Reno. Henry Rollins was among them, offering a brief but honest recollection of his time watching The Evens play there. In his most recent column at LA Weekly, which is quite appropriately over-the-fucking-top, he recounts the last Fort Reno show of the year. You know, the one everyone went to because Ian MacKaye played. Rollins sums up the evening with all the unflinching intensity you could hope for.
At one point, Ian starts talking to the crowd. It gets very quiet, and the massive field of people begins to feel like you and me sitting across from each other. Ian humorously and gently admonishes the audience for being so absorbed by their phones. “You blue-faced people, stop texting!” he says. Then he offers up the line of the summer: “Music is serious. Look where we are. This is happening right now.”
He lets that hang for a second — it feels like a lifetime to me — and in that microscopic bit of my existence, I feel connected to everyone there, I feel the entirety of my life, as well as more than 30 years of watching this guy onstage.
The anecdote is perhaps more amusing than Rollins intends. In a few short lines, two punk heroes offer the kind of straight-faced ferocity that both begs for snark and epitomizes their best qualities. Simply put, they take their art fucking seriously, damn it.