Henry Rollins’ 3 Rules For Success As An Artist/Entrepreneur

So you want to be Henry Rollins, kid? Bad news. The job’s already taken. The good news is that following Henry’s three golden rules gives you strong odds of success on your own, unique path as an artist/entrepreneur – the one that only you can carve out.

 

So, young man, you want to be Henry Rollins? You must be prepared to sacrifice everything: home, long-term relationship, children, sleep. You must be ready, every night of the year, to step on stage in a new city and perform your heart out, then go back to your hotel room (or possibly your car) and type up two chapters of your new book. Then, when the sun peeks over the windowsill, you must spring out of bed, do 100 pushups, and start all over again. All while maintaining a sunny disposition toward those who have done you no harm and fighting the good fight against the forces of evil. 


This isn’t much of an exaggeration, really. Henry Rollins is the ur-Artist/Entrepreneur. And although not every solo artist has quite his intensity or diversity of interests, HR is a valuable mentor as to what it takes to survive and thrive for decades as a writer, musician, actor, photographer, or some combination of all of the above. 

[VIDEO] Henry Rollins: “You must be the French Foreign Legion of your own life.”

Uncle Henry’s Three Rules For Success: 

1) Say ‘Yes’ to Everything 

At any given time, Rollins is involved in and planning for multiple projects. He’s naturally curious and enthusiastic, and always eager to test his limits. Last year, he published a book of photographs. Next year, he’s got two documentaries lined up. He’s written and recorded numerous books and solo albums. This diversity of interests and openness to new experiences ensures two things: 1) That Rollins is never wanting for paying work. 2) That he’s constantly evolving and his work never gets stale.  

2) Work Your Ass Off

There’s no way around this one. Henry Rollins is a workaholic. The guy leads a more or less monkish existence and doesn’t sleep. Saying yes to everything means being busy 24/7, but in a world where no artist can rely on royalties or advances or any one revenue stream alone to sustain her, this level of dedication is the only way. And if the Godfather of Punk should run out of steam a bit at age 60 or so? He can always scale back his operation and take a creative writing professorship at Oberlin. 

When trying to stick to rule #2, it is helpful to have a raging fire under said ass. In Henry’s case, this is gratitude for the life he’s created and the ever-present danger of returning to the financial hardship he knew as a young man. 

3) Be “the French Foreign Legion of Your Own Life” 

In his downtime, Henry Rollins sits at a provisional desk, maps and calendars spread out before him, manipulating small plastic models of tour buses. If he smoked, he’d have an enormous cigar hanging out of the corner of his mouth, the ash always just about ready to fall. 

Rollins lines up projects sometimes two years ahead, then takes his time planning, pruning, sorting out logistics. You have to take an active interest, he says, in the unfolding story of your own career. 

So you still want to be Henry Rollins, kid? Bad news. The job’s already taken. The good news is that Henry’s three golden rules gives you strong odds of success on your own, unique path as an artist/entrepreneur – the one that only you can carve out.

 

Follow Jason Gots (@jgots) on Twitter

Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

It’s just a sheet of glass. With AI.

A new paradigm for machine vision has just been demonstrated.

Image source: aleknext/Shutterstock
Technology & Innovation
  • Scientists have invented a way for a sheet of glass to perform neural computing.
  • The glass uses light patterns to identify images without a computer or power.
  • It's image recognition at the speed of light.
Keep reading Show less

New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Keep reading Show less

Elon Musk’s Neuralink unveils device to connect your brain to a smartphone

"A monkey has been able to control a computer with its brain," Musk said, referring to tests of the device.

Neuralink
Technology & Innovation
  • Neuralink seeks to build a brain-machine interface that would connect human brains with computers.
  • No tests have been performed in humans, but the company hopes to obtain FDA approval and begin human trials in 2020.
  • Musk said the technology essentially provides humans the option of "merging with AI."
Keep reading Show less