ON THIS DATE IN CITY GARDENS HISTORY: April 26th, 1987 - Rollins Band/Circle Jerks. The first Rollins Band show.
Henry Rollins: Those were the days when you played all the time, because if you didn’t play, you didn’t eat. The most significant date for me would be April 26, 1987, because that was the first ever Rollins Band show opening for the Circle Jerks. We recorded a live album at City Gardens for the Rollins Band, which came out in Japan as Electro-Convulsive Therapy.
Sim Cain (Gone/Rollins Band): [Black Flag’s] Greg Ginn had a completely different aesthetic and take on life than anyone I’ve ever met. He’s an incredible mind but… not a very good communicator. Henry Rollins had a very strong love and respect for Greg that I think Greg never understood. He saw conflict where there wasn’t any. It was a tremendous misunderstanding. A lot of it hinged on recruiting the bass player of Black Flag after Kira left. Henry removed himself from the process because he thought it should be Greg’s decision. Greg felt like Henry abandoned him when he had to slog through all the bass player auditions. And I don’t think they ever had that conversation. Then Henry began his spoken word thing, and the books, and he was dividing his interests. So, in the end, they had enough. When it ended, Henry was heartbroken. He was crushed. Black Flag broke up, but Gone continued for another few months. By then we were burned out. We all went home again. In the meantime, Henry had made a record with [guitarist] Chris Haskett and a British rhythm section, and he was getting ready to tour for it. It was actually on [Black Flag roadie] Joe Cole’s recommendation that Henry called Andrew and me, and we were available. That was how we joined Rollins Band. Some people think there was some sort of political aspect to it, but there wasn’t.
Billy Kerns (City Gardens regular): At the time, [Circle Jerks singer] Keith Morris was my favorite. At this show, there was a big dude who was obviously dusted or on something. He was walking around literally knocking people out with punches to the head. Every time the bouncers threw the guy out, he would walk back in another door and continue hitting people. Because of this, my friends and I kept moving further and further back from the stage. At one point during Rollins’ set, this homeless dude on crutches moved in front of me. He kept shaking his matted hair in my face in time to the music. I politely asked him to give me a break, and he told me to go fuck myself. I threatened to smack him around, thinking maybe then he’d stop. He again told me to fuck myself. My friends told me to leave him alone, as he was obviously homeless and crippled. So, I called him an asshole and found another spot to watch the show. So, imagine my surprise when the homeless dude ambled up on stage with the Circle Jerks and that unmistakable voice came out of him! I had wanted to smack my hero Keith Morris! Years later I told Keith that story, and he remembered the incident. I told him he was the reason I didn’t join a punk band professionally. I figured that if they were the “Van Halen” of punk back then—and he looked like he couldn’t afford a comb or a clean t shirt then I certainly didn’t stand a chance making any coin off punk.