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Classic Album Review: Rollins Band | The Only Way to Know for Sure

Henry is in full-on search-and-destroy mode on this hard-hitting double-live set.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Henry Rollins is one of those love-him-or-hate-him kinda guys. In Black Flag, everybody loved him. After that — when he ventured into heavy-handed prog-punk and started to self-publish his own poetry — well, let’s just say a lot of us went over to the dark side.

Then he hooked up with Detroit-style Angelino rockers Mother Superior — and ever since, the love affair has been back on. The Only Way To Know For Sure, a two-CD live set recorded in Chicago earlier this year, has everything you could want in a Rollins live disc: A muscular, hard-hitting band, tourniquet-tight performances with no fat or filler, a set list that emphasizes the band’s killer new material (Hello, What’s the Matter, Get Some Go Again) while cherry-picking worthwhile oldies (Disconnect, Low So), and, of course, Rollins himself in full-on search-and-destroy mode, driving his power trio forward with a vengeance and barking out his lyrics in a dark rasp that sounds more like Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott on steroids with each passing album. What is not to love?