As you all know, the last meeting of the Rollins Aggressive Gentlemen's Enclave was marred by more than the usual amount of arguing, name-calling and brawling. Although Rollins himself encourages the occasional dust-up, it's safe to say we all got a little out of hand. Having the meeting in the street outside the Pageant just after that kick-ass marathon of a spoken-word set (three hours, 14 minutes was the official R.A.G.E. timing!) delivered by the Man himself was asking for trouble. Let's learn from our mistakes, OK? This month's meeting will be held before the show at Kevin C. Johnson's house, and we will strictly adhere to the pre-live-show protocol (90 minutes of free weights, 45 minutes of debate and 30 minutes of sparring, followed by a re-creation of Black Flag's March 17, 1983, show in Chicago. Prepare for pain, crybabies!).Whereas the ongoing debate about which incarnation of the Rollins Band is the definitive lineup will probably never be settled to anyone's satisfaction, that perennial topic is once again on the agenda, thanks to the release of the new album, Nice (Sanctuary). This is the second release by the current incarnation of the Rollins Band, and it makes a strong case for their right to back up Henry Rollins. All the excess has been cut away; no fat or gristle is evident. Rollins plants his feet, wraps the cord around his fist and comes out fighting when the bell rings. Hell, "Stop Look and Listen" is a whiplash 1 minute, 44 seconds long! That's punk, motherfuckers! Granted, Nice may lack the weighty psychodrama death marches of the classic Life Time-to-The End of Silence era, but the heavy is still heavy when the Rollins Band brings it. Guitarist Jim Wilson and bassist Marcus Blake sound like Godzilla in hobnailed boots when they power-trudge through "Going Out Strange." Let's hope they stretch that density out at the live show and give us 20-plus minutes of "Gun in Mouth Blues." It's time to feel bad, people. R.A.G.E. on!
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