Several serpent tattoos adorn his body, but for rocker (Black Flag,
The Rollins Band), actor (Heat, Sons of Anarchy), writer and radio host Henry Rollins, reptiles are more than mere decoration. He’s had a
lifelong fascination with the creatures, dating back to the days his
dad took him to D.C.’s National Zoo and subsequent employment at a pet
store. No wonder National Geographic Wild tapped him to host Snake
Underworld, airing several times this week, in which he
encounters fellow snake enthusiasts, some of whom go to such dangerous
extremes as keeping or breeding poisonous specimens, or injecting
venom to build up snakebite tolerance. Rollins, whose latest book, a
collection of photos and essays from his travels called Occupants, is
too busy these days to keep any as pets. “I gave mine away to very
nice homes,” he explains. But he made time to share his advice on less
MADE MAN: What item of clothing or gear do you never leave home without?
HENRY ROLLINS: I travel a lot and never go on the road without boots and running shoes. I learned from my father who was WWII-era Army guy that if you don’t take care of your feet you’re not going anywhere. I’m wearing Danner brand—solid, high-quality boots. A lot of SWAT and military guys wear them.
MM: What’s your drink of choice after a rough day?
HR: Extremely hot boiling water with two bags of British tea thrown
in. I’m a tea guy. I like coffee and tea. I don’t drink any alcohol.
I’ve been drunk about three times in my life, all during the Carter Administration. It never was my thing.
MM: What grooming, style or fitness thing can a guy do in the morning to feel and look good all day?
HR: I give myself a haircut with #2 clippers every few weeks and I’m out the door. It’s cheap and takes about as much time as I want to spend on it. Brush and floss daily—breath says so much about what you think of yourself.
MM: What’s the best advice about women you’ve received?
HR: Do not have your mouth smell like a swamp. You might have a better chance with chicks if your mouth is not displeasing to smell.
MM: What can Snake Underworld teach guys about being better men?
HR: It might challenge a man’s machismo and how he conquers his fear
when he handles a reptile. If he has any inborn or imagined fear of
serpents, maybe pick up a large python and confront that fear. It’s an
inspiring thing for an urban warrior to do.
MM: Any parting words of advice?
HR: Take care of yourself. I’m a 50-year-old man so trust me on this.
After 35, you have to maintain your joints. If you’re lifting heavy,
you better watch it because you’re looking at joint problems and
sciatic nerve damage later on. If you want to have a body that will go
the long haul, you want to start watching your diet sooner than you
think. After 20-something you start losing stamina and going into a
slow decline. So eat sensibly: lean meats, fish, good vegetables and