Los Angeles — With Fox's debut of "Night Visions," its new supernatural anthology series, today, former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins is about to step into new terrain one that occupies primetime airwaves, rather than smoky late night clubs.
Rollins, a post-punk renaissance man who currently fronts a hard rock band, performs spoken word poetry, publishes books and acts in feature films ("Johnny Mnemonic," "Jack Frost" ), stands ready to extend his influence as the Rod Serling for the 21st century. Standing tall and neat, with tattoos all over his muscular arms and a studied, earnest-yet-fierce expression on his face, he is not likely to be passed over by TV viewers across the country.
While this isn't his first time acting, it is the first time he's appeared on network television. Rollins, who's also hosted a number of VH1 and MTV specials, is ambiguous about how the move will affect his life.
"I don't think it will bring me much more popularity," he says, while at the same time admitting, "I've been on MTV at least eight times in my life, no one says anything. Then you go on 'Leno' for seven minutes, for the next six weeks at every airport, someone walks up to you and says, 'Oh my God, you're that guy.' They don't even know your name. It never hit me until I started doing 'Politically Incorrect' and 'Leno,' how many people watch TV it's a whole other league."
"Night Visions" is an update of unsettling shows like "Twilight Zone" and "Night Gallery." Like the Crypt Keeper, Rollins is the show's one recurring figure, on hand to introduce each episode which features a variety of guest stars, such as Aidan Quinn, Samantha Mathis, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bridget Fonda, Gil Bellows, Bill Pullman and Brian Dennehy.
Billy Brown, who created and executive-produces the series with his partner Dan Angel, says they chose Rollins as the show's host specifically for his image.
"We were looking for someone that associated with a kind of edgy, kind of dark, psychological landscape. Someone who could be a witness, someone who could say, 'I've been there, I've been out in that strange dark landscape,"' says Brown. "He just seemed like a good choice."
"That's true," says Rollins. "That I have in spades, perhaps a little more than the Fox people would like to know about. I can't say I've had supernatural things happen to me, but the uneasy terrain, the uncomfortable nature of the show, the suspense and the intensity of it is fine for me. I like it very much."
Rollins adds his part of the show is minimal, only taking three days to shoot the intros and outros for the first 13 episodes. The light work schedule will come in handy if "Night Visions" is picked up, especially since he is getting ready to go on a yearlong tour for his new album "Nice," due out in August, as well as having three movies in the pipeline.