Punk icon Henry Rollins impressed US troops stationed in Iraq when he survived his first mortar attack without even stopping an autograph signing session.

The former Black Flag tough guy was on a UNITED SERVICES OVERSEES (USO) morale trip recently when he was told the basecamp he was visiting was set to be bombed by Iraqi soldiers.

He recalls, "They said, 'Sir, we're going to get a mortar attack in the next three hours...' Twenty minutes later, 'Baboom.'

"A concussion of that size kinda sucks the air out of you... It's a body shot, and one guy hit the ground and they were like, 'Aww, get up,' and he was like, 'I slipped.'

"I was signing autographs and shaking hands and I didn't even stop and they went, 'You're really brave.'

"I went, 'No I'm not, I'm just jaded and burned out and I'm not afraid of death and I really don't think I'm going to die in a mortar attack.'"

Rollins admits his USO tours inspire him because he thinks American troops are amazing.

He says, "They don't get much. These guys get shot at every day. The temperature is inhumane - it's about 120-something by 10am... The food is not the greatest, sleep is when you can get it, now and then."

03/12/2004 09:16