While in Michigan for an Iggy and the Stooges show in honor of late band member Ron Asheton, Rollins in April told the Detroit Free Press of his decision not to use drugs or alcohol:
I’ve always been very ambitious, just trying to get somewhere, and I’ve always been a live performer, making my name onstage. It was never going to be record sales with a guy like me. It’s going to be proving it every night…. Every night is the big one; every single night. So why would you go into a heavyweight boxing match drunk and expect to win?
In a piece called “Rollins on the Road,” I note that the former Black Flag and Rollins Band frontman “maintained a fighter’s physique” into middle age and that he likened his preparation for touring to a boxer’s training regimen. I also mention that Rollins compares himself to the Muhammad Ali of 1974’s Rumble in the Jungle in his book A Dull Roar, where he writes: “The show is George Foreman. I am Ali. I am going to take a beating but I will prevail.” In another essay in Fighters & Writers I point out that Ali similarly attributed his success to never smoking or drinking.
Then again, Rollins in the same Free Press interview also calls Iggy Pop “the heavyweight champion of rock” despite Pop’s rather different approach to living.