Collect – Matt Hensley


Matt Hensley

By nature we're all gatherers–our need to hoard random objects has become something of a necessity. From music to books or photos, shelves all over the world are stacked to the brim with crap with which we find it impossible to part. There's something very reassuring about having your worldly belongings neatly stored in that place you dwell. They're in a sense a reflection of your character. We've tracked down the busiest fella in rock 'n' roll, the one and only Mr. Matt Hensley, who kindly took an afternoon off from his crazy schedule to share with us some of his most prized possessions.–Skin


“I've always been into weirdness and craziness, and these books always seem to contain all that. I'm into English culture, too, and here you can get a real taste of it. Most of these books are new and are written about shit that went down from the late 70s, early 80s. These days I go to Europe a lot and probably buy three to four books each time–just to keep the collection going. Amongst The Thugs is probably the most famous soccer hooligan book–that was the first book I bought and I read it in a day. I haven't read a hooligan book that I didn't really like.”

Pooling Resources

“Pool and billiards have been a big part of my life since 1990. If you start playing the game a lot, then collecting a library of books almost comes hand in hand–a little like if you skate, then you collect skateboard magazines. I've tried to collect every single book I can on pool, because pool is about 70-percent knowledge and 30-percent precision with the rest of your body. So you really have to know what you're doing and let your body follow suit. Knowledge is where it's at, and books are where you get it–that and talking to old dodgy bastards at pool halls. One of my favorite books is about snooker player Hurricane Higgins, because he caused a lot of havoc back in the day–he should actually be put in the hooligan section.”


Greatest Hits

“I love 60s reggae, and here's a small selection of my albums. The Upsetters are one of the greatest reggae bands of all time. Judge Dread is in there, too–he's a champion and a dirty bastard. I bought them all mostly in London ten to fifteen years ago. Now they're getting harder and harder to find because more and more people are collecting them. If you can find the originals anywhere, get ready to shelve out some cash.”


“These 45s are a little more desirable than the albums, people who collect them are usually DJs. I used to DJ when I lived in Chicago, but I don't do it that much anymore. If I had a choice, I'd take my singles over my albums, it's just sweeter that way. All these were bought in London, except my friend's band The Deals Gone Bad who're from Chicago. If it's not from London, then it was bought on the Internet. In the old days, when a song came out everybody went to the record store and bought the newest, juiciest single from Jamaica. It wasn't until years later that the labels put it all out on a major scale, usually on reissue compilations. Right now Trojan is coming out with just about anything you want, but you still have to be an enthusiast to try and find the singles. I am, so I do.”


“Here's my board that came out in 1990. My first board didn't have that much of a nose on it, though at the time I thought that it did. Skateboarding was changing so quickly back then–I needed to get a longer nose and put the front truck back even further. I had two sets of holes put in the front of the board so you could have the biggest nose possible. This was a time when noseblunts were being done and people were beginning to ride the boards backward. We did the double holes to get the job done. Some of the first street boards like the GSD or the Natas Kaupas and the Gonz all didn't have much nose.”

Penciled In

“A friend of mine who I met through the band did this drawing of me in pencil–the original photo was taken by Skin. He gave me this picture two days after my son was born, but it was actually completed and signed the day that Oliver was born–so this drawing means a lot to me for more than just one reason. It was totally out of the blue and makes the artist even sweeter.”

Elvis And Me

“This was shot with my camera by Ed Templeton. We were hanging around London together in between contests. One day we were at a cafe, and there was Elvis Costello. I said to Ed, 'There's Elvis Costello. Would you take a picture?' He said he didn't believe that it was Elvis Costello. I said, 'That's Elvis Costello, please.' I think we argued about it one more time, then I said screw it and went up to Elvis and said, 'Would you mind taking a picture with me?' He was super gracious and really cool and said, 'Absolutely, man.' It's nice to meet your heroes and find out that they are good sweet people.


“This board was given to me by Lance Mountain. He knows that I like scooters and he likes scooters. What can I say about it? I'm super stoked that Lance Mountain sent me a board with Jimmy on it from Quadrophenia. The whole thing just makes me smile.”

The Gonz

“I forgot how I got this board, but it's a sweet Mark Gonzales-painted board. I got it in Chicago when I was working at Sessions, it was through Dan Field cause he and Mark are really good friends.”

Groundskeeper Willy

This is a drawing of Groundskeeper Willy from the Simpsons. Somehow the band (Flogging Molly) got a call from the artists that make the Simpsons in L.A. They wanted us to come hang out with them–a couple of people who draw for them really like our band. So we went down there and they asked everyone what instruments we played as we walked in, which I thought was strange at the time. When we left we all got a character playing our instrument. I got the sweet Scottish bastard playing the accordion. I immediately put it in a frame and on the wall it went.”

A Drawing From Wesley

“Wesley Willis painted this for me when I worked at Sessions in Chicago. He used to come into our shop all the time and bang our heads–anyone who knows Wesley will remember that he used to come up to you and bang your head and go “Argh“–this was way before he toured with his music. For five or ten dollars, he would go out and draw something for you. The scene in this picture is just down the road from Sessions. Chicago is one of my favorite places. I found this a few years ago–I'd forgotten that I even had it. It reminds me a lot of Chicago, and of course, Wesley Willis.”

The Gold Crown

“This is a 1963 Brunswick Gold Crown pool table. It was bought for me by Mike Ternasky in '91. Mike knew that I played pool every day and he always supported me in everything that I did–he always had my back. He was like, 'I'll hook you up with a pool table.' He was sponsoring me in another way to help me achieve my goals. It's the coolest thing ever, it shows just on one level how much of a great guy M.T. was. This will always be in my family. It means a lot to me on every level–it reminds me of Chicago, Mike Ternasky, and it's a pool table.”