20 QUESTIONS WITH…
Hanoi Rocks Singer Michael Monroe
For you younger Sludgeaholics, Hanoi Rocks was a band fron Finland and in the early part of the 80s, they looked like they were going to be the next big thing and influenced a majority of the bands that followed them. Since we’re lazy and try to write as little as possible, we’ll cut and paste a bit of their bio from Launch.com:
Hanoi Rocks formed in Helsinki, Finland in 1980, with singer/ saxophonist/ glamour god Michael Monroe (Matti Fagerholm), songwriter/ guitarist Andy McCoy (Antti Hulkko), rhythm guitarist Nasty Suicide (Jan Stenfors), bassist Sam Yaffa (Sami Takamäki) and original drummer Gyp Casino (Jesper Sporre). Their music was a schizophrenic juxtaposition of Dolls-y junkie-rock, Stones-y swagger, skinny-tie new wave and comic-book metal–they didn’t really sound like anyone else, most likely because Finland offered them few rock role models. The Finnish certainly hadn’t seen anything like Hanoi, and the band’s outlandish, drag-queenish, leather-lace-and-lipstick image caused much local scandal. Hanoi experienced some commercial success in Japan, India and Europe through dogged touring; it was during a 1982 European tour that the band met an English drummer named Razzle (Nicholas Dingley) who soon took Gyp Casino’s place. Hanoi’s four albums released between 1981 and 1983 were never officially available in the U.S. but still had an immeasurable influence on many bands of the American ’80s metal boom; the band’s U.S. cult following continued to grow organically until they finally got a Stateside deal with Epic in 1984, resulting in what was to be their final LP, Two Steps From The Move.
On December 6, 1984, just a couple weeks into their first U.S. tour, Motley Crue threw Hanoi a drunken welcome party; Razzle left for a joyride in Crue singer Vince Neil’s sports car and didn’t come out alive. The uninjured Neil got off much easier than did Hanoi; all he got was 30 days in a Club Med-style jail (reduced to 18 days for "good behavior"), despite his two previous drunk-driving convictions. For Hanoi, the tragedy was far more devastating. Though they tried to carry on with ex-Clash drummer Terry Chimes, their hearts simply weren’t in it and they split up, bringing to a screeching halt what might have been a long and prosperous hard rock career.
Despite the untapped potential of Hanoi Rocks as a whole, and the fact that the bandmates still play together in various configurations, the members haven’t had much breakthrough success with solo efforts. Luckily, Guns N’ Roses felt so indebted to Hanoi, they released Hanoi’s back catalog on their own Geffen-distributed label Uzi Suicide, making Hanoi’s first four albums available in the U.S. and on CD for the first time. Hopefully the word-of-mouth that built the band’s reputation in the ’80s will draw more curious rock fans to these raw and exciting releases, thus saving Hanoi Rocks from only being known as "that band with the drummer who died in the Vince Neil drunk driving accident."
Metal Sludge has the opportunity to do a phoner with Michael so once again we called upon Jim Bob Dwarf to handle the duties. Jim Bob called Finland, on their dime, to talk to Mike on Wednesday, February 11th. We were given 30 minutes to talk to Michael and it ended up being about 70 minutes, and they still didn’t finish all 20 Questions! So Michael ended up answering questions 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 16, 19, and 20 by email. The rest were all done over the phone. Enjoy!
1. What are you currently up to? This is the only chance to get all your plugs out of the way.
You know what you can do with that "plug?"… Well, yeah right… I’m currently working on new material with Andy McCoy for the next Hanoi Rocks album. And now that the new brilliant Hanoi Rocks CD "Twelve Shots on the Rocks" is out in the States, we’re making plans to tour there later in the Spring.
We’re checking out a new guitar player, the 2nd guitar player Costello left the band just before New Year’s Eve. Actually, a week before New Year’s Eve. We had a gig on New Year’s Eve and when that happened, I decided to call Nasty Suicide up and talked to him for a long time. I figured just to say hi, anyway, and asked if he wanted to spend New Year’s with us and have fun and play some old Hanoi songs. And he came up….we had this guy who played in my solo band play the first 7, 8 songs of the new Hanoi stuff and then Nasty came in and we did about 12 songs of the older Hanoi stuff and it was brilliant. It was really cool. He unfortunately can’t stay in the band permanent because he’s got a different life now. He’s a pharmacist He’s been studying…
Jim Bob: Legal drugs!
Yeah, yeah, (laughs) of course. He was the ultimate rebel. Street punk rock n roll rebel and he even rebelled against death! He started studying and went straight and now he can take all the purist stuff. I’m sure…we asked him with Andy, of course we were joking around, I said, "well aren’t you tempted? I mean isn’t the temptation too great?" He like, "No, fuck, what do you think I’d keep my job if I stole some drugs?" I mean, he’d get fired in a minute. (laughs) But it’s amazing. I respect him for doing it. I could never imagine, basically going back to school. But I guess in his case it was choosing between rock n roll or sobriety, cause he was drinking heavily and he might not be here anymore.
So we’re in the process of working out a new guitar player for the band and at the same time working on songs. Working on the United States. We’re supposed to come over there and do a promo tour in about a month or so. And then just promotion, which is generally taking, and surely we’ll be coming to play before too long. First probably a couple of showcase gigs. Couple in the East coast, couple in the West coast, and maybe Toronto. And then when people see how brilliant we are, we’ll get a buzz going and then everybody will want us to come and do a real tour!(laughs)
2. After roughly 25 years of this insane music industry what keeps making you trudge forward?
(laughs) I guess anger is an energy! (laughs)I guess not giving the pricks the satisfaction of seeing me quit. The joy of productive creativity and performing live.
3. What band should give it up and call it a day and why?
All the phony idiots only in it for the money & chicks. Because they give true rock’n’roll a bad name.
4. Axl Rose once said that: "If Hanoi Rocks would have reached the success they should have had, no-one would have ever heard of Guns ‘N’ Roses." Do you think that’s true?
"If pigs could fly…" If Razzle hadn’t died, if we hadn’t split up in -84… there’s no way of knowing.
Axl actually said that to me too, and it’s possible. Could be. He actually said nobody would know about Guns ‘N’ Roses, Motley Crue or any of that stuff. I think Guns N Roses have a strong thing and they always did. That’s why they were not afraid to mention Hanoi as one of their influences. But certain other bands, for sure, would have paled in comparison had we been luckier. I don’t know, it’s hard to say. Who knows? It’s possible. I think Guns ‘N’ Roses and Hanoi would have been good together. I think Hanoi Rocks is more like a rock ‘n’ roll band, sound wise, and Guns ‘N’ Roses were much heavier. They’re more like a Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith type of heavy. We’re more like the Stones, but punky. They had their sound which I think was pretty heavy so they’re different types of bands, really. I think there would have been plenty of room for both. There can never be too many good rock bands in this world!
5. Rate the following singers on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being somebody who sucks and 10 being a vocal God.
David Lee Roth = The only right singer for Van Halen! The only Van Halen I listen to is when David Lee Roth was in it. Wish he had stayed in Van Halen. He could be a stand up comedian he’s so funny. I met him once, Little Steven introduced me to him at the Limelight in New York when I just moved to New York. And Steven was saying, "This is Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks." And Dave was like, "Right, how ya doin’, how’s the band?" "Well, we broke up, our drummer died, I’m solo now." He says, "Well join the club, buddy!" (laughs) And Little Steven was solo at the time too, so we were all solo.
Billy Idol = Is he a singer? His real name is William Broad, right? As a singer, I’d say he’s pretty average. You can hear some good influences in his singing. Maybe some Iggy or Jim Morrison. Whatever he’s got he’s using it well. Lucky devil. With all that braggin’ about shaggin’ I’m surprised his dick hasn’t fallen off yet…
Alice Cooper = Alice Cooper! Hey! The King. He’s one of my heroes since I was a kid. Without Alice Cooper…..my favorite band as a kid was the Alice Cooper band. One of the top 3 bands. "Love It To Death," "Killer," "Billion Dollar Babies," classic stuff. Alice Cooper is definitely one of the most important and brilliant showmen, along with Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Iggy, Johnny Thunders, whatever. Alice Cooper is the best. Nobody has done what he has done and he’s a major influence on me. I totally love Alice and then on top of everything else, he’s the sweetest guy you would ever imagine meeting. It’s almost like you get disappointed when meeting him because you think he might be a little bit nasty or something! (laughs)I love the guy. Alice Cooper can do no wrong. Alice Cooper rules. Absolutely 10+!!!
Bruce Dickinson = Great fencing champion & aeroplane pilot. As a singer – Arthur Brown’s successor in this day & age. He’s good at what he does. He’s super nice, great guy.
Bret Michaels = Who?
Kory Clarke = Oh yea, right up there with Alice Cooper. Absolutely 10+!!! Warrior Soul is one of my favorite bands of all time. One of the best voices in rock. Check out Warrior Soul’s first 4 albums! Just fantastic. One of the best kept secrets in rock ‘n’ roll. They’ve could have been as big as Jane’s Addiction. I think totally underrated. Warrior Soul to me was a mixture of Black Sabbath’s first album meets Sex Pistols first album meets Jim Morrison meet Alice Cooper. I love Kory Clarke. Kory Clarke and Alice Cooper are absolutely my heroes. Kory is actually my age and used to live one block away from me in New York City, on 3rd Street. He lived by the fire department and I lived across the street from the Hell’s Angels. We were one block away from each other and we used to have pizza parties and stuff. He’s somebody who should be a fucking superstar. His lyrics and his songs, classic stuff. I wish they were functioning like a band so we could go touring with them. We should get Warrior Soul, Hanoi Rocks, and Velvet Revolver to go do a tour together! (laughs) I’m still thinking about what bands should pack it in and give it up. Anyway, do you have any more of these funny questions?
Jim Bob: Oh yea, there’s a ton!
Sebastian Bach = Good voice, just lose the vibrato!
Axl Rose = 3 words: Dan McCafferty, Nazareth… and some advice: Lose the "hire d guns" and get back with the real Guns & Roses – Slash, Duff & the rest.
Phil Lewis = Oh, the "L.A. Buns?" Could’ve stayed in "Girl."
Ismo Alanko = Interesting…
6. In a bio of yours you refer to managers as damagers. Who in your eyes would be the right guy or gal to manage and not damage your future music career?
Right now, David Krebs is working for me in New York City. I’d like to think he’s not a damager like all the rest of them. (laughs) I’ve known David for a long time. He was sorta one of the first managers I ran into in New York. I’d meet him once in a while and he’s say, "I think that’s a bad move, I wouldn’t do that." And then I’d do something and it would turn out that David was right. I would see him around and we never worked together, but I had all these scumbags. You could line them up, one after the other. They’re crazy. This business is crazy. It’s like 95% are criminals, crooks, ripoffs, they do whatever to sleazily exploit. They’ll treat you like shit. Dialing my damager daily for disappointment just doesn’t do it for me. I need my own kind of visionary rebel dreamer, obviously way ahead of his time.
David Krebs in a good manager of mine. He has managed AC/DC in the "Highway To Hell" times, Aerosmith in their early years. Some of my favorite albums were their first 7 years. And then Ted Nugent, and the New York Dolls he managed for one day. The Dolls were on the road and Johnny Thunders apparently called him and said, "I want $100 otherwise I won’t go on stage." So David sent him $100 and quit right after that. He’s not going to manage an artist who does that. He’s just to hip to the kind of music we’re doing. Cause we’re really a 70s band. 76/77 is when me and Andy met and started playing with the band. We got Nasty and Sami came later but we started writing songs back then and officially really started in like 79. So David understands what we are really about pretty good. So he’s like the missing link. There was a time back in the states when the biggest bands were like Van Halen, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, in the 70s sometime. Oh, I remember, we played a gig in Buffalo somewhere, there was a venue we played with Hanoi, and there had been a gig there with New York Dolls, Mott The Hoople, and Aerosmith on the same bill. I was like, "wow, those were the days when you could go see 3 bands at the same time that brilliant." Now a days you can’t tell one band from the other.
7. You did a project with Steve Stevens of Billy Idol, which ended up being called Jerusalem Slim. It was produced by Michael Wagener and once released you shunned it in the press and pleaded with your fans to NOT buy it. Why?
Correction: It was "reduced" by Michael Wagener. Steve Stevens pleaded with me to be my guitar player after hearing my solo album "Not Fakin’ It" (-89), so we did some promisingly rockin’ demos in New York for about a year. Then wound up in a shitty (Wagener’s choice) L.A. studio for 3 months of heavy-metal-guitar-hell ’til all the "rock" & "balls" was gone. It was basically my solo deal. But the label wouldn’t stop it, though I had disowned the record at about $300,000. It ended up a senseless waste of $700,000 (!) that nobody liked. I of course informed the fans that it didn’t have the integrity & quality that all my other works do, so they wouldn’t waste their money… It was an idea that looked good on paper, but died from loneliness. Main problem being – I play from the heart, but Stevens plays from the wallet…
8. After all these years, you seem to have remained in pretty good shape. Do you have any advice for other rock singers who have let themselves go, gotten fat and bloated and become a parody of their former selves?
Quit, while you’re behind…!
9. Name 3 high points and 3 low points of your career so far?
1) Hanoi Rocks (1979 – Dec. 9th, 1984)
2) Michael Monroe solo (1985 – 2003)
3) Hanoi Rocks reborn (2002 –> onwards)
1) Razzle’s death
2) The "Jerusalem Slim" project
3) Jude Wilder’s death
10 . Yes or no, has Michael Monroe ever:
Stolen a car = No, not even a toy one.
Worn a Banana suit = No. Didn’t Freddy Mercury already do that?
Eaten Reindeer meat = I was kinda religious as a kid and I heard: the only kind of meat a priest could eat on Sunday was Nun. Huh?
Jacked off in an igloo = Speak for yerself, pervert! Don’t try forcing your habits on me!
Visited the city of Hanoi = No, but would like to record a live record with Hanoi in Hanoi. I have visited Bangkok and we were close to visiting Hanoi but the political situation was too touchy at the time.
Thrown a live hand grenade = No.
Wanted to join the Leningrad Cowboys = A cover band? Not in my weirdest nightmares. God bless ‘em though.
Attended the Air Guitar World Championships = No.
Hit someone over the head with your saxophone = Never would I waste the precious instrument on such foolishness!
Regretted doing an interview = Yeah. This one!
11. What are your thoughts on Motley Crue releasing a box set called "Music To Crash Your Car To" and do you think that’s disrespectful?
"Disrespectful" is an understatement. The "Mostly Crude" gotta be as dumb as they are to have done that. I’m not only talking about Razzle, but also for the other families involved in the accident (in Dec. -84)… as we’ve previously stated: The most tasteless and murderous gimmick to cash in on the past we’ve ever heard of. There’s nothing "cool" or "funny" about death or winding up a paraplegic for life. How low can you go?I’d say this gave bad taste a bad name!
12. What rock star deserves a big smack in the mouth and why?
Smack in the mouth? I thought rock stars fix in the arm… and if you’re dumb enough to do that, you deserve to suffer the consequences.
13. The Guns N Roses members were very much into Hanoi Rocks and they released your European back catalogue in America on their UZI SUICIDE label thru Geffen Records. How did this benefit you or the others financially?
Sure, we got some kind of an advance, but mainly it was great to have those records available in the States. I’ll always be grateful to the Guns for releasing them. However, Hanoi not functioning at the time didn’t help the sales… then again, Hanoi’s greatness has never really reflected in the record sales so far…
Besides, when I did their single, "Ain’t It Fun," it was a spontaneous kind of thing for Stiv Batters. They flew me over to L.A. to do the sax and harp on the "Use Your Illusion" album, which I did on that song "Bad Obsession." So while I was there I was playing in the car, I made a tape compilation of the Dead Boys for Axl and when he heard "Ain’t It Fun," he was like "wait a minute." Cause he told me he had never heard of the Dead Boys. And I was like, "that’s amazing, you have to know the Dead Boys." So he says, "I seem to remember this song, it’s great, lets get the band together, lets do this song. Let’s do it as a duet." Well, fucking brilliant! In memory of Stiv Bators. He had all these plans for a video, which never happened, however, I said, "all I want for this is to put ‘in memory of Stiv Bators." Just to make people aware it’s for Stiv. And it ended up on the "Spaghetti Incident" album. When we did it it was magical. We sang it live together. We did a little ritual there and lit candles around us there, because he used to do that, he was like a magician in one way. However, we did the song and it was like the 3 of us were singing. It wasn’t a duet, it was like Stiv’s voice was coming through Axl. In places he sounds just like Stiv. It gave me the creeps. It gave me the chills when he said, "ain’t it fun when you feel like you gotta get a gun." In a couple of moments it’s just like Stiv. I was like, "wow!" He was definitely there. The guy who actually wrote the song died. Laughner and Cheetah Chrome wrote this. Peter Laughner was like the Dead Boys roadie. It was the only song he ever wrote in his life. And then he died. And when Dead Boys did the record, they recorded the guy in some hallway, he was drunk on the floor one night saying, "I’m dead, I’m dead." So at the end of the Dead Boys version, when it fades out you can hear the echo of the guy going, "I’m dead, I’m dead." So Axl heard that and was like "Fuck man, maybe we shouldn’t do this song." And I was like, "no, no, no, no, no, Stiv was about love. This is the right thing. It couldn’t be anymore right than this." So all I asked for was mention Stiv Bators name on the record, that’s great, and spell my name right. Cause my damager at the time was like, "this will be big time then, should I speak to the Guns ‘N’ Roses manager?" I was like, "Don’t do nothing of the kind. If I catch you talking to anybody about this I’ll kill you, you bastard. You’re not going to fuck this up! I want to make sure the song gets on the album and that’s it." I didn’t get anything for it except a normal session fee for playing in the studio. So, it’s never been a money making scheme.
14. The last of Michael Monroe:
Last musical instrument you bought = A red tenor saxophone.
Last CD you purchased = AC/DC: Highway to Hell – Remastered (DigiPac, etc.)
Last book you read = "Please Kill Me" by Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain.
Last song you wrote = Won’t say til it’s recorded ‘cos someone could rip it off.
Last celebrity you shook hands with = Sami Yaffa.
Last time you visited the USA = 1998.
Last time you built a snowman = 1996.
Last time you performed with Backyard Babies = 1999 in Japan.
Last time you threw up from drinking = 1982 or 1983.
Last time you talked to Axl Rose = So long ago, I can’t remember.
15. On New Years Eve 1989, you played the Tokyo Dome alongside artists like Don Henley, Bryan Adams and Huey Lewis. Who the hell put that bill together and how did the audience react to your performance?
The audience reaction was great and it was cool playing to about 70,000 people, most of whom wouldn’t normally necessarily come to my own shows. A great fun experience. There was actually a lot more bands. Steve Stevens was supposed to be there with The ATOMIC PLAYBOYS!!! Which was a joke, if anything was. That band, I’m glad they…that’s one band that should just pack it in and give it up, and they did. So that was smart of them. They were supposed to open and be the first band, before me, and Steve told me later that he canceled because he said had a singer that I would have blown off stage, basically. That’s why he didn’t want to come. And the band called Loudness. The Japanese band Loudness. They played first, then it was Michael Monroe, Don Henley, then Bryan Adams, and then Huey Lewis. It was legendary Japanese King of Promoters – Mr. Udo. He brought in The Stones, and The Who, Led Zeppelin, back in the 70s and stuff. He’s got some wild stories. He was the guy who saved Paul McCartney’s ass when he busted for the weed. It was Linda McCartney’s weed and she had left a huge sack right on top of the suitcase. She hadn’t even tried to hide it. Paul McCartney, when he found out he could potentially get 7 years in jail, he took the blame because he didn’t want Linda too. So Mr. Udo tells the story and says, "Paul McCartney is banned, Paul McCartney is banned." He’s laughing because, check this out, Mr. Udo went to the highest court cause they were like going to put him in jail. They asked him, "are you willing to bring him back to Japan in the future?" And he said, "yes, absolutely!" And surely he made a nice, little cash payoff too! So McCartney got sent free. So low and behold, the next time McCartney comes to Japan, he’s using a different promoter. He’s going with the guy who’s Mr. Udo’s rival. Mr. Udo’s worst enemy, basically, instead of using Mr. Udo. And that is very disrespectful. Japanese people hold loyalty and everything in very high…loyalty is very important to those people. And I could tell in Mr. Udo’s face that he’s….he’s like a samurai. His family, is, you know, an ancient samurai family. He’s a descendant of. His father’s father and so on. Anyway, Mr. Udo put that concert together. Bryan Adams only did the two nights in Tokyo. Then we did Nagoya and 3 other cities at least. That was just Don Henley, me and Huey Lewis and The Loudness.
I did the video, "Man With No Eyes" in Tokyo in the Dome. It was like 60/70,000 people there or something. It was the greatest experience but the weirdest bill, huh? (laughs) It was a good crossover. People that saw me there wouldn’t come to my show normally so I thought it was a good crossover to present Michael Monroe.
|16. Which do you prefer and why:
Playing the harmonica or playing the saxophone = The blues harp is handy, I usually have one on me always. Y’know, fits in the pocket etc.
Sweet or T-Rex = Slade
Chainsaws or pick axes = How do you make a chainsaw sound like a heavy metal singer? – Add vibrato.
Shooting Gallery or Havana Black = Hanoi Rocks rather.
Lapin Kulta or Olvi Special = Non-sparkling drinking water
The Darkness or Warrant = The Sparks
David Bowie or Iggy Pop = Iggy & the Stooges
Los Angeles or New York = Manhattan
Oriental Beat or Self Destruction Blues = 2 Steps From the Move
The Whisky-A-Go-Go or CBGB’s = The Whisky’s got a better stage and less cockroaches in the toilet facilities…
Hanoi Rocks – 2002
17. There’s an old Finnish proverb stating that "Your own home is as precious as gold." Yet you’ve had to move a couple of times because your homes became infested with mold. Why is mold such a big problem in Finland, and do you think they should change that proverb to "Your own home is as precious as mold?"
I think mold is a big problem everywhere. In England especially and in the U.S. too. It just hasn’t been recognized as such yet or people are still in denial about it… in Finland the word "home" means "mold" – which to me gives new meaning to the old saying: "Home Sweet Home."
Back to "who should give it up." In Metal Edge magazine, when Sami Yaffa was doing an interview with Jet Boy, he was in that band Jet Boy. They said some kid had written them, they’d seen my picture there, a one page picture of me saying Michael Monroe, or something stupid like "Michael Monroe expecting fame" or something like that. So somebody had gotten really pissed off and written a letter saying, "Who is this Mike Monroe character? Why is he stealing C.C. DeVille’s look? He looks just like him. He’s using the same lipstick even!" And I was wearing no lipstick whatsoever in that picture, I never did. My lips are naturally this color, what can I say? So Sami told me that he had answered, they had put like a picture of Hanoi in like 83 where I’m like wearing that bowler hat and the gold lame suit and you could see it was one of the pictures they probably gone by when they were sorta designing their little niche in life. So Sami said to them, "why don’t you ask C.C. DeVille where he got his look?" So you gotta love it when some kid comes up to you and says, "are you from Poison?" (laughs)I say, "you’re wrong. Dead wrong! You want some poison? I’ll give you poison motherfucker!" (laughs) But, I gotta be honest, that was the first name when I think why don’t they give it up?
18. How bitter are you that Hanoi Rocks is basically responsible for influencing Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, Poison, Warrant, and everybody else but you guys never got the break you deserved?
Oh, I’m really proud of it. I’d rather be the guy with the goods than the guy who has to steal from somebody and doesn’t have what it takes. Cause we have the Well, the source. So I’m happy to be secure on all levels in myself and that nobody can control me with money or any other material or such thing in life. Nobody can enslave me. Nobody can tell me what to do. I can go where I want and nobody can stop me. And I’m not part of any group of acceptable, approved, popular guys smiling on the cover of magazines being phony and stupid. So I’m quite happy to be who I am. I quite proud, especially……actually, with Hanoi Rocks, we actually never reformed, this thing just happened. It was a rebirth, which I never thought was possible. So I say if we get the recognition, I think it would make sense that people would get into the group. If people get to see Hanoi Rocks live and get to check out the record, then there is no reason why we shouldn’t have quite a big audience. If I was a kid out there, I’d be into this kind of music. They just don’t hear real good rock ‘n’ roll anymore.
Besides, no wonder, rock ‘n’ roll has basically been wiped out from the face of the Earth. Everyone is digging rap and country. Seems to me I was watching some awards there in America, and it was mostly country & western, and then some hip hop/rap, and that’s all there was pretty much. And then one or two, a couple of whatever, funny rock ‘n’ roll bands. But see, bands like Poison, who are a sucky band. I can say without worry, I know it, they suck. Or they’re pretty sucky. And they became so big, and they were so much bigger than they really….you know, in relation to their talent, deserved to be. They go so big and being such a sucky band, people think, "oh, that’s rock ‘n’ roll. Cause they sell so many records they must be the real thing." And that gave rock ‘n’ roll a bad name. People who went to see them probably think, "oh yeah this is cool" but in the back of their mind they go, "well it doesn’t really move me and maybe I’ll just buy a hip hop record." So they contributed to destroying what’s good about rock by being phonies. That’s why I dislike and the worst thing that could happen to me, or Hanoi, is that we are being thought of as one of the 80s hair-metal bands. Cause people say we inspired or started some kind of glam revival, whatever. We never called ourselves glam or anything. We’re just a rock ‘n’ roll band. You couldn’t categorize Hanoi, really. We defied all categories which was one of the best things about the band. Besides the fact that…..we encouraged people to be themselves and individuals, and not try to be….not have a uniform that you could just put on and be that. Get yourself a personality, you know? You gotta find your own thing. Most people look ridiculous trying to dress like me or putting on makeup and a lot of those bands did. I thought they looked hideous! I think they shouldn’t have tried to look like Hanoi because it didn’t suit them. It was not their style. And later on, now they’ve gotten like, "yeah, that was back then. We used to wear makeup but now we’re a little older, more like mature and we don’t wear makeup and we’re men." They’re a bunch of idiots! I think a person who changes has no character. A guy who changes like that I always get suspicious. I don’t want to be associated with those bands. Somebody asked me yesterday if we would do a tour with Poison and I said, "certainly not!" Even though I know we’d wipe the floor with those guys. Who would want to be associated with that sort of genre? Somebody also said once, it’s funny that there seems to be this glam resurgence, and the main influence that helped start this thing was a band that doesn’t even play glam, they’re a rock ‘n’ roll band. I always say, "don’t blame me (laughs)for that stuff!" Of course it’s flattering if people admired and liked you, and Guns ‘N’ Roses are a good example. They had their own thing. So they could say, you know, most of those bands would say, "Hanoi what? Hanoi who? Hanoi Rocks, never heard of them." It was just fine that Hanoi broke up then because apparently, some people can just like take an image from somebody or something and just pretend to be that. And it’s really not real. But that’s showbiz for some people. To me, I’m 24/7/365, I’m the same. I don’t change. I don’t put on jogging pants and drink beer and watch the football game and be a slob, or whatever. I don’t take a wig off or something. I have my own beautiful hair and it’s always been that way. If I lose my hair, I wouldn’t wear a wig. I’d fucking go like Cheetah Chrome. I just don’t relate to that kind of lifestyle. The chicks and the parties and the blow and that stuff. It’s not real life. I guess it’s because I grew up in Finland. I didn’t know what drugs were until I was like 14 or something. In America, when you’re 5, 6, 7, you’re in school and have pushers in the school yard selling heroin and stuff. It’s unbelievable. Unimaginable. So, I’m sorry to say, I don’t have a drug problem. I tried to work on it but I just couldn’t get into it! (laughs)So all the usual stereotype rock singer things don’t apply to me. None of the usual rules apply when it comes to Hanoi Rocks and Michael Monroe. I would think it would be a refreshing change from all this ridiculous, phony jokes.
It only bothers me to be associated with any of those bands (except for Guns ‘N Roses) ‘cos they’re so totally not what Hanoi Rocks was and is about. No matter how lucky they may have been and however many records they may have sold – millions of fans CAN be wrong… and most likely are. I’m not bitter, ‘cos we’re better.
Besides, I think we write songs that are good songs. Melody. That’s what it always came down too. Sure, the look it part of the thing. Little Richard was the first King, or Queen, of glam. He’s the reason I started doing my hair up and doing makeup and I thought he was wild and crazy and great. It was the ultimate until Alice Cooper came and "Love You To Death" and that band. I was like all right, that’s me! That’s my kind of thing.
19. Who among the following has the worst case of bad luck:
a) Eric Clapton
b) Def Leppard
c) Great White
d) YourselfHow the fuck should I know? All I can say is: consider the uses of adversity.
20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.
Nikki Sixx = Gave new meaning to words like "shallow," "ignorant" and "stupid" …
Gene Simmons = The most conceited, fat chauvinist pig I’ve ever encountered. Probably has a "small-weenie-complex" based on his obvious need to constantly brag about how many groupie idiots he has "conquered."
Michael Wagener = Too German and too heavy.
Eddie Van Halen = Surely a very nice guy. Way too often imitated, but never equaled as a player.
Little Steven Van Zandt = Best friend in my New York years. A real rocker at heart: check out his "Voice of America" – solo album or my "Demolition 23" album, which he produced in -94.
Nasty Suicide = One of the best guitarists in the world. Ought to be in Hanoi Rocks permanently.
Johnny Thunders = One of the most important people in Rock&Roll. Never sold out to the business bullshit. A very good personal friend, whose untimely departure was a huge loss.
Sami Yaffa = The best rock bass player in the world. Ought to be in Hanoi Rocks permanently…
Ian Hunter = One of my all-time favorites from "Mott the Hoople" to his solo stuff today. One of the world’s best songwriters. Way too overlooked in this day and age. Worked with Hanoi on the "2 Steps From the Move" album. Also played piano on my solo albums "Nights Are So Long" and "Not Fakin’ It." I’m lucky enough to know him as a friend as well.
Andy McCoy = One of the most important guitarists also. Has sometimes trouble controlling his demons. A guy you sometimes hate to love but never love to hate.
Slash = One of the best, the right kind of guitar player. A good friend.
So there you have it! Thank you very much!
Stay away from everything you do and be careful; the toes you step on today could be connected to the ass you kiss tomorrow!
Well don’t be looking for Hanoi Rocks to be touring with Poison anytime soon! Poison is just getting tons of love this week.
Thanks to Liquor And Poker Music for hooking us up with Michael and to Jim Bob Dwarf.