Interview with Andy Mccoy and Mike Monroe of Hanoi Rocks
Text translated by Marko Syrjala and Petri Kautto from AOR-Europe.com
Pictures by Marko Syrjala
Hanoi Rocks held a public press conference at Sweden Rock
2002 and Metal
Rules was there to witness it. Me and a few other reporters
also had a chance for a little chat with the boys after the public press. I
put together some Q&A's from both of the interviews. So Michael and
Andy, fire it away!
The obvious question would be why? What is behind Hanoi's rebirth?
Mike: About a year ago we played a few festivals in Finland playing only
Hanoi songs under a name "Hanoi Re-Visited" and it was really fun. So we
started writing some new material and went in to the studio and it
turned out so great we decided to call it HANOI ROCKS again!
Andy: As usual we were even surprised ourselves…
Mike: Yeah, how brilliant we were, what magic and genius, wow… (laughs).
No, really it turned out so great we figured it deserves a name we came
up with, Hanoi Rocks. We started Hanoi Rocks, the two of us, before all
the other guys came so it was us for a few years before we actually got
it going so... and now it just happened, it's like a rebirth, this is
It's not a reunion?
Mike: No, Sammy left Hanoi Rocks when Razzle died and Nasty doesn't even
play anymore, he's a pharmacist now. I want to protect the name Hanoi
Rocks which I have for years and we would never do just a reunion to get
the old guys together and just to make a quick buck. It's not about
Andy: We were offered a lot of money a few years ago but both me and
Michael turned it down immediately.
Did you try and convince your former guitarist Nasty Suicide to play
with you again?
Andy: I called him out of courtesy and told him what was happening and
he was happy about this.
Mike: Nasty came to see our show in Helsinki and came to the backstage
and said that we played the Hanoi songs better than Hanoi ever did.
In my opinion he is right, today's Hanoi Rocks is musically easily
better than ever before.
Andy: Yeah that's right. Everybody can hear that when we play live.
How's writing songs different compared to the old days?
Andy: Of course we've grown as people, both of us. Michael's also grown
a lot as a songwriter.
Mike: Over the years you get experience and both of us have grown a lot
as people and as an artists and songwriters. It's pretty exciting
Andy, it's just you and Michael who write all the music now. How about
Costello. Has he done any writing with you already ? He really has a
long history as a songwriter with his other band Popeda and also as a
Andy: Well...he has brought some riffs and ideas for us. But I don't
know, we'll see if we are going to use some of them I just don't know at
the moment. If there is good enough material from him why not use it??
How did you find the new musicians?
Mike: The bass player and the drummer are from my solo band, I've been
playing with them for a couple of years. It's been a lot of fun and the
other guitarist Costello joined in the beginning of the year. There's a
good chemistry there, you'll see.
Is the musical style in the single (People Like Me) about the same style
that we'll hear in the album?
Mike: Yeah, that's pretty much the style. The next single is called "In
My Darkest Moment" which is a slow one but it is really one of the best
songs we ever wrote together, it's gonna be in the album. There's some
rockers in the album, good melodies, good music… all killers no fillers.
Andy, are you going to sing on the new album also ?
Andy: No. I don't have to because I have a singer in the band now ..
(laugh) I'll do just background vocals this time.
Bands tend to say that their new album is always the best they've ever
done. Is that the case with your new album?
Mike: I'd say you're only as good as your last album. Of course the
sound is going to be better, the studios are so different these days. A
lot of the Hanoi albums don't have great sound, but the songs carry
When will the full album be released?
Andy: August - September this year, we've already recorded part of it.
Mike: I'm working on a solo album right now for SPV in Germany. I have a
contract with them so I'm obligated to make a studio album. I've
recorded about nineteen tracks in the studio before we left here and a
few of the will be in the Hanoi album.
Do you already have some touring plans for autumn etc .. ?
Andy: Yes. We are doing these couple of gigs in Sweden now then we do
some more festivals in Finland and then .. there are also some gigs in
Japan late in August with Guns 'n Roses. When the album comes out there
will be a full world tour to follow.
Andy, any more movie plans after The Real McCoy?
Andy: Making the movie was a gruesome experience, it lasted for three
and a half years and making a film is just shit load of work. I've been
offered a few films but I've turned them down, I'd rather play the
What's the rock scene like in Finland at the moment?
Mike: Well Hanoi Rocks is back so that's pretty big news… there's some
good rock bands, The Flaming Sideburns, there's a cool funky band called
Eternal Erection. The Rasmus has one good song but I've forgotten what
What can we expect from a Hanoi show today ?
Andy: We're just gonna play good rock music and hope people enjoy it.
Your latest single is called "People Like Me". Was there a conscious
message that justified the rebirth of Hanoi Rocks?
Mike: "Radio and MTV, you need people like me!" At least this band has a
place in the world, especially now that rock 'n' roll seems to have
totally vanished from the face of the earth. MTV calls itself Music
Television so it is their obligation to show people where good music
comes from. Kids these days don't even know what rock 'n' roll is. It's
a good time for us to remind people about it so that the name Hanoi
Rocks won't be forgotten. All that has happened with Hanoi recently has
been really amazing… but I haven't broken any previous promises. I've
said that there will not be a reunion. This is not a reunion, this is a
rebirth with new people. And it was me and Andy who started it in the
first place and this just happened.
Andy: It was always me and Mike…
Mike: Yeah, then Nasty came along, then Sammy…
If I have understood, right after the break up Sammy has been active and
has tried to reunite Hanoi Rocks many times ?
Andy: He did tried it only for the money. It wouldn't have been right…
money does not motivate me to make art.
Mike: A short tour with guys who don't get along with each other,
staying in separate hotels and flying separate flights just to meet on
the stage just to make a lot of money. Hanoi was never a bad band and I
wanted to make sure that there's at least one band in the world that
will not do anything for money. Some people say that were together now
because of the money but that is not true, we're doing this because of
I read the guest book on Michael's web page (www.michaelmonroe.com) and
it seemed that many people took it really personally when rebirth took
place. We're you surprised about that?
Mike: Yeah, I mean some people who weren't even born when Hanoi started
who call themselves "Make Monroe" or something, even take their name
from me, criticise me and my decisions about my career and my band. What
business is it of theirs! A lot of shit was thrown at me on my website…
Andy: The feedback that I got was only positive…
Mike: I think it's because I've been a purist when it comes to music and
in Hanoi there were people saying that Michael has said this and this
and now he's doing that… but mainly the feedback was positive. I am
absolutely sure that we have a good thing going. After I made a
decision, which was hard, knew that this is the way it is. I always try
to keep an open mind.
Andy: We both had the same problem with our solo careers… when you were
looking for members to your solo band you could really see that there
are many people who are in the music business for money.
Mike: Some people wanted me to make an overnight sensation out of them
and when that didn't happen they got bitter. Now, when I was not looking
for a band, this happened.
Andy: Yeah, it wasn't planned it just happened.
Michael, you have also your own studio album coming out soon, what's the
news on that?
Mike: I spent 3 weeks in studio just before we left here and recorded
nineteen new songs and a few of them are covers, then my old songs and
maybe three or four will end up in the Hanoi Rocks album. The working
title for the album has been "12 last reasons to die", it has 12 songs
but 'm changing the name to "Anything you want".
Who played with you on the album?
Mike: Lacu and Timpa so it's the same rhythm section as in Hanoi and
Pink Gibson from New York is playing guitars and Andy will be probably
in the few songs. It was cool to be able to write songs and then to be
able to decide what's best for Hanoi and what's best for me.
Are you going to play any stuff from your various solo projects ? There
was plenty of good stuff released during the years ..
Mike: No, we want to keep that solo stuff separated from this Hanoi
Andy: No solo stuff.. just Hanoi.
Andy's wife Angela (Nicolette) has a solo album coming…
Mike: What album .. ? I haven't even heard about that one ..??
Andy: Yes Angela is making her own album.
Mike: Aha ..
Andy: At the moment it looks like it'll be out in January. I've written
songs to it but the music is different from that of Hanoi, it's not
suitable for Hanoi.
You have also a keyboard player on stage?
Andy: We wanted to have more colour to our music.
Mike: Yeah, the sound is better that way. He has a supporting role in
Where did you find him anyway ?
Mike: He used to play for more than ten years in Finland with a band
called Five Fifteen and ... that's it. He's a great player.
Is he hidden behind some curtain?
Andy: No, we don't hide anyone behind anything. When I was on tour with
Kiss they told me that there's no one else other than them but there
were two people behind the curtains singing background vocals. It was
when I was playing with Shooting Gallery in 1996. Gene Simmons is a
megalomaniac and very uncertain about himself.
But he is rich…
Mike: That doesn't make him any better. But yeah he is a good business
man. John "Skinny" Reagan was playing with Ace Frehley's Comet and Gene
went to stage and said to Skinny, "Gimme your bass!"
Skinny said, "why should I give you my bass". Gene, "just gimme your bass."
Skinny, "No, I'm not gonna give you my bass. You're gonna ask nicely.
You're gonna say please."
Gene was assuming that of course he would go "oh mr. Simmons, here is my
bass" but instead Skinny said "fuck you man, who the fuck are you!" I
thought that was great, perfect. The guy had to swallow his ego a
Paul Stanley was very nice when I met him and Ace Frehley is a riot,
he's the funniest man.
Andy, you have released a book (Sheriffi McCoy). Will there be more to
come in the future ?
Andy: There will be one longer version of that book and it will be
published in several languages. Michael is also very talented verbally.
He used to write to a Finnish magazine called "Suosikki" once a month
and I would laugh my ass off. They should publish them again 'cause
there are so many funny stories there.
As the interview was ending we asked about the new album. It will be
released on their own record label Akashic Rocks and then distributed
internationally. The latest single will also soon be released
internationally, they are finishing the contracts. Let's hope that their
new album turns out great and that the rest of the world would soon hear
how the reborn Hanoi Rocks sounds like!