MICHEL MONROE INTERVIEW:
July 18, 2010
Websites: www.michaelmonroe.com – www.myspace.com/michaelmonroeofficial
Interviewer: Eric Mackinnon
The unmistakable figure of Michael Monroe ambles into view and your rock reporter quickly put down his pint of pear cider and rises to greet the glam rock legend.We were back stage at the Download Festival and Monroe was taking time out of his preparations for his headline slot later that evening to talk exclusively about his new band’s current solo tour and new record which he promises isn’t too far away.
He is still every inch the Hollywood icon.
Slender, toned, glam and looks like he has stepped off a Sunset Strip street in 1984.
Monroe and his new band made up of Hanoi Rocks co-founder Sami Yaffa, Wildhearts frontman Ginger, Steve Conte and Karl Rosqvist were at Donington Park as part of the 30th anniversary but remarkably it is the first time the man himself has played at the famous rock stars’ playground.
“It’s great to be part of Download in what is the 30th anniversary but it is the first time I have ever played here,” Monroe said, almost sheepishly. “Even with Hanoi Rocks we never played Donington Park — but it’s great to be here now though.”
The first thing I notice about Monroe is he is currently on crutches – the result of some over exuberance on stage a few days ago.But crutches ain’t rock ‘n’ roll so by the time his set time rolls around, they are long gone, and the energetic, flamboyant and downright mesmerizing performance the showman puts on to a packed tent later give no indication to the struggles he has been having with an ankle.
“I have a sprained ankle, it is an old injury where I tore a ligament a couple of years ago so it goes easily now,” explained Monroe. “I twisted it a little at a show a week ago in Helsinki opening up for Guns N’ Roses.
“I keep in touch with Slash and Duff more as I haven’t really spoken a lot to Axl in the past few years,” he continued softly.
“It was a good show, Danko Jones and a couple of other bands were there and we also played Sweden Rocks on Wednesday and I’m fine.”
It has been a remarkable 30 years now since Monroe burst onto the scene with Hanoi Rocks, drenching the masses and the charts with glitter, sugar-coated hooks and kick ass riffs.
Two spells with Hanoi Rocks have been split with a solo career and spells as frontman with Demolition 23 and Jerusalem Slim.On top of all that Monroe has also worked with dozens of rock’s top acts over the years.But when asked about the future a wry smile spreads across his face.
Since going solo again and hooking up with old pal Yaffa again, Monroe is loving life with his new band, and he revealed they are poised to enter the studio later this year.The addition of Wildhearts frontman Ginger, writer of so many ear-infesting hooks over the years, onto lead guitar has also brought a refreshing new aspect to the band leaving the enigmatic frontman purring with anticipation.
“The solo tour is going really well and we have a great band here with Sami on bass and Ginger, Steve Conte and Karl Rosqvist,” he said. “I’m really happy with the band and it’s going good.
“I knew I wanted to go solo and restart but I didn’t really have anyone in mind for the band. I ran into Sami at the end of last summer and he was playing with the New York Dolls in Finland and they invited me up on stage to jam with them.
“I hadn’t seen Sami for a long time and that’s when he said he would love to work with me again and that’s where it started.
“I also hooked up with Ginger last summer at a festival in Finland. It took place near where I live and I got up with them to do a cover of Kick Out The Jams with the Wildhearts and that’s when we started writing some stuff but it wasn’t until last December that we met up again, this time at an Alice Cooper show in Helsinki, I was invited up on stage to do School’s Out and stuff.
“After the show Ginger came up to me and said he really wanted to be part of my band.
“I said I’d talk to Sami about it and it worked out and has been great and now the latest a record will be the early part of next year.
“We are writing songs right now and we are going into the studio in the fall and we will play a couple of new songs in our set tonight.
“Next we are playing Peace and Love Festival in Sweden then a couple in Finland before he head over to Japan for Semisonic Festival.
“The guys in the band together have a wonderful back catalogue but in our sets our fans can expect to hear a bit of everything, a bit of early solo stuff, Demolition 23, some old Hanoi Rocks and a couple of new songs as well.”
Monroe has been a much in demand rock star over the years where he has made guest appearances on dozens of albums including two of rock’s biggest selling masterpieces by megastars Guns N’ Roses.
“Yeah, I have worked with a lot of people over the years from Little Richard to Johnny Thunders to Stiv Bators, who I feel was the best front man ever, to Guns N’ Roses.”