Michael Monroe recalls being homeless for six months when Hanoi Rocks started and being anorexic
Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe was interviewed by Ian Fortnam for Louder Sound more than six months ago and spoke about various moments in his life and musical career including his childhood, time in Hanoi Rocks and his foray as a solo artist.
Monroe spoke about how he supported himself between school and his musical career taking off as he stated: “When we started Hanoi Rocks we were homeless. I had a few hundred Finnish marks, not much, when I left home and ended up in Stockholm. So me, Sami Yaffa and Nasty Suicide were living on the streets for the first six months, begging for change. We’d beg enough to get a hamburger to share, or a bottle of wine to forget about the hunger. We befriended other homeless people. We’d sometimes go to a bar and I’d chat up some girl, and when she’d invite me to her house, I’d say: “Do you mind if my friends come along?” Then when we got to the house we’d head straight for the fridge. After six months of rehearsing, Zeppo, who’d expressed an interest in managing us before we left Finland, came to Stockholm to check us out at the rehearsal place. We played our set, he thought it was great, started booking us shows in Finland, and that’s how we started making money. Andy McCoy wasn’t on the streets. He had a girlfriend [laughs].”
Monroe was asked how was life as ‘the most beautiful man in rock’ and whether he was in a relationship, or did his reputation leave him the most unapproachable man in rock? Monroe replied: “[Laughs] I was unapproachable on purpose. I liked to be left alone. I’ve never been with a groupie in my life. I was never interested in casual relationships. I was always too serious. I’d have long periods of contemplation. I’d be almost depressed, quite melancholy. I enjoyed wallowing in my misery sometimes. But there was a time when I was very lonely. In eighty-three I was mainly wearing black and white and was very lonely for a very long period of time, but in eighty-four I started lighting up again. When me and [late Lords Of The New Church vocalist] Stiv Bators hit it off, I started wearing all the colours under the sun and life started becoming fun again.
I went through a drug thing, but got to a point where I said, “I’ve got to stop everything or I’m going to lose my mind.” I started exercising and swimming. I’d run to the local pool, swim for an hour or two without stopping, run home, eat a little muesli and have a salad for dinner. I was so skinny I could touch my fingers around my waist. I started looking like an old man even though I was only twenty. Looking back on it, I was anorexic. It was my way of saying “screw you” to everyone. I was skinnier than Andy. Even though Andy doesn’t have much muscle tone because he never exercises, except for this [raises a bottle], he gets enough exercise pushing his luck. At least I was muscular, because I was exercising all the time – over-exercising. And without acknowledging it, I was on a liquid diet. I was skin and bone. Then we had three weeks off in August eighty-four and I went to the Finnish countryside where I spent my summers as a kid with my mother’s home-cooked food. I started eating normally, little blueberry pies, my favourite foods. I was still exercising so the weight came on evenly. I didn’t even notice.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Monroe at Louder Sound.