Michael Monroe: ‘I Live Too Fast To Die Young!’

Released on June 10, 2022 (Silver Lining Music)

It is simply staggering to imagine that there is an absolute living legend in the world of sleazy, glam soaked, swagger dripping rock n roll that has stood by his guns and has never wavered from the simple but effective approach of delivering top shelf rock n roll music, regularly for over four decades! Staggering I know and this same icon is now the ripe old age of 60 years young, yet looks as if he’s 25 and sounds not far removed from that doe eyed lad from Finland and that first few forays into the iconic frontman he would inevitably be. One would wonder what Matti Antero Kristian Fagerholm would have thought as a lad if he knew one day that he’d be revered as one a select few who would be the poster boy for all that is sleazy glam pop/hard rock. 

For those in need of the history lesson, Matti would later morph into the frontman we know and love as Michael Monroe. Michael would be the face of the legendary Hanoi Rocks for many years and two handfuls of essential and influential albums. Me and my high school mates were huge Hanoi fans and bought every single album, LP, 45, VHS tape, whatever we could find. I wish I still had that “Do The Duck” 45. After the band split up — a tragic story but one worth your time, but not herein — Michael (fortunately for us) didn’t hang up his scarves and bedazzled leather trousers. Not in the least. He thankfully took that ethos he created in Hanoi and started a very long, lustrous and fruitful solo career, a solo career spanning over 30 years and blessing us fans with another dozen releases! Wow. Incredible I know and let us begin our dive into Michael’s latest contribution to his ridiculously impressive catalog in the long form entitled I Live Too Fast To Die Young!.

For those familiar with the crowned prince of cool, I Live Too Fast To Die Young! will be of little surprise as Michael sounds absolutely stunning. The musicians he has surrounded himself with, including the Sami Yaffa (once again), are a stable of more than competent and capable musicians that are all in with Michael’s vision and if I am being honest, I Live Too Fast To Die Young! could easily have been released as a Hanoi Rocks album or even a follow up to the quintessential Not Fakin’ It. Michael, like his music, transcends time.

Straight out of the gate, we know we are in for a treat with the sleazy guitar driven rock n roll number “Murder The Summer of Love”, a real gritty dirty sing along with a tasty chorus and Michael shows us he hasn’t missed a beat. The anthemic break with the mega chorus can easily be seen as a sea of arms waving in some huge open air festival and with a solo from Guns N’ RosesSlash, who is no stranger to Michael or Hanoi Rocks as Michael appeared on Guns N’ RosesUse Your Illusion , while GnR’s Uzi Suicide Records re-issued all the Hanoi records in the late 80’s. “Young Drunks & Old Alcoholics” follows right in suit with a shuffling glam rock guitar/bass verse and an all too obvious chorus that will have the audience screaming with glee along with Michael. Of note, the solos and songs’ outro chorus is infectious as anything.

“Derelict Palace” takes a slightly more somber approach, still a rock n roll number but its tempo’d back and quite akin to something you’d hear from Mr. Alice Cooper and Michael seems to channel him herein vocally as well. Of note the guitar solo seems to be a note for note of the “I’m Eighteen” solo for a few measures cementing the logic and the homage to another living legend. In the outro chorus the “oooo-ooo’s” are a real nice touch. Very catchy with a smattering of theatrics. “All Fighter” is straight to the jugular glam punk tune that floors you straight away and then slides right into a nifty little sing-song chorus only to slam back into the verse. The solo shreds and fits well into the fast tempo of this one and at just 2 minutes 43 seconds, you nary have time to get the license plate number of the truck that just ran you over. “Everybody’s Nobody” is an obvious single (if that is a thing anymore) so incredibly catchy and a semi-autobiographical aside to the artist that is amazing but missed the mark or the opportunity for whatever reason and has a moment of adulation. It’s a real well written song, with a trademark Monroe harmonica solo. I am curious if Michael has someone in mind for whom the track was written?

“Antisocialite” is another moderate tempo’d, almost ballad-esque number, with a well played solo that would be a nifty little cigarette lighter arena anthem. Short and sweet. “Can’t Stop Falling Apart” is a fun little boogie woogie number that fits the band like a nice snug pair of Wranglers and with the song’s anti-anthem anthem, it would be a great bar singalong song where the patrons have fits singing along. Really enjoyed the Georgia Satellites vibe on this one and the solo is so befitting of this song, absolutely perfect. “Pagan Prayer” if it is not note for note is a real real close facsimile of Jackson Brown‘s “Time”, especially noticeable on the intro bass line which if played alongside the Anthrax cover seems well the same to say the least. Otherwise a real in your face pedal to floor punk rock flavored rocker that gets in and out leaving you soaked on the floor wondering what just happened but secretly curious for another go. The breakdown is well crafted and oh so sleazy. Excellent.

“No Guilt” is another slowed down number, showcasing Michael‘s vocal prowess and some very notable harmonies. The held last note of the song is very reminiscent of another popular song but I just can’t place it… “Live Too Fast To Die Young” is a (or should be) signature sounding song for the likes of Michael and seems like a part 2 to ‘”Dead, Jail, Or Rock n Roll”. A fine rocker with a singalong potential bar none. A well crafted, seemingly simple, but obviously not arena rocker. “Dearly Departed” is an intriguing bleak sounding number, almost gothic sounding, but probably more akin to old school punk. The song focuses on Michael’s vocals and an ambient use of guitar and I assume synth’s. Kind of closes on a downer. Not a bad song in the least, just one that might fall flat for those wanting another banger.

In closing, Michael is a consummate artist, performer that keeps so active it is astounding. I hope he is as known and appreciated to the masses as he is to me. I was fortunate to finally see Michael live and meet him during his Sensory Overload tour and for me and the 150 other fanboys that made it out on that Tuesday night we were blessed with a performance like no other. Meeting Michael and Sami was just geek heaven so thanks for humoring me that night fellas. As for I Live Too Fast To Die Young! to the fan and the new listener alike, there is something for everyone and the record shouldn’t disappoint. There are sing-a-longs, infectious chorus’, cigarette lighter arena esque balladry, barroom raucous rabble rousing numbers and heartfelt ballads that should appeal to many many differing listeners. Well done Mr. Monroe and thank you for the last 40 years of blood, sweat, tears and just damn good ole’ rock n roll, you sir are a national treasure!

Track List:
01. Murder The Summer of Love
02. Young Drunks & Old Alcoholics
03. Derelict Palace
04. All Fighter
05. Everybody’s Nobody
06. Antisocialite
07. Can’t Stop Falling Apart
08. Pagan Prayer
09. No Guilt
10. I Live Too Fast To Die Young
11. Dearly Departed

Band Members:
Michael Monroe – lead vocals, harmonica
Steve Conte – guitars, vocals
Rich Jones – guitars, vocals
Sami Yaffa – bass, guitars, vocals
Karl Rockfist – drums

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Terry Martinson for Sleaze Roxx, August 2022

Michael Monroe‘s “Everybody’s Nobody” video:

Michael Monroe‘s “Murder The Summer Of Love” video: