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Michael Monroe: Hanoi Rocks will never reunite

The band's frontman tells Classic Rock: "Hanoi Rocks are still one of the best-kept secrets in rock‘n’roll"

Michael Monroe says that Hanoi Rock will never reunite again. Monroe, who fronted the group during two separate spells, believes that here’s no need to do so because his current solo group is “more of a band” than the unit that Hanoi became during their second incarnation.

The singer spoke on behalf of Hanoi whilst collecting an Inspiration award at Metal Hammer’s recent Golden Gods ceremony.

“This is the band’s first ever award, and I flew in especially to accept it,” he enthused. “Hanoi Rocks are still one of the best-kept secrets in rock‘n’roll, but it’s great that some people still remember us as a very special band.”

Their style was certainly a big influence upon a raft of better known bands including Guns N’ Roses, Poison, Skid Row and Alice In Chains. Formed in Helsinki in 1979 Hanoi nevertheless spent some of their earliest and most important years in London where they met their best-known drummer, Razzle, in 1982. The Englishman perished needlessly two years later as a passenger in a vehicle driven by an inebriated Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil.

Monroe insists that although the band reunited for a second eight-year spell in 2001, a third run is out of the question.

“Hanoi broke up [first time around] when Razzle died and Nasty [Suicide, guitarist] left the band – it was more important to save the integrity of what we were doing than to push on for the sake of it,” he says. “Nobody could replace Razzle or Nasty. For Hanoi, none of the usual rules applied, getting rich and famous really wasn’t what it was about. So we stopped.”

According to Monroe, “tragic events” were a unifying factor when he and guitarist Andy McCoy revived the group some 16 years later. “My wife of 15 years had passed away and Andy had fallen off a three-story balcony and almost died. We recovered from those things together.”

After what he calls “three good studio albums” the revived band “ran its course and stopped having a good time”. Monroe, who is proud that they did so “without resorting to bullshit and shit-talking”, says, pointedly: “The real Hanoi was the Hanoi of the 1980s – the one with Razzle. I didn’t want to call [the second group] Hanoi Rocks because it’s impossible for Hanoi to reunite without Razzle.

“Why should I even need to?” continues the frontman, who in 2011 won Album Of The Year for his solo release Sensory Overdrive at Classic Rock Roll Of Honour. “Sami [Yaffa, Hanoi bassist, 1980-1985] is in my band – that’s two original Hanoi members. We’ve got Steve Conte [guitar, also associated with the New York Dolls], Ginger Wildheart, Dregen [guitar, Hellacopters/Backyard Babies] and either Rich Jones [a much-travelled Englishman] or even Nasty Suicide, who has visited us a few times. It’s called Michael Monroe, but it’s more of a band than that thing I had with Andy McCoy. I’m happier than ever.”

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