VENUE: Club Feenix, Turku, 5th of July, 2001

On the eve of the Ruisrock festival Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy of the legendary Hanoi Rocks held a press conference regarding their two gigs under the title of "Hanoi Revisited". AOR-Europe was there to witness the event.

Promoter Juhani Merimaa announced that over 26000 tickets have been sold to this year's Ruisrock. There was a lot of debate prior to this event whether the festival would succeed in the hands of the new organizers, but it seems like it is going to. Unlike previous 20-some years, this year the bill doesn't include any international big names, only two swedish acts and a lot of domestic acts. The organizers relied on our own international stars such as HIM, Stratovarius, Nightwish, Bomfunk MC's and of course Monroe & McCoy.

Both Monroe and McCoy seemed to be in a good mood and excited about the forthcoming gigs (Ruisrock this weekend and Ankkarock later). According to them, there won't be any new songs showcased on these gigs, although the pair has written a few. Monroe said that he feels really good about the new material, but since Hanoi Rocks has a sizeable back catalogue, all plans to include solo material or new songs were scrapped. However, there will be some surprises in the set, a couple of songs that Hanoi never performed live will be included, and a few of the songs have been slightly re-arranged.

The live band will consist of members of CRYSTAL EXCSTASY, a glam rock band from Turku. Mickey Crane is the rhythm guitarist, Lacu Lahtinen the drummer (and a world class one, according to Monroe) and bass player is a guy called Timpa, whose last name I didn't caught. Original members of Hanoi Rocks, Sam Yaffa and Nasty Suicide weren't even considered, as this wasn't supposed to be a reunion. Nasty's new career in the world of pharmaceuticals got a chuckle out of McCoy, a man well-known for his past medical problems...

Crystal Excstasy played a big role in this get-together, as it was their gig on which Monroe & McCoy joined the band to perform three songs last winter, that rekindled the fire. McCoy said that it was "a real party on stage" and a lot of fun for both of them, so they got to thinking, "Why not the whole set?".

When asked whether it'll be just like in the eighties, Monroe answered that "It'll be much better!". Both have learned a great deal on their own, and are better as musicians as well as performers. The recent loss of Jude Wilder, Monroe's wife has been a big blow for them both, but Monroe said that "being busy and working helps, although I will never recover". Wilder beocme involved with Hanoi Rocks back in the early eighties when she was working for CBS. Monroe said that "Don't You Ever Leave Me" was dedicated to her even before they know each other that well, and that it'll be dedicated to her on the two gigs as well.

The next gigs will only take place after the release of the new album. the guys were confident that they already have enough material for a good one, but they are taking their time, and no deals have been signed. In fact, Monroe is still contracted to do a solo album for a german record company. As for the future gigs, Monroe and McCoy expressed no interest to continue as "Hanoi Rocks", they want to move on to new things.

There has been talk of big money offers for a refromed Hanoi Rocks gig, but this isn't the case here. It's not a refromation, more like a tribute, and according to McCoy and Monroe, if they had wanted to cash in on this thing, the decision to regroup should have been made earlier. Monroe said that was already too late to raise the prices of the tickets when they decided to go for it, and calculated that they only got about 20 percent of what they could have gotten, had the timing been different. And, even though our foreign readers might be disappointed, there will not be any foreign gigs under the "Hanoi Revisited" flag.

McCoy and Monroe briefly discussed their solo careers and why they never really made it to the big league. Hanoi Rocks got their share of bad luck and didn't really have the powers behind them, and netiher did McCoy. He did get the big major deal, but two weeks after his signing, his A&R guy got a promotion and was moved to another coast of the States - "there was never a chance to build a good working relationship", said McCoy. Monroe had his share of problems with PolyGram too, who wanted him to compromise a bit too much. In conclusion, the guys seemed pretty pissed off with the music business, which nowadays is more business than music.

The guys got into the nostalgia mood a couple of times during the session. When asked whether the visuality was an important part of their act, both agreed that it was and that they couldn't really understand the modern-day bands who just stand and stare at their feet and play everything as it is on the album. "A Spectacle" is what McCoy wants from a rock concert. This brought back bitter memories of an Alice Cooper tour he was too young to attend, but his big brother wasn't. and got to see the show. "I cried all night", said McCoy and jokingly said that it caused a serious trauma for him - "I'm still on medication...prozac..."

As for the reasons behind these gigs, The guys stated that they wanted to give the "new generation of fans" a chance to experience Hanoi music live, and the old fans a chance to refresh the memories. They promised a long and an intensive set, with as many song as possible.

All in all, the guys seemed to approach their "union" with a "One Day At A Time" mentality. It remains to be seen what comes out of this, and on Sunday our reporter Petri will be there to see how the gig goes!

Text and pix by Kimmo Toivonen,

Monroe on A&R people: "Nowadays they are only looking for someone that fits into the current formula, whatever that is, boybands or something else."

McCoy on AC/DC: "The band died with Bon Scott. Now they've got this guy who looks like a construction worker and thinks he is a sex symbol!"

Monroe on Brian Johnson of AC/DC: "He was really good in Geordie, he sung a lot lower and was able to sing even sensitive songs. Now he only does this falsetto screaming."

McCoy on future: "I've finished my book, which is going to be my biography. I will tell you all about the early stages of Hanoi, when were just young kids..."

Both on Finnish bands:

Monroe: "Well there's us!...Flaming Sideburns sounded promising..."
McCoy: "..But they've got a long way to go..."
Monroe: "Crystal exctasy is a good looking band with great songs, that's why I was in the studio with them..."
McCoy: "But they're really bad horsemen!"

Monroe on fans: "Now that I've met our old fans, they all seem to be smart people doing well. I guess we weren't THAT bad an influence!"