Until recently you’d have thought punk rock was invented by Malcolm McLaren and Bernie Rhodes and that’s about it nobody else was involved and the history books also tend to gloss over the real nuts and bolts and the details that really matter but those who know really do know.  Punk wasn’t invented by chancers or clothes shop owners it was invented by kids on both sides of the Atlantic who felt forgotten and lost and had something to rally against and one of the biggest magnets of the scene happens to have been one Brian James.  From the gushing introduction from Henry Rollins something of a punk rock fact nurd who actually puts things into perspective.  James deserves respect and with respect has carved one hell of a catalogue of work and reinvented himself several times and was a success every time.  I’m delighted to have this book in my hands and feast on the details and exquisite picture catalogue Wombat has amassed.

Brian was a visionary and someone people wanted to be around as this book will testify sure he borrowed heavily from the likes of Richards and Ashton and those Mc5s but he didn’t just copy them he went away and created a new sound and style that exploded for a brief second in time and the ripples are still being felt in and around our little corner of the world where music matters and not just being the first to this or that Brian made records that mattered and was above all life-changing and life-affirming.  This biography tells Brian’s story from dingy basements to where he is today still creating and everything in between.

I don’t want to tell Brians story (He’ll do that when he finally releases his autobiography) in the interim Wombat (who also has some excellent books on Johnny Thunders and Bryan Gregory & The Cramps) has gathered painstakingly some fantastic anecdotal memories and pictures to open up Brians world in music to the reader who if your a fan of all or many of Brians works you’ll find this a real treat. If you’re looking for the true embodiment of punk rock then you’ve found the holy grail Brian James is punk rock and as he said himself he didn’t do this for fame or fortune he did it because its the only thing he ever wanted to do and still is!  That warms the cockles of my heart and confirms what I’ve always known.  Brian James is a legend.

The book starts off right at the beginning and with a classic cowboy picture of James as a nipper and takes you through the various periods of his life – It’s not overly indulgent and keeps things brief but you do get a good picture of where he comes from and the man himself his first meeting with Johnny Thunders, Breaking up the Damned, the Pistols, Anarchy tour its all covered but just giving a brief outline and not reaching into minute details unlike many books on the subject of say the Anarchy Tour it was only a few weeks of one year move on people, please.

The book flows well and some of the pictures are fantastic as are a lot of the clips of tickets and bill posters that are reproduced which is really nice for us anoraks. The stuff around the Brains and Tanz Der Youth period then into Brians thoughts on touring with Iggy on ‘Soldiers’ and ‘New Values’ is great stuff but I wanted to get to the Lords stuff and it doesn’t disappoint with some fantastic pictures spread out over many pages then chapter seven and the Lords with some great insight from Dave (Treganna) and roadie and friend Ivor who knocked out one of the best quotes in the book when he is explaining that the band were forever on tour and they were indeed heady wild times and he’d tuned Brians guitars more times than Brian ever had Dave summary of recording ‘Like A Virgin’ is succinct and the picture taken from the photoshoot is hilarious. I could read about the Lords all day and night to me they were one of the magical bands in my lifetime and along with Hanoi Rocks will always hold a special place.

If you’re a fan then what’s not to like its an easy read and the pictures are great. John wombat has done a sterling job and pulled together a very readable book of one of my musical Heroes and on finishing this it’s only cemented my initial fanboy thoughts go to the link and click and pick up a copy you won’t regret it at all.  Now Mr. James get on with the autobiography this has only whet my appetite for more ramblings and pictures. buy it!

 

Buy ‘The authorised Biography Of Brian James’ Here

John Wombat

Last week we had Ben reviewing one of the early shows on this tour and by all accounts another memorable night in the company of one of music most exceptional performers. Catching the tail end of the tour there were no plans to run a review but when we have bands this good it seems only right we should cover them as much as possible. Damn this band should be playing bloody arenas and be a household name but we know the world doesn’t work like that. for now, the people who get rewarded are the ones who just know, right? right!

Tonight the Fleece is very busy which is always a good sign, the last time this band played here in Bristol was aboard the good ship Thekla and the attendance wasn’t great. Tonight, with a brand new album in tow it was already looking promising as the room was busy for the opening band – Mother Vulture. They took the stage but quickly they weren’t my cup of tea at all, from the soaring vocals to the new wave of classic rock schtick of the band’s repertoire it’s just not what I listen to but there are plenty of satisfied punters digging their thing.

Next up Electric Eel Shock. A three-man ’80s cock rock assault on the senses, sure it’s bordering on the Barron Nights comedy but these guys do have a song in the shape of ‘Bastard’ that is so ’80s it’s wearing its own spandex and coughs up its own hairnet hairspray can.  They throw in enough shapes to make a Whitesnake tribute band blush and Don Dokken’s hair would fall out (again) if he were to follow these guys on stage.  But they have the audience smiling and wearing a Hanoi Rocks t-shirt is always going to go down well. Job Done I guess they have fun paying their dues and the audience goes along with them. 

Now, the reason we’re all here. Michael Monroe band, strap in, its time to Rock Like Fuck! After hearing many reports of how good the band has been on the tour so far and with only three shows left on the tour surely this one was going to be off the scale with the Fleece being such a good venue even with the pillars running through the venue it’s steeped in Rock and Roll. (even if they make their bread and butter off bloody tribute bands but if that means that nights like tonight and bands like The Monroes can tour and play then even I’ll turn a blind eye).

With ‘One Man Gang’ on heavy rotation the albums growing in stature on every play,  it’s a breath of fresh air to hear the band blast off with the opening five songs all taken from the new record! A bold move for any band but one that gets my approval that’s for sure. From the frantic punky title track to the catchy chorus of ‘Last Train To Tokyo’ to the New York cool of ‘Junk Planet’ this is cooking up to be an exceptional performance. With the band locked in and moving like a cat on a hot tin roof its hard to keep up,  with plenty of smiles on stage it looks like they’re having an absolute ball in this band. Of the songs on the new record to hear them run through ‘In the Tall Grass’ is super cool and such a great song to take on so early on in the set is a supremely confident move from such a great band.

Monroe and Conte make themselves comfortable on the barrier for a nice run through ‘Ballad Of The Lower East Side’ before ripping up ‘Old Kings Road’.  the band were flying through a rapid set that had ’78’ up next before cooling things down with a mellow ‘Black Ties And Red Tape’ (Not)  I’ve seen Monroe many many times live and with many line ups and in many venues all over the UK and I have to say with the exception of Hanoi Rocks classic line up in the mid 80s this is by far the best line up he’s had and the entertainment value is off the scale (it does help having such a strong cannon of songs to pick from for sure) but tonight they are on fire.

Step forward Mr Yaffa as we get the first Hanoi song of the evening as he thumps his way through the intro of the classic ‘Motorvatin’. Always wearing some splendid headwear and playing his bass with such style and having a Perma-smile its such a pleasure to be in the company of such talent. We get another new one in the shape of ‘Hollywood Paranoia’  before we head into the home straight as another thumping rendition of ‘This Aint No Love Song’.

I could have stayed all night listening to new songs or solo material played with an energy most bands could only dream of achieving but its also always nice to hear that Saxophone and a couple of Hanoi rocks tunes so things do slow down for a minute or two as ‘Don’t You Ever Leave Me’ makes way for ‘Malibu Beach’ before they hit the cover that the band took ownership of on the ‘Two Steps’ album ‘Up Around the Bend’ sees people lose their shit as the kids say and there are going to be some saw heads come the morning. The main set is wrapped up with a pulsating ‘Dead, Jail Or Rock and Roll’.

Play Vi

I’m still scratching my head as to how fuckin’ good this show was and how the hell this band isn’t playing venue ten times this size. I will console myself in the fact that if the world won’t listen then that’s their loss and you can only lead a horse to water and all that. The night wasn’t quite done yet as we had the pair of tunes from Demolition 23  and ‘Nothing’s Alright’ followed by the high kicks that go with ‘Hammersmith Palais’ which only left a blistering duelling rendition of the Stooges classic ‘I Feel Alright’ and then they were finally done. Until the next time that is and the sooner the better.  If you get the chance to see this band then take it they have a superb new album they’re showing off and its raised the bar for everyone else to follow.
There aren’t many bands who can compete with this one on the kind of form they were on tonight and it’s why going to live shows is still so much fun. Great company, great venue, great band, great songs, great memories and great fun and always a frontman who Rocks Like Fuck! always a pleasure – never a chore.
Author: Dom Daley

“Junk Planet” is the third single from Michael Monroe’s dirty and dangerous new album “One Man Gang” available to buy NOW on CD, Coloured Vinyl and Digital formats: Here and as special D2C bundles: Here

 

Recorded and mixed by Petri Majuri at E-Studio in Sipoo, Finland over three weeks in March 2018, the 12-song record was mixed that following Autumn with Monroe and band-mates Rich Jones and Steve Conte on production duties. With stunning presence, Monroe’s vocals blaze their unique trail across catchy, low-slung guitars mixing with saxophones, harmonicas and trumpets, plus a smorgasbord of exciting hooks and melodies. One Man Gang is old-skool strut with rudely fresh vigour.

 

2019 TOUR DATES

Oct 24 Fryshuset Klubben Stockholm, Sweden

Oct 25 High Voltage Rock Club Copenhagen, Denmark

Oct 26 HeadCRASH Hamburg, Germany

Oct 27 FRANNZ Club Berlin, Germany

Oct 29 La Maroquinerie Paris, France

Oct 30 02 Academy Islington London, United Kingdom

Nov 01 Brudenell Social Club Leeds, United Kingdom

Nov 02 The Craufurd Arms Wolverton, United Kingdom

Nov 03 Engine Rooms Southhampton, United Kingdom

Nov 04 The Mill, Digbeth Birmingham, United Kingdom

Nov 05 The Garage Glasgow, United Kingdom

Nov 06 Manchester Club Academy Manchester, United Kingdom

Nov 07 The Fleece Bristol, United Kingdom

Nov 08 The Sugarmill Stoke-on-trent, United Kingdom

Nov 09 Hard Rock Hell Chapter XIII Vauxhall Holiday Park, Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom

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Michael Monroe’s Official YouTube Channel, featuring official videos and music, behind the scenes footage, documentaries, tour diaries and much more! A genuine rock star since birth, Michael Monroe’ place in history was sealed with Hanoi Rocks, but he has never been one to rest on his laurels! Michael Monroe innately knows exactly how to sing, swagger and walk the most glamorous and colourful of walks. Together with Sami Yaffa, Rich Jones, Steve Conte and Karl Rockfist, Monroe takes you on a journey which is all about the fun of Friday nights, seven days a week, letting your hair down (or up!) for a dirty, dangerous, damn good time, and embracing a total escape into the rock ‘n’ roll dream!

To celebrate the new Michael Monroe album ‘One Man Gang’ that is released this week we’ve got it reviewed and now we wanted to brighten up your day with something old, something New and something borrowed – Enjoy

It’s been a while since we heard anything from the Sherriff McCoy. In fact, its 10 years since Hanoi Rocks performed their last hurrah and put the band to bed with a final show at the Tavastia in Helsinki. So what has Michael Monroe’s former partner in crime been up to? Well, if you believe the comments on YouTube, it appears he has been a lighthouse keeper for 10 years! While I would love that to be true, apart from the short-lived Grease Helmet and a few guest appearances, it seems he has done little musically to speak of and has spent more time on his artwork, clothes design and even a stint on Finland’s Celebrity Big Brother.

But the guitar legend is back with a 12 song slab of ‘21st Century Rocks’, his first solo album since ‘Building On Tradition’ that came out way back in 1995. And what a welcome surprise it is.

 

Lead single ‘Seven Seas’ came out of nowhere a month back and actually upstaged Monroe’s first offering from the highly anticipated ‘One Man Band’. Andy always had an ear for melody and ‘Seven Seas’ confirms he still has a trick or two up his sleeve. A definite classic Hanoi feel comes across, as it builds to a fantastic uplifting chorus that fills the ears and soul with a feeling of euphoria no drug can give. Can Andy McCoy possibly be the king of all comebacks? We will have to see if the rest of the album holds up to the same quality.

That familiar guitar tone blasts from the speakers as the title track sets the scene for the album. The even more familiar vocal drawl follows. Andy McCoy’s vocals are certainly an acquired taste, but let’s not forget Hanoi Rocks’ back catalogue would not be the same without those quirky ‘out of tune’ backing vocals of his. And that guitar solo… no one plays guitar quite like Andy McCoy! Killer stuff indeed.

 

The ghost of his bastard past is never far away. ‘Undertow’ comes on like ‘A Day Late, A Dollar Short’, there’s even a sax solo to boot. I wonder if it originated from those sessions. Whether it did or not, it’s a cool tune for sure. Then ‘Batteram’ takes things way back in time. That melody comes on like Hanoi’s ‘Desperado’ to these ears. And the way he sings “round” and “ground” in the chorus with an unmistakeable accent is cool as fuck.

Andy’s songwriting and guitar playing has always been more experimental, taking in eastern and reggae influences, and he certainly creates a few more mental beats to make a diverse album. While Monroe has stuck to his rock ‘n’ roll roots for his whole solo career, (and we wouldn’t want it any other way, right?) McCoy explores the obscure and recaptures the quirky influences that peppered Hanoi’s earlier albums.

‘Maria Maria’ is pure class. Mariachi vibes all over as trumpets and strummed acoustics take us into spaghetti western territory. The Urban Voodoo Machine comes to mind as Andy transports us to the Mexican border to smoke a doobie or two, down tequila and jam out in the scorching sun with a chiquita or two. That is what I imagine Andy has been doing in the wilderness years! While I don’t think Andy is even allowed anywhere near any US boarders anytime soon due to his past antics, the idea is spot on.

‘Soul Satisfaction’ is another track that is out there, even in Andy McCoy terms. A tripped-out pre chorus leads into a 70’s New York groove as the main man slurs his words like Keith Richards on his second bottle of Jack.

‘Bible and a Gun’ could sit nicely anywhere in his discography. A bluesy, Stonesy little number with honky tonk piano and a cool barroom boogie groove. Elsewhere, Andy makes his guitar gently weep on the opening riff of ‘The Hunger’. The laid back, jangly backing, harmonised guitars and the ‘Village Girl’ style breakdown to fade makes this a rapturous and satisfying ride.

As we reach the final stretch it comes to mind that Andy McCoy actually comes on like vintage Alice Cooper, which is something that I never realised.  Take away the smoky sax on ‘Gimme Time’ and listen intently to closer ‘This is Rock ‘n’ Roll’ with its gang backing vocals and Detroit garage rock delivery and maybe you’ll catch my drift.

 

Obviously, ‘21st Century Rocks’ will be measured up against ‘One Man Gang’ as they literally come out within weeks of each other. Michael Monroe has an established career as a solo artist and has one of the best live bands in the business, and Andy is…well he’s just Andy McCoy, the guitar-slinging outlaw! Let’s not take anything away from either camp. Both are living legends that together produced some of the greatest albums in my record collection and influenced a whole generation of bands.

While they made magic together, they continue to do the same on their own terms. ‘21st Century Rocks’ is a testament to that, a surprise hit on many levels. Who’s for a UK tour then?

Buy 21st Century Rocks Here  (Finland)

Buy 21st Century Rocks Here (Amazon)

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Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

Arizona in the early 90’s generally is known for jangly rock along the lines of the Gin Blossoms, Refreshments, Dead Hot Workshop, Piersons, and Pistoleros. That wasn’t all Arizona had to offer though as the Meat Puppets would see a surge in popularity after being covered by Nirvana, and other bands like Jesus Chrysler Supercar brought in the grunge and 90’s rock elements in their own ways. In addition, N17 (November 17) found themselves signed to Slip Disc Records. Amidst this musical garden of excellence, the Beat Angels incorporated glam, rock, punk, and a ton of fun in their music that equally set them apart from the “popular” Arizona sound. People often say that timing is everything, and I believe that is very much the case of what went wrong for these guys. If they had been on either coast playing these songs in the mid to late 80’s, I believe they would have been signed and done very well on a national level. They had the songs, the live show, the image, and the charisma to find stardom. Check out the writing credits for ‘Sideshow’ on Alice Cooper’s ‘The Last Temptation’ album, and you will find a Beat Angels connection. Much the same could be said for DGeneration at the time who embraced more punk than glam but found themselves marketed all wrong in my opinion since punk was becoming all the rage at the time. Let’s get this back on the Beat Angels though, and the legacy they left through their two official albums of the time and the songs that snuck out afterwards.

The Beat Angels likely came to my attention via a co-worker who was a huge fan of the band, and we shared a lot of favorite bands so it was only natural that I would find my way to shows by the Beat Angels. The live shows were nothing short of amazing with the raw edge of the band always present along with the vocal harmonies that made every song a ‘raise your glass and sing along’ song. I saw them at many places in the Phoenix area with Hollywood Alley in Mesa probably being my favorite venue to see them. As a side note, I was always extremely partial to Hollywood Alley as the sound there was amazing, and I saw the likes of Tyla (Dogs D’amour), Electric Frankenstein, and plenty of other bands there too. Back to our topic though, the Beat Angels were a blend of visual styles with each member bringing their own identity to the band. The photo from Brian Smith (vocals) Facebook page providers an idea of what you would see when they took the stage each night.

The band released two albums independently on the Arizona based Epiphany Records, who I will note also released tremendous albums by the Refreshments and the Piersons that continue to be played by me. Both of the Beat Angels’ albums were produced by Gilby Clarke who should really need no introduction from his time with Candy, Kill for Thrills, GN’R, and solo work amongst others. The debut ‘Unhappy Hour’ has some rougher edges overall in the production which serves the band well, even if it does not get to the rawness of their live show. The straight ahead power pop rock of ‘Hung Over With Jenny’ serves as a great introduction. Brian Smith’s vocals have an identity all their own and fit the music perfectly. They are immediately accessible, easy to understand, and make you think you can sing as well as him…. until you try and fail miserably. This song also lets the listener know something else right away; these songs are going to tell stories that paint the picture and deliver a narrative. It is a gift Smith has continued to use today as an author. Consider the bridge which goes ‘Work is always the curse of the drinkin classes she said. Midnight and it’s the end of the ball. Little Cinderella’s gotta crawl back in her bottle.’ Where awesome bands like the Dogs D’amour/ Tyla might lyrically feel grittier and more Bukowski influenced, Smith had a more romantic and sentimental tone, even when everything might be going wrong for the character in the song.

‘Grow Up’ breaks down the door while never losing its pop edge in the chorus where you suspect it could have been used in an edgy Saturday morning cartoon back in the day. The sentiment of all the realities of being a grown up leave us wanting to retain our youth and the joys that come with it. Smith again paints a character portrait on ‘The Most Beautiful Loser in Town’ which features an addictive pre-chorus that unloads into a massive hook in the chorus. I always thought this should have been the song featured on a local compilation album (‘Buzz’) back around that time as it is simply perfect. The band kept the adrenalin up with ‘Idiot Train’ being one of my live favorites. Jon Norwood’s (RIP) drums give way to a beautiful melody that combines a quiet verse with an upbeat tempo and a slightly jagged chorus. They then completely turned the tables with the acoustic rock based ‘Too Much Jazz’ being one of those songs that, for me, hits as hard as ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ does for many Manic Street Preachers’ fans. Smith again paints the scene with his lyrics perfectly with the opening line of ‘shopping malls only bring you down; they’re the last cathedrals in town’ highlighting how much has changed over the years with the shopping malls slowly fading into memory as people shift to staying home and buying everything through the glow of their phones and tablets.

Getting past the halfway point of the album with the glam infused ‘Scaredy Cat’ keeping the album in classic territory with the tasteful backing vocals taking the chorus to a different level. Another song that would have made a great single follows in ‘I Love You Sometimes.’ The guitar work of Keith Jackson and Michael Brooks is awesome across the albums as they give each song everything it needs without going overboard. This song can inspire some air guitar workouts where you find yourself also providing karaoke backing vocals at the same time. ‘Name Your Trash’ might not hit me quite the same way all these years later as I seem to remember it was an early favorite from the album. It is a very nice mash up of power infused pop and glam.

I would consider ‘She’s a Setting Sun’ an exceptional ballad that really doesn’t hit any of the formulas of the day. The guitar at the beginning almost finds a bit of a twang as everything comes down to acoustic guitar and vocals for the first verse before everyone comes back through the chorus. They stay far wide of the power ballad label with this one really feeling more like a mellower song with a really nice brief guitar solo. The driving beat of ‘Jaded’ increases the tempo again but doesn’t connect with me nearly as much as the rest of the album. Closing song on the debut ‘Don’t Kiss Me’ holds the distinction of being the song that was featured on the local compilation I mentioned earlier, which has always been odd to me. At under two minutes, the song carries a bit more swagger and punk attitude. I don’t think the studio version hits nearly the same as it did live though. The chorus is really simple which I thought put it at odds with a lot of the other songs they could have used. It works fairly well as the album closer and is not one to be skipped even if it is not at the standard of the live show.

The band stayed with Epiphany Records (who would soon fade away) for album number two which simply continued the magic. The rocking ‘Snot’ carries with it a bit more venom than their debut album. The album carries a slightly more live feel than the debut, and the release party for this album was an incredible show. Ironically, the opener is probably the one I skip if I am pressed for time. The staccato guitar that opens ‘You’re a Wreck’ gives way to another catchy song that does a fine job of setting the stage for the album and everything that follows. Something funny happens when you listen to this album the first few times, there is a good chance that you will really love the first two songs and think the band has done a great job of building on their debut. What you don’t realize yet though is that this album is only getting ready to explode into one of the most wonderful things you will ever hear.

‘My Glum Sugar-Plum’ starts the trip into the stratosphere with the opening line being ‘She looked like Marianne Faithful in 1965; a pop-tart all gin and cigarettes, lips and heaven.’ The chorus here is huge and gets everyone quickly singing along. In some universe, this song is as huge as other power pop masterpieces. The brief acoustic guitar outro takes us into ‘Glitter Girl’ where the band again find the perfect sweet spot to maximize the melody and give it some rock at the same time. The rhythm work of Tommy Caradonna (bass) and Frankie Hanyak (drums) is simply magical. The chorus slices deep into your memory with each listen. They then follow it up with the incredible ‘Saturday Punks’ which hits hard and again comes with a monster chorus that in part features this opening line ‘Saturday punks, dumber than junk, don’t even know about Strummer and Jones.’ The guitar work of Jackson and Brooks again getting plenty of space to shine. It ends the first half of the album on an incredible high.

Remarkably, the band continue to push the envelope even higher with the classic ‘Crashing Back to Her.’ This is catchier than the plague in the dark ages and a magical elixir that immediately puts a smile on your face as you sing every word. The tempo is quick but still contains a poppiness that shines on the album. ‘Keep It Up’ is an interesting one for me as I remember someone telling me that it would be their huge breakthrough hit. I am thankful that it didn’t as I don’t know if I would appreciate it as much today if it had been played nonstop back in 1997. The hook is simple and designed for everyone to sing which runs the risk of it feeling repetitive. Within the space of the album though, it feels magical and one I look forward to hearing. I’m sure everyone has similar experiences with songs that they initially loved before it was oversaturated on the radio and television. One of mine would be ‘No Rain’ by Blind Melon which I loved within the context of their debut, but I struggle to play it much now.

‘Crashing Back to Her’ might be my favorite song by the Beat Angels which probably means I don’t need to say much about it based on the praise I have heaped on the other songs. It has seemingly collected every nuance of the band and created this amazing 4 minute flawless burst. Another live favorite follows with ‘Hey Little Peep-Show’ keeping the rock swaggering with a pre-chorus that could have been the hook leading into an even bigger chorus. ‘Cinnamon Says’ is the last listed track on the album and would have been an awesome closer on its own as it features a catchy guitar riff with the song only getting more and more addictive as it goes. The band then threw in an unlisted cover of ‘Celebrate Summer’ by T.Rex, which fits the album perfectly.

That was sadly where things disappeared in terms of releases, outside of ‘Liquor Pig Boyfriend’ appearing on one of the ‘Ultra Under Trash on Demand’ compilations put together by Jeff Dahl. I highly suggest you track down those compilations by the way as there are some amazing artists that need to be heard. There was a third Beat Angels album though that was recorded and fell into the darkness of time. Some of these songs were released on the limited edition best of ‘Holy Mother of Christ! It’s the Beat Angels.’ This third album called ‘Let It Beat’ found the group continuing to evolve musically with the opening ‘Girl Walking Backwards’ feeling contemporary and classic at the same time. It could have likely earned a lot of college radio play with its melodic chorus begging to be sung and the guitar popping out of the speaker. The pace increases with ‘She Shoots Starlight’ feeling like something from ‘Unhappy Hour’ with its catchy chorus and guitar licks both leaving their hooks in the listener.

Brian Smith kept spinning creative lyrics that allowed the likes of ‘She Shoots Starlight’ to sit comfortably next to ’24 Hour Porn Star Shine.’ The melodies remained huge with the band maintaining a rocking vibe that still recalled the influences from their debut while perhaps not being quite as gritty at times. Please make no mistake though, this would have in no way been a sell-out album. This was a band that was fully realizing the diversity they could offer while always still sounding like the Beat Angels. With that in mind, ‘Liquor Pig Boyfriend’ could have been written and recorded at any point in the band’s life. The rocking gutter glitter glam giving way to an easy to sing hook and beat that will make you want to hop around the room. ‘Gutter Snobs’ ends the first half of the album with a guitar hook that reminds me of something Andy McCoy might have done post Hanoi Rocks in the 80’s. The chorus here relaxes the backing vocals with the guitar lick being the hook that stays with me after repeated listens.

Kicking off the back half of the album is the politely titled ‘Whorehouse Priest,’ which is another of my favorites by the band. Some tasty backing vocals in the background provide the song even more texture and really showcase that the mainstream could have started phasing in the Beat Angels alongside the Marvelous 3 and other turn of the century rockers. ‘Misery Becomes You’ starts gently before exploding into a straight forward rocker that is an enjoyable album track for me but has not been one I seek out to play on its own.

The acoustic based ‘Little One’ again highlights that the band was not interested in writing straight forward ballads. This feels much more like an acoustic based song from the 70’s with its melodies flying out of the speakers and lifting birds into the air. The band then crank the amps back up for ‘Stay With Me.’ The band lay down an addictive chorus that you want to hear again and again. This remains one of the songs that sadly will never be heard by people and quite honestly feels like discovering a diamond in a mine that was closed. Wrapping up the album is a cover of ‘Terminal Love’ which fits perfectly on the album. I might have made another song the closer, but that seems like useless complaining when this album was never officially released.

Three albums by a band that never had an opportunity to release an album for a major or well known independent record company that should have catapulted them into the spotlight. The packaging on ‘Unhappy Hour’ and ‘Red Badge of Discourage’ are top notch as well so I highly recommend tracking down physical copies of those albums. These albums have remained in my rotation for over 20 years, and I do not see that changing anytime soon. The release of the best of and discovering the third album several years ago were a blessing as I got to hear even more by these guys. If you know these albums, spend some time spinning them and enjoying these songs all over again. If you don’t know them, start searching for them and enjoy some sonic pleasure that needs to be experienced.

 

Author: Gerald Stansbury

Andy McCoy has set a date for the release of his brand new solo album and sets the time and place for the launch show –  Facebook. The Album titled ’21st Century Rocks’ is coming out on Ainoa Productions and can be pre ordered Here

New Andy McCoy single ‘Seven Seas’ was released on August 15th, 2019 (digital) and full album (CD and digital) September 25th, 2019. Vinyl release later in November. The Tracklist is ’21st Century Rocks’, ‘Undertow’, ‘Seven Seas’, ‘Batteram’, ‘Maria Maria’, ‘Bible And A Gun’, ‘The Hunger’, ‘Give A Minute Steal A Year’, ‘Love It Loud’ and ‘This Is Rock And Roll’.

A UK based sleaze Rock band from the 90s have picked up the baton and began treading the boards again.  After a recent return to the stage at Camdens Dublin Castle Paradise Alley are back in the ring taking another swing so we thought it was about time we got comfortable with frontman Stevie Vincent and found out who the hell is Paradise Alley and where do they fit in in 2019.
Can you remember the point when you realised you wanted to be in a band?
I remember when I was a little kid being obsessed with Elvis and Glam Rock. My Uncle gave me his old Elvis signature guitar which was as big as me and I would thrash away on it singing Elvis and Sweet songs so the spark probably started there, lol. Consciously though it was probably when I was around twelve and my friends and I started to talk about having a band, it just seemed to make you really cool and I was never one of the cool kids, hahaha.


How did you find your music as a kid?
To begin with, it was just through watching Top Of The Pops every week which when you were a kid in the 70s was the law, you had to watch it. Even your parents watched it just so they could moan about these new-fangled bands making a racket. Then I became friends with this other kid who was a year older and was totally obsessed with music, regardless of the type of music, he was into it so through that friendship I just started trawling record shops for hours every weekend and being exposed to lots of different types of music and bands.

Was it tough putting a band together when you first started out compared to now in 2019?
I would say easier back then than now. You could just meet people when you were out at the pub or in record or music stores which was really organic. Plus you had lots of ways to advertise for musicians, local music stores were everywhere and had notice boards and you had Sounds, Melody Maker and Kerrang classifieds so it seemed easier to network then. Strange when you think about social media now but so many “musicians” now seem purely driven by how much money are they going to get paid or when you ask for influences they just blurt out what they like and then say I want a band like that – there isn’t a band that sounds like Guns N Roses mixed with Slayer and Perry Como as far as I know, hahahaha. I mean, I like a lot of diverse stuff, but when it comes to the music I play, all of us in the band know where we are coming from musically.


When or what was the spark that made you want to resurrect the band?
Never say never eh? I was actually in Helsinki at the time and was with my friends from Plastic Tears, Miqu and Edu and we started talking a bit about our shared history and stuff and it cam up about how we had never actually managed to tour together which was something we had mentioned in the past. Anyway, by the end of the night I had contacted Taj and asked him if he fancied us putting the band back together and carrying on the legacy.


Did you reach out to the other past members or don’t they do Rock and Roll anymore?
Other than Taj, no. We had tried that before back in 2013 and that did not work out at all. People’s heads were in different places, old habits that had caused problems in the past were still there and it just became hard work to be around. In the end we were doing it for fun and certain individuals were making it anything but so we played our last show with a rag tag line-up in June 2015 and just walked away.


You recently returned to the stage. How was it?
It felt really good, we had some fire back in the belly and the audience reaction was just like the old days. It was a bit rough round the edges but that’s rock’n’roll and as we play more shows, etc things will smooth out more.


You have finally got all the pieces of the band together tell us about the band in 2019? who what and where did you find them?
Well, we are still drummerless actually and relying on session drummers to do the shows at the moment so that’s not ideal. We have a couple of really good guys helping us out on drums but it would be good to have the role filled permanently. Sadly everyone who contacts us either assumes we are signed to Universal Music and expects a massive salary, or just does not get what we are doing musically, so the search continues. 
Taj has been in the band since 1998 and been a friend even longer (since about ’89 or ’90), I always say he is my Nasty Suicide. We work together well and we both have a shared love of Hanoi Rocks.
Ben Webster, the other guitarist we actually found through Facebook. We had been looking for ages and his name kept cropping up and in the end, his mate put him forward for it. We met up and just sat around, had a few drinks, jammed and it gelled right away. He had the right attitude and was under no illusions that we were about to get signed for 10 million dollars or any of that crap. He has definitely helped put the fire back in the belly. Ben Alexander on bass was actually a fan of the band and again we were linked through social media. We knew he played bass so when we started putting the band back together we asked him if he was up for this  That was pretty much it.


The music climate has changed massively since the 90s what are the biggest changes you’ve noticed?
How people consume music. I mean, there does seem to be a bit of a shift back to CD and vinyl and actually listening to albums rather than just random tracks which is a good thing, but also, we don’t have the whole tribe culture that was there when we were growing up. There are punks, rockers, mods new romantics, goths in the way that there used to be. I think that is really sad. No one nails their colours to the post anymore and you don’t see people having the same passion for music or bands. Mind you, how could anyone be passionate about Ed Sheeran or bloody Jess Glynne? hahahahahaha


what about new music? Have you picked up a guitar and written any material?
We are right in the middle of doing that now. When we tried back in 2013, that had been one of my hopes but no one showed any real interest. When I first spoke to Taj in 2017 about doing this, I said I wanted to move forward and not just play the same ten songs forever or I would knock it on the head. So, we are looking to release something very, very soon as a bit of a taster and then work towards a full new album sometime next year. So, we ARE writing new songs, we are demoing too and something will be coming VERY soon.


You spent time in NYC and LA have you been recently? They were always great Rock and roll towns but it seems the world is heading to hell in a handcart and not holding a bottle of jack but wearing loafers and no socks with a lovely smelling beard? Do you think sleazy Rock and Roll will ever come full circle? 
I think it will always be there as long as there are people out there showing interest. It is very niche but then, I guess it always was. Even when GnR went massive, there were a lot of confused Mums and Das and “normal” people at the live shows because it wasn’t all sweetness and light, hahaha. Look at events like HRH sleaze, there is an audience and a younger audience too. I love seeing another generation coming through wearing cool clothes again and embracing the rock’n’roll world, without that music just becomes gentrified like all our cities and towns. I mean, look at the crap we are force-fed by the mass media, it’s Starbucks /identikit bland rubbish designed not to offend or make you think. I want music that makes you go “holy fuck!”, I want the musicians to look like they landed from another planet, not like they are here to fix a leaky tap.
Haven’t been back to LA or NYC recently although I know they are both shadows of their former selves. There are plans to visit both from a band point of view, but I’m not saying more than that just yet, don’t want anyone else stealing my plans.


What new music have you been listening to? (If any)
Does the Michael Monroe band count? hahahaha. I try and listen to new stuff but most of it just leaves me cold and even when I say I have listened to something new, it usually turns out to be from the late 90s or early 2000s. I do like The Struts. Got into them when the first album came out and no one here had a clue who they were. Sadly, I can see the rough edges getting chipped away and they are becoming slicker and slicker. I hope they resist it and keep that little British edginess, but I reckon the mighty dollar will win in the end. Can’t blame em, they are there to make money, but I like my artists to have a little bit of integrity.


Will there be any other live shows? who would you like to tour with?
Of course, there will, we are back and live is where we shine. We’re back in London at The Big Red on August 10 then off to Y Lew Coch in Mach as part of the Rock’n’Roll Circus weekend on August 25. There are other dates confirmed but we’ll be announcing those soon enough. We will tour with anyone we can. I don’t want to get stuck in the nostalgia circuit though which is very easy to do. It’s lazy on the part of some sections of the industry to just lump you in with certain bands but we seem to attract all types of music fans and we aren’t out to just live in the past.


If you were to explain what your band is all about how would you best describe your sound (we all love a pigeon hole) 
oooooh, that’s sneaky, hahaha. We’re just a rock’n’roll band that takes influences from all over the place and it comes out sounding like Paradise Alley. If you wanted to narrow it down I guess I would say Aerosmith meets the Ramones….that sound like a good pigeonhole to you Dom?


If you have anything else you’d like to say nows your chance –
Just that we are glad to be back and to be moving forward, if you love rock’n’roll in all it’s forms, check us out, listen on Spotify or Amazon or one of the other streaming platforms. We are here to entertain and make rock’n’roll glamorous and fun again. The world needs a little bit of escapism right now
One of the best debut albums I’ve heard in quite some time happens to be ‘Out Of My Head’ it’s jam-packed with influences ranging from the good to the greats and the passion and energy poured into every groove of the LP is evident to the listener.  I tapped Matt up for an interview with RPM and he was happy to oblige.  If you’re lucky enough to have the band roll into a town near you I suggest you cancel whatever it is you’re doing and get down to the Rock and Roll show.  But hey check em out then support them and Dead Beat Records because we need more bands like this making music on labels like that.  So lets cut the crap and get down to the chatter that mattered  Ladies and Gents boys and girls  Matt from Poison Boys…
When did the band form and let us know a little about where you grew up and what inspired you guys to pick up an instrument and play Rock and Roll?
I grew up right outside of Chicago in Northwest Indiana, about 1 minute from the border of Illinois. Been obsessed with rock n roll since I was a kid. Me and my friend Mike Lippman had been playing in punk bands together since we were young teenagers and finally decided we wanted to start a rock n roll band. I played drums throughout those years but wanted to play guitar if it was a rnr band so started figuring out Ramones songs and went from there.
Can you remember what the first songs you wrote as a band was?  
Mike and I collaborated on nearly all of the early songs, he’d write riffs or I would, and I’d write vocals and he’d help me with the lines sometimes. First ones we wrote were Been Here All Night, Out of My Head, Cut Right Out, Bad Mouth, Without You and a couple of others. Unfortunately, Mike passed away before we could complete a lot of other songs which I ended up finishing later like Headed for Disaster, Got to Tease, and Up to the Sky among others. We always wanted it to be a well rounded rock n roll group, not just one specific sound the whole record or anything. But not to stray too far outside of the rock n roll spectrum.
You’ve released a couple of singles before the album came along with the first two being on the excellent UK label no front teeth.  How did that come about?  How did a label out of London pick up some guys in Chicago?  Is the line up stable now? your almost in Spinal Tap territory for past members already 
I found out about No Front Teeth from reading a PORK magazine and either seeing an NFT ad or a record review with NFT as the label it was released on. Just emailed Marco and he was super down to help us get our first (and second) 7″ out. Really I could not find any snotty punk labels in the states at all. Even now I only know of like 2 or 3 and that’s it. And if they aren’t interested or are too busy or whatever you turn to labels elsewhere that’s all.
As for the lineup… When people don’t wanna play rock n roll anymore or move out of state what do you do? The band hasn’t been around long enough to make much of an impression with anyone lineup, hasn’t had an LP or anything out prior to now so it didn’t matter to me. Granted I don’t exactly enjoy having members flake out or whatever but it is what it is. We’ve had a pretty solid lineup for about a year and a half or so with Matt “Chainz/the Chainblaster” Chaney on drums and Steve  “Stevsie/Stevie Poison” Elfinger on bass at home/guitar on the road, and touring members Nico Bones on bass and Julius Lange on guitar. It’s been pretty killer getting to know and hang with all of them.
The first single was back in 2016 then ’17 then you got White Zoo to release the last one last year.  Had you already signed up to dead beat to do the album by then?  How come you switched for the album? 
Dead Beat came about through me asking them earlier this year if they’d be interested in releasing the LP. They were very stoked especially after hearing the record, so we just had to finish up art and final mastering for it and it was a go. The 7″s were released on the other side of the pond, we were just looking for somewhere closer to get the records released by and knew Dead Beat had put out records by some of our favorite newer rock n roll bands.
Is there a chance of a European release for the record?  What about touring Europe and the UK?
We’d love for it to be released by a European label! Haven’t heard anything about that yet but time will tell I suppose. We plan to set up a European tour for hopefully next year.
As far as the album goes I was really pleased to hear plenty of influences in there and some choice covers.  Obviously, I have to ask why those covers? (apart from them being great songs) 
Well, I was listening to a Beatles singles comp called ‘Past Masters’ and heard a banging rocker called ‘Slow Down’. Knew it had to be a cover and found out Larry Williams was the original and sounded killer!! I figured we could pull it off and should give it a go. It delivers well live so we figured it’d be a good way to help open up the album and add more bitchin’ piano to it which we love big time. As for the Dead Boys cover… that one’s always been relatable to me and it fits with our style really well I think. It’s, of course, a tribute to them and our influences getting into punk at an early age.
I love the album and think it’s one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in an age and the attitude in the songs is superb – really authentic sounding. Is there a plan to tour then record some more? are you someone who writes all the time? 
Thanks man I really appreciate it. We worked hard on these songs and it’s good to finally let them have their day. Really nice to hear that people like them. We’re leaving for our “Out of My Head” East Coast/Canada Tour 2019 this week and beginning recording for our 2nd LP this week as well. Plenty still on the horizon for the Poison Boys. I write all the time even if it’s just little pieces and put them together as I go. Show ’em to the guys and get opinions and we work em out from there.
How has the reception been at the live shows?  How would you describe the scene over there in Chicago? is there much of an appetite for real rock and roll?
The live shows are killer and what we love the most. People seem to love it too and get down to our set so that’s cool. I think people need this type of rock n roll but just aren’t getting it much from bands these days. Not a lot of people go to rock n roll shows around here anymore unless it’s the Stones or KISS or something. A lot of bands around here either play washed out reverb’d out psychedelic shit or shoegaze or grunge or a mixture of all that. There’s like 3 bands in Chicago that don’t do that. As with many bands, the reception on the road is way greater than at home.
There seem to be pockets of superb music coming out of America right now – any chance you cats hooking u with bands like Wyldlife, Ravagers and The Sweet Things and stealing over here for a package tour?  Are there any bands you hear about currently tickling your fancy so to speak?
We generally like touring alone but are open to whatever if the situation’s right. One of our first shows ever was in Indianapolis in 2014 opening for Wyldlife. Alex from Ravagers does a lot of our artwork and we have a gig with our boys the Sweet Things coming up at Coney Island Baby in Manhattan in a couple weeks, Friday 8/02. Yeah favorite bands going on right now in the states are mostly in California, like Black Mambas, the Crazy Squeeze, the Flytraps, Dr. Boogie (although they just broke up), and also bands like Terry and Louie, our boys Jonesy from Montreal, the Rubs, our buds Big Blood from out here, stuff like that. And of course the Sweet Things out in NY. There’s a good amount of rock n roll going on elsewhere and I think it’s growing thankfully.
Listening to the album I hear some obvious inspirations from the likes of Dead Boys, Thunders, then I hear classic Stones and Faces – you guys have some of the swagger that made early Guns N Roses shine (tear Me Apart)  and I love the confidence of songs like ‘Up To The Sky’ but you can also mix it up like Hanoi Rocks on songs like ‘Desperado’   it opens up options for you to go in any direction what’s on in the van currently? What are you listening to?
We listen to old protopunk shit like Berlin Brats, Hollywood Brats, Razor Boys, Nervous Eaters, Rockpile, Flamin Groovies, Stooges, all that. A lot of Johnny Thunders and Dolls stuff of course, their solo stuff right after the Dolls broke up too. Hanoi Rocks, Dogs D’Amour. But also stuff like the Nuggets comps and other more obscure comps like the Bonehead Crunchers comps and shit like that. A ton of old punk bands like Menace, the Only Ones, Teenage Head, the Saints, Chelsea, Testors, Slaughter and the Dogs, Gen X… Then Mott the Hoople for 24 hours straight, Lou Reed, Kiss, T Rex, Motorhead, the Faces, Stones. All the goods all the time. Oh yeah and the RAMONES.
If there is anything you guys need to get off your chests here’s your chance.  Anything you’d like to add?
Come see us on tour!!! Buy merch, support rock n roll and keep us on the road. If you play rock n roll start a band get a shitty van and a mechanic friend and go tour. Keep this shit alive and growing and spread the love not shit talk and hate. We’re too small of a scene to be separated all the time by trivial cool guy bullshit and life’s too short to waste energy tearing each other down. It ain’t like the old days, we all know that… Rock n roll is so unimportant to modern society and we’re all we have left. We’re all in this together. Be inclusive there’s no room for hate against each other.
Buy The Album Here or coloured vinyl Here
pic by tommy@tommyfoto.no

Matti Antero Kristian Fagerholm (Born 17 June 1962), you might know him as the legend that is Michael Monroe.  Not content with being the leader of the 80s best band Hanoi Rocks he then went on to form Demolition 23 (ok so Jerusalem Slim was before but that was something of an experiment) after Demolition 23 broke down he went on to record some superb solo albums as well as reform Hanoi for a few years with Andy before forging ahead with his solo career.

Beginning with ‘Nights Are So Long’ Monroe spent time living in NYC before returning to his native Finland where he still lives today.  You can debate til the cows come home as to which album is the best but for me ‘Nights Are So Long’ was the first and best.  ‘Not Fakin’ It’  followed and whilst it was commercially more accessible I never really liked the sound of the record as it tended to lean towards to Rock fraternity stateside and was the least Rock and Roll album of his back catalogue even if it did have some great tunes on it.

During the two thousands, his solo work contained some excellent self-penned songs as well as some awesome covers that gave the listener a glimpse into his record collection and what shaped him musically, before arriving at the last decade where his output and stable(ish) line up consisting of longtime collaborator and accomplice Sami Yaffa, Karl Rockfist and Steve Conte and Rich Jones are helping churn out some of the best live performances of his career as well as his most consistent albums since Hanoi.  ‘One Man Gang’ is eagerly anticipated and I’m sure will be a massive hit with fans old and new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Svart Records were responsible for doing an amazing job on ‘Nights Are So Long’ and ‘Peace Of Mind’ and work is well underway on the next reissues. So with these the tour and new album its all ramping up to an exciting second half of 2019 and no sign of Monroe slowing down any day soon.

Ask anyone who’s seen him live as he still performs like a teenager. Constantly touring around the world playing songs from all corners of his career he still has the chops that’s not even up for debate  – the energy and above all the songs are there as is his energy  Monroe is a lifer to the cause of Rock and Roll and the multi-instrumentalist still has the passion.

Having just announced an extensive UK tour for later this year to coincide with the release of this album as well as working on re-releases of his solo albums with new packaging and bonus tracks Michael Monroe is a formidable force of nature.  when the album comes out buy it and when the tour comes around watch it.

Over twenty albums and countless singles and guest appearances, Monroe deserves all the plaudits he gets and the adulation of his many fans.  Keep Rockin’ like Fuck and Happy Birthday from RPM Online.