I think we’re up to reissue number sixty nine or something like that but I couldn’t care a less. When it’s the Diamond Dogs it’s all about the song and the Double D’s have ’em in spades.

Record label Wild Kingdom is re-releasing Diamond Dogs’ first 5 classic Long-Players (1993 – 2003). and including the singles and EPs from the same period.

Diamond Dogs were formed in 1991 in Katrineholm, Södermanland. From the very beginning hugely influenced by British Early 1970s R&B rock like Rod Stewart and The Faces, Frankie Miller, Dr. Feelgood, etc. and they are most unapologetic about that and so they shouldn’t be too.  When a band rocks up with an opener like ‘Charity Song’ and along with that huge swing, they have more horns than you can shake a big stick at, and before you know it whatever shitty day you were having will be transformed.

By the time the band made it to ‘Too Much Is Always Better Than Not Enough’  they’d changed personnel a bazillion times except for the lifers and integral members the Diamond Dogs built a formidable reputation for their live shows, with the charismatic singer Sulo, as well as The Duke of Honk and his organ (ooh er Mrs) The sound and style of gritty rock’n’roll was cast in stone. Sören ‘Sulo’ Karlsson also being the main songwriter, and Henrik ‘The Duke of Honk’ Widen serving as the group’s principal producer. as long as the quality of songs was being written the sound was going to be died in the fabric of the bands DNA. Former Oddball Stevie Klasson has the deft touch of a Keith Richards or a Ronnie Wood and could crash out a chord when he needed to like his old boss Mr. Thunders. Such is his quality and the fact the guy oozes it every time he picks up a guitar he was exactly what the Diamond Dogs stood for and then some and he really came into his own on this record.

This their third proper album ‘Too Much Is Always Better.. ..Than Not Enough’ showed they weren’t done yet, the album was released in 2002 (almost twenty years!),it opened some cool doors enabling the band to tour with the likes of The Cult, Nazareth, Ian Hunter, Hanoi Rocks, The Damned, The Quireboys, Dan Baird/Georgia Satellites, Sensational Alex Harvey Band to name a few.

‘Bound To Ravage’ was released as a single and its slide guitar-driven upbeat rocker was classic boogie-woogie. but the band weren’t just about the good times as they mixed it up with the slower more reflective rockers ‘Sad To Say I’m Sorry’ and the epic balladeering of ‘Somebody Else’s Lord’ with the swirling organ is a match for the Rod the Mod classic ‘I Would Rather Go Blind’ or the Stones ‘Get Your Ya Yas Out’ version of ‘Love In Vain’ and I kid you not when I say that. Then to follow it up with the wonderful ‘This Ones For My Lady’ shows that The Diamond Dogs had many strings to their bow and were experts when dealing with the precious tunes that were bestowed upon them. They step back into the beginnings of Rock and Roll with the 50s inspired swing of ‘Desperate Poetry’. Strangely this album is preserved with the same twelve tunes that made up the original release but somehow after all this time the wonderful tones of Stevie Klasson have somehow elevated it for me and his playing gives it the edge on the previous releases.  It might not have the bands best songs on it but as a complete album it’s exceptional.

Now had the Black Crowes continued on the trajectory of the first two and a bit albums I would hold them in the same esteem but alas they went all beardy Casey jones on us and fucked it up.  It always puzzled me how the Robinson brothers could fill large arenas and got people wetting their panties at the prospect of their reunion to play the money maker album but the real tunesmiths are here hiding in plain sight.  Ripping the shit out of rock and Roll and cooming up with top-notch album after top-notch album yet playing in local pubs.  Sometimes life does indeed give you lemons but if my words help one soul turn the way of The Diamond Dogs then I’d be happy and if you remember the band who dished this treat of an album up almost twenty years ago and want the chance to hear it on vinyl – well this is your chance because Too Much Diamond Dogs is never enough just buy it!

Buy it Here

Author: Dom Daley

I had the pleasure of reviewing the original unearthed Sleazy glam rock n rollers many years ago after these tapes had been unearthed and dusted down from the bowels of some DC studio. Sure there is a healthy mid to late ’70s Stones going on but these cats did a great line in sleazy Rock and roll not a million miles from the Lords and Hanoi as well as a few another top tier Punk n Rollers.

I’ll confess to not playing this CD for a while and when this cropped up with bonus songs I gave it another spin and wondered why the hell I’ve not pulled this out from time to time to go for a spin. Songs like ‘True Romance’ were a match for early Dogs D’Amour and the Lords meets Hanoi jonesing on the Mid to late ’70s Stones still sounds exciting.

The Factory burned like a roman candle, then disappeared into the night. The Washington D.C. opened for Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Public Image, Ltd. and Johnny Thunders, in the late ’80s and gained a lot of fans.

Led by Vance Bockis it was Unfortunate that outside influences got the best of them and The Factory broke up in 1992 without formally releasing anything more than a track on a compilation LP. Until this that is. To be fair ‘Ecstacy’ is perfect Lords meets Hanoi from that James jangle crossed with the saxophone its a great tune.

Growing up in DC, Acetate Records president Rick Ballard was a fan of the band and he held on to their demo for the last 20 years. He recently found the band online and immediately contacted them to discuss a release – the master tapes were located, cleaned up and mastered.

‘That Girl That I Want’ is a belter.  Pure sleazy Punk n roll with some top horn honking over a great Thunders like rolling riff.  The band gets a little funky on ‘Love To Dance’ which could have easily fallen off The Second Lords Album But the band really excels when they cut loose and just strut their stuff.  The last two tracks being excellent cases to ram home my point especially ‘Six Feet Down’ with its dirty riff but it ain’t over quite yet as the bonus material that’s been unearthed is a trio of live tracks kicking off with a belting take on the Dolls classic ‘Chatterbox’ when a band gets it they just get it and effortlessly sizzle. ‘Sweet Jane’ is the perfect LES anthem for these DC rockers to pour into the speakers and a jolly fine job they do of it as well. Then to wind it all up they throw in a live rendition of their own ‘Misfortunate Son’ wrapping up a really awesome thirteen.  If any of the bands I’ve mentioned in the same company as The Factory then you should down tools and clock in and give this long lost band a new lease of life and this really impressive record a second chance.  You know what to do kids…I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Buy it!

Bandcamp

 

As my learned colleague, Craggy waxed lyrically when he reviewed ‘Honked’ the first of these Anniversary albums from Diamond Dogs, I went on a journey down the Rock and ROll highway and played every Diamond Dogs album released and the overriding thought I had was –  Damn this band was smoking hot when they got in that groove.

They were honking on the whole Faces early ’70s Stones vibe and they were killing it every time and the most important thing was they had the tunes to go with the swagger and if those five albums were my gift to the world I’d be so proud of my band and the songs we’d created. Its quite some collection and as the band aged like a good wine they changed taste but remained true to their roots and sound.

On reflection, it seems like yesterday the band were rolling into my small village and pitching up their amps in a restaurant at the rear of my local boozer on a Sunday night after having a show in the City cancelled they then proceeded to Rock the socks off the locals with a wonderful and impressive set. These sets are pressed on vinyl as well as CD and contain a plethora of bonus tracks (singles B Sides) to wrap up the tunes from that period in a perfect set.

As Your Greens Turn Brown: After the keys introduce the listener with a bit of ‘Bloodshot’ before kicking up a shitstorm in the shape of the fantastic no holds barred ‘Goodbye, Miss Jill’ even now it makes me smile a five-mile smile when the band kicks in and the harmonica starts honkin’.

The record ebbs and flows superbly with the highs being particularly high and when the band gets going man they sounded authentic and passionate.  The lulls when they’d kickback. Their blend of Hammond and Rock and Roll overdrive mixed with a few horns stabs here and there is timeless. Let the good times roll on the ballsy ‘Hardhitter’ and then they can drop a few gears as they venture off into Small Faces territory via ‘Singing With The Alleycats’ it’s easy to see how these guys got gigs with Punk rockers like the Damned or Rockers like The Cult and Nazareth when you hear the raw ‘Bite Off’ with its too fast to live riff and with that variety in mind you pick up the flavour of just how talented a songwriter Sulo is and he lives these songs and wears them on his sleeve you can’t bluff Rock and Roll this good which is why he attracted the likes of Darrel Bath and Steve Klasson into the fold.

 

The band were comfortable letting go and cutting loose as they were doing the jig is up country-tinged ‘Anywhere Tonight’ as they were doing the whole Thin Lizzy duel guitar kick-off that had songs like ‘Boogie For Tanja’ being so effortlessly good. Then when they needed to turn down the lights they could glide into ‘Yesterdays Nymph’ in one fell swoop. When Sulo took the mood down he has a wonderful tone on his voice and as far as taking on the Brits doing the whole R&B thing there’s no contest Diamond Dogs were more consistent than a lot of their contemporaries churning out albums of exceptionally high quality and this bad boy is right up there with the best of them and when your B Sides are as good as your A-Sides you know you’re onto something.

Fifteen songs of exceptional quality its like they once said Too much is never enough! Bring on the next one and I’ll get me filled up on more trips down memory lane and promise myself to play these records more often they deserve it and so do you – Buy it!

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Buy Diamond Dogs Here

Author: Dom Daley

THE LEGENDARY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EVENT CONFIRMED TO TAKE PLACE AT THE 02 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE APRIL 1ST

 

RENOWNED PRETENDERS FRONTWOMAN CHRISSIE HYNDE CONFIRMED TO RECEIVE ICON AWARD

 

Staking its reputation as an essential rock ‘n’ roll date in the annual calendar, with two now fabled awards nights at the 02 Islington Academy in 2018 and 2019 which saw a vast array of iconic artists performing and rubbing shoulders, the 2020 Vive Le Rock Awards is confirmed to take place this coming April 1st.

 

This time, however, the event has gone bigger and bolder, moving to the 2000 capacity 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire for the party of the year that also celebrates Vive Le Rock’s tenth anniversary in print, having published its first issue in 2010, it is now the world’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll and punk magazine, independently published by Big Cheese Publishing Ltd in London.

 

The two previous years have featured live appearances from The Damned, The Stranglers, Shakin’ Stevens, Suzi Quatro, members of AC/DC, Sex Pistols, The Specials, Buzzcocks and even England football legend Stuart Pearce, and the event this year continues to grow in stature and size!

 

This year the 2020 Vive Le Rock Awards takes great pleasure in honouring Chrissie Hynde, the primary songwriter and frontwomen for the enormously successful American rock band The Pretenders, with a much-deserved icon award. Chrissie Hynde has long been the embodiment of rock’n’roll cool; a woman of principles and a gifted songwriter with a voice that can melt hearts. Her pivotal role in the early days of punk saw her working in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s Sex shop, leading to musical involvement with the majority of punk’s key players, including even a brief stint in Johnny Moped’s band, before embarking on a multi-million selling rock career with smash-hit songs such as ‘Brass In Pocket’ and ‘Talk Of The Town’.  She is truly worthy of this special award.

 

 

Vive Le Rock are also very proud to welcome London rockers The Only Ones onto the line-up. Frontman Peter Perrett returned in recent years to launch a  successful solo career with two fabulous albums in 2017 and 2019 and now we celebrate The Only Ones legacy, who will be picking up a ‘Classic Song’ award for their timeless 1978 hit ‘Another Girl Another Planet’, which will be performed on the night.

 

Also confirmed to join the melee is soul-brother Jim Jones; Hypnotic, Righteous Mind and Revue, a man who IS rock ‘n’ roll incarnate, who will bring his hand-clapping grooves to the night, alongside former Hellacopters and Backyard Babies guitarist, Swedish rock-god Dregan, who will present an award on the night.

 

Then, just when you thought the evening couldn’t get any hotter, along comes the crazy world of Arthur Brown with his red-hot 1968 hit ‘Fire’, bringing his wild show and worldwide number one smash hit to the event.

 

These join the previously announced artists, Original Rudeboy – The Specials Neville Staple, along with a very special one-off reformation of 80’s goth rockers The Lords of The New Church, fronted by Finnish Hanoi Rocks legend Michael Monroe on vocals. The Vive Le Rockers all-star band will once again back specially invited singers and compere for the night which will see the return of Ed Tudor-Pole of Tenpole Tudor fame (and also 80s T.V show, The Crystal Maze!) and The Damned’s Brian James will accept the Pioneer award.

 

There will be a special section for rockers we have lost in 2019 including Gang Of Four’s Andy Gill, Eddie and The Hot Rods Barrie Masters (who played the 2019 VLR awards) and surf guitar legend Dick Dale.

 

The audience will comprise of invited members of the media, television, fashion and the music world as well as an allocation of tickets for the general public. The VLR Awards are a truly unique, international event celebrating the legends of our music scene. “This isn’t some chicken in a basket awards show, this is a party with the coolest people in rock n’ roll” said Vive Le Rock editor Eugene Butcher.

 

Tickets available HERE:

 

Find Vive Le Rock HERE:

 

You can watch action from the last two VLR Awards here

 

 

THE 2020 VIVE LE ROCK AWARDS GOES LARGE ON THE MAGAZINE’S TENTH ANNIVERSARY!

 

THE LEGENDARY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EVENT CONFIRMED TO TAKE PLACE AT THE 02 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE APRIL 1ST

 

ICONIC 80S ROCKERS LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH TO PLAY ONE-OFF REUNION WITH FINNISH HANOI ROCKS LEGEND MICHAL MONROE FRONTING AND MUCH MORE!

 

Staking its reputation as an essential rock ‘n’ roll date in the annual calendar, with two now fabled awards nights at the 02 Islington Academy in 2018 and 2019 which saw a vast array of iconic artists performing and rubbing shoulders, the 2020 Vive Le Rock Awards is confirmed to take place this coming April 1st.

 

This time, however, the event has gone bigger and bolder, moving to the 2000 capacity 02 Shepherds Bush Empire for the party of the year that also celebrates Vive Le Rock’s tenth anniversary in print, having published its first issue in 2010, it is now the world’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll and punk magazine, independently published by Big Cheese Publishing Ltd in London.

 

The two previous years have featured live appearances from The Damned, The Stranglers, Shakin’ Stevens, Suzi Quatro, members of AC/DC, Sex Pistols, The Specials, Buzzcocks and even England football legend Stuart Pearce, and 2020 continues to up the ante.

 

This year sees Original Rudeboy – The Specials Neville Staple joining the party along with a very special one-off reformation of 80’s goth rockers The Lords of The New Church, fronted by Finnish Hanoi Rocks legend Michael Monroe on vocals. The Vive Le Rockers all-star band will once again back specially invited singers and compere for the night will see the return of Ed Tudor-Pole of Tenpole Tudor fame (and also 80s T.V show, The Crystal Maze!).  Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders are set to pick up an Icon Award and punk legend, The Damned’s Brian James will accept the Pioneer award. Two extra special guest performers are due to be announced soon along with a wealth of awards.

 

There will be a special section for rockers we have lost in 2019 including Gang Of Four’s Andy Gill, Eddie and The Hot Rods Barrie Masters (who played the 2019 VLR awards) and surf guitar legend Dick Dale.

 

The audience will comprise of invited members of the media, television, fashion and the music world as well as an allocation of tickets for the general public. The VLR Awards are a truly unique, international event celebrating the legends of our music scene. “This isn’t some chicken in a basket awards show, this is a party with the coolest people in rock n’ roll” said Vive Le Rock editor Eugene Butcher.

 

Tickets available HERE:

 

You can watch the action from the last two VLR Awards Here

 

2020 VIVE LE ROCK AWARDS!

2020 VIVE LE ROCK AWARDS! It's gonna be a wild night. Lords of the New Church- FEATURING Michael Monroe, Ed Tudor Pole, The Specials (Official) Legend From The Specials – Neville Staple, BRIAN JAMES- The Damned , 2 extra special acts and our Headline band! Plus All star guests and Presenters! Here's a sneak peak at the last 2 years.Tickets and VIP Packages at https://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/the-2020-vive-le-rock-awards-tickets/artist/5330131

Posted by Vive Le Rock on Monday, 27 January 2020

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