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

It’s been four long years since ‘Blackout States’ was released and four long years since Michael Monroe toured the UK. But The Monroes are back on the road promoting the newly released ‘One Man Gang’ opus, and joining them on this long overdue UK jaunt are Japan’s finest exponents of shock rock ‘n’ roll, Electric Eel Shock. With a date at my favourite venue The Brudenell Social Club on a Friday night, tickets were in the bag quick sharpish. This is a good job as it sold out a few days later.

Polish rockers Chemia are a bluesy-based, classic rock sort of affair. I only caught the last couple of songs of their set, but what I heard was fairly decent. I’m very wary of any band that has a bass player with 5 strings on his instrument and Chemia fit that bill. While they are not really my cup of tea, closer ‘I Love You So Much’ is a decent slice of 80’s rock with a cool catchy chorus and they seem to go down well with the growing crowd.

I’ve witnessed the Electric Eel Shock show before. Many here haven’t, and one of the best moments of this evening’s gig was seeing the reaction to their set around me. As Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ blasts from the PA, drummer Tomoharu stands on his kit and matches the beat. He is naked apart from a sock dangling from his cock. Either side of him, guitarist Akihito and bassist Kazuto incite the gobsmacked crowd to rock and bow down to the glorious event they are about to behold.
“We are Electric Eel Shock from Japaaan!” shouts Akihito after taking his flying V out of his mouth! Kazuto’s bass is above his head and the drummer is bashing out beats with four sticks. No one knows where to look, there is so much going on.
Electric Eel Shock have been doing this for 25 years and they have it off to a fine art. They sound like Dave Mustaine singing for Quiet Riot and I mean that in a good way. “We love 80’s heavy metaaal!” shouts the diminutive singer before blasting into ‘So Much 80’s”. He pulls off Eddie Van Halen style solos, sticks plectrums to his forehead and tells one liners that match any stand up comedian.
They have some kick ass tunes as well. ‘Bastard’ is one hell of a song live. As the singer points to his bassist and shouts the refrain, then at the crowd and at himself, we all sing along to that gratifying chorus, smiling and laughing in unison.
They played to a full house tonight and I don’t recall ever seeing such a positive response to a support band before. Electric Eel Shock came, they saw and they conquered.

There are not many bands that could follow that performance, and tonight’s headliners happen to be one of the few. As the lights drop and that familiar tribal intro blasts from the PA, the warmed up and sold out Brudenell crowd let out great cheers for Michael Monroe’s long awaited return to Leeds. Dressed all in black with matching ‘One Man Gang’ jackets, the Monroe cohorts face their drummer, as the legendary frontman bounds towards the microphone and leads them into the high energy tongue twister of a title track.
It’s no surprise that the band are on fire from the off. Rich Jones and Steve Conte play riffs off each other, Sami Yaffa brings the trademark low end rumble and Karl Rockfist pummels the hell out of his kit, as Finland’s very own Iggy Pop bounds about the stage like a 25 year old rock star with something to prove. This band is high energy rock ‘n’ roll personified and they sound magnificent.
Opening a set with 5 songs from your new album is a brave move, especially with the back catalogue Michael Monroe has. I guess it goes to show how strongly the band believes in the new material. And while ‘Last Train to Tokyo’ and ‘Junk Planet’ sound mighty live and get plenty of crowd reaction, no one down the front is moving. In fact it’s not until the familiar vocal drawl of ‘Ballad Of The Lower East Side’ that things really get cooking and the front erupts into a frenzy. So good, it sounds so good! The band have hit the level and the crowd are with them , then just after Conte pulls of a killer solo…boom! They blow the power!
Instant comedown…the show stops abruptly. But the livewire frontman is not going to let a simple thing like electricity stop his show, on no. So while the band shrug their shoulders and head to the bar while stage guys frantically try to fix the problem, the singer takes to the kit and does a 10 minute drum solo, entertains the front row with his spinning glowsticks and even gets his sax out for a solo, before power is thankfully restored.
The band strap on their instruments, have a quick discussion and blast back right where they left off mid-song, like nothing ever happened. Rock ‘n’ fuckin’ roll! ‘Old King’s Road’ and a punky ‘78’ follow, with Rich and Sami joining Michael with the high kick action. The band seem in their element, Rich Jones especially is animated and at the font mouthing the words to the songs.
The room erupts once more as Sami plays the classic bass riff that introduces ‘Motorvatin’. I will never tire of hearing those old Hanoi songs and neither will the majority here, judging by the response. Classic follows classic, an extended and emotive ‘Don’t You Ever Leave Me’, a killer ‘Malibu Beach’ and a frantic ‘Up Around The Bend’. The band play with the energy and attitude needed to deliver these classics to an audience that laps up every note and every melody.
A Demolition 23 double bill encore follows the dark and dramatic newbie ‘Low Life In High Places’. ‘Nothin’s Alright’ and ‘Hammersmith Palais’ are like an injection of adrenaline straight to the heart. Closing with The Stooges classic ‘I Feel Alright’ is the icing on the cake. Raw, sweaty, high energy rock ‘n’ roll, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Michael Monroe and his band are a well-oiled machine with an arsenal of some of the best rock ‘n’ roll songs you could wish for. And the legendary frontman is a performer who gives his all every show. Tonight they truly had to work for it, but technical issue were never going to halt a band of this calibre and in the live arena, they are simply untouchable. Probably the best gig I have seen at this venue.

Author: Ben Hughes

‘One Man Gang’ Album Review Here

Picture from the exceptionally talented Neil Vary Gig Photography

“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!

A lot has happened in the rock ‘n’ roll world in the four years since ‘Blackout States’, the last album from Michael Monroe, hit the shelves. Slash and Duff rejoined Guns n’ Roses and are currently touring the world, The Wildhearts reformed and released their first (and arguably most important) album in ten years. Hell, even former Hanoi Rocks guitar-slinging legend Andy McCoy has beaten his former bandmate to releasing an album in 2019!

But while the wait for ‘One Man Gang’ has been a long one, the delay has been for good reason. Deals were struck and dotted lines signed to secure a record deal, management and build a promotion team to help get this album out where it needs to be heard. A band has to do what a band has to do in these trying times.

I refer to this band as The Monroes, as it has become way more than Michael Monroe the solo artist. Since the addition of former Black Halos man Rich Jones five years ago, this is the most stable line-up Michael Monroe has ever had. With Steve Conte, Karl Rockfist and of course former Hanoi Rocks bandmate Sami Yaffa backing the livewire frontman for 9 years, they have become a world-class live unit to be reckoned with. They have a certain chemistry, whether in the studio or on the stage, that cannot be faked. A gang mentality if you like, and this band possesses it in spades.

 

Recorded in Finland over a 3 week period in March last year, ‘One Man Gang’ was self-produced by Michael, Steve, and Rich, with the assistance of long-time engineer Petri Majuri, and all of the band members contribute to the writing process. As with the previous 3 albums, it has a punchy sound and a crystal clear production that captures and accentuates their killer live delivery.

Preaching his PMA (positive mental attitude), Monroe leads his cohorts through an incendiary, punk fuelled opener. The title track blasts from the speakers with a statement of intent. A tongue twister of a verse delivered with the fury and enthusiasm of a snotty, punk-ass kid. “I was front of the line when they gave out atti-chood!” he drawls in that unmistakable tone. You gotta love him, and the fact that The Damned legend Captain Sensible guests here with some cool guitar, well you just gotta love this song.

Recent single ‘Last Train To Tokyo’ is Monroe’s love letter to a city that he has had a special relationship with since the Hanoi Rocks days. Musically, its familiar territory as Steve Conte’s cool lead guitar refrain stabs over Rich Jones’ ’78 styled, punky riffage. An overly catchy chorus follows a well trodden, glitter-pathed road, recalling old haunts and memories. It’s a good place to be.

 

‘One Man Gang’ is an album choc-a-bloc with punchy rockers, loaded with Yaffa’s pumping bass and the low slung guitars of the formidable duo Conte and Jones. The likes of ‘Junk Planet’ and ‘The Pitfalls Of Being An Outsider’ are sure to be future live favourites.

Former Hanoi Rocks guitarist Nasty Suicide lends his six string prowess to the sonically seductive ‘Wasted Years’. It’s a song that has ‘single’ stamped all over it. There are hints of their former band as Monroe’s bursts of harmonica introduce the verses before another overly catchy chorus takes hold.  Elsewhere, ‘Hollywood Paranoia’ walks the boulevard of broken dreams for sure. With its prominent mariachi horn section and Hanoi-style ‘nearly out of tune’ backing vocals and a chorus that could’ve been pilfered straight from the ‘Not Fakin’ It sessions, ‘Heaven Is A Free State’ a surprise highlight that sees the band explore unchartered territory with great success.

 

 

They take things down momentarily. The balladic ‘Midsummer Nights’ is this album’s ‘Stained Glass Heart’, it’s pretty generic truth be told, and probably the only track that doesn’t really do it for me at this early stage. But the retrospective and contemplative ‘In The Tall Grass’ is much more interesting. The band creates atmosphere with great use of space, as our illustrious singer croons over a silky bass line. The guitars accentuating the vibe nicely in the background before breaking out into a guitar driven chorus, played out over urgent Rockfist beats. Another of many highlights.

 

If you are hoping for something groundbreaking from ‘One Man Gang’ you will be disappointed, but if you desire a high octane, rock ‘n’ roll rollercoaster of a ride, then sit back and buckle down. The Monroes deliver just what the doctor ordered. As the man himself says in the PR bumph “I do what I do and I’ll never change”.

Rock ‘n’ Roll legends are a dying breed. Michael Monroe is a living, breathing example to all aspiring musicians, and at 57 years old shows no sign of slowing down just yet. ‘One Man Gang’ is surely a testament to how having a full dose of PMA can do wonders for a rock ‘n’ roll soul.

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Buy ‘One Man Gang’ Here 

Author: Ben Hughes

 

Today sees the release of the new Michael Monroe single “One Man Gang” from the brand new album out Oct 18th.

The track also features the punk rock legend, Captain Sensible ( The Damned ) as a special guest playing the lead guitar on this one. If you’re into authentic, high-energy Rock’n’Roll you’re gonna dig this one!

Written by Rich Jones. The track features  Michael Monroe – lead vocal, Rich Jones & Steve Conte – guitars &  vocals, Sami Yaffa -bass, Karl Rockfist – drums, The Captain – guitar solo. ‘One Man Gang’ was also produced by the band. 

 

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.

Well, British Summertime is in full swing.  Cold Wet Miserable one minute, sunny the next. but hey, Worry not let RPM introduce you to a few new videos that will blow away any blues first up are these nutballs hailing from Switzerland with their Garage noise better known as The Jackets with ‘Loser Lullaby’

 

Next up we turn the plane around and head East to Canada to be precise and your in-flight entertainment is courtesy of this new video from Autogramm who tell us all about ‘The Cool Kids’. “Cool Kids Radio” was originally written by C.C. in Berlin with Rich Jones (Michael Monroe, Loyalties, YoYo’s, Ginger Wildheart etc.) Hey just check this bad boy out and then if you happen to be in the area why not catch them live here –

July 19 @ Yoko, Hamburg DE

July 20 @ VEB, Lübeck DE

July 23 @ Kap Tormentoso, Stuttgart DE

July 24 @ Geschichtswerkstatt Altes Volksbad, Mannheim DE

July 26 @ Charlatan Café, Gent BE

July 27 @ The Pipeline, Brighton UK

July 28 @ The Lexington, London UK

Aug 1 @ Zwille, Leipzig DE

Aug 2 @ Wild At Heart, Berlin DE

Aug 3 @ Chemiefabrik, Dresden DE

Aug 4 @ Kult 41, Bonn DE

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Finally, one taken from the recently reviewed album ‘The Down South Spaghetty Accident (reviewed Here) RMBLR is their name and ‘Next Time’ is the track so until next time take it away RMBLR  and remember kids play fair and Stay Sick!

Seeing as four is the new three we thought we’d throw this Rock and Roll hand grenade into the mix and add some Rainy Days & Mondays extra time.  Hot off the press Wet Dreams drop brand new video for ‘Boogie’ check it out here

Seven days in Rock and Roll can be a long time or if you like us then it’ll fly by.  With some exclusive interviews and a whole lot of records reviewed we hope we’ve at least shone a little light into a corner of the entertainment world we think houses the best of the best and having the likes of Rich Jones give an interview with some snippets about the new Michael Monroe album revealed ‘One Man Gang’ is now out of the bag and having the likes of Nasty Suicide and Captain Sensible playing on the record 2019 is shaping up nicely or as someone here at HQ said “that’s album of the year sorted for 2019”.

We also brought you Paul Collins interview who is the self declared king of power pop although I did get a call in to HQ saying that wasn’t quite true as Rags now holds that title but I’m not getting involved in that debate but we did announce that Rich Ragany is holding an album launch in London Town in January and the line up is a very impressive set of bands that shouldn’t be missed details can be found on RPM online News section.

There were live reviews from Japanese Garage legends King Brothers as well as acoustic platinum seller Eric Martin and on Friday we brought you a review of The Feelgood Band playing in London which rounded up a pretty diverse bunch from around the globe I’m sure you’ll agree?

For our bread and butter album reviews, we had some old new um very old and one turkey so a festive collection of records were covered by a crack team of scribes.  We previewed Black Friday RSD must own – Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers ‘DTK’ as well as newcomers Estrons that went down extremely well here.  We took a trip to New York for Palmyra Delran and her doppelgangers and whilst we were there Beechwood were heading out the door to Europe for a tour but left us their new long player which is also an impressive second album this year from the three-piece.  The Turkey well we couldn’t sit Idol let Billy off without mentioning his revisited best-of collection that has been given the dance remix treatment which could have worked but cutting edge it isn’t.  90’s dated Ibiza dance off it might have been but disappointing is what it is and we can only bring you the truth here at RPM even though we love William Broad we’re excited for Generation Sex but not his new collection of remixes. There were the likes of the excellent Bitterlicks and Dave Kusworth records reviewed before they hit the shops as well as Thomas Silvers much anticipated solo album.

 

Not wanting to finish on a downer we look forward to the coming week where you have to keep it RPM online because we’re bringing you The Hip Priests and He Who Cannot Be Named live and where else are you getting that and Junkyard bookending Cowboy Junkies?  Nowhere that’s where. Also, we have albums from Honest John Plain, Australians Civic, New York Sick OF It All and Europeans like Youth Avoiders and Fertile Hump.  So remember to keep it RPM online and as Lux would say Stay Sick.

 

 

In a week when RPM brought you interviews Live Reviews and album Reviews from far and wide, we scoured the globe to bring you bands and releases that matter so you don’t have to do the hard work. Sit back skive off and enjoy.

 

As far as interviews go we went to Vienna for Reverend Backflash Swansea for Jack Jones out of Trampolene who head out on tour this month all over the UK.  we also brought you the words of Jeff Dahl and what his plans are for 2019. Right there are three reasons to keep it RPM for all the chatter that matters in the same week as well! Damn, how good was that?

If those interviews weren’t enough we also brought you album reviews from legends like Glen Matlock who released a new record with some help from the likes of Slim Jim Phantom and Earl Slick. If that wasn’t enough to make you good to go then we also brought you music from Australia in the shape of the excellent Black Heart Breakers, Noo Yawk City in the shape of The Erotics and obviously it wouldn’t be right if Canada didn’t wade in with a new record from a band with immense potential and a bunch of tunes you’d expect from a band who have been around the block a few times in the shape of Sick Things whose album is just getting the vinyl treatment from Gods Candy Records.

 

We might have been a bit stingy on the live front this past week but we did venture to Vienna for some TV Smith and finish the week wiping the sweat and maybe a tear or two from one’s cheek as Jonny Cola And The A-Grades said hello goodbye and thanks for the ride which was a great place to check out for the week.

Now. This week we’ve already brought you Rich Jones and Paul Collins interviews and we have some killer live reviews from the likes of King Brothers and Eric Martin as well as plenty of albums we crack open from Dave Kusworth, Palmyra Delran and Estrons as well as a classic reissue that’s coming on RSD Black Friday that people shouldn’t miss.

 

Not too shabby on the old rock and roll front there I’m sure you’ll agree? Remember to keep it RPM and don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t any rock and roll anymore because we know and you know that’s just bull shit right? Right! If you think you have what it takes to join our band of scribes then drop us a line at rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com and introduce yourself – we don’t bite and are quite a welcoming bunch.  thanks and as Lux said – stay sick!

You’re currently on tour with Michael Monroe and are about to hit the UK with MC50.  Must be cool gig to get playing in a band with Michael, Sami, Steve and Karl and then getting to play as guests with the likes of Wayne Kramer must be a dream job?

Oh yeah, I mean I grew up with the Hanoi Rocks stuff and I loved it, and these guys are some of my best friends in the world. It’s a rare situation being in a band where there isn’t one arsehole who makes it a nightmare being on the bus, haha. We all get along so great and I think you can see that onstage as well. And those guys are total badasses at what they do so it makes it so easy every night onstage when you know you can rely on everyone else to be killing it. 

The MC50 thing is great for us as well, hopefully, it’ll get us out in front of some people who might not know us and may be surprised by what this band is all about. I think it’s a great fit. Hopefully, we don’t get bottled off! 

You’ve also just finished recording the new album.  When can we all get to hear the new songs?

Hopefully soon, but I’d guess sometime in the spring. We’ve taken our time with it, making sure the mix is right and that that the record is the best it can possibly be. So we’re just going into mastering now, we haven’t really even thought about release dates yet.

How does the writing work within the band?  What with you guys spread out all over the globe?

It really depends. For ‘Blackout States’ I went to NYC with Steve and Karl and we spent a week working out ideas and then finished them up at home. This time we couldn’t really manage to find the time when we could do something like that so everyone did a lot of work at home and then sent demos around. Steve and I will find hotel time when we can and bash around ideas – we wrote one of the new ones in Tokyo last year – but mostly it’s been a case of sending finished songs to each other.

You’ve also gotten together with a few Black Halos to record a new record with those guys as well? Do you get bored easily? 

Ha! I just try to keep busy, I don’t like having a lot of down time. The Black Halos thing has just been rolling along slowly, I try to work on stuff when I have gaps in my schedule. We’ve got enough songs for a record now but we don’t really have a complete band line-up. Jay Millette from the original Halos lineup just played on some stuff but I don’t think he really wants to tour these days. John Kerns has been playing bass and I’d love it if he’d come along for the live shows as well. We’ll see. Karl Rockfist played drums on some stuff and so did TV from Radio Dead Ones. There’s not a lot of pressure on this stuff yet, we’ll probably make some real plans once we’ve recorded a full album. Right now it’s just a bunch of demos and a few finished-sounding songs.

Do you have to get into a different mindset when writing for The Monroes perspective compared to the Black Halos or with Rags?  is there a different pressure involved?

I wouldn’t call it pressure, although I suppose it was at first with Monroe. There’s such a high standard of writing with that band that I was worried that my songs weren’t going to be up to scratch. But now it’s pretty relaxed for me, I kind of know what works and what doesn’t which makes things a lot easier. So I wrote a lot more for this new record than I did for Blackout States. As with anything though, you need to get into a certain mindset for what suits the band and the people that you’re working with. So I know what’ll work for the Halos, and what’ll work for Michael. 

With Rags it’s usually just me and him having a bunch of drinks and a laugh and if something comes out of it, cool. He’s such a great, prolific writer that my involvement in his stuff is usually pretty minimal – I’ll maybe say ‘change a chord here’ or ‘try this bridge’ etc. The bulk of the work is always coming from him.

I don’t suppose you’re going to give away any of the titles of the songs or give us any idea as to what to expect?  

For the Monroe record? Well, I don’t want to give too much away right now. It’s a much more broad record than Blackout States. There’s still some raging punk rock but there’s a lot more diversity in the stuff. I mean we’re not going funk or anything but I think it sounds like a band that’s getting comfortable enough to stretch out more than in the past. We’ve got some great guests on it as well – Nasty Suicide plays some guitar and it’s the first time he’s recorded with Michael and Sami in something like 25 years. So that was cool to be a part of. There’s a couple of other people on there as well. Some surprises 😉 

The artwork and merch also involve yourself and you’ve certainly been responsible for some amazing pieces.  Do you have a particular favourite sleeve you’ve come up with? does it get inspired by the music or are you always coming up with new ideas?

No, I tend to look for inspiration once I get a job. Normally I ask if someone’s looking for a certain vibe and then work from there. It depends on how much free reign I get as well – some bands that I’ve worked with in the past want to let every member have their say in things and it ends up as a sort of ‘design by committee’ situation and that pretty much always turns out awful. As far as favourite stuff that I’ve done… it’s hard to pick one. Feel free to go check ‘em out at my website though *cough* turningrebellion.com. haha

It must be inspiring working with such talented and creative people. You’ve always surrounded yourself with people who work really hard at their passion.  Are there some projects that really stand out that you’ve been involved in?

Honestly, it’s this band. Everyone’s got such a great work ethic and we all complement each other really well. Making records with these guys is such a blast – it’s an amazing feeling hearing my home demos get taken to the next level and turned into these fully-realised songs. I love working with Ginger and Jon Poole as well – two absolutely insanely talented guys who push me to work harder and be better at what I do when I’m around them. When we’re not in the pub, that is.

Taking a look at what you’ve done so far take us back to where it all began.  what or who were the main reason you got into playing the guitar and wanted to be in a band?

Oh that’s an easy one. My parents took me to see Queen when I was 8 and that was it. Brian May ripping into the Bohemian Rhapsody guitar solo COMPLETELY sold me on playing music! So by the time I was 12 or 13 I had bands with my school friends playing Black Sabbath and Judas Priest covers (because that’s all I could really manage to learn how to play – Paranoid and Breaking The Law!) and then I never really stopped. Early records I loved were things like Adam & The Ants and The Pretenders. David Bowie. Then I took a little turn into metal for a while – I’ve seen Iron Maiden so many times dude, hahaha! But funnily it was those Hanoi records that made me look back to stuff like the New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders. Seeing the Ramones when I was 18 or 19. Discovering Stiv Bators catalogue of stuff. You know, you keep looking and finding new music and it leads you down these little paths of discovery. I still love it to this day. There’s so much great new music out there that makes me want to keep playing and writing.

You’ve played on plenty of records over the years are there any that people might be surprised to find you had a hand in?

Probably the weirdest one is a single that I recorded a few years ago for Andy Cairns’ birthday. It’s me, Michael McKeegan & Neil Cooper from Therapy?, Tim Wheeler from Ash, Ricky Warwick, Diamond Dave (beloved radio host) and we were called The Gemils. We covered Another Girl, Another Planet and also did one original song called Purveyor Of Quackery. Only 10 vinyl copies of the single were pressed and they were given out to the band members and Andy for his 50th birthday. Possibly the rarest single ever! 

When you’re writing songs how do you go about it?  Is it a guitar part like a riff or a melody that comes first and do you come up with lyrics as well and hows your drumming?

It can be anything. Sometimes it’s a riff or a melody but usually I get a spark for a lyric and start working it into a chorus. I often get ideas while I’m out walking my dogs so I end up quietly singing them into my phone while pretending I’m on a phone call so people don’t think I’m an absolute lunatic. From there it’s a case of working out melodies and writing lyrics that fit. So generally speaking when I’m writing for Michael I’ll try to inhabit his headspace a bit and then write the lyrics from that point of view. Then I’ll demo it all up at home and send the guys a complete song. As for my drumming, well that’s what drum machines are for my friend!

What’s the best thing about your job? Live? Studio?  the creative aspect of writing?  and on the flip side what do (if anything) you least look forward to.  (Travel) (hanging around) making a video or waiting for the records to come out once they’ve been finished?

Touring is fun for sure. Being on the bus, playing the shows – I love those parts of it. I like making records and designing merch, doing the album artwork. That’s all a lot of fun. The airports and soundchecks, missing my family and the endless hours of waiting around I could live without. I’m not a fan of photoshoots and making videos either but they’re a necessary evil, haha. Honestly though, I really can’t complain about anything – this is my day job and it’s the best job in the world. 

A few quick questions.

Do you have a favourite song to play with Michael?

You know, it’s a blast playing pretty much everything in the set. It’s nice to be able to change things up and play some new stuff but I’m not sure I have a favourite. Right now we’re doing an acoustic set in the middle of the show and that’s a lot of fun because it’s something different and refreshing. But then I also like bashing people over the head with the punk rock hammer as well

How does it work when picking a set list?  

There’s just some stuff that we have to play. It’s expected that we’ll play some Hanoi and we’ll play some of the bigger solo songs. So there’s stuff that’s just always there and then we try to mix up the rest of the set as much as we can. I try to stay out of it for the most part because having 5 guys try to pick 20 songs over email is an endless and frustrating experience, haha!

Are all the Hanoi songs fair game and what would you like to play that hasn’t been in the set list yet?

Yeah I guess so. I haven’t really thought about it too much. We’re not gonna play any of the Hanoi ‘reunion’ stuff but we’ll dig into the original band’s material a lot. Right now we’re playing ‘Lost In The City’ and ‘Lightnin’ Bar Blues’ which we’ve never done before. As for stuff I’d like to play – I just want this new record out so we can play some new songs!

When the Monroe album comes out can we in the UK expect a headline tour?  what about some summer dates and a return to Rebellion after this years show-stealing performance easily the best set played at the festival by anyone.

I’m sure we’ll be back to the UK sometime next year. We’d love to do Rebellion again if they’ll have us – it was a blast! I really wasn’t sure how we’d go over but the crowd was fantastic. So we’re looking at summer festival offers now and we’ll see what happens. We’ve got a few in Spain already and hopefully, we’ll get back over to see you guys as well. I think things will become a little more clear once we’ve got the album ready to go!

Thanks for your time Rich hopefully I’ll catch you on a show somewhere sometime in the near future and I look forward to hearing all this new music you’ve been recording.  Exciting times.

Thank you, Dom, always a pleasure! Hope to see you soon