Michael Monroe Details Hanoi Rocks’ “Oriental Beat” Reissue
It’s an amazing time to be a Michael Monroe fan – and an incredibly busy time to be Michael Monroe.
The tireless rocker has just released his latest solo album, I live too fast to die young, in June, and he has a host of other projects in the works for the near future. First, a remixed 40th anniversary reissue of ORiental Beatthe second album by Monroe’s original band, Hanoi Rocks.
While the album helped raise the international profile of Finnish glam-punks and features some of their most beloved songs, including the title track and “Motorvatin'”, band members frequently and outright criticized its lackluster production. .
“The second [album] was produced by this guy, Peter Woolliscroft – it was really awful,” Monroe told UCR. “There’s a lot of good songs, but the mix was really, really bad. So all you can hear is like a snare drum and a vocal, and that really ruined the whole album, probably set us back a few years because of the sound of that album.”
Listen to Hanoi Rocks’ “Motorvatin”
Hanoi Rocks originally wanted to remix Eastern rhythm in the early 90s when Guns N’ Roses reissued their catalog on their Uzi Suicide vanity label, but the original multitrack recordings were lost and presumed gone forever. But fate smiled on the band when a Universal Music employee discovered the original multitracks in a warehouse. Monroe says the new and improved Oriental To beat — “the remix, the real mix”, with “no overdubs, as it was” – will arrive in November.
The singer says there will be no bonus tracks on the remix Eastern rhythm, but he found other goodies alongside the original multitrack tapes that may eventually see the light of day. “We’re going to keep the album as it was, just with better sound,” he explains. “But at the same time we found some other multitrack tapes with excerpts from the first album [1981’s Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks] and the second too. There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t even know existed. It will probably come out in a box set.”
Monroe will keep his foot on the accelerator until 2023. He is looking for someone to translate his self-titled 2011 autobiography into English, and he plans to release a documentary about his life and career next year. “We had a cool [scene] with Alice Cooper when we were on tour with him in Milan,” he says. “Early in the day we were in a hotel, and I filmed a clip with me and Alice in a hotel room talk about rock ‘n’ roll. And he was telling me all these stories about the early days in Detroit when they were playing with the MC5 – Alice Cooper, MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges, a great band, and Ted Nugent and the whole Detroit scene. »
The singer’s connection to Cooper goes back decades, as Hanoi Rocks covered the rocker classic ‘Under My Wheels’ on their 1984 live album All those wasted years. “When we were doing [1984’s] Close to moving, [producer] Bob Ezrin was trying to get Alice into the studio, but Alice couldn’t do it at the time,” he explains. “We were going to record ‘Under My Wheels’ with Alice, and it never happened. But Guns N’ Roses did it later [for 1988’s The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years soundtrack]. We were supposed to do it first because we used to play it live. I’m glad someone did.”
Watch Hanoi Rocks perform “Under My Wheels” live at the marquee in 1983
As if that weren’t enough, next year will also see the reissue and first-ever vinyl release of Demolition 23, the short-lived punk band Monroe’s self-titled 1994 debut album, which featured former Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffa and was largely written and produced by Steven Van Zandt. The companion to the E Street Band will be released Demolition 23 on his Wicked Cool Records in October, featuring new artwork by Monroe guitarist Rich Jones and vintage photos from the singer’s archives.
With all of these projects in the works, it’s clear that the title of Monroe’s latest solo offering, I live too fast to die young, is more than just a tongue-in-cheek inversion of a rock ‘n’ roll cliché; it is a personal and professional credo. “I’m never complacent, I always try to get a better live performance, make a better record than the last one, and never be complacent,” he told UCR. “I’m trying to improve. There’s always room for improvement, which is good because it makes me hungry. It allows me to try.”
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There is nothing culpable in these pleasures.