Michael Monroe

Michael Monroe is a living legend. A musician who has influenced the whole glam/sleaze & hair metal scene in the US & in EU. His newest album “Horns and Halos”, judging by the reactions of both fans & press, is already a very successful album! We happened upon Michael in the middle of the tour and he took a break to talk to Grande Rock…
Michael Monroe band pic 2013

Hey Michael… “Horns and Halos” is an excellent follow-up to “Sensory Overdrive”. Once again you did it dude!
M: Thanks, glad you dig it.
It seems that you have been on an ongoing “music orgasm” for the last 2-3 years. After a few big gaps that you had in the past… what was that inner force which fuelled you with energy after all these years?
M: During those “gaps” I’ve been working all the time, doing my thing one way or another. Maybe just with less visibility, I guess. I’m always “fuelled with energy”. And now I’ve got a killer band that you just can’t ignore.
Where does the title “Horns and Halos” refer to? Who have the horns and who the halos?
M: We all have a bit of both within us – Yin and Yang, Devils and Angels etc. However – Love and Light always conquers the darkness in the end.
What is the little story behind each track?
M: “TNT Diet”: I’ve had that title for years so it was time to put it to good use. Nice fast opener to say “Hello, you fucks! Let’s rock!!”...
“Ballad of the Lower East Side”: A tribute to the greatest city in the world and the story of how it’s changed over the last few decades.
“Eighteen Angels”: One of my favorites on the album. Killer blues-punk groove.
“Saturday Night Special”: A true story about Steve’s past adventure.
“Stained Glass Heart”: An extraordinary, ultra-cool creation. Also one of my faves.
“Horns and Halos”: The title track that rocks like f**k with words that go straight to the point. Ya dig? I do!
“Child of the Revolution”: Speaking of rockin’ – here’s my favorite rocker on the album. Love it!
“Soul Surrender”: Now, this is an interesting musical marriage; like Motörhead meets Bob Marley. And it works! A Reggae-Rocker. Absolutely one of the best tracks on the record. Love how the harp solo takes off to outer space in the end.
“Half the Way”: The title is misleading – this one takes you all the way, for sure.
“Ritual”: A real gem in the great spirit of Stiv Bators.
“Hands are Tied”: This made it onto the album at the last minute as it started out as just a jam. It occurred to me that not that many bands can jam like this. There’s magic in this band’s chemistry and you can hear it.
“Happy Neverafter” (bonus track): This song was originally going to finish the album instead of “Hands Are Tied”, but here it is now anyway as a bonus track. Enjoy!
“Don’t Block the Sun” (bonus track): A nice one by Steve Conte with smooth harmonies and melody. A nice positive note to end the album with.
As a whole, I actually prefer this “Special Edition” version of “Horns and Halos” with these bonus tracks included. The album does not feel too long like this, after all.
The album has a straightforward rockin’ sound. Who’s responsible for the production and did it turn out the way you wanted to?
M: We pretty much ended up producing it ourselves. After all, most of us have produced many records on our own over the years and are very capable of doing it as a band, when necessary.
“Horns and Halos” certified Gold in Finland. Hence, do you think that the actual purpose has been achieved or there’s something more than “gold awards” and stuff like that?
M: I’ve never made records to achieve Gold awards or anything like that. Knowing that someone enjoys my work and gets something positive out of it, is enough of a reward. Anything on top of that is a plus. The fact that it sold gold in Finland in 4 days is a nice sign of increasing appreciation and that gives you an extra boost, but I feel that we’ve hardly even started yet with this record. There’s plenty of touring to be done and so on. You don’t finish work by working, there’s always more to be done. (i.n.: That fact that the album has gone “gold” also shows that the fans buy the actual CD and that’s awesome!)
In all honesty, could “Horns and Halos” have been the new Hanoi Rocks album?
M: Are you serious..? That’s a strange question. No! (i.n.: Yeap, why not?!)
Michael Monroe band pic

By the way, what happened and the Hanoi Rocks reunion didn’t work the way it should and you abandoned it?
M: No, that wasn’t the case. First of all it was more of a “rebirth” of Hanoi which I was willing to commit to for life, had it worked out that way. However, it ran its course – we made 3 good albums during that time but then it was time to move on.
Since I got you in the middle of the tour, how are things so far? What’s the response from the fans concerning the new songs?
M: Everyone’s diggin’ the new stuff big time! (i.n.: Wish you a great time on the road dude!)
Will we get the chance to see you live in Athens at any point?
M: Hopefully soon. (i.n.: Let’s hope so!)
How does it feel that the entire Hollywood scene has been influenced or has copied your style at times? Do you think that they owed you more respect or credits at long last?
M: It doesn’t really affect me, especially since most of those people completely missed the point and are on a totally different planet from me and Hanoi Rocks. I don’t feel that anyone owes me anything. (i.n.: That’s a magnanimous statement by a great artist!)
How would the glam, rock, punk, sleaze, hard rock & roll scene have been without Hanoi Rocks? Are you aware of what you guys did back in the 80s?
M: I have no idea, I don’t even know what you mean by “glam”, “sleaze” and “hard rock‘n’roll”. I don’t think about stuff like that. (i.n.: That’s fair enough!)
OK a few “weird questions” and we’re done! Do you believe that groupies are a necessary evil for all of the rock bands or it was only an 80s thing just for the pose?
M: Oh, I thought your questions were weird enough already! smiley I’ve never had any interest in groupies and I certainly wouldn’t care if they did not exist at all.
If Hanoi Rocks career was a movie… which movie would it be and why?
M: A documentary with authentic footage and music. Acting would be too corny and tasteless.
Imagine that your wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
M: Hey c’mon man, really! (i.n.: OK dude!)
I think all’s said & done Michael… Thx for the music all these years! Hope to see you live one day. Close this interview in your way… Take care!
M: Awrite, dude. My pleasure – thanks for the appreciation! Hope to get there too one day soon. I wanna say: A big Thank You to all the fans out there for your loyalty and support! Hope to see you soon down the road! Love & Respect, Michael Monroe...