MICHAEL MONROE - First Toronto Show Since 1998 To Be A “Very Special Treat”

September 22, 2011, 3 years ago

Aaron Small

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HANOI ROCKS vocalist MICHAEL MONROE recently took time out from preparations for his upcoming solo tour of North America to chat with BraveWords.com scribe Aaron Small. When Monroe stops in Toronto, ON at The Mod Club on October 6th, it will mark his first time in Canada’s largest city in over a decade.

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In fact, the last time Monroe was in the land of the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays, the year was 1998; which he remembers fondly. “I did a DJ gig there back in '98 to stand in for (the late) JOEY RAMONE who had to cancel due to an illness. While I was there I put a band together with some local guys and played a little club gig as well. This time the fans can expect a very special treat - a high energy rock 'n' roll show with a killer band!”

The band Monroe is referring to consists of guitarists Dregen (BACKYARD BABIES, THE HELLACOPTERS) and Steve Conte (COMPANY OF WOLVES, NEW YORK DOLLS), bassist Sami Yaffa (HANOI ROCKS, JET BOY), and drummer Karl Rockfist (DANZIG). In fact, Monroe owes the title of his new album, Sensory Overdrive, to bassist Sami Yaffa. “It was Sami's suggestion and fit the album and the cover perfectly. To me it means going for it all full blast, taking things to the extreme, giving it all you got, pushing things to the limit, you know - rocking like fuck!”

‘78’ is the first single and video from Sensory Overdrive. It’s a song that has been touted as “homage to a year of great music and significant cultural happenings.” In 1978, Monroe was 16 years old, yet he clearly remembers, “There were certain bands with a new refreshing attitude and sound that revolutionized the rock world and also had a great impact on me. The same spirit from those days still remains within me and that's what the song '78’ is about.”

Due to the Hanoi Rocks reformation, it’s been eight years since Monore’s last solo studio album, Whatcha Want. Reflecting on his previous platter, Michael offers the following, “A lot of time has passed and I'd like to think I've evolved over the years. Plus now I have a killer band, so it's really a band record as opposed to Whatcha Want. Also Sensory Overdrive has no cover songs on it - all originals.”

Kicking off Sensory Overdrive is ‘Trick Of The Wrist’ which contains the line: “People tell me I ain’t aging, I’m keeping thin and my looks ain’t fading”. There’s no denying Monroe is in great shape, but is the fact that he’s turning 50 next year eating away at him? Any plans for the milestone birthday? “I don't really keep track of my age that much, as aging really is a state of mind. If you start worrying about aging it'll start to show. No plans for a special celebration. It's just another birthday and another year gone by.”

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There seems to be somewhat of a nostalgic vibe running throughout the lyrics on Sensory Overdrive, most notably in ‘Superpowered Superfly’: “Just put the calendar back”, and ‘Modern Day Miracle’: “We used to do just fine, in the good old-fashioned times.” Does Monroe long for yester-year? “No, I don't long for the past. ‘Superpowered Superfly’s lyrics are actually about the Wikileaks scandal and ‘Modern Day Miracle’ is about the new technology often making things more complicated although it's supposed to simplify things.”

Breaking out the saxophone in ‘Later Won’t Wait’ is trademark Michael Monroe – and one of the characteristics that sets him apart as an artist. Furthermore it adds a whole other dimension to that song. What is it about that instrument, which is so unusual to hear in this genre that is so appealing? “I just love the sound and the feel of it. Originally I was inspired to pick it up because of the LITTLE RICHARD and COASTERS records. I felt it was almost an essential part of the rock 'n' roll sound. At least it used to be in the ‘50s.”

In November and December, Monroe will be touring The UK with WEDNESDAY 13. Any plans to jam or write with him, either on stage or in the studio? “No plans like that yet, but you never know - that might be cool. I love Wednesday 13, he's a sweetheart!”

Michael Monroe’s tour schedule:

September

30 - Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero

October

1 - Baltimore, MD - Sonar
2 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
4 - Boston, MA - Great Scott
5 - Montreal, QC - Les Foufounes Electriques
6 - Toronto, ON - Mod Club Theater
7 - Cleveland, OH - Peabody’s
8 - Chicago, IL - Reggie’s Rock Club
9 - St Paul, MN - Station 4
10 - St Louis, MO - Fubar
12 - Denver, CO - Moe’s
15 - Seattle, WA - El Corazon
16 - Portland, OR - Dante’s
18 - Santa Clara, CA - Avalon Theater
19 - Santa Ana, CA - Galaxy Theatre
20 - Hollywood, CA - Whisky A Go Go
23 - Japan, V-rock Festival Saitama Super Arena

November

4 - Lahti, Finland - Finlandia Club
5 - Tavastia, Finland (2 Shows)
24 - Wolverhampton, UK - Wulfrun Hall
25 - Manchester, UK - Ritz
26 - Nottingham, UK - Rock City
27 - Glasgow, Scotland - Garage
28 - England, Newcastle, UK - Academy
29 - Leeds, UK - Academy

December

1 - Bristol, UK Academy
2 - London, UK - Electric Ballroom
3 - Prestatyn, Wales – HRH

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