As promised rushonrock brings you the second part of our eye-opening interview with Hanoi Rocks frontman Mike Monroe and all we can say is that the return of one of rock’s true gentlemen can’t come soon enough.
Mike Monroe: What does the future hold for me? I want to take a harder rock direction. I want to record some straight ahead party rock and roll records. More defined than anything Hanoi has ever done. In Hanoi the music went from one extreme to the other but I’d like to define my style a bit more. I want to write a killer record. All killer, no filler. And I’d like to try things I haven’t done before. It just feels like the right time.
rushonrock: Are you still young enough to start all over?
MM: I’m 46 and I’m determined to look forward. I reckon I still have a good 20 years left on this planet and I want to use that time well. I think moving away from Hanoi gives me the best chance to do most with my life. I’d like to go back to the US and live there which I haven’t done for a long time now. There are a lot of people there who I’d like to see and I think there are a few people who’d like to see me!
rushonrock: But you must want to live life to the full away from rock?
MM: Away from music I like to spend time at home with my wife and two cats. I love that kind of domestic downtime. It’s when I write down all of my best ideas. I like to take care of myself mentally and physically and I live in the old capital of Finland, Turku. I own this flat on the river in the middle of nowhere and it’s so relaxing. I lived in New York for 10 years so there couldn’t be a greater contrast. I still love cities and Turku is just right. It’s big enough and small enough at the same time.
rushonrock: How proud do you feel when you see the standing of Finnish rock on the world music scene these days?
MM: I’m happy to see the Finnish music scene doing so well. Bands like HIM and The Rasmus are blazing a trail for Finland across the world and they often refer to Hanoi as an inspiration. I don’t follow the rock scene that closely but I’m glad to have helped those bands in the past and keen to support them now.
rushonrock: Is there any time in your life for projects away from Hanoi or your solo career?
MM: I work with a couple of guys from 69 Eyes and they’re involved with a reality TV show which starts in Finland tonight. It’s called Operation Earth and it involves a couple of different groups with different environmental tasks to carry out. The guys from 69 eyes have been tasked with raising awareness of and helping to clean up the Baltic Sea. It’s the dirtiest sea in the world and they needed a song to highlight its plight. I wrote a theme tune for them called Pirates of the Baltic Sea. It’s already been released as a single and all the proceeds have gone towards cleaning up the Baltic Sea. It’s the first solo single of my new career and although it’s only been released as a download it’s been really popular. Because it’s a charity-style record you can pay as much or as little as you like but it’s become the most downloaded song of the year on the Nokia charts in Finland in 2008.
rushonrock: Looking back what did it mean to celebrate the end of Hanoi as a UK touring band in the one-time rock hotbed of Newcastle?
MM: It was fitting to end the UK tour in Newcastle. I’ve played the city so many times with Hanoi and as a solo artist and I love the Geordie people. Geordie was one of my favourite bands growing up as a kid in Finland and Hope You Like It was one of the first albums I ever bought. It had a huge effect on me. I think Brian Johnson is sounding better than ever on the new AC/DC album – his range is a bit lower and I’m really digging his voice right now. Spike from the Quireboys is a good mate and he popped over to see us play the Birmingham show – he was gutted he couldn’t make his hometown gig. But looking back Newcastle might have been the right place to call it a day in the UK.