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Michael Monroe

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Michael Monroe

Another Night In The Sun / Live In Helsinki
Album

Michael Monroe

Sensory Overdrive
CD



Band Biography

“I DON’T know where it comes from,” admits Michael Monroe, one of the most compelling, electrifying and passionate lead vocalists currently operating in the field of rock ‘n’ roll.

“When you’re onstage, something comes over you and you become almost superhuman. You feel invincible and you go to a higher place…”

Michael Monroe has been purveying his chosen craft since 1979, when he played a central role in the coming together of Hanoi Rocks – a legendary band almost as ill-starred as they were influential.

With the power of rock ‘n’ roll pounding in his heart, the inspirational impetus of an energised crowd compelling him from crescendo to climax, Michael Monroe is almost superhuman… but not quite. He’s picked up more than his fair share of broken bones along the way, a couple of ribs popping only last year.

His is just such a visceral commitment, one that’s kept audiences transfixed and inspired for decades’ and will doubtless continue to do so now that he’s surrounded himself with the finest backing band of his entire solo career to date.

OPERATING ON a high from finally and assuredly concluding Hanoi Rocks business – unfinished since the band’s tragedy-impelled ’85 dissolution – with a triumphal seven-year, three-album rebirth, Michael has now recruited an awesome band at his back, comprising some of the hottest talents in rock…

Michael’s Hanoi Rocks and Demolition 23 band-mate Sami Yaffa, fresh from an extended stint playing bass with the reformed New York Dolls, was first to come onboard…

“We never thought that Demolition 23 ended properly,” he reflects. “We made a great record, but then the band just fell apart. Michael & I remained great friends throughout everything, though, and when the Dolls went to Finland in the fall of 2009, he got up and did ‘Personality Crisis’ with us and we talked until five in the morning about what we should do next.”

Sami told Michael that whenever he bumped into Little Steven Van Zandt in New York City, the Springsteen/Sopranos legend invariably spoke of re-issuing the Demolition 23 album on his own Wicked Cool label, harbouring hopes that the ex-Hanoi core of the band would tour behind its release…

“I told Michael and he thought it would be fun to do it,” says Sami, “but with a new band, and getting Ginger onboard was a great move!”

MICHAEL INITIALLY hooked up with Ginger solely for song-writing purposes, but soon the Wildheart-In-Chief realised that the very best place for him was up there onstage…

“I felt I could bring more to the table,” explains Ginger. “I thought it was for the best for the world of rock ‘n’ roll that I talk my way into this one, and I did!”

“Ginger came up to me at the beginning of December,2009,” Michael remembers, “at the Alice Cooper show in Helsinki, and he said that he’d really like to be a part of the band. There’s a picture of me, him and Alice from that night – the night that he proposed with Alice playing cupid! I said to Sami the next day, ‘What do you think of this? Ginger in the band? If it works it could be totally amazing!’ And it was. We realised from the very first rehearsal… this works!”

Ginger’s hell-raising rock ‘n’ roll reputation most certainly preceded him…

Sami: “He’s a great songwriter, no doubt about it, but I’d heard all of these stories about him, and I was sceptical, but it all worked out great in the end. It feels like a real band, not just a project anymore. There’s genuine chemistry.”

The first incarnation of this fresh line-up (featuring original Demolition 23 drummer Jimmy Clarke, later replaced by one-time Danzig drummer Karl Rockfist, and Todd Youth from Samhain & Danzig on guitar, later replaced by Steve Conte ) rehearsed together, but ultimately foundered…

As it turned out, Jimmy Clarke had prior commitments that he couldn’t get out of, so he stepped aside, making way for Karl Rockfist, who has proved the perfect fit. This just left the final part of the puzzle, which fell into place with the arrival of former New York Dolls guitarist, Steve Conte. With Todd Youth departing the band just two weeks prior to the first scheduled gigs, it was vital that his replacement boast the requisite chops, songwriting suss and essential attitude to slot in perfectly… and at lightning speed.

Sami: “I thought: who can pull this together? Who can pick up the songs at a moment’s notice and then fall right in with the chemistry onstage? Steve! And he looks good as well. He was originally just supposed to be sitting in for the tour, but as soon as Michael heard him play and got to know him, that was it.”

The final word on this dream band’s ultimate line-up belongs to Monroe…

“It was definitely meant to be.”

FROM THEIR earliest shows, it became clear that Michael Monroe, in unprecedented vocal form, was fronting the band of his life (as exemplified by last September’s electrifying ‘Another Night In The Sun’ album, recorded live and in the raw at the famous Tavastia Club in Helsinki). But it was in the studio that things got really interesting.

Michael was already sparking with fresh ideas for songs before Sami brought a batch of compositions he’d been working on for the New York Dolls to the table. Then Ginger got involved in the writing process, casually slotting in the kind of genius choruses and hooks that he’s renowned for. By the time that demos were called for, the whole band was positively crackling with creativity…

“It didn’t matter who wrote what,” says Michael, “as long as it was great song.


“

THEN, WHEN it came to choosing a producer, the only name on our list that I thought could work out was Jack Douglas. He’s a personality I knew could bring something extra to the mix.”

Michael’s initial instinct paid off handsomely, with this rock production legend (Aerosmith/John Lennon/New York Dolls, etc.) adding a sheen of sheer class to the 11 songs that comprise the appropriately entitled ‘Sensory Overdrive’.

From the pile-driving opening assault of ‘Trick Of The Wrist’ to the closing climactic apocalypse of ‘Debauchery As A Fine Art’ (an all-guns-blazing duet with Motörhead’s Lemmy), ‘Sensory Overdrive’ allies assured elements of timeless rock classicism to an irresistible melodic core.

The album’s first single/video ‘‘78’ (an air-punching anthem that effortlessly snags the consciousness and demands repeat plays) is a triumphal celebration of a pivotal year in rock history, while a Lucinda Williams-enhanced ‘Gone, Baby Gone’ offers bittersweet, countrified contrast to the prevailing mood of good-time rock ‘n’ roll mayhem.

SET TO be released through Universal/Spinefarm on March 14th 2011, ‘Sensory Overdrive’ also presents the recording debut of one of the great guitar bands in contemporary hard rock: Ginger and Steve seamlessly weave in a style that evokes Richards and Wood one minute, Gorham and Robertson the next; Conte’s long-time working relationship with Yaffa in the Dolls, meanwhile, helps to lock the guitar front-line perfectly into the propulsive rhythm section’s driving, seamless groove.

Michael, for his part, has never been in finer form. His lead vocals sound brighter and more vital than ever before, his assured combination of clarity and fire both instantly recognisable plus a career-best revelation. Elsewhere his sax and harmonica chops provide ample evidence to suggest that all reports of rock ‘n’ roll’s imminent demise are both foolhardy and quite preposterously premature.

When his show hits the road, punters are surely guaranteed sensory overdrive as standard.

Michael Monroe is back in business, and business has never been better.

- 

Ian Fortnam

One of Sweden’s most popular and successful guitarists, Dregen has now joined the ranks of Michael Monroe’s band as the replacement to Ginger!
Dregen is best known as the guitarist of Backyard Babies and also as the founding member of the Hellacopters.

Dregen was a member of the Hellacopters from the band’s starting year in 1994 until 1998 after which Dregen decided to focus on his other band Backyard Babies. Backyard Babies is currently on a long hiatus.
In addition to playing with Michael Monroe’s band Dregen is starting work on his first solo album.
Dregen is known first and foremost as an excellent guitarist and songwriter, and as an extremely energetic live performer!
Dregen’s first gig with Michael Monroe will happen on the 26th of June when Michael Monroe will play a gig supporting Foo Fighters at Kalasatama, Helsinki, Finland.

Michael Monroe:
Dregen is the perfect choice for this band. We are a group of very strong individuals and we really needed a great personality as a guitar player. Dregen has the whole package together – he’s a killer guitarist, a brilliant showman, looks great and has the right kind of attitude and taste in music.
I feel very glad and lucky that he was willing and able to join us. Dregen is a real star and a true rocker at heart. I can’t wait to start rockin’ out with him in the band!

Dregen:
Sure, I was listening to KISS and Sex Pistols when I was a kid but it was Hanoi Rocks that made me do it! I wanted to be a rockstar but 99,9 % of my record collection as a kid was either UK bands or bands from the USA and everything felt so far away and untouchable apart from one band… -Hanoi Rocks! If they could make it, I could make it!
It’s an honour for me to be in the band together with Michael and Sami who were the brightest shining stars when I grew up, starting to play Rock N Roll music, AND bonus to that is also to share stage with Karl and Steve who are incredible players. So. I. Am. A. Happy. Fucking. Dregen!
I hope I can bring even more explosivity and energy to the band, as well as, of course, loud guitars, great live performance, killer riffs and songwriting for upcoming studioworks .

 

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