Hanoi Rocks’ Michael Monroe: “Our Musicianship Was Overlooked Because of All the Hoopla Around the Band”

Glam (or glam-adjacent, as singer Michael Monroe might prefer) rockers Hanoi Rocks have often been surrounded by controversy and drama, especially following the death of drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley, who was killed in a 1984 drunk driving accident with Vince Neil behind the wheel. In a new interview with Ultimate Guitar, Monroe discussed the band’s legacy and whether or not they considered themselves part of the ’80s glam and hair metal scene at large.

On the glam scene, Monroe said that he isn’t upset to be categorized as glam but that he didn’t participate in many of the hedonistic lifestyle choices his peers did.

“Hanoi Rocks really did defy categories, though. We combined punk, glam, calypso, and whatever else we were into at the time. I think we were a breath of fresh air, and I guess that’s why a lot of people say we were influential over a lot of those bands. But, yeah, you’re right, we did influence that scene, but I think we inspired bands like Guns N’ Roses in a good way. But a band like Aerosmith also inspired them, and bands like them. So, it’s a matter of pulling influences from many different places.

“So, no, it doesn’t bother me. It’s an honor, and it’s very flattering to hear that Hanoi Rocks influenced a lot of bands. But I will say that a lot of it got to be very superficial and was more about makeup, posing, big hairdos, and all that shit. And then you had the sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll garbage, too. The ’80s became very cliché, but none of that was ever what Hanoi Rocks was about. We always put the music first and the rest second. It wasn’t about partying and girls and all that. I’ve never been with a groupie in my entire life. I’m not that kind of guy.”

Monroe was also open about the fact that he believes the band’s talent was overshadowed by controversy.

“A lot of it was good. Some of it was not so good. But like I said, all that extra crap was not what rock ‘n’ roll was about to me. I take that [rock ‘n’ roll] more seriously. So, first and foremost, Hanoi Rocks was a band that was entirely about the music. But I think that once we did sort of become a part of that ’80s scene, a lot of our musicianship was overlooked because of all the hoopla around the band. It’s no secret that there was a lot of rumors, drama, and tragedy swirling around us after Razzle passed. So, I think the original intent and spirit of Hanoi Rocks is often buried beneath that.”

Hanoi Rocks guitarist Andy McCoy has since claimed that Neil never apologized for Dingley’s death.


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