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Hanoi Rocks - Two Steps From The Move

Review No: 238
Added 12th August 2005

Hanoi Rocks were:

Michael Munroe
- Lead Vocals and Sax

Andy McCoy - Lead Guitar and Vocals

Nasty Suicide - Guitars and Vocals

Sam Yaffa - Bass and Vocals

Razzle -Drums

Hanoi Rocks should of been huge. At the beginning of the eighties Motley Crue, Poison, and not even Guns and Roses were hip enough to look over the top of Hanoi Rocks platform boots.

The band, founded in 1980, consisted of Michael Munroe (real name Matti Fagenholm), the impossibly good looking, blond lead singer; Andy McCoy (real name Antti Hulkeho); Nasty Suicide (real name Jans Stenfas), between this pair of guitar slingers a more raunchy sound has never been developed; Bassist Sam Jaffa (real name Saki Takamki); and drummer Gypsy Casino (real name Jespo Sparse). Yes, if you haven't quite figured it out yet, these young guys were the cream of young musicians from Finland. However, after the release of their first album ‘Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, and Hanoi Rocks’ in their native land didn’t coerce much response, it was decided to cross over the water and move lock, stock, and smokin' guitar case to London's fair city, where they were welcomed with open arms. That is apart from poor old Gypsy, who was ousted from his drum kit by a certain Nicholas (Razzle) Dingby. Razzle was so besotted by the band on first sight that he had to join one way or another. It’s not the first time in rock 'n’ roll history that a drummer has been replaced by someone not with more ability, but more enthusiasm and spirit.


Track Listing

Up Around The Bend
High School
I Can't Get It
Underwater World
Don't You Ever Leave Me
Million Miles way
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
Cutting Corners

With the lineup complete they soon had a successful 6 date tour of England with Wishbone Ash in their pocket. What the rather staid Ash fans must have made of this bunch of ragamuffins I have no idea, but, most importantly, the British music press was behind them, every man, woman and child. (Sounds wrote of their new protégées “Born to be Superstars, Hanoi Rocks will soon be bigger than Coca-Cola and Big Mac's”.)

The new album 'Oriental Beat' (1982) was recorded and released to fanatical reviews, but only moderate sales recorded in the British Isles. Although to be fair, things were a little better in the rest of the world. They had become huge stars in Japan just on their looks alone. Concert sales were not a problem, though hysterical scenes following the band where ever they played.

Buoyed by the live buzz and critical acclaim, they went back into the studio to come out with their third album ‘Back to Mystery City’. One listen was all it took to realize the boys had perhaps been reading too much of their own hype. It was a flop peaking at number 87 in the British charts, and the band was savaged by press and fans alike. Fortunately the record company did not panic. After a quick groundbreaking tour of the United States of America, press reports were good again, although 'Back to Mystery City' was hidden from prying American ears. On arrival back in England the band was put back in the studio, this time with the guiding hand of producer Bob Ezrin. Moreover, and just to make sure there were no more slip ups, Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople fame was brought in to help with the writing and arranging of several songs. The record company even persuaded our little 'tearaways' to record a cover of Credence Clearwater's Revival ‘Up Around The Bend’, which was released before the album came out as a little taster. It was rushing up the charts with a bullet.

‘Two Steps From The Move’ was released in 1983, to mass critical acclaim and the ‘Back to Mystery City’ debacle was forgiven. The boys set out to conquer the world, first by flying out to prepare to tour America. Tragically on 9th November, while the band were partying with Motley Crue, Razzle accepted a lift from the drunken lead singer of Motley Crue, Vince Neil, who lost control of the car and the band's beloved drummer Razzle was dead. Vince Neil was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and served 30 days in jail. Hanoi Rocks never recovered. Oh, they pressed on till 1985, but the heart of the band had gone.

Michael Munroe later did a great solo album called 'Not Fakin' It' and McCoy, Suicide, and Monroe got together for an album called ‘Demolition 23’ in 1990. That really tore up the rock 'n' roll discos. But one listen to ‘Two Steps From The Move’ will prove what should of been. R.I.P. Razzle.

Mott the Dog resides at Jameson's the Irish Pub