Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hanoi Rocks ~ Decadent Dangerous Delicious (hits comp)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: glam rock, hard rock
Label: Castle
Year: 2000
Home: Finland (disbanded)

Members: Michael Monroe ~ vocals/saxophone/harmonica/piano
Nasty Suicide, Andy McCoy ~ guitars/b. vocals
Sami Yaffa ~ bass/b. vocals
Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley ~ drums/b. vocals
Gyp Casino ~ drums

Additional: Morgan Fisher ~ keyboards
Katrina Leskanich, Miriam Stockley ~ b. vocals


At one point Finland's most famous or infamous export was a band called HR ... though Nightwish, HIM & Lordi have put up a serious fight for the title since. HR was thought to be by many the next greatest band in the hard rock world. But, after only a couple albums the sudden death of drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley in a car wreck was a devastaing bomb from which the band would never recover, leaving their potential crown to be inherited by Motley Crue. It's ironic that Crue frontman Vince Neil was at the wheel of the car. Even with replacement drummer Terry Chimes from The Clash, a definite inspiration in early HR songs & thus a good fit, frontman Michael Monroe quit in 1985 & the band immediately broke-up with barely a whimper. In 2002 Monroe & guitarist Andy McCoy reformed HR & toured until 2008 when Monroe went solo again with HR bassist Sami Yaffa behind him on stage. Critics, both at the time of their height & since, have often said that HR blended glam & heavy metal better than any band on the scene, particularly the Crue. That's debatable ... particularly considering Motley Crue would have a larger recording budget for their eventual quintessential album Dr. Feelgood, something HR never truly got to make, while HR is truly a glam band while Crue is more hard rock with a glam image. HR certainly has more raw punk energy a la the Clash & Ramones than Motley Crue ever had underneath the make-up, spandex & power ballads. But, for those that say HR isn't a musical inspiration it's hard to deny that they didn't give sleazy glam back to the world. Calling on the New York Dolls & David Bowie in both sleazy songs, roughness & image HR were the first 80's band to keep the glam look alive & have been credited as the initial inspiration of the first generation of L.A. glam/hair metal bands such as Crue, Poison, Ratt, Guns'N'Roses & countless others. Today, younger fans would probably credit Motley Crue as the source, if they thought about it at all. They might have been the biggest but they didn't create their image in a vacuum. Those who regard history take a step back to HR & give credit where it's truly due. But, for all this legacy, listening to HR without the background it's almost surprising how HR has become so big & was so big. They are certainly a band where one had to be there at the time to truly understand their impact. The music has far from the commercial polish nor the big guitar sound that became the norm of the 80's. In some ways they're very out of place in the 80's being clear students of the New York Dolls, from the raw music, the cocky androgenous look & even Monroe's quircky unpolished singing. Actually, Monroe might be the weakest link in the band for those only hearing from a musical standpoint. He has bravado that Vince Neil never had but Neil has the better voice for the high notes. But, the New York Dolls or Ramones were not led by great singers either. The New York Dolls also inspired Twisted Sister but while both HR & Sister adopted the look Sister took a heavy metal approach to the music instead of glam rock. HR went for fun while Sister went for scary. Many have even called HR the only authentic band as they made the glam metal image their own while most everyone else was just an imitator based on how much commercial success they could find by adopting the image. In many ways HR sound too much like an imitation of the Dolls. Which also means that those who don't like the Dolls or glam outside of Bowie will probably not get into HR. For those people, HR probably won't climb out of the heap with individuality like their reputation suggests they do. HR is so much a student of the past that they even brought in Overend Watts from father glam-rockers Mott The Hoople to produce their fourth album Back To The Mystery City. Considering all hard rock going on in the word at the time HR sounds out of place & one can wonder what would have happened if they hadn't split. Would they have moved music back to a past & away from where it ended up going before everything came crumbling with grunge? One can only wonder. This two CD collection is probably the best of all HR compilations pulling in tracks from all their pre-reunion albums. There's only a few alternative versions (i.e. "Malibu Beach Nightmare", "I Want You", "Malibu Beach", "Kill City Kills") & thus is stuffed full of tracks fans will already know. Anyone who wants an introduction to HR is going to get nearly everything here that they may want & more. Though, a single CD set will be better for those that aren't glam fans & just want a taste. It's a long listen for one who doesn't get into the music as the band's musical variety will appear minimal. But, it should be mentioned that this is 'nearly everything'. Strangely, there's no inclusion of anything from the album Two Steps From The Move, the final album with Razzle, that is supposedly the album that could have been their climactic career defining moment. It even featured production & writing by Bob Ezrin with Mott The Hoople's Ian Hunter brought into compose. The album also features their biggest hit in the Creedence Clearwater Revival cover "Up Around The Bend", but this is missing in this 2 CD collection that poses as a greatest hits collection. But, in terms of representing the other albums this collection is very fair with nearly an equal number of tracks from from 1981 to 1983 with all the early hits. HR may not be your musical cup of tea but they are worth finding out about to fill in a bit of the musical puzzle you may not have realized had been missing. Motley Crue might have written the book, but this is the true dirt.


2 comments:

  1. Good rock blog mate! It helps me to practising my English...

    2 Steps is so so good album but I think it sometimes sounds too clean (?) , mean it hasn't same roughness as in HR's first LP, Bangkok Shocks etc. But still, Hanoi Rocks is the best REAL rock band ever come from 'the land of the snow and ice'!

    Greetings from Finland!

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    1. Thanks for reading! I met bassist Sami Yaffa once. Great guy! I never listened to Hanoi Rocks until after I met him though. It gave me a better appreciation of them.

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