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INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL MONROE

Copyright: 1997 -> for everything in this page by Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone and Michael Monroe.



I got chance to do interview with Michael Monroe on February 14, 1997, when Internet was still really small, but I had run my Ramones site already two years. I did first newspaper interview and then asked Ramones related questions. Later Michael and I have met many times. I still has this interview taped, we spoke 80 minutes... Here are Ramones related parts.

Michael Monroe was vocalist for
Hanoi Rocks and later was vocalist in other great groups like Demolation 23.
Michael Monroe named band after him in 2010 (Michael Monroe band).
You can find Michael Monroe's Ramones/ Joey memorial text from my Heaven Needed A Lead Singer: Fans Remember Joey Ramone book and Andy McCoy's (Hanoi Rocks' guitarist etc.) long interview from Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone book.


Jari-Pekka: If we talk now about Ramones things. Where did you first time see Ramones or some of them.
Monroe: Ummm.. Ramones, wait a moment, I saw Joey Ramone first time when after Razzle's death (Hanoi Rocks' drummer) I moved to London, UK with Stiv Bators in 1985.

Jari-Pekka's note: Bators is famous of Dead Boys, Lords Of The New Church, also Dee Dee Ramone and Stiv recorded songs together with Johnny Thunders, Kris Dollimore, Neil Larsen and Stephen Ritchie (Vom) in Paris in 1990. You can read lot of those recordings from Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone book, book has Vom's interview.


Jari-Pekka: I have some questions about Stiv too, you and Stiv were good friends.
Monroe: We were best friends. Little Steven produced Lords and Stiv had met in New Your. I was a big Steven fan myself. It worked fine and then I met him there. Me, Stiv and Steven became friends. Produced few Lords Of The New Church songs.
We have done much work with each other and then later on the same summer made Sun City Artists Against Apartheid record. It was purposed to make bands conscious of what is happening in South-Africa. They paid crazy money, millions for bands if they are going supposed play and at the same time you are supporting white goverment, which are racists.


Jari-Pekka: Joey did take part in that project.
Monroe: Joey was in this Sun City project too, we were working with Little Steven, we sang backvocals: na na na naa.. Then we went to make a video to New York and then I moved to New York. Joey was on these videos too. We three are all side by side on this video: Steven, Joey and I. Steven is looking a little bit like little Joey. Joey is singing on it.
At that time I met Joey and then I saw him many times in the city, when he lived in New York. And then I co-operated with Joey later when I started to do gigs with Demolition 23 at Grand Club, which was called Cat Club before. We had GlamRockPunk-night.


Jari-Pekka: And there you played Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, I Wanna Be Sedated and Blitzkrieg Bop
Monroe: Yes, we did every night and I trained act my own Michael Monroe songs, a couple of Hanoi Rocks songs and then we decide some cover favourites and always in the end of the gig we had some guest for example: Joey Ramone or Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople). It wasn't be any jam. We played these like real songs. First nights guest was Joey Ramone.


Jari-Pekka: And was this at the same time you had Demolition 23 band?
Monroe: Yes, it was in the end of summer 93. We worked 10 weeks at together. Every monday, 10 weeks in succession. It was really hard to do something like this in New York. Gang like fans of New York Dolls etc. came to look.


Jari-Pekka: Was this charity?
Monroe: We hardly could run these nights, we didn't get any money. It was a cool thing and we done new scene to New York, it wasn't happened anything there. We put happening hang out on Grand Club, it was hardest day on the week (Monday). The folks has partied week-end. But the happenings were so great. Joey came and we did three songs with him (Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, I Wanna Be Sedated and Blitzkrieg Bop). Other guests were for example Kirk Clark from Warrior Soul, Sebastian Bach from Skid Row.
Sebastian was a big Hanoi Rocks fan and he was there nearly every night. He wanted always to play some Hanoi Rocks songs. There were quite much people. Lemmy (Motörhead) was there one night in audience.


Jari-Pekka: Lemmy is a Ramones fan and friend with Joey, Johnny etc. Motörhead have even made a song called: R.A.M.O.N.E.S. and later Ramones covered it.
Monroe: Lemmy offered me place in the band after Hanoi Rocks breaking. The audience of Motörhead is just so different, if I am there looking liking this. Lemmy is a really cool man. I and Sebastian Bach (Skid Row etc.) went to the Born To Raise Hell movie and on the soundtrack I am on backvocals, but it isn't mentioned.

Monroe: Oh I remember one more Joey Ramone story.
I was with Joey. It was always great to see Joey there. I was at one Joey's parties at Ritz in New York.


Jari-Pekka: In one of his birthday parties?
Monroe: Yes, birthday party. There were Lemmy and others. There I sang backvocals with Debbie Harry (Blondie) and Holly Beth Vincent, when Lemmy was playing and singing Baby, I Love You. There played supposedly Dead Boys at last, it was one of Joey's things. All the bands didn't have time to play.

Monroe: Couple of years ago in summer 1993. Joey had a sideband called Resistance. There were certain players, which jammed. The bassist (Andy Shernoff) was from the Dictators. Joey asked me to help when they had a little project for TV. At that time Bill Clinton was candidate for president. That project had something to do with Clinton, at that time he wasn't still chosen. We made Gimme Some Truth, it is John Lennon's song. Joey wanted to do it and he changed words a bit. It was a political song and then Joey asked me to play saxophone, we made it for a TV-channel outside New York and we filmed it on CBGB's stage.


Jari-Pekka: Had you played before at CBGB's?
Monroe: Demolition 23 played there and it was my first time. I lived near it, only a couple of blocks away on the 3rd street. It is such a little place, but so legendary.


Jari-Pekka: Have you ever done something with other members of Ramones?
Monroe: Yes, I once started to write songs with Dee Dee.


Jari-Pekka: He has written with Stiv Bators too. 1992 Mondo Bizarro came out, where was Poison Heart. Dee Dee made it originally with Stiv Bators.
(Jari-Pekka's note: as I wrote before, Dee Dee Ramone and Stiv recorded songs together with Johnny Thunders, Kris Dollimore, Neil Larsen and Stephen Ritchie (Vom) in Paris in 1990. You can read lot of those recordings from Rock In Peace: Dee Dee And Joey Ramone book, book has Vom's interview)

Monroe: Dee Dee did Poison Heart originally. Dee Dee wrote it last with Daniel Rey. Dee Dee and Johnny Thunders were in Paris living with Stiv Bators, half of year before Stiv died and I suppose that they wrote it there. Dee Dee gave to me a couple of tapes, where were a couple of quite good songs. But I didn't ever do those, he was very enthusiastic when Dee Dee was Douglas Colvin (his real name). He wanted to start some new things after leaving Ramones.

Monroe: I saw Marky Ramone quite often. I think he played at Joey's birthday party too.


Jari-Pekka: Did you see CJ?
Monroe: I saw him, when I also saw Arturo Vega, who has done record covers, designed their T-shirts etc. He lived on the corner of CBGB's. Arturo is a painter. I saw CJ a couple of time after his joining to band. But Joey was closest to me.


Jari-Pekka: What are you thinking about Joey. Many people feel that Joey is quite a strange person.
Monroe: Yes that is right, but it is maybe the reason why I liked Joey. Joey is Joey and really cool. He is a quite conscious about what he is starting and doing. I think that Hand Across Face thing (Ramones video Something To Believe In) was a grand video.
It is genius how Ramones worked all these years and keeped their own sound. Expect what they tried with Phil Spector (End Of The Century album), but it was cool because it was Phil Spector.


Jari-Pekka: Do you know that Joey is now co-operating with Ronnie Spector.
Monroe: No, I didn't. I saw Johnny Ramone at last in studio, by the time we made demos for Demolion 23 with Little Steven. Demos like Hammersmith Palais etc.


Jari-Pekka: These lyrics on Hammersmith Palais are perfect. "New Your City is boring since the punks all went away and etc."
Monroe: It looked like there had just been these punkdays. But it was the last time when there happened anything. But last time I saw Johnny, he was doing Johnny Thunders: I Love You on studio.


Jari-Pekka: The Ramones recorded song for the Thunders' tribute album I Only Wrote This Song For You.
Also Ramones released it on their last studio Adios Amigos too.

Monroe: Johnny was just then there and Jimmy Clark was our drummer that time. Jimmy was helping Ramones on tour.

Monroe: These guys were great to see in New York.