In the leather-bound history of heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll, not only will Michael Monroe have at least one chapter all to himself. But his name will be colourfully threaded throughout, such has been his impact, his appeal, and his ongoing never-surrender story; a powerful, inspirational tale told in detail on The Best – the first official collection of his (ongoing) solo musical exploits, featuring prime tracks from 1987 right up to 2017. It arrives June 30via Spinefarm.
“This album is a great representation of my 30-year solo career, including four songs from the Little Steven-produced Demolition 23 album, which has been unavailable for over 20 years, plus some special rarities and previously unreleased bonus tracks.”
Icon, song-writer, multi-instrumentalist, media personality, flamboyant force of nature, and one of rock’s most celebrated and uber-kinetic frontmen, Michael has been a name and a (much-photographed) face on the scene since 1979, when he played a central role in the formation of HanoiRocks – the legendary Finnish glam-punk heroes who came within a rolling paper’s width of taking the world by glitter-storm.
Were it not for cruel and fickle fate, Hanoi – who disbanded for the first time in 1985, then finally in 2009 – might have ended up as an arena act. But whatever obstacles were thrust in their path, they were never less than the real deal, and major names like Guns N’ Roses were ready to acknowledge their influence and their worth. G N’ R would go on to issue the European Hanoi catalogue in the U.S. via their Uzi Suicide imprint.
Over his three-decades-plus in the spotlight, Monroe has befriended and performed with a whole host of artists and acts, including the aforementioned Guns N’ Roses and Slash; Lemmy, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Little Steven, and Ian Hunter.
The frontman has shared stages and studios with them all, but since that first break-up of Hanoi in the mid-’80s, he’s essentially been pursuing his own path, and it’s this solo activity that forms the basis of The Best. It’s almost two hours’ worth of career-spanning music, re-mastered by Svante Forsback and sequenced by the great man himself.
As well as key, high-profile numbers such as “Dead, Jail Or Rock ‘N’ Roll” (from second solo album, 1989’s Not Fakin’ It, the promo clip for which features an onstage cameo from Axl Rose) and “’78” (from 2011’s Sensory Overdrive, voted “Album of the Year” by Classic Rock magazine), this two-CD set also showcases some “from the vaults” moments for collectors and completists, with bonus tracks and previously unreleased songs strategically placed to make the journey both scenic and surprising.
“There’s a couple of extra special tracks like ‘It’s A Lie,’ sung as a duet with Stiv Bators (Dead Boys, Lords Of The New Church) back in 1985, and a never-before-released second version of the Steppenwolf cover ‘Magic Carpet Ride,’ featuring Slash, left over from the Coneheads soundtrack project that Slash did with me in 1993. And since Slash has the biggest heart of gold in rock ‘n’ roll, he was kind enough to allow me to use it on this album. God bless him!,” said Monroe.
Two other previously unreleased songs are “Fist Fulla Dynamite” and”Simpletown,” outtakes from the Blackout States album (2015); plus there’s the new single “One Foot Outta The Grave” – an anthem of pure defiance – to bring things nicely up to date, showing the artist’s continued commitment to a genre.
We’re talkin’ rock ‘n’ roll here, straight from the source
Monroe has both celebrated and driven forward with unbridled passion, energy and emotion, not to mention a natural front-cover flair.
So… 29 great and glorious tracks. A heady life in music.