Michael Monroe : biography
Matti Antero Kristian Fagerholm (born on 17 June 1962 in Helsinki), best known by his stage name, Michael Monroe, is a Finnish rock musician, and multi-instrumentalist who rose to fame as the vocalist for the glam punk band Hanoi Rocks, and has served as the frontman for all-star side projects, such as Demolition 23. and Jerusalem Slim (with Steve Stevens).
Michael Monroe was born Matti "Makke" Fagerholm on 17 June 1962. His father, Pentti Fagerholm, is a very well known retired Finnish radio personality and reporter. Monroe states in the Hanoi Rocks autobiography All Those Wasted Years that one of the first times he was exposed to rock n' roll was when he saw Black Sabbath's 1970 Paris performance on television. Some other favourite bands of Monroe's at the time included: Alice Cooper, The New York Dolls, Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Little Richard. From 1976 to 1979, Monroe played in a band called Madness. During this time, while rehearsing in a basement of a church in Töölö, Monroe met guitarist Andy McCoy (then known as Antti Hulkko); McCoy's band, Briard, was also rehearsing there at the time.
Later, Monroe and McCoy played together for a short time in a band called Bolin. Monroe then went on to play saxophone in Maukka Perusjätkä's band, where he also met guitarist Nasty Suicide. Monroe auditioned as a bassist for Pelle Miljoona Oy but, even though the audition went well, they chose bassist Sami Yaffa.
Hanoi Rocks (1979–1985)
Hanoi Rocks was a band that Monroe and his friend, guitarist Andy McCoy had thought of, but because McCoy was in the Finnish punk band Pelle Miljoona Oy, he told Monroe to start the band without him. From the very first Hanoi line-up only one member (besides Monroe) remained, rhythm guitarist Nasty Suicide, who would stay in the band until 1985. Andy McCoy left Pelle Miljoona Oy and joined Hanoi Rocks in 1980. McCoy also brought bassist Sam Yaffa with him. The band later recruited drummer Gyp Casino.
The band released their first album in 1981 titled Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks, with most of the songs written by McCoy. The album was produced by Andy McCoy and Michael Monroe, who were known as "The Muddy Twins". In 1982 Hanoi Rocks moved to London and released their second studio album Oriental Beat, which the band later dismissed as a failure, stating that the album was mixed badly by the producer Pete Woolcroft.
After the album's release, the band fired drummer Gyp Casino and hired Nicholas Dingley, better known as Razzle. This line-up, consisting of Michael Monroe, Andy McCoy, Nasty Suicide, Sam Yaffa and Razzle, has often been cited as the classic and definitive line-up. The band has said that Razzle revitalised them. Later that year, the band released Self Destruction Blues, which had Razzle on the cover, but he didn't play on the album because it was actually a compilation of old singles. The tour for the album took the band to Asia for the first time.
The next year, 1983, the band released Back to Mystery City. In 1984, the band got together with legendary producer Bob Ezrin and started work on their fifth studio album Two Steps from the Move which was their first recording deal to US markets. The original title of the album was "Silver Missiles and Nightingales", but this was changed before release. The album has been cited as one of the best glam rock albums, and Monroe has said that he "is very proud of it."
In 1984, Michael Monroe and Hanoi Rocks were among the most popular performers in the UK. The readers of the Sounds magazine voted Hanoi Rocks as the second best band in the world just after Marillion. The Hanoi Rocks single release "Underwater World" and the album "Two Steps from the Move" were voted as the fifth best single and album of the year. The televised concert which Hanoi Rocks recorded in England was voted as the second best concert video, and as stage performers, the group was voted #3. Michael Monroe was voted as "The Sex Symbol of the Year". Kerrang! magazine readers voted Hanoi Rocks as the ninth most important newcomer, and their album was chosen as the tenth best album of the year. The readers of Kerrang! also voted Michael Monroe the seventh sexiest performer in the music business.
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