Album review: MICHAEL MONROE – One Man Gang


Silver Lining Music [Release date 18.10.19]

Vocalist Michael Monroe, once best known as the Hanoi Rocks frontman, has long since made his name fronting his own band, and the quality remains as high as ever. This new album is his 9th studio set (10th if you include a Japanese only EP), and the band retains long time collaborator and former Hanoi Rocks bandmate, bassist Sami Yaffa. The band also features guitarists Rich Jones and Steve Conte, and drummer Karl Rockfist.

What I love about Monroe is that he is a born entertainer, a natural frontman, and a talented instrumentalist too. Famed for also playing saxophone, seeing him climb the stage frame with instrument in hand at the High Voltage festival was a real treat.

While Hanoi Rocks will always remain one of the best and most influential punk/glam bands ever, Monroe is well respected in his own right. While ‘Not Fakin’ It’ is an easy “go to…” album, more recent albums like ‘Horns And Halos’ have mightily impressed and this new set continues the momentum.

The title track opens at a blistering pace, continuing the glam rock and punk metal blend to perfection. It’s a high octane blast from the outset; imagine a fine tuned Harley Davidson going 100mph running on ‘Portuguese Whiskey’; that might sound rough’n’ready but it’s a perfect ride.

‘Last Train To Tokyo’ is a bit more rock’n’roll, maybe a hint of the Rolling Stones, with the sleaze turned up to eleven. ‘Junk Planet’ again changes pace and is fronted by Yaffa’s driving bass, and some Cult like guitar work, with Monroe providing some additional harmonica.

‘The Pitfalls Of Being An Outsider’ nods back to the Buzzcocks, and mid album when you think the pace is levelling off, ‘Ties And Red Tape’ come in at 200mph and is a right sleazy thrash.

Every song is delivered with a cocky swagger, there’s very little 70s punk or 80s glam that can hold a torch to this. Not quite at 100% consistency but a fantastic listen beginning to end. I look forward to seeing a few of these tracks performed live.

Another cracking performance. ****1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 30 August 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 8 September 2020.

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Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
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VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)

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