Hanoi Rocks – “All Those Wasted Years – Live At The Marquee” (Dissonance)
If you were into rock n roll and grew up in London in the early 80s, then the name Hanoi Rocks will surely be a familiar one. At one point residents of South London’s posher (lol) neighborhoods in Tooting Bec, these guys came from the cold, bleak Baltic nation of Finland, which apart from vodka, nobody knew jack about. Still, it was a different matter with Hanoi Rocks. Gifted with one of the most beautiful front men in Mike Monroe and son of Johnny Thunders guitarist Andy McCoy, these guys were about to take the underground by storm. Pushing barriers in both music as well as appearance, conservative Scandinavia offered little beyond ridicule, violence and rejection to Hanoi Rocks, hence their relocation to London. Well, if the Pistols could make it, then why not? Indeed, the high energy rock n roll that charged their live shows went well beyond glam and 70s rock, attracting punks, headbangers and street kids drawn to the no nonsense intensity of M(onroe) & M(cCoy), not forgetting bandmates Nasty Suicide, Sammy Yaffa and of course, our very own Brit drummer in Razzle. As a result, the reach of the band saw them gig with Wishbone Ash, Lords Of The New Church, and if memory still holds, Thor and WASP to name but a few! “All Those Wasted Years – Live At The Marquee” was a double album release in 1983 captured at the old The Marquee Club in Wardour Street in London, a notorious sweat hole legendary for its crowd pileups. Also recorded for VHS release, it pretty much captures the swank, style and sweat of the band and their music in ‘Motorvatin’, ‘Mental Beat’ and ‘Malibu Beach Nightmare’ which I remember plenty of singing along to. Raw and powerful in McCoy’s adrenaline fueled guitar, but equally stylish in Monroe’s sax and harmonica, the band laid waste time and again through their hook laden catchy numbers. Culminating in the Stooge’s ‘I Feel Alright’ you certainly did after this 18 track piledriver, along with being left with a feeling that you had indeed been to that special show and found a little freedom as a kid from the tensions of teenage life. The album for me also represented a turning point, one where I said farewell to Hanoi Rocks as they became more commercial only for tragedy to strike in Razzle’s infamous death and their first breakup. Despite returning in the millennium years, it was not the same band with Nasty now a pharmacist (!) and Yaffa now a well established international musician, and the new material something of a departure from the past, culminating in the final split of M&M. Now finally respected in Finland for being that nation’s first international rock band, the likes of Gun N Roses, Manic Street Preachers, Poison and Foo Fighters have also acknowledged the influence of this legendary group, who never achieved commercial stardom but remain a cult act to this day. But for me, “All Those Wasted Years – Live At The Marquee” captures the moment in time when I was sweet 16, scored my first chick, wore my hair long and drank Thunderbird – and if M&M should feel proud, it’s that I never looked back since!